Summy Lau

As Fundraising Editor, Summy brings hands-on experience in nonprofit development, event fundraising, publishing, copywriting and design to Winspire News. She creates blog content, infographics, templates, eBooks and other resources to help fundraising professionals and volunteers exceed their fundraising goals. Her two favorite perks of working at Winspire: hearing nonprofit success stories and dreaming of new bucket list destinations.
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Recent Posts

How One Silent Auction Chair Procures 700+ Items Annually

Posted by Summy Lau on Apr 11, 2017 9:12:42 AM

Silent Auction Item Procurement Tips from Heather Dean Presnall, National MS Society

Whether your fundraising event is in one week, one month or one year, chances are your charity auction could benefit from a few more unique, valuable items.

Are you getting items that will "wow" donors, sell tickets and ultimately generate the bids needed to meet your revenue goals?

If not - how can you equip your procurement committee with the necessary tools for success?

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Topics: donor-relations, auction item procurement, procurement packet

Donor Retention Sinks in 2017: How to Increase Your Rates INFOGRAPHIC

Posted by Summy Lau on Apr 6, 2017 11:04:25 AM

How to Improve Donor Retention - Infographic

In the business world, you may have heard that attracting new talent costs much more than retaining employees. Did you know the same principle is true for donors?

A recent study by the Association of Fundraising Professional's Fundraising Effectiveness Project concluded donor retention reached a 9-year low of 46 percent in 2016 - despite an increase in revenue and donors overall.

What does this mean for your organization?

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Topics: social-media, donor-relations, donor retention, email marketing

Don't Give Up: Auctioneer Shares Tips to Save a Dying Fundraising Auction

Posted by Summy Lau on Apr 4, 2017 11:08:50 AM

Cheryl Parker, certified benefit auctioneer specialist

When it comes to charity auctions, many organizers simply "don't know what they don't know." Unfortunately, a lack of professional expertise is the #1 reason events fall short of their revenue goals.

To help provide the expertise needed for success, we interviewed Cheryl Parker, certified benefit auctioneer specialist in San Diego, Calif., for a recent episode of event fundraising podcast Events with BenefitsParker shares her simple - yet often overlooked - strategies for generating as much revenue as possible at auction events.

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

Chari-Tee Time: 10 Expert Tips to Host a Flawless Benefit Golf Tournament

Posted by Summy Lau on Mar 30, 2017 9:55:16 AM

10 tips for hosting a charity golf tournamentSpring may have only begun last week, but it's already time to start thinking about fundraising ideas for the summer. Thanks to a slew of holidays and more relaxed schedules, summer is the perfect opportunty to engage donors with smaller events and short giving campaigns. Even better, you'll be competing with less competition from other nonprofits to stand out in a crowded space.

One strategy is hosting a charity golf tournament. Why are they so popular?

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Topics: golf-travel-package, golf-experience, golf, event-production

Lessons Learned from Our Top 3 Podcast Episodes (So Far)

Posted by Summy Lau on Mar 21, 2017 9:35:11 AM

Events with Benefits - Top 3 Most Popular Episodes of 2017

What a whirlwind 2017 has been so far! We're just one quarter in, and already we have developed groundbreaking resources in the world of event fundraising.

In a recent Winspire News survey, the majority of readers (52 percent) noted a desire for more visual content, like webinars and infographics. We've since added 3 new webinars to the Webinar Library all about best practices to maximize revenue from live auctions and fund-a-needs.

Another 33 percent of readers indicated an interest in audio content - namely podcasts - so you can continue fundraising education on your own time. As a result, we launched a brand-new podcast in January called Events with Benefits.

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Topics: fundraising, charity auction ideas

7 FUN Ideas for Online Fundraising: Auctions, Webinars, E-commerce and More

Posted by Summy Lau on Mar 16, 2017 9:08:33 AM

7 FUN Online Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofit Fundraising

Whether you’re raising money for a community project, a research facility or a local animal shelter, there are a number of tried and tested methods for raising funds... so much so, it can be hard to come up with any original ideas for connecting new people to your cause.

Thankfully, the internet has opened up a wealth of new channels and possibilities for fundraisers. 

They key to standing out from the crowd: Keep your online fundraising endeavors both fun and profitable.

Fun ideas like online auctions, hosting webinars and even setting up an e-commerce store work wonders for both organizations and individuals looking to raise money. Here's why.

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Topics: fundraising, online donors, nonprofit websites

5 Easy Ways to Ward Off Fundraising Event Fatigue

Posted by Summy Lau on Mar 14, 2017 11:00:59 AM

5 Easy Ways to Ward Off Fundraising Event Fatiguq

Are your donors suffering from "event fatigue"?

As experts in charity auction fundraising, we know events are an important part of many nonprofits' donor development strategy. When done right, they generate much-needed return and improved engagement with your supporters.

However, it's important to know when an event has run its course, and change is needed.

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Topics: donor-relations

Nonprofit Email Marketing: What's Working in 2017 [Infographic + eBook]

Posted by Summy Lau on Mar 9, 2017 10:05:00 AM

Winspire-email-infographic-header.pngWith daylight savings time, longer days and (slightly) warmer weather on the horizon, we are officially in the thick of spring fundraising season. You're likely sending a flurry of emails promoting ticket sales, new auction items, save the dates, you name it. And as we recently reported on Winspire News, promotion is the #1 challenge event planners face.

However, email isn't just for promoting one-time events - it's key to raising support year-round.

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Topics: donor-relations, email marketing

19 Tips to Capture Event Sponsorships, Higher Bids with Mobile Bidding

Posted by Summy Lau on Mar 7, 2017 9:43:40 AM

19 Tips to Capture Event Sponsorships, Higher Bids and More with Mobile Bidding

Did you know? Experts estimate 30 percent of auction events today utilize some form of mobile bidding.

As donors get more comfortable using smartphones or tablets to text bids in a silent auction, mobile bidding is a more viable option for nonprofits than ever.

To help you navigate a changing auction landscape, we sat down with Debby Roth-Bush, certified benefit auctioneer and Relationship Manager at mobile auction software provider Greater Giving.

She shares the top benefits of using mobile bidding, plus 19 concrete tips to get the most out mobile bidding in your event. In part 1 of a 2-part series, we'll cover:

  1. Top 3 benefits of mobile bidding
  2. Find the right mobile bidding provider.
  3. Consider cell reception before signing off on a venue.
  4. Get more event sponsorships (branded charging stations, anyone?)
  5. Tell donors ahead of time
  6. Bundle items
  7. What items sell best

1. Is mobile bidding right for your event? 3 Benefits

"Mobile bidding aims to help nonprofits raise more money every day through products like event software management, mobile bidding, fast payment collection and online donations," explains Roth-Bush.

Indeed, auction software is a way for groups to solve a number of problems at their events. Here are the top 3 indicators that mobile and online bidding may be right for your event.

Solves space constraints

Mobile bidding solves space constraint issues at your charity fundraiser"A few years ago, I was at my son's school auction, bidding on the front row seat of the play in which he was scheduled to perform," recalls Roth-Bush. "I remember being excited for the item - but when I went to check on the bid sheet, I literally couldn't get through the crowd of people holding their drinks.

"I didn't want to spill something or make a scene. In the end, I knew the organization lost a little bit of money because I couldn't physically get back to the auction."

Silent auctions can get too crowded if the space isn't carefully optimized - and you want to remove any obstacles in the way of the donor's inclination to spend.

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Topics: event-production, mobile bidding, mobile fundraising

4 Things We Learned about Silent Auctions from a Hit ABC Sitcom

Posted by Summy Lau on Mar 2, 2017 9:06:09 AM

4 things we learned about silent auctions from a hit ABC sitcom

With spring fundraising season upon us, many nonprofits are hustling to procure quality items for their charity auctions. How can you generate higher bids on every item and make the silent auction worthwhile?

In popular ABC sitcom Last Man Standing, funny guy Tim Allen plays Mike Baxter, a marketing director for sporting goods retailer Outdoor Man. His wife, Vanessa, is a revered geologist doubling as leader of the PTA.

See below as Vanessa and Mike attend a fundraiser for the school that includes a silent auction - and one hilarious pen-and-paper bidding war. Then see if you can spot the 4 best practices we found in the clip, plus get free downloads for your next auction (like customizable bid sheet templates).

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Topics: Silent Auction Ideas, event-production, silent auction bid sheets, silent auction items, silent auctions

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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 fundraising advice, industry news and insight into charity fundraising with travel.