Winspire News

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

Experience Spotlight: Wimbledon Tennis Championship

Posted by Sharon Ruback


What started in 1877 as the Lawn Tennis Championship, at what was then known as the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis, has become the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.  Known today simply as “Wimbledon”, this spectacular event is the only Grand Slam still played on grass.

Experience_Spotlight_Wimbledon_Tennis_Championship_2015-07-23_08-44-23All eyes were on Serena Williams earlier this month as she entered Wimbledon as the overwhelming favorite to win a fourth straight major tennis title. She did that, in her usual impressive fashion. She bested her sister, Venus Williams, narrowly avoided an upset at the hands of unseeded Heather Watson, took down the tough Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals and absolutely dominated No. 4 seed Maria Sharapova in the semifinals. In the finals, Williams defeated Spanish rising star Garbine Muguruza in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.

Williams, 33, wins her 21st Grand Slam title and becomes the oldest female winner of a major. Williams has now won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2015. Only the U.S. Open remains. She’s looking to become the first person to win a calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988.

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Topics: travel-experiences

U.S. and Canadian Travel Trends [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth


Americans and Canadians are some of the largest spenders on international travel, with residents of both nations ranked in the top six worldwide in terms of average annual expenditures on international travel.

Travelers from both countries most commonly make the easy intracontinental trips, with the U.S., Canada, and Mexico all registering as top travel destinations.  In addition, millions of travelers every year from both of these countries make overseas journeys to the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and even Cuba!

When Americans and Canadians choose to stay closer to home and travel domestically, the most popular destinations are primarily the higher populated cities and warm-weather climates.  For the most part, when Americans and Canadians cross the border, their travel patterns mirror those of the domestic travelers in that nation. Interestingly, the main difference between the travel preferences of the two nations is that Canadians also frequently travel to some of the more remote U.S. states, such as Maine, Vermont, and Montana.

In the following infographic, we explore these unique travel trends which exist between our two neighboring countries... 

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Topics: travel-experiences

Ssshh... Have You Heard About The Super Silent Auction?

Posted by Ian Lauth

Super Silent Auctions - Have You Heard of It?


When planning your charity gala’s live and silent auctions, have you ever had an item or two that seemed a little high priced for the silent auction tables but did not quite have the appeal for your live auction? Or perhaps you already have too many items in the live auction, but there are some other special items you want to call attention to. It can be confusing trying to figure out how to best utilize these items, and the super silent auction may be the best answer to this dilemma. 

What is a Super Silent Auction? 

A super silent auction is a subset of your normal silent auction and includes higher priced and/or special items that did not make it into the live auction. These "super" items are usually showcased separately on tables made more visible with extra lighting or signage to call attention and maximize bidding. 

The ideal size of a super silent auction is between 1-3 items. Limiting it to three helps maintain the exclusivity your offering and makes it much easier to hype the items before and during the event. 

Some examples of super silent auction items include:

  • Gas grill or Big Green Egg®
  • Consignment travel packages or a weekend trip
    (Check out our new Silent Auction Starters)
  • Home entertainment system or smart TV
  • Fine jewelry

It's entirely up to you what you want to include. Just make sure there is a special appeal to the item(s) you select. There is nothing "super" about a gift basket. 

Check out our new Silent Auction Starter travel packages!

How do I set up my Super Silent Auction? 

Your super silent auction table needs to be an obvious feature at your event. This will make it easier to generate additional buzz about the items that is separate from your live and silent auctions. 

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Topics: event-production, super silent auction

Congrats to our July Donation Give-Away Winner: Julie-Anne Lambert

Posted by Ian Lauth


We are excited to announce the winner of the July 2015 Donation Give-Away drawing! Julie-Anne Lambert of Hudson, Quebec, Canada will be using the Napa Valley Wine Tour Experience to help raise money for The Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence Foundation (VSPCRF) where she is the Assistant Executive Director of Fundraising. 

VSPCRF was founded in 2005 to provide professional palliative care in the community, free of charge. Their mission is to offer a home where serenity, warmth, comfort and relief are provided with an approach to excellence in palliative care, thanks to a passionate and professional team of employees, volunteers and partners. 

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Topics: donation-give-away

Introducing The NEW Winspire Silent Auction Travel Package Collection

Posted by Ian Lauth

Silent Auction Starters

Incredible travel packages designed for silent auctions

We are excited to introduce a new category of Winspire Experiences built specifically for the silent auction tables. This new collection of exciting travel packages was designed to save you time and raise more money by delivering turn-key silent auction items that appeal to a wider audience of potential bidders.

Silent Auction Starters Catalog →

Strategic Price PointStrategic Price Point

With Nonprofit prices ranging from $1,000 - $2,800 and a diverse selection of enticing travel packages to choose from, this catalog is for event fundraisers who want to target new donor groups and add variety to their silent auctions. These packages are designed to attract people who might not typically consider buying trips at charity events because they feel like they're "out of their league". Now they may be pleasantly surprised to find these new offerings that fit in their budget!

You've heard us talk about the untapped potential of people's existing travel budgetsJust as people may budget for their philanthropic donations, they do the same for what they plan to spend on travel and vacations each year. Why not tap into both of these?

According to American Express, 53% of Americans save money each year specifically for travel. We wondered if that percentage was any higher if you looked at the audience of your typical charity auction gala. We surveyed over 1,000 winning bidders and found that 69% of charity event patrons budget at least $5,000 each year for vacation travel. That's money that is "left on the table" instead of going towards your cause.

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Topics: fundraising

5 Summer Prep Ideas For Your Next Charity Auction

Posted by Ian Lauth


Ahhh... Summertime. Time to take a break from your charity’s fundraising activities until the fall, right?? Wait!! Instead, try taking advantage of the peace and quite with these five easy summer preparation ideas that will make things easier as you begin planning for your next charity event.

1. Procure Auction Items Early 

Take the heat off by preparing for your fall live and silent auctions now. Call your auction committee for happy hour by the pool and devise a strategy to round up the best items using these tips:

  • Decide who will be involved with procuring auction items. Board members? Other volunteers? Staff? Find people who are enthusiastic and motivated by your organization's mission and mobilize a committee dedicated to procurement. Consider possible incentives to motivate your team - perhaps a prize for the person who gathers the most items on the list.
  • Establish a theme. Establishing a theme early on will help you and your committee come up with unique ideas for auction items and focus your procurement efforts on items that would be the most ideal for your audience.
  • Survey past guests. Consider a brief survey of past attendees to determine what auction items they did and did not like. Quality matters more than quantity. For more, see Survey Donors to Boost Fundraising Revenue at Your Next Charity Auction.
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Topics: event-production

4 Ideas for Selecting Charity Auction Trips Based on Location

Posted by Ian Lauth


Travel is one of the most popular and best selling charity auction items in North America. Why? Because most people who attend charity fundraising events have a substantial travel budget, which is money they set aside specifically for vacation travel. 

In fact, according to American Express, 53% of Americans save money each year specifically for travel. To see what that statistic looks for an audience at a charity fundraising event, we surveyed over 1,000 winning bidders and found that of those who bid on travel packages, over 69% budget at least $5,000 each year for vacation travel!


This means a vast majority of your charity event patrons already have money set aside for travel that they will be spending one way or another, whether it's at your fundraising event or somewhere else. By offering travel as part of your auction event you are giving them the opportunity to fill two needs with one deed: Spend their travel budget on an incredible Experience while supporting a cause they believe in. 

Tapping into these travel budgets means offering exciting travel packages with unique locations that people will actually want to buy. When procuring auction trips, consider these four factors to ensure you appeal to donors so they place bids on the perfect vacation.


1. Distance

The amount of miles donors have to travel to reach their vacation destination can influence the perceived value of an auction trip. Trips tend to be more expensive than other auction items, and donors may not want to shell out the big bucks to visit a location nearby. 

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Topics: travel-experiences

11 Elements of a Spectacular Online Donation Page

Posted by Ian Lauth

Building Online Donation Pages: 11 Elements of a Spectacular Online Donation Page

Digital giving continues to grow, up 14% in 2013 alone, according to The Network For Good Digital Giving Index. Industry experts agree that this trend is likely to continue to increase, which means if your online donation page isn't in tip-top shape, you will miss out on key giving opportunities.

These slower summer months are the ideal time to revamp your online giving page. Give yourself enough time to test, refine, test again and ensure your organization's website is prepared for whatever the end-of-year fundraising season throws at it.

If nothing else, take a good hard look at optimizing your donation page for November and December, which are the biggest months of the year for online giving. Approximately 40% of online giving occurs in December, and knowing how busy thing get starting in September, it's wise to take the time today to get ready for the end of the year.

Maximize fundraising efforts and give donors a smooth online experience by incorporating these 10 simple yet extremely effective components to your nonprofit's online donation page:

1. Seamless branding

Your logo and branding should be consistent throughout the website, including the online giving page. You want people to feel confident that they are donating to their intended charity. A well-branded donation process that reinforces their value as a donor will make for an enjoyable experience that will entice them to return and donate again.

2. Concise copy

The focus of the online donation page is giving, so it should not be heavy with copy. Consider adding a brief description of the charity's mission and the donation's potential impact, but keep it to one or two short paragraphs. You don't want to distract visitors from completing the donation form. If they want to learn more, they can easily access other pages of your website.

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Topics: fundraising

10 Ways to Stay Cool with Donors in the Heat of Summer

Posted by Ian Lauth


The big season for charity events may have wound down just as the thermometer has inched upward, but that's no reason to take a vacation from staying in touch with donors. These great summertime stay-in-touch ideas will give your stakeholders a break from a hard push for donations without letting your charity fade from their memory. Lighten up your email campaign, have fun with a direct mail approach and give your social media a seasonal makeover.

Your year-round communication plan should ensure donors know they remain top-of-mind and that their gifts are important and appreciated, no matter the calendar page. The slower pace of summer is also the time to send those handwritten, personalized notes to your biggest supporters, letting them know how much they are appreciated.



 Give Your Emails a Seasonal Makeover

1. Make them mobile. Most nonprofits realize the critical role that email campaigns can play in engaging donors throughout the year. But a growing segment of your stakeholders — as many as 80 percent by some estimates — expect to be able to view those fundraising emails on their smartphones. This is even more critical during summer when vacations, increased time outdoors and recreational activities can take people away from their usual computer or laptop screen.

2. Keep it short and sweet. In addition to ensuring you've chosen a mobile-friendly email template, there are a few other things to keep in mind when emailing your stakeholder list during warm weather months. For example, shorten up your usual content into a more breezy, summer-time version. Also, consider adding a fun twist only for the summer months, such as a summer-only trivia game or warm weather contest. Use your email campaign to share a short story or quote taken directly from a client. For more, read the article we posted with 10 email marketing tips for cultivating major donors

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Topics: fundraising

The History of Auctions [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth


Auctions have been used for everything from arranging marriages to auctioning antiquities and works of fine art.  While early auctions were closed by driving a spear into the ground instead of the gavel typically use today, the general concept of the auction has remained the same. Over the last 2,000 years, many specialized variations on the standard “open ascending price auction” have been created to provide a more specialized auction experience that best fits the goods or services up for sale.

Some of the first American settlers, the Pilgrims, were known to use auctions as a common method of selling crops, livestock, tools, tobacco, and even entire farms - so auctions have been an integral part of our nation's history. 

In the last 50 years, charity auctions – typically live and silent auctions – have become an immensely popular means of raising money for nonprofit organizations.  Charity auctions are the fourth-fastest growing segment of the auction industry with roughly two-thirds of all National Auctioneers Association members conducting at least one charity auction annually.

View the infographic → 

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Topics: fundraising

eBook: Introduction to Procuring Quality Charity Auction Items


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

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

Download Starter Kit →