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Winspire News

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

Setting the Stage for Auction Success: 3 Ways to Prepare Your Donors to Bid

Posted by Summy Lau

Prepping-donors-image.pngSuccess is where preparation meets opportunity.

When it comes to event fundraising, nonprofit professionals know this all too well. In order for your upcoming auction to run without a hitch, you spend countless hours gathering items, scoping out the venue and training staff, volunteers and auctioneers. But smooth logistics only account for half the story. Perhaps the most important piece of prep work: getting donors ready for the big night.

Here are 3 ways to engage your audience early and start fundraising before the first item hits the auction block.

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Lights (Step 1): Establish and share fundraising goals.

You're already educating potential donors and attendees on the who, what and when of your event through mail, phone and email campaigns. Now's your chance to reinforce the why: to raise money for a great cause. Pre-event promotion campaigns are an ideal time to educate people on the mission of your organization, plus highlight your fundraising goals. This ensures everyone is ready to support your cause while having a good time. 

In marketing materials like newsletters, try including a short testimonial from someone impacted by your work. Include one simple photo and intriguing pull quote per story, and emphasize that these accomplishments wouldn't be possible without the funds raised at your auction.

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Topics: auctions, fundraising, event-promotion

5 Simple Strategies for Procuring Buzzworthy Auction Items this Spring

Posted by Summy Lau

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We've all heard April showers bring May flowers, but those in the nonprofit world know what else spring brings: a peak time for event fundraising. Preparation for galas, raffles and auctions has already begun filling the calendars of many nonprofits. 

Auctions in particular can raise significant revenue in a short amount of time, but when it comes to procuring items that actually attract bidders, it's hard to know where to start. The collective sum of trusty auction standbys—think donated gift baskets, restaurant gift cards and jewelry—doesn’t draw in as much revenue as you’d like. Worse, they don’t generate the kind of “buzz” that gets people in the door, and give donors the impression of a "been there done that" event rather than an exciting shopping spree.

The good news: Careful planning and some creativity can help you curate an auction catalog worth talking about. In this post, we’ll review a few essential strategies to set up your auction for success.

Tip #1: Form an enthusiastic, well-informed committee dedicated to procurement.

It can be tempting to task a development coordinator, volunteer manager or even the executive director of your organization with procuring donated items—in addition to everything they’re already doing to get ready for the event.

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Topics: auction-procurement, event-production, silent auction items, live auction items

How Nonprofits Can Capture Donations via Mobile Giving [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Summy Lau

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Are you and your smartphone connected at the hip? If so, you're not alone: about 7 in 10 Americans (and nearly 9 in 10 millenials) currently own a smartphone, and that figure is expected to rise dramatically in 2016. Whether shopping online or scanning to pay, mobile phones are increasingly replacing wallets as the easier, faster and more portable way to make financial transactions. 

For charitable organizations, this means it's more important than ever to incorporate mobile technologies into their outreach and fundraising strategies. In fact, in 2015, the number of individual donations made through mobile devices increased 45% from the year before. And annual events like Giving Tuesday are presenting nonprofits with unprecedented opportunities to combine social media campaigns with easy mobile giving, connecting more and more people to their causes.

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Topics: fundraising, mobile bidding, infographic, mobile fundraising

Introducing Summy, Our Newest Winspire News Contributor

Posted by Ian Lauth

Welcome-Summy-1.pngWe are thrilled to welcome Summy Lau as the newest contributor to Winspire News! With a background in nonprofit development, publishing, copywriting and design, Summy joins the Winspire creative team with loads of practical experience that will help shape the content and resources delivered to your email inbox each week.

Summy’s experience in nonprofit fundraising began in 2011 when she joined the development department of a nonprofit serving Chicagoans experiencing homelessness.

“The organization does amazing, transformative work in the community, and for my first assignment, I was thrilled to help organize their annual 5K run,” recalls Summy.

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3 Ways to Boost Fundraising with Your Nonprofit Website

Posted by Summy Lau

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In today’s tech-saturated world, having a website is essential for any nonprofit or organization to connect constituents to their cause. Nearly every other marketing initiative you use—be it social media, an e-blast, newsletters or annual reports—will push supporters to your website, so you want to make sure the final destination is attractive, straightforward and easily navigable. And since people tend to browse quickly and multitask on the web, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and encourage participation.

While most nonprofits understand the value of online marketing, many aren’t sure where to start. Let’s look at 3 ways you can give readers the motivation and tools they need to support your cause.

Tip #1: Attractive Design and Branding

  • Keep it simple. When it comes to site design, each organization has its own preferences: sleek and modern, colorful and kid-friendly. While design can reflect the nature of the organization, the general key to success is that “less is more.” Below, the homepage for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a great example of minimalism. They take advantage of negative space, guiding the reader to information and donations. A site that’s too cluttered, especially the homepage, can drown out your main message.
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Topics: fundraising, nonprofit websites

Join Us for a Free Webinar with GreaterGiving: Procuring Buzzworthy Travel Packages

Posted by Ian Lauth

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Winspire and Greater Giving are collaborating on an exciting free webinar for anyone involved with organizing charity fundraising events.

Featuring:

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Join us on February 11 as Tracey Lorts, Community Marketing Manager at Greater Giving, and Ian Lauth, Creative Director at Winspire, discuss how to best utilize unique travel in nonprofit fundraising events based on the experiences of over 20,000 successful charity auctions!

Thursday, February 11th 11am - 12pm PDT

Reserve My Spot →

 

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Topics: travel-experiences

6 Reasons Consignment Auction Items Help Raise More Money

Posted by Ian Lauth

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A successful charity auction relies on your ability to procure exciting and appealing auction items for your donors to bid on. Even with a dedicated and knowledgeable auction committee, this can be a daunting task. 

One way to simplify your procurement efforts and boost the overall revenue of your event is by presenting your guests with a generous offering of both donated and consignment auction items

consignment auction itemsWhat is consignment? These are items offered by a third party vendor that cost nothing for a nonprofit to reserve and sell at their auction. These items typically have an established cost the nonprofit is aware of prior to placing it in their event, and any money that is raised above the item cost goes directly to the charity. If the final bid doesn reach high enough to cover the item cost, then no transaction takes place - so you only purchase items that actually raise money. 

Consignment auction items are typically high in value and difficult for the average auction committee to procure. Types of consignment items include:

  • Vacation Travel
  • Sporting Events
  • Entertainment (Concerts, Award Shows, etc.)
  • Autographed Memoribilia
    (Sports, Music or Celebrity)
  • Jewlery

One of the most common reasons organizations turn to consignment auction items is because they can be reserved last-minute and zero cost, but committees can use consignment items much earlier in the process to avoid this panicked scramble altogether. 

Try reserving a few consignment items first, then wait to see what kind of donations come in. This will reduce your stress level and give you resources to leverage while you wait for your procurement team to bring in donated items.

Consignment items can have a positive impact on your workload, donor relationships and the overall revenue of your event. Below you will find 7 reasons consignment auction items are an increasingly popular tool that many Nonprofits are turning to in the early stages of event planning.

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Topics: event-production, consignment, consignment auction items

January Donation Give-Away Winner: Morgan Stewart

Posted by Ian Lauth

donation give-away

We are excited to announce the winner of our first Donation Give-Away drawing of 2016! Morgan Stewart of San Francisco, California will be using the $1,000 Fairmont gift card donated by Winspire to help raise money for California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) where she works as Special Events Coordinator. 

california_hikers.jpgCSPF is a member-supported nonprofit dedicated to protecting, improving and advocating for all of California’s state parks. Their mission is to deliver innovative solutions to create an excellent parks system by facilitating park improvements, inspiring stewardship, supporting partners, advocating for sound policies, and connecting people to parks.

"Over 75 million people visit California's 280 state parks each year," Morgan explains, "so it's our goal is to ensure that the natural beauty, rich culture and history, and recreational and educational opportunities are available for everyone to enjoy now and for generations to come."

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Topics: donation-give-away, nonprofits

Write Amazing Headlines for Your Nonprofit Blog [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth

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There’s an old adage in web marketing that “content is king”, meaning that if you have great content (e.g. blog posts, videos, resources, etc.) on your nonprofit blog or website, you’ll attract more visitors, build a stronger following (i.e. more donors) and ultimately increase your ability to make an impact. There is one major caveat, though, and that is if your non-profit communication content is buried beneath bland headlines, your target audience may never discover the greatness of your blog posts and articles!

Studies have shown that 4 out of 5 visitors to a website will only read the headlines. And of those that read a headline, only 20% will read the article below. This shows how important it is to have powerful headlines that compel your users to spend time on your site reading the content.

→  Expert Tip: One excellent tool that you can use to assess the quality of your headline is CoSchedule's Blog Post Headline Analyzer, which give's your blog title a grade and offers recommendations for improving your word selection, character count and sentence structure.

In the following infographic we discover a few simple formulas that will help you to craft outstanding headlines even when you are having a creative block. Try the sample headlines provided below and watch your following grow as your users find out that your non-profit communication content is king!

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Topics: nonprofit, nonprofit communication, infographic

Top 6 Most-Viewed Posts from 2015

Posted by Ian Lauth

charity auction items

What a year it has been! So many new and exciting things are happening in the event fundraising world, and we have the articles and resources to prove it. 

For this post we compiled a list of the top six most-viewed Winspire News articles from 2015... but our helpful content didn't stop there. This year we dedicated ourselves to covering a wide range of topics designed to help nonprofit professionals improve everything about their fundraising events.

We discovered the top 12 charity event themes and paired them with auction items, highlighted best practices for promoting a fundraising event, published a variety of interesting nonprofit infographics and discussed the importance of tapping into donor travel budgets.

It has been an honor for all of us here at Winspire to be a part of your fundraising journey and help with so many incredible events in 2015. Here's to another successful year!

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Topics: fundraising, nonprofits

eBook: Introduction to Procuring Quality Charity Auction Items
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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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Starter-Kit-Logo-sm

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 →