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

Social Media Active Users [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Ian Lauth

Social Media User Growth
Image with thanks to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mkhmarketing/8539048913/

Social Media Active User InfographicClick Here to enlarge the infographic.

We all know that social media can be a great way to reach a large potential new audience base, but there are a lot of social media sites and only so much time in the day that you can dedicate to social media outreach.  As such, it's important to prioritize your efforts so that you are spending your time in a strategic manner that allows you to reach the largest number of users that fall within your demographic.  

This month, we researched some of the key subscribership data for the major social media channels.  The data below shows the launch date and the current monthly subscribership for the big social media sites, which displays not only which sites are the "top dogs," but also the current growth trajectory of some of these popular social media platforms.  

We hope this data can be useful as you are planning your future social media outreach efforts:

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Charity Auction Items: Save Time and Raise More Money

Posted by Ian Lauth

Time is money, right?

Raise More Money with Auction ItemsWhile this likely means something different to each of us, one thing’s for sure: at some point, we question the value of our time. Do you hire a gardener rather than spending half of the weekend doing your own yard work? The answer depends on how much you like getting your hands dirty, whether you have better things to do with your time and if you can afford to pay someone else to do it for you.  

At work, you have to make similar choices. You have a long list of things to do to make sure your upcoming fundraising event is a success. Where should you focus your efforts? What are the most critical tasks? What do you do best? What could you use help with? And most importantly, how is your time best spent so you get “the most bang for your buck”?

Arguably one of the most arduous tasks of planning an event fundraiser is procuring items for your live and silent auctions. The more exciting and valuable items you have in your auction, the more money you will make. Of course, these big ticket items are more difficult to procure: Therein lies the challenge.

According to a report published in 2013 by the Corporation for National and Community Service, it is estimated that 64.5 million Americans, or one in four adults, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service in 2012. Of those nearly 8 billion hours of volunteering, the top activities included:

  1. Fundraising or selling items to raise money (25.7%);
  2. Collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (23.8%)
  3. Engaging in general labor or transportation (19.8%)
  4. Tutoring or teaching (17.9%)
While having highly desirable charity
auction items at your fundriasing event is a necessity, spending countless hours is not.

There you have it. Event fundraising is at the top of the list and equates to over 2 billion volunteer hours spent annually developing auction events and soliciting donors.

How much time do you spend?

Perhaps you are the Development Director and have a committee of 5-10 volunteers who work on charity auction item procurement. Or maybe you are a “committee of one” and do all of the work yourself.  In a recent Winspire survey of Nonprofits, more than 45% of respondents reported spending between 150 and 500 hours procuring and fulfilling auction items. Hard to imagine? Think of it this way: you have 5 people on your committee and you each spend 10 hours a week for 5 weeks leading up to your event – that’s a total of 250 hours right there!

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Topics: fundraising, charity auction items, save time, time saver, raise more money

6 Reasons to Use Mobile Bidding at Your Next Fundraising Auction

Posted by Ian Lauth

Six Reasons to Use Mobbile Bidding at Your Fundraising Auction

Thanks to mobile technology and the widespread use of smartphones and tablets, Nonprofits can improve the way they manage both the process and success of their fundraising auctions. Mobile bidding is a paperless system for managing and running auction events and it enhances the experience for both guests and volunteers. There are a number of advantages to incorporating mobile bidding into your next event:

1. Less hassle

When auctions use paper systems, donors have to be in the auction table area in order to view items and write down bids. With mobile bidding, donors can bid from their seats or wherever they happen to be in the room. This allows them to socialize with other guests and participate in the auction at the same time; and they don't have to push through crowds to make bids.

Outbid Alert2. Convenient alerts

When bids have to be made at the auction tables, donors are less likely to follow up later and continue participating, especially if they are having a good time socializing and mingling at your event. Mobile bidding allows you to send alerts to supporters' devices when they've been outbid, and donors can then place a new bid without having to leave their spot. This convenient feature encourages donors to keep bidding for the items they want when they've been outbid without having to rush back to find the item and bid sheet on the table in the silent auction area. 

3. Simplify check in and check out

At most auctions, donors have to spend time waiting in long lines in order to check in and out of the event. Mobile bidding allows guests to complete this process on their smartphone or tablet, which means no lines. Donors will have more time to enjoy your event, and you might even need fewer volunteers to help run your auction. 

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Topics: event-production, charity auction, nonprofit auction, fundraising auction, mobile bidding

2014 State of the Nonprofit Sector [Slideshare]

Posted by Ian Lauth

2014 State of the Nonprofit Sector

The Nonprofit Finance Fund’s annual survey asks Nonprofits in the U.S. about their programs, financial health, and management strategies. The survey is designed to help Nonprofits, supporters, researchers, and others ask better questions, shape dialogue, and challenge their assumptions about what nonprofits need to continue their work building healthier communities.

Nonprofit Sectors Represented

  • Human Services
  • Arts, Culture, Humanities
  • Education
  • Community Development
  • Health
  • Mutual, Membership Benefit
  • Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy
  • Environment and Animals
  • Workforce Development
  • Foundation
  • House of Worship
  • International, Foreign Affairs

Over 5,000 respondents - representing a range of Nonprofit sectors from across the country - contributed to the study. We've prepared a slideshare with a snapshot of some of the most interesting data gathered from the full study, including information on the demand for programs and services, financial well-being and biggest challenges facing the Nonprofit sector.

 

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Topics: nonprofits

The 5 Golden Rules of Consignment Auction Items

Posted by Ian Lauth

5 Golden Rules of Consignment Auction Items 

Successful Nonprofit auctions engage attendees and inspire fierce bidding. The amount of money that can potentially be raised is directly correlated to what is up for auction, and baskets and gift cards can only go so far – these types of items will quickly reach their max value and bidding will cease. Plan and design your event to raise more money by keeping bidders interested with fewer high-value, attention-grabbing items.

The Roadblock: Big Visions, Limited Connections

"Wowing" the attendees is often easier said than done. There will be times when members of the procurement team will be able to get some big-ticket items, but too often the team doesn't obtain what’s on their wish list. That’s why consignment is a smart option for ensuring a well-rounded auction with exciting items that can pull in higher bids.

The Solution: Consignment Auction Items

The consignment process enables Nonprofits to partner with an outside company who specializes in unique items, trip packages or Experiences - offering these auction items at no risk because the Nonprofit only pays for what actually sells.

Popular types of consignment items include event tickets, travel packages, sports memorabilia, art and even vehicles (motorcycles, cars, etc). Typically there is a set reserve price the Nonprofit must meet before the auction item can be awarded to a bidder. This ensures that the consignment company gets paid and money is raised for the organization’s mission.

How can you put consignment to work at your next auction event? Consider these Five Golden Rules for consigning Nonprofit auctions items.

1. Start early and advertise

Auction item procurement teams are always racing against the clock, especially as auction day approaches. Getting quality auction items quickly is critical, and by finding the right consignment items early on, you can relax knowing the big ticket items are secure. The auction committee can then work to fill in the holes with other quality auction items and focus on other essential event details.  Another benefit of starting early with consignment items is that it allows you to advertise the auction’s most unique items prior to the event date, which can help persuade people to attend and motivate them to bid.

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Topics: fundraising, consignment

Raise $10,000 with a “Winner’s Choice” Fundraising Raffle

Posted by Ian Lauth

RAFFLE_Sell-Tickets3-1

 

A fundraising raffle is a contest in which tickets are sold to supporters of a Nonprofit cause or mission for their chance to be drawn as the winner of a grand prize. Veterans of this fundraising method will tell you that raffles are easy to set up, require little to no upfront cost and demand minimal time to manage. When a fundraising raffle is done right it can raise tens of thousands of dollars for an organization!

For a raffle to raise a significant amount of money, it depends on three things:

  1. The Prize
  2. Ticket Price
  3. Selling Tickets

A successful raffle must have a grand prize with enough perceived value to entice supporters to purchase a lot of tickets at a higher price point than your typical $1 carnival raffle ticket. Fundraising raffles are unique because people are more likely to pay a higher price per ticket knowing their money is going to support a cause, but the prize still has to be exciting.

NOTE:  Before you decide to host a raffle, check the raffle laws in your state. Some states do not allow raffles at all or require certain permits that must be applied for in advance.

Fundraising Raffle Grand Prize! 1. The Prize

What has broad appeal and might motivate someone to take a chance on a $20 raffle ticket? Cars are always very popular, but they are prohibitively expensive and very difficult to get donated. Electronics - such as big screen TVs and stereos - are good incentives but they tend to only appeal to the guys. What about a nice relaxing vacation? Leisure travel is an activity everyone enjoys.

Traditionally, using vacation travel as a raffle prize has been difficult because fundraising committees had to rely on donated airfare, hotel stays or vacation homes to put together ad hoc packages. They also had the option of spending weeks with a travel agent putting together a unique – and usually very expensive – vacation package.

A better solution? Winspire Experiences offer a no-risk alternative that requires zero upfront cost and no extra work for the planning committee. The entire catalog of Winspire Experiences is available at no-risk which means your organization doesn’t purchase anything until after winner is declared. This lets you offer a selection of Experiences for the winner to choose from. 

Boost Event Attendance with a Raffle

“Winner’s Choice” Prize

What’s better than winning an incredible vacation in a raffle? How about the ability to choose where you go and what you do? 

In a "Winner's Choice" raffle the organizing committee preselects a set of packages from the Winspire catalog, giving the winner a choice of their favorite Experience. Following are some of the benefits of a “Winner’s Choice” raffle:

  • Appeal to more people:  Offering the winner multiple Experiences to choose from helps you to appeal to a much wider audience of potential ticket buyers. You can offer the Indy-Style Open-wheel Racing for the guys or New Orleans Jazz & Dining for couples and a Royal Caribbean Cruise for young families. Something for everybody!
  • Save valuable time: Reserving Winspire packages for a Winner’s Choice Raffle takes less than 5 minutes, and deciding on which Experiences to offer can be covered in a single meeting. This leaves more time for your committee to sell tickets and promote the raffle among donors and in the community.

How many Experiences should I offer?

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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 →