Travel is a proven bestseller in charity auctions, but when it comes to procuring exciting trips, there's an age old question. Does it make sense to do it yourself or to partner with a travel service provider?
At Winspire, we are big proponents of getting as much donated as possible. We even develop and provide free resources to help our clients in the procurement process.
That said, we also have had the privilege to work with and learn from over 28,000 events. And time and again, nonprofits say using a travel service provider makes charity event fundraising easier and more lucrative.
Today let's look at two of the most common challenges event organizers face that are addressed by no-risk travel: limited resources and an uninspiring auction catalog.
If you suspect bidders might be interested in spending some of their annual travel budget to support your cause, read on and see if consigned travel could take your event to the next level.
Challenge: Limited Time and Resources
The first challenge nonprofits face year-round is limited time and resources. With nonprofit budgets and staff stretched thin as it is, curating exciting, buzzworthy items is all too often considered out of reach. It makes sense that item procurement is typically regarded as a checkmark off the auction to-do list, and filling an auction with ‘anything’ is the goal.
For those that are able to put in the work and effort, a quality travel experience can take much more time than expected. First there's the challenge of putting together a donated or low-cost experience that still interests bidders, which takes countless hours. Then, after the event, you're transformed into a professional travel agent, concierge and customer service team in one, to ensure your organization's biggest donors are satisfied.
Game Changer: Travel procurement, promotion and fulfillment made easy
One solution to this challenge: have a quality travel partner do all the heavy lifting for you. In a phone call or two and a few minutes online, you can have a complete fundraising strategy ready to deploy:
- Browse over 200 pre-packaged trips with an online shopping experience
- Use the share feature to collaborate with committee and board members
- Reserve packages
- Download professional promotional, display and winning bidder materials
- Place your order and send out the travel vouchers online
- Once you’ve sent out the travel vouchers, you are done. Winspire takes it from there!
Other ways using a consignment travel provider can save time:
- Jumpstart your procurement process. Consignment travel items are just one part of a well-rounded auction. Leading with an exciting item in your back pocket can encourage your whole procurement team to obtain other valuable and unique donations.
- Make the most of volunteer and committee time. By not having to coordinate and fulfill a trip yourselves, you can redirect resources to areas you know will have a greater impact. Procurement is just one small part of event planning, so having more manpower in areas like event promotion, logistics and event sponsorship acquisition can make a huge difference in your overall revenue.
Challenge: Not Enough Quality Auction Items
The second challenge facing many auction organizers is not having enough quality donations.
Imagine the following scenario: It’s 6-9 months before your event, and you have a launch meeting with all your key stakeholders, committee members and volunteers to begin brainstorming ideas for your auction.
People step up with some great ideas. They offer up connections they have to local businesses and community leaders. Everyone leaves feeling amped and excited about the incredible assortment of auction items you’re going to get this year. Your committee starts soliciting businesses by calling, emailing and doing direct mail campaigns.
A few months roll by, and you get back together to see what has come through...and only a few of the items you were hoping for actually materialize. Others you still haven’t heard back from yet. Panic starts to set in, and you play the waiting game.
Another possible scenario is that you may get a whole bunch of little donations to fill your auction tables: think baskets, gift certificates, knick-knacks and home goods. Give an honest look at the variety and quality of the items, particularly anything travel-related...and you might find some serious holes to fill.
There's many reasons nonprofits can end up with a so-so auction catalog. Perhaps your board isn’t involved as you need them to be. You might not have an established donor network yet, or your committee got off to a late start. You may have limited expertise or just feel stressed out to the last minute because you’re not sure what donations will really come through.
Game Changer: Quality Auction Items with a Purpose
Reserving no-risk travel packages lifts some of the burden of procurement off your organization. And since you're guaranteed to make a profit, there really is no risk to trying out this fundraising tool.
Besides much-needed additional revenue, check out just a few additional benefits of including big-ticket items like travel Experiences in your event.
- Turn your event into a fun shopping spree. With exciting items, you can create a shopping experience at your event: one where people WANT the items and there's something for everyone. (Click here to download the ultimate list of 400+ auction item ideas for free.)
- Keep events fresh. You don’t have to present the same condo or diamond club baseball tickets year over year – you can mix it up with a tropical getaway to Bermuda, a ski adventure in Park City or red-hot tickets to Hamilton on Broadway with cast meet and greet. (Imagine being able to brag about these items in your pre-event marketing emails!)
- Offer the best of travel. Let’s face it, not all travel is the same. Yes, the Johnsons' beach house or the Clarks' timeshare is a generous donation bidders will enjoy. But you can boost the perceived value of these items even further by offering full travel packages that are truly unforgettable and come with open-ended travel options and limited black-out dates.
Bottom line: What is your fundraising goal for the auction, and what items will help get you there? Top-notch vacation packages just might be the sizzle your event needs to go from "Good" to "Fantastic!"