Winspire News

Your destination for insight into the world of charitable fundraising, benefit auctions and no-risk auction items.
Charity Auction Fundraising News

Introducing the Winspire Jingle [VIDEO]: "Risk Free Auction Items"

Posted by Ian Lauth

Sep 19, 2014 10:22:00 AM

We are excited to introduce the new Winspire
jingle: "Risk Free Auction Items"!


This little ditty was a "for-fun" project put together with the help of our Operations team (great harmonizing Denise!). WARNING: Once you hear this song once you won't be able to get it out of your head. We have to admit, it's pretty catchy. We hope you enjoy!

Winspire Jingle Lyrics

What do I do?
What do I do?
I’ve got an auction comin’ up
And I don’t know where I’m gonna get the stuff!

Event is only weeks away
And all I’ve got is one spa day
I’m wishing for some items that’ll help me out
And make my donors get up and shout!

Risk Free Auction Items
Risk Free Auction Items
The best way to boost your revenue
Is to offer your donors something cool to do

Risk Free Auction Items
Risk Free Auction Items
Help your donors make a difference
Offer them a cool Experience

If your wondering what to do
‘cause the items you’ve got are lame or too few,
or when it’s time for item round-up,
those tickets you thought were there have dried up.

Don’t fret, there’s still a way,
To excite your audience and save the day …with
Risk free items you can rest assured
Knowing all the things you need have been procured.

...That's a wrap!

Use No-Risk Pricless Experiences in your Fundraising Auction

Use Winspire Experiences
in your next charity auction!

Browse over 200 unique Experiences and add your favorites to mySuitcase, where you can compare, collaborate and then reserve for your fundraiser.

Read More

Topics: travel-experiences

The Value of Volunteering Time [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth

Sep 18, 2014 10:00:00 AM


Across the nation, volunteering is on the rise, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The CNCS reports that in 2011, Americans volunteered more than 7.9 billion hours of time through formal organizations, and the value of that time equates to more than $171 billion.

In total, there were more than 64.5 million US citizens that volunteered their time in 2011, which is roughly 26.5% of the total US population.  In addition, 51% of US residents donated money to charity in 2011, showing that there is a pervasive culture of volunteering and donating across the US.

For charitable organizations, it is important to leverage the current growth in volunteering and donating by rallying your constituents to both participate in fundraisers and increase their donations. Further, the data shows that the age of volunteers is pretty evenly spread across all age groups. As such, finding ways to reach a more diverse audience demographic can be a great way to increase participation in fundraising activities in your charitable organization.

Read More

Topics: nonprofits

Raise More Money After Your Auction Event Using No-Risk Experiences

Posted by Ian Lauth

Sep 16, 2014 12:34:00 PM


A critical - but often overlooked - time to reach out to donors is after your fundraising event. Post-event communication gives you the opportunity to personally thank donors for their involvement, gather feedback and, if the opportunity presents itself, raise even more money.

Guests who miss out on live or silent items  during an auction may still be interested in making a purchase at the winning bid price after the event is over.

One of the main benefits of No-Risk auction items is they can can be sold multiple times, giving you the power to continue offering a package at the winning bid price even after an event is over. Offering donors a second chance to purchase an incredible trip doesn't require much extra work and has the potential to raise a few thousand additional dollars for your cause.

Create a Target List

Before you start reaching out to donors, consider the best approach. Not every guest needs – or wants – to hear about travel packages that are still available. Narrow down your donor list and target those you think would be most interested and financially capable of purchasing a travel package. Are there donors who have contributed a large sum in the past but gave less this year or couldn’t attend? These are perfect names for your list!

Oftentimes there are event patrons who expressed interest in a particular live or silent auction item but missed out because they:

  1. Bid competitively but lost - There are always going to be bidders who don't win an item at your event. Maybe they stopped bidding because they were waiting to bid big on a later item, only to lose that bidding war as well. It's not uncommon for a donor with good intentions to go home empty-handed, still wishing they would have bid higher on certain items.
  2. Missed their chance to bid - Most charity auctions are large social affairs so it's not uncommon for guests to get distracted and miss their chance to bid on an item they were interested in. There are also going to be guests who left the room for a few minutes to take a call or visit the restroom during the live auction.
  3. Couldn't attend the event - This is one of the most important groups of donors to follow up with regarding post-event donation or purchase opportunities, especially if you suspect they would have been an active bidder at the event. 

If there were a number of attendees bidding on an item, this is a good sign that more donors may be interested in making a post-event purchase. Make sure you record who is interested in what. During the live auction, have a volunteer jot down paddle numbers or set up a video camera and film the audience so you can see who bid on the travel packages. 

After your event, the way you present your offer to donors can have a big impact on the effectiveness of the campaign. Start with a phone call to each donors and then follow up with an email campaign.

Read More

Topics: donor-relations

4 No-Nonsense Reasons to Invest in Better Auction Items

Posted by Ian Lauth

Sep 9, 2014 1:46:00 PM

Investing in Acution Items

In a perfect world, auction committees would have no problem getting unique and exciting items donated for their fundraising events. Anyone who has served on a charity auction committee knows this is rarely the case.

Securing a variety of exciting items purely by donation is much easier said than done. Making a ton of calls, sending out hundreds of emails and pulling favors may produce a handful of adequate items, but all too often the resulting selection of auction items is missing those jaw-dropping items that really get crowds excited about bidding during an event.

At the end of the day, what's most important is raising significant funds for your organization - and most patrons understand that there are costs associated with fundraising.

This is why consignment is a secret weapon for the charity auction committee. The process is simple: reserve a unique item or incredible experience at no cost upfront and then offer it to your audience in the live or silent auction. If it sells above the package cost – great! You’ve raised money and delighted your donors in the process. If the items doesn’t sell above the package cost, no problem! Your organization pays nothing, making it an entirely risk-free proposition.

Pretty simple, right? Well, not everyone agrees. Our Event Consultants speak to thousands of Nonprofits about their events each year and they sometimes hear comments like: “No consignment… Sorry, we only use 100% donated items… We’re pretty sure we can get something like that donated.”

Some organizations are not comfortable with consignment items because they are worried that not all the money donors’ pay is going to the cause. Others feel like they are losing money when they have to pay for auction items they could otherwise potentially get donated.

It’s these misconceptions about consignment items that may be costing Nonprofits thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Here are four reasons why it makes real sense to invest in better auction items:

1. Takes Money to Make Money

Anyone who has been in charge of planning a fundraising event understands there are costs associated with raising money, and when planned strategically those investments can really pay off. An event's logistics alone add up, and most development teams realize that investment is necessary to attract interest, sell tickets and create an enjoyable atmosphere for attendees that will encourage donations. Advertising, catering, entertainment, venue rental, etc. all of these costs are incurred in hopes of producing dividends in the form of bids and donations. Investing in valuable big-ticket auction items serves the same purpose.

2. Atmosphere of Big Spending

Hosting an event with quality auction items creates an atmosphere of spending that will translate into bigger bids on other items. Just like an amazing venue and an entertaining emcee will hopefully drive more bids during the live auction – so will the excitement of bidding on an incredible travel experience. It's not your basic gift certificate or evening dinner at a local restaurant, it's something that will really get people pumped up. When people are excited and have high-end items to bid on, the bids will be higher and happen more often.

Read More

Topics: fundraising, charity auction items

4 Simple Tricks for Using Email to Promote a Nonprofit Fundraising Auction

Posted by Ian Lauth

Sep 3, 2014 10:28:00 AM

Promote Nonprofit Fundraising Auctions

With so much attention focused on the benefits of social media as a marketing tool, it can be easy to forget that email is still the most effective medium for promoting Nonprofit fundraising events. Email marketing is the most personal medium that allows you to address your supporters directly. 

The most important part of an effective Nonprofit email campaign is establishing a clear strategy and schedule. Every message you craft needs to be carefully considered and planned so your emails don't end up in the trash. Here are a few tips to help you promote your fundraising event more effectively through email marketing.

Nonprofit Hope Gala Newsletter

Click Here to enlarge this example of an effective email campaign.

1. Have something to promote

It helps to have some "sizzle" in your message when you are promoting a fundraising event. One way to do this is to secure your big-ticket auction items early so you can use them to pique interest and encourage people to click on your email. Highlighting your biggest and best auction items early will also increase engagement and get people talking about the event soonerThis can be difficult to do if you rely soley on donated items which often don't materialize until last minute. 

Promoting your auction items early will also result in more bidding during the auction. By giving your audience a "Sneak Peek!", you will get them thinking about how much money they may want to spend at your event. Experiential travel packages, for example, appeal to just about everybody and can be reserved months in advance, giving you more time to pursue other big-ticket items that you can promote later. Showcasing travel Experiences early on may also catch donors who have untapped travel budgets and are in the market for purchasing a vacation. 

2. Create an engaging subject line

The email subject line is crucial because it is the recipient's first impression of your promotional campaign. It needs to be short and powerful – so each word matters.

Having big-ticket auction items to promote makes it much easier to come up with compelling subject lines. You can offer a "Sneak Peek!" or a chance to "Bid on Your Dream Trip!" to draw attention and get supporters to click on the email. Here are some more tips to keep in mind when crafting your subject line:

  • Use no more than 60 characters.
  • Give readers insight to what the email is about.
  • Be engaging and choose words carefully
  • Pique their interest. A headline like "Save the planet and win a trip to Italy!" will get your supporters to want to learn more. 

3. Include compelling body content

Once the email recipient clicks on your email, you want to keep them engaged. This is why highlighting your best auction items is so beneficial - it gets recipients to scroll through the entire email. Following are a few strategies to help you communicate effectively and encourage readers to attend the event:

Read More

Topics: event-production, fundraising auction, email marketing, nonprofit fundraising event



Winston & Winnie

The Winspire Twins

Winston & Winnie love to help Nonprofits raise money for amazing causes. They also love to travel and have a bucket list of amazing Experiences they are determined to complete in their lifetime. Winspire News is the result of this shared passion, offering you fundraising advice, industry news and explorations into each of our incredible travel packages

Speak to an Expert!

Professional Charity Event Consultation

Have a charity fundraiser coming up?
Talk to a Winspire Event Consultant for advice on how to maximize the amount you raise at your next event.

Auction Item Procurement
Starter Kit

starter kit underline


A free resource with helpful templates to get the auction item procurement process off the ground.

- Donation Form TEMPLATE
- Procurement Letter TEMPLATE
- Procurement Letter Example