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Winspire News

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

Rev Your Engines: World Class Driving Inspires the Racecar Driver Within Us All

Posted by Ian Lauth

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The sweet purr of the engine, the feel of the cool leather on the steering wheel, the possibilities of the open road – it’s not difficult to understand the appeal of driving some of the world’s finest cars. The good news is you don’t have to be a professional driver or own a Ferrari or Lamborghini to experience the heart-pumping excitement of controlling one of these fine pieces of machinery – you simply need to take a trip to Las Vegas and get to know the experts at World Class Driving.

While the company started as a car club in the New York City area, it soon transitioned into offering car driving experiences in cities throughout the country. Today it is located exclusively in Las Vegas where it has built an extensive list of clients from around the world. Located just off the Las Vegas Strip, car enthusiasts and adrenaline seekers alike book a once-in-a-lifetime experience where they drive multiple exotic cars through the beautiful Red Rock Canyon.

What is the Exotic Supercar Driving Experience like? Guests start with a short safety briefing before being transported to the starting point at Red Rock Canyon. The driving route provides stunning scenery guaranteed to make your jaw drop – the perfect complement to the experience of driving three unique exotic vehicles around twisting and curving roads.

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Topics: travel-experiences, vendor-spotlight

Why Surveying Donors Can Boost Fundraising Revenue at Your Next Charity Auction

Posted by Ian Lauth

Donor Surveys to Boost Fundraising Revenue at your Next Charity Auction

Nonprofits are always looking for ways to improve their fundraising auctions so they can raise more money, and one of the best places to start looking for ideas is to survey your existing donor base. 

Surveys are a free and simple way to get feedback from your donors and learn more about their values and preferences. The information you receive can be used to develop everything from what type of event to host to the items you include in your live and silent auctions.

How do I create a survey? 

Before you survey donors, consider the best way to reach your specific audience. Surveys can be done in many ways, such as over the phone, through snail mail, in person or via email. They can be comprehensive and cover many topics or be as simple as a single question. 

One of the most popular ways to survey your database of contacts is an online questionnaire sent via email. Questionnaires allow you to reach as many donors as possible efficiently and quickly. There are many free online sources that provide clear, easy-to use templates for you to work with.

Donor-Surveys_Survey-MonkeySurveymonkey.com is one such resource that we use at Winspire to survey our Nonprofit customers as well as every winning bidder when they return from their Experience.

What should I ask?

Start by asking yourself what you would like to know about your donors. Questions like “Why do you contribute to this organization?” are fairly standard survey questions, but you can dig deeper. Try to frame your questions in a way that will give you concrete feedback that you can use to improve your next event.

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Topics: fundraising, nonprofit communication, nonprofit survey

Where Do Your Donors Want to Travel? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth

Winspire Travel Package Auction Items
Click to view infographic

Travel packages are some of the most lucrative charity auction items you can include in your fundraising event. Offering unique and exciting experiences allow your donors to utilize their existing travel budgets, which is money they already have set aside for vacations throughout the year.  

Before you begin selecting which travel package auction items to include in your next event, it's important to understand where your donors want to go. While simply asking donors is usually the best way to find out this information, you can also look to overall travel trends to get a better idea of what packages might be most popular and generate the highest bids.

Click Here to view USA Travel Trends 2012 [INFOGRAPHIC] >

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Topics: travel-experiences

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Fundraising Event Space

Posted by Ian Lauth

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You’ve spent months planning for this year’s fundraising event – so don’t overlook the importance of maximizing the functionality and flow of your room setup.

No matter what type of event you’re hosting, your space should be arranged for efficiency and convenience. Here are five simple tips to help get you started:

1. Use signs

Everything that your guests will need to use during the evening, from the bathrooms to the coat check, should be easily located by signage. If the party room is located in a big building, be sure to hang signs that let attendees know where to go right as they enter. Having to direct your guests throughout the evening is both a hassle for them and your volunteers.

Fundraising-Auction-Event-Signage

Auction signage is also important for directing your guests to the bidding tables. This is especially true if you have items being displayed in multiple rooms. If you choose to divide your auction items in to categories (Sports, wine, culinary, travel, etc.) make sure each section is clearly marked. See if anyone on your committee can draw some simple cartoons that further illustrate each category. Unless you are having a formal black-tie event, your signs don’t need to be anything too elaborate. Simple poster board and markers can go a long way.

2. Allow room for movement

Even if you’re hosting a sit-down dinner gala, guests are going to want to move around – and they should! Leave enough space between tables so that attendees don’t feel uncomfortable attempting to get up, mingle and move. Circular tables are often a great solution for easy maneuvering and they also encourage conversation between everyone at the table.

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Topics: event-production

3 Tips for Displaying Auction Items to Attract Fierce Bidding

Posted by Jeff Cova

3 Tips to Attract Fierce Bidding at Your Next Charity Auction Fundraiser

If you are hosting a silent auction at your charity fundraising event, it’s important to strategize the best way to present items to your guests. Presentation can have a huge impact on how much donors bid and directly affects how much money you raise at your event.

Use these 3 helpful tips for displaying items in a manner that will encourage fierce bidding from your audience.

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Topics: event-production, auction displays

The Nonprofit Sector in Brief [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth

The Nonprofit Sector in Brief

The Nonprofit Sector in Brief infographic summarizes and expands on The Nonprofit Almanac 2012/2013 prepared by the National Center for Charitable Statistics and published by the Urban Institute Press.

Both publications highlight the growth in the number and finances of 501(c)(3) public charities, as well as key findings on private charitable contributions and volunteering. It presents trends from 2000 to 2010 but special attention is paid to 2008 through 2010 to see the impact the recession had on the Nonprofit sector and nonprofit auction items.

Click Here to view infographic >

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Topics: nonprofits, competition

When to Send Traditional vs. Email Invitations for Your Charity Event

Posted by Ian Lauth

When to Send Traditional vs. Email Invitations for Your Charity Event

Email invitations - or "evites" - are gradually becoming more and more popular, but there is still the question of appropriateness when it comes to sending invitations to your donors. So which medium is best suited for inviting guests to your charity auction items event? The answer is it depends.

Following are some general guidelines to follow when deciding whether to send out your charity event invitations via email or traditional snail mail: 

When to send a traditional invitation:

  • Formal events: If you are having a formal gala where guests are requested to dress up, then it is best to play it safe and send a physical invitation.  
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Topics: event-production, nonprofit communication

How to Design an Effective Charity Event Invitation

Posted by Ian Lauth

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Invitations are a great way to remind donors why they support your mission and entice them to attend your charity auction items event. In this article we cover a few tips for creating clear, concise and well-designed invitations that will increase attendance and build excitement for your fundraising event without going over budget.

Designing-Effective-Fundraising-Event-Invitations_FLYERS

Design

When it comes to invitations, looks matter. After all, the design will be the first thing people notice when they open the invitation. Make sure the information and graphics are professional, creative and fresh to intrigue donors.

Graphic designers can be costly, so make sure you've exercised all your options before offering to hire someone. Check to see if anyone on your staff or in your auction committee has any experience making invitations. Ask for examples of their previous work and don't be afraid to be selective if you're going for a different look.

You can also design attractive and affordable invitations yourself by using one of the many invitation services online. Sites like Minted are a great resource for helping you design and create charming initiations at a reasonable price. Many of these services include shipping and printing as well, which can cut down on your workload. Don’t be afraid to give it a try!

EXPERT TIP: If you really want that professional look for your invitations, try reaching out to a local university, college or night school to recruit a student to volunteer their time. Students are always looking for ways to pad their resume and many schools event have programs that require volunteer hours. Put together a brief write-up explaining what you are looking for along with some invitation examples you'd like to imitate. Do some research online to find the emails of professors (most educational institutions provide directories on their website) who teach business, marketing or design classes and send them the job description. You may be surprised by the response!

Information

At very least, invitations should provide guests with pertinent information about the cause, the event and how to RSVP. Don't forget to provide information about how invitees can donate money even if they can't make it to the event. Following are some of the most important things to include on your invitations:

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Topics: event-production, nonprofit communication

3 Steps for Organizing Your Auction Item Wish List

Posted by Ian Lauth

3 Steps for Organizing Your Auction Item Wish List

A good old-fashioned brainstorm session is a great way to get the ball rolling to come up with ideas for unique no-risk auction items, although it’s important to take a second look at the list before your team begins the process of procuring these items. 

After holding a brainstorming session with your auction committee, your next step is to organize the long list of auction item ideas, adding or eliminating items as needed. Here’s how to make this process as effective as possible.

1. Organize your list into categories

It’s unlikely that your audience will share all of the same interests and hobbies. That’s why it is important to offer a varied selection of items at your fundraising auction. When organizing your list, separate ideas into four different categories:

  • Physical Items
  • Unique Experiences
  • Services
  • Sports

Separating the list into these categories will help you ensure you have a wide variety and also identify the areas where you’re lacking items.

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Topics: fundraising, auction item procurement

Oh La La! Behind-the-Scenes With Chic Shopping Paris

Posted by Ian Lauth

Winspire Auction Item: Chic Shopping Paris

With so many touristy shops scattered throughout Paris, visitors rarely get the opportunity to discover what an authentic shopping experience is like in "The City of Love". Sure, guidebooks may list the best restaurants and top sightseeing attractions, but they rarely reveal the secrets to shopping like a true Parisian. This is what brought about the creation of Chic Shopping Paris, a company dedicated to helping tourists experience authentic Paris shopping.

Chic Shopping Paris was started by Rebecca Magniant, an American and self-described “shopaholic” who moved to Paris from the United States in 2002. A life-long shopping enthusiast, it wasn't until she was living in Paris that she discovered shopping was more than a hobby – it was one of her passions.

After living one of the world’s top fashion capitals with her Parisian fiancé - now husband - Rebecca started learning the ins and outs of Paris shopping and began sharing tips and recommendations with friends. Magniant quickly realized her tips were valuable enough to start a business – and in 2003 she founded Chic Shopping Paris. 

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Topics: travel-experiences

5 Qualities to Look For When Building Your Auction Committee

Posted by Ian Lauth

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Building a solid auction item procurement committee isn’t just a matter of selecting the first people who volunteer. The individuals who make up your procurement team can have a huge impact on the items you secure for the big event, which in turn will impact how much money your event raises.

Don't be afraid to be selective. An auction committee with too many people can quickly become unmanageable. While it's important to give all interested parties a chance to help your cause, not everyone is cut out for auction item procurement. Make sure you have a list of other jobs you can assign eager volunteers who want to contribute.

Following are the five things to look for in an effective procurement committee member:

1. Availability

Even with the best intentions, people can get sidetracked if they are dealing with a busy schedule. Let potential team members know upfront the amount of time and dedication that is required. Although you can never be sure whether members will stay true to their word, you can at least get a better idea of how much free time they have, and whether or not they will actually be available to help.

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Topics: event-production, auction item procurement

New Free eBOOK: Procuring Quality Charity Auction Items

Posted by Ian Lauth

Procure the Best Charity Auction Items for your Event Fundraiser

We are excited to introduce a new free resource for Nonprofits who want to acquire better items for their live and silent auctions.

Charity auctions can be a great way for Nonprofits to raise more money in a short period of time. They also provide a valuable opportunity for you and your staff to rub shoulders with donors at a social event and make personal connections.

Both of these aspects are crucial to the success of your fundraising effort, and both depend on the quality of charity auction items you offer at your event. Auction items need to be exciting, appealing and valuable enough so that your donors will want to bid on them... and bid a lot!

The process of acquiring items for your live and silent auction is not easy. Even with a dedicated and experienced team, it's easy to fall short of your procurement goals. We often hear about auction committees who successfully brainstorm a long list of auction items many months in advance, only to find out a few weeks before their event that no one has been able to procure the items they had hoped for.

Solving for this comes down to developing a competent procurement strategy, building an effective procurement team and preparing them with the tools to succeed. 

This free eBook offers tips for making the auction item procurement process more efficient, more effective and easier for your entire team.

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In this free eBook you will learn:
  • How to build an effective procurement team
  • Which items sell above value vs. below value
  • Tips for brainstorming with your committee
  • Developing an auction item procurement packet
    • Procurement Letter and Donation Form TEMPLATES
  • Teaching your procurement team how to "Ask" for donations
  • ...and plenty more!

Download eBook

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Topics: fundraising

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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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 →