Winspire News

Your destination for insight into the world of event fundraising, charity auctions and no-risk travel packages.

Cultivate New Major Donors with Experiential Travel

Posted by Ian Lauth


Special events are the most widely used method for cultivating new major donors. Nonprofits host big events as an entry point for potential high net-value donors to come learn about the cause and meet the people behind the scenes (that's you), planting the seed for a relationship that moves them toward major giving.

The toughest piece of this donor cultivation process - especially at a big fundraising event - is building that relationship. If you're busy running around and you only have time to introduce yourself to a few people, who do you spend your time socializing with?


How can you tell which new faces in the room may be interested in - or have the resources for - becoming a major donor? Even once you've identified these people, how do you go about setting up a post-event meeting to further discuss their involvement?

One of the best ways to zero in on these folks is through offering big-ticket live auction items like Experiential travel packages. Here are 8 steps for cultivating major donors using no-risk auction travel packages:

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Topics: donor-relations, donor development, cultivating major donors, donor cultivation

3 Reasons NOT to Hire a Benefit Auctioneer

Posted by Ian Lauth

Confused-Auctioneer1Proper planning and smart investments are key to creating a successful and lasting event. The goal is to lay a solid foundation so you can have a successful event now and for years to come. One investment Nonprofits can make when planning a first-time event is hiring a professional benefit auctioneer.

While the upfront cost can make it tempting to skip hiring a professional auctioneer, this is actually a mistake. Let’s look at some of the reasons a charity event committee wouldn't make this investment:

1. You don't want professional advice

Benefit auctioneers will tell you they have a lot of experience planning and running charity auction events because they attend so many each year - which is true. The benefit auctioneers we work with are booked almost every weekend of the year hosting multiple charity events around the country.

Hiring a professional auctioneer who has experience with charity events means having a consultant at your disposal during the event-planning process. This is particularly beneficial for first-time events when the planning committee is just learning the ropes. 

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Topics: event-production, benefit auctioneer

Live or Silent Auction Fundraiser? That is the Question [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth

Live Auction Fundraiser or Silent Auction Fundraiser? That is the question...

These days no charity fundraiser is complete without a dazzling auction to delight donors and get them excited to spend money for your cause. Before you start planning your next benefit auction, ask yourself which type of auction is better suited for your event - a live auction or a silent auction... or both? 

While both live and silent auctions have their advantages, it is important to carefully evaluate your event to determine which type of auction is going to be the best fit for your audience, your auction items, and your fundraising venue.

Quite often, Nonprofits will opt for a blend of both live and silent auctions at their fundraising event.  In these cases, it is important to know the rules of thumb for how much revenue you can expect to generate from items offered in both the live and silent auctions to ensure that you meet your auction fundraising goals.

We put together the following infographic as a general overview showing the advantages of each fundraising method and providing some examples of the "auction math" you'll have to do when planning your next event.


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Topics: fundraising, live auction

New Fundraising Events: 5 Ideas for Ensuring Future Success

Posted by Ian Lauth


Planning a charity event for the first time can be totally overwhelming. With countless things to coordinate, numerous people to please and the pressure to justify the event by raising enough money - all while staying within budget - can make even the savviest event planner apprehensive.  

It’s time to step back, take a deep breath and adopt the right mindset when you plan a fundraiser for the first time. What is that mindset? Believe it or not, it’s not just about how much money you raise. 

The most important thing to focus on for first-time events is establishing a strong foundation for the future. Whether it’s your Nonprofit’s first ever fundraising gala or you’re adding another event to the annual social calendar, your focus needs to be on creating a legacy event that will continue yielding dividends for years to come.


1. Create a memorable experience

All too often, Nonprofits will spend that first year planning an event with a hyper focus on generating revenue – which is great – but it usually comes at the expense of the event experience itself. Make sure you go the extra mile to ensure your donors have a great time. This means doing things you may want to skimp on to save costs your first year, such as a hosting your event at a nice venue, having an open bar or hiring a live band.

2. Focus on second-year profit

Hosting a gala or golf tournament for the first time should - and most likely will - generate some revenue for your cause, but don’t worry if it’s not a grand slam in the fundraising department. That money will come. Donors who look forward to attending your event year after year produce far more revenue than a donor who comes to your event just once.

3. Concentrate on donor development

Fundraising events are a wonderful social activity. They offer a chance for your charity to demonstrate the good it has done while extending gratitude to those who have made it all possible. Nonprofits that put the effort into creating legacy events understand that developing these

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Topics: event-production, event fundraising, new fundraising event ideas

4 Auction Travel Package Ideas for Enhancing Your Next Event

Posted by Ian Lauth


Procuring auction travel packages to match your audience's interests and hobbies is a crucial part of creating a successful fundraising event. But what if your audience of donors has a wide range of interests? This can make it a challenge to pick which travel package to include in your live auction.

One way is to consider the event itself. While some supporters will show up solely for the cause, others will attend an event because something else about it has a special appeal to them. This can give you some important clues about what auction items they might be interested in. Here are four ideas for how you can enhance your overall event with the right auction packages. 

1. Sporting events

If you're planning your event around a golf tournament, it’s safe to assume that most of your attendees love to play golf. Offer an auction travel package that includes a chance to play on a premium golf course, such as Pebble Beach or Pinehurst, or send them on a trip watch a professional golf tournament like the PGA Championship.

If you are raising money for a specific sport or athletic program it makes sense to offer a package that relates. For example, tennis club boosters could create a winner’s choice raffle that includes a trip to see the U.S. Open Tennis Championship.

Other more general sporting events, such as a walk-a-thon or 5K run can make it harder to pinpoint your audience's interests. In these cases it can make more sense to offer a “choose your own” travel package, such as Choose Your Championship or the Ultimate Pro Sports Fan Getaway.

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Topics: event-production, auction trips, auction packages, auction travel packages

Congratulations to our Donation Give-Away Winner: Nancy from Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities!

Posted by Ian Lauth


Winspire is excited to announce the winner of the first Donation Give-Away of 2015! Nancy Winkelman of Warrenville, IL will be using the donated New York Getaway for two to help raise money for the organization Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities, where she works as the Program Director.

Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities (FTEA) was founded in 1996 to provide therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with physical, emotional, cognitive and/or social challenges. Located in a western suburb of Chicago, FTEA seeks to meet the special needs of each program participant in a recreational setting.  

The donated trip to New York City will be used as part of their live auction offerings at the next Circle of Friends Fundraising Gala on November 7, 2015. This is an annual event which FTEA has hosted for the past 8 years, with all proceeds going to support the therapeutic horseback riding program.

Costa Rica All-Inclusive
Costa Rica All-Inclusive

5-Night Stay at Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa with Airfare for 2 (1470-2)

View Experience Details →

"Our event last November was the first time FTEA has used Winspire travel packages," says Nancy, "Our guests have not taken their trips yet, but it was exciting to be able to offer Experiences like the one to Costa Rica. This was a totally new experience for us."

Operating almost year round, FTEA is a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center and serves about 70 program participants each week. Participants are as young as three years old and range in age all the way through adulthood.

This is made possible with a small staff of PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors and a large corps of wonderful and generous volunteers who donate over 10,000 man hours each year. The eleven horses and ponies working in the program were carefully chosen for their kind and gentle disposition and all were generously donated to FTEA.

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Topics: nonprofits

Travel Weekly's Top Destinations of 2014

Posted by Sharon Ruback


Late last month, Travel Weekly revealed its list of 2014 Readers Choice Award winners. More than 9,000 industry voters, including Travel Weekly readers and industry professionals, selected the best airlines, destinations, hotels, cruise lines and theme parks.

Las Vegas topped the list as the Best U.S. City, while Hawaii was selected as the #1 state to visit. 

Why are we sharing this with you? While we know you certainly could use a vacation right about now, this information is actually very relevant to Nonprofit fundraising as well as donor acquisition and retention.

Including trips to top travel destinations in your fundraising events will help your organization can tap into donor’s travel budgets. It’s a simple and impactful way to boost fundraising revenue and give donors a way to contribute while enjoying a trip of a lifetime.

 Many of the Readers Choice Award Winners are available to you through Winspire. Here are just a few:


1. Best Destination in CanadaVancouver, BC

Choose Your Canadian Fairmont Stay and Fairmonts in Vancouver & Victoria. Stay 4 or 7 nights in a Junior Suite including daily breakfast.


2. Best Destination in CaribbeanDominican Republic

See why Hollywood stars, professional athletes, heads-of-state and Fortune 500 executives have made this resort one of their preferred vacation spots!

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Topics: travel-package, travel-experiences



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

Auction Item Procurement
Starter Kit

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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

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