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

This 5-Minute Auction Warm-up Could Raise Thousands for Your Cause

Posted by Summy Lau on May 3, 2017 9:16:35 AM

Nelson Jay Auctioneer podcast warmup auction activity.png

Whether it's your first or fiftieth auction, chances are you could benefit from employing some new techniques to extract money from the audience. There's virtually always money left to give, and new strategies give you the tools to raise more without making guests feel nickel-and-dimed.

Today we're joined by Nelson Jay, the "Bowtie Benefit Auctioneer" based in Seattle, Wash. In a recent episode of our podcast Events with Benefits, Jay provided a bevy of ideas from the cutting edge of event fundraising.

Read on as Jay shares a warm-up activity that can generate thousands for fundraising events on the smaller side. As an added bonus, we've included a preview of the full podcast with Jay's tips for closing a silent auction and his take on no-risk consignment items.

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Topics: event-production, benefit auctioneer

9 Simple Safeguards to Sidestep Legal Troubles in Your Fundraiser

Posted by Summy Lau on Apr 27, 2017 7:10:00 AM

Tovella Dowling podcast cover-2.pngWhen it comes to benefit events, unknown variables come with the territory. You can't know for sure if you'll reach your fundraising goals, get bids in the live auction, smoothly execute the night's agenda and more.

However, if low bids, sloppy mistakes or an unenthusiastic audience seem like worst case scenarios - you'll want to read on.

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Topics: nonprofits

31 Ideas for Unique, Buzzworthy Silent Auction Baskets

Posted by Summy Lau on Apr 25, 2017 7:11:00 AM

If you've ever been involved with a charity silent auction, you know gift baskets are a given. They can range anywhere from $50 to $500 in value, depending on the quality and exclusivity of the items, and are popular for a few reasons:

  • The contents are relatively simple to procure. It may be less intimidating for new donors, smaller businesses and individuals to sponsor part of an auction item or a basket rather than the big-ticket items in a live auction. (Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't ask!)
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Topics: Silent Auction Ideas, event-production, auction item procurement, silent auction items, auction displays

Top 10 Critical Items to Bring to a Fundraising Auction

Posted by Summy Lau on Apr 18, 2017 7:30:00 AM

Top 10 Items for Fundraising Auctions

To call fundraising events complex would be an understatement.

With so many moving parts and unknown variables, most nonprofits learn from past experience... which typically means sacrificing significant revenue right out of the gate.

While no event is perfect, most common errors can be prevented. Why not learn from someone else's mistakes and close calls to raise a whole lot more for your cause?

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Topics: event-production

April Donation Give-away Winner Announced! Congrats goes to...

Posted by Summy Lau on Apr 13, 2017 6:05:00 AM

April 2017 Donation Giveaway Winner: Miracle League Las Vegas

We are thrilled to announce the winner of Winspire's second Donation Give-Away drawing of 2017!

Congratulations goes to Robin Loyed, Board Member and Game Day Announcer at Miracle League of Las Vegas, a charitable organization that provides children and adults with special needs the opportunity to play baseball in a safe, nurturing environment.

It's our honor to be able to donate a 2-night stay at the spectacular Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, Calif., a Preferred Hotels property, for their use in an upcoming fundraiser.

After the drawing, we reached out to Loyed to find out more about their cause and how the prize can be used to generate revenue for Miracle League. Read on to learn more, plus get a sneak peek at our next giveaway!

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Topics: donation-give-away, donation-give-away-winner, nonprofits

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

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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.