Expressing some words of thanks to those who have contributed to a fundraising event doesn't have to be long and drawn out. The key to an effective thank-you speech is to express your gratitude, use specifics, keep concise, and write your speech and deliver it as though you're having a personal, one-on-one conversation with someone in the audience.
Get Right to Your Gratitude
Begin your speech by expressing your gratitude in an appreciative tone; after all, that's the reason you're standing in front of the group. Get right to sharing the reason you're saying thank you and why. For example, thank employees who sought donations throughout the community for a fundraising project at your place of business. Be sure to say "thank you" in a sincere tone; as an alternative, you can use other phrases that convey gratitude, such as "It's hard to put into words how much your actions mean."
Specific details and anecdotes make your gratitude come to life, and telling the story of why people were fundraising -- and what their funds will be put toward -- can help to convey your appreciation. If you're thanking a community group that has raised funds for people in need, specifically explain how the funds will buy food and school supplies, for example. Part of the details you express could also be an understanding of how fundraising isn't always easy and an acknowledgement -- ideally, with an example -- of how the team excelled.
Watch the Time
Few people enjoy sitting through lengthy speeches, and if your message of appreciation drags on, it can lose its impact. In a 2012 interview with Inc. magazine, speech-writing professional David Meadvin stressed the importance of using short, succinct sentences. Unlike a written expression of thanks that might have long phrases, keep your sentences short when you're delivering the thanks verbally. Meadvin warned that compound sentences put you at risk of losing your audience.
Speeches with the highest degree of impact are those that resonate with the audience. In the 2012 Inc. article, speaking coach Bill Cole said an effective speech-writing tip is to imagine you're addressing one person. For example, think of how you would want to express your thanks to someone who has raised a significant amount of funds, and then essentially write your speech with that conversation in mind. When you deliver your words, they'll have a personal feel that will resonate with much of your audience.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.