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

BizWorld Lesson #3: Track and Measure EVERYTHING

Posted by Ian Lauth

BizWorld-Lesson-3_Track-and-Measure-Everything

This article is part of a series titled "Lessons from the Biz World" where we explore valuable aspects of the for-profit sector that can be applied to nonprofit management and translate into a more efficient, stable and successful organization with a greater impact. 

Lesson 3:
Track and measure successes (and failures)

Virtually everything a successful for-profit business does is tracked and analyzed to ensure long-term results. Smart nonprofits will do the same. Not only does this help to keep financial investments on track, but it can also influence the decisions made by the board and future donors.

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Topics: nonprofits, biz-world-lessons

Increase Nonprofit Holiday Giving with Social Fundraising [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth

Increase-Nonprofit-Holiday-Giving

December can be one of the most important and productive months for your fundraising efforts. One way to increase your bottom line during the these winter months is by focusing donor development efforts on your legion of 'social fundraisers'. Also known as your 'evangelists', these are individuals who not only believe in your cause but also become a nexus of social activity, both online and offline, to promote your organization and its fundraising activities.

In addition to utilizing social fundraisers, it is important to have a strategic fundraising plan for the month of December to ensure that your outreach calls-to-action are targeting the right individuals with the right messages.  30% of all online gifts are given in December, and 10% of all donations come in the last three days of the calendar year, so it is critical that your fund development strategy positions your organization to maximize the fundraising potential from your donor audience.

Click here to view the full sized infographic.

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Topics: fundraising, nonprofits

Top 10 Reasons Fundraising Auctions Don't Raise Money

Posted by Ian Lauth

Top Ten Reasons Fundraising Auctions Don't Raise Money!

Fundraising auctions are a lot of work. They’re only worth the effort if they pay off in a big way. If your last event didn't meet your financial expectations, perhaps it’s because:

1. You focused on the decorations, dinner and dancing rather than the auction items.

You want to show attendees a good time, but only so they’ll spend more. 

2. You failed to promote your stuff before and during the event.

Get them salivating. Encourage them to plan their bidding strategy. Publish periodic pre-event hot sheets and include plenty of detail about live items in your auction program. These are things that will entice people to spend more, turning items from wanted to must-haves.

3. Your items were run-of-the-mill. Who cares?

Tantalize them with things they can’t get at the mall. Experiential, unique and personalized. If it’s about them, they’ll pay more.

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Topics: event-production, fundraising auctions

Donor Development: 5 Ways to Create a Culture of Gratitude

Posted by Jeff Cova

Five Ways to Create a Culture of Gratitude

Donor development can be an overwhelming process. The job of cultivating donors, engaging target audiences, building personal relationships and determining the proper timing of "the ask" are all crucial to achieving fundraising success. With each multi-layered step, it’s easy to lose sight of the single-most important part of donor retention: expressing your gratitude. 

Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful or the "readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness". This is an important concept that takes a central role in fundraising, but can sometimes get glossed over when the focus falls too heavily on numbers and figures.

Being a grateful recipient shows your charity cares - not only about the mission at hand, but about the people who make it possible. Donors are people, not numbers. They want to feel appreciated for their contribution and reassured that their money matters. Whether they give $5 or $50,000, every gift is a reason to extend gratitude.

Following are five ways gratitude can help you develop and strengthen your donor relationships:

1. Make gratitude the priority

Whether or not someone is going to donate again shouldn't be the primary focus when expressing gratitude. While creating repeat donors is clearly an important part of developing your donors, don't give thanks just to get another gift; give thanks because it's the right thing to do. Donors deserve to enjoy their giving, and by showing your gratitude you let them feel good about their generosity. This is an important part of the philanthropic process and an absolute necessity in donor development.

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Topics: donor-relations, donor development

Why are Nonprofits Missing Their Development Directors? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth

Where are all the nonprofit development directors?

Fundraising is a tough business. When you rely on individual, voluntary contributions as your main source of revenue - as Nonprofits do - it can be a constant challenge to keep sustainable sources of funding coming in.

These fundraising issues are exacerbated by the fact that Nonprofits across the country struggle to find qualified candidates to build and develop their fundraising programs, leaving many Nonprofits falling short of the financial commitments they need to fulfill their mission.

The following survey data, gathered from over 2,700 executive and development directors from Nonprofits across the country, was put together as a joint project of CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund for the whitepaper Underdeveloped. It is the first-ever national survey of executives and development directors on the topic of fundraising. The objective was to identify why so many organizations and their leaders struggle with fund development.

The findings show that many of the fundraising challenges faced by Nonprofits can be traced to volatility in the development director role - with high turnover, a slim pool of qualified candidates and long vacancies in the position threatening Nonprofits’ ability to build and grow their development operations.  

So what gives?? Where are all the development directors?

As the following infographic shows, this is a problem that goes deeper than the development director role. Here we showcase some of the most interesting statistics that bring to light some of these deeper organizational challenges that may be undermining the ability of Nonprofits to raise the necessary funds they need to succeed.

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Topics: fundraising, nonprofits, development directors

Are You Killing Your Fundraiser With These 5 Auction Mistakes?

Posted by Ian Lauth

Killing Your Fundraiser

 

Charity auction items are the bedrock of a successful fundraising event. They offer a fun and engaging way for guests to interact, spend money for a good cause and even take something special home at the end of the night. All too often, however, auction items at Nonprofit fundraising events garner too few bids, don't raise much money and generally aren't worth the amount of time it took to procure them. So what gives?  

Usually it comes down to a few easy-to-rectify mistakes that can kill the earning potential of the auctions items you spent months procuring. Generate record fundraising numbers at your next charity auction by avoiding these five mistakes:

Mistake #1: Ignoring audience interests

Items up for auction must appeal to the people attending the event. That's why understanding audience interests before you start procuring items is key. For example, if you know you have a lot of foodies and wine enthusiasts on your guest list, tailor your auction items to include culinary workshops, dining packages or travel experience to wine country. For music gurus, tickets to the local concert hall or an auction package to a nationally televised awards show will draw big interest. Use the knowledge of audience interests to your advantage so you can procure items and select experiences that will inspire fierce bidding.
-- For more read: 3 Ways to Procure Auction Items Based on Donor Interests

Mistake #2: Lack of advertising

Unveiling everything on the day of the event might seem like it would create a nice surprise factor, but this strategy often backfires. If you have amazing auction packages for this year's event, advertise them early on! This builds excitement prior to the event and lets attendees gauge their interest before they even enter the building. When you get people coming to the event already knowing they are going to bid for a particular item, you're positioned for a very active and successful auction.
-- For more read: 5 Tips for Using Auction Items to Generate Buzz For Your Event

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Topics: event-production, charity auction items

Importance of Individual Giving [GRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth

Importance of Individual Giving!

Individual giving is the biggest revenue stream for most Nonprofits, and it all starts with fundraising events. 

According to Giving USA, gifts from individual donors accounted for 81% of giving in 2010, while only 19% of giving came from foundations and corporations. A more recent study conducted by Giving USA shows that this trend is continuing to grow. In 2014, corporate giving declined 3.2%, while donations from living Americans grew 2.7%. Individual donors are clearly necessary for Nonprofits to thrive. 

For development teams, that means donor procurement, cultivation and stewardship need to be a focus every single day with the ultimate goal of establishing donor relationships that result in lifelong donors.

Here we break down the above graphic to explain the continuum of donor development:

The Donor Continuum

Donor Continuum (Events Entry Point)Events (Entry Point)Fundraising events like dinner galas and golf tournaments are the point of entry where prospective donors are identified and first contact is made through their participation at the event. This could include socializing during cocktail hour or connecting with new guests over an auction item they win during the event.

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Topics: fundraising, donor-relations, donor development, individual giving, donor continuum

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Meet

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