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Winspire News

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

4 Practical Cures for a Stagnating Spring Auction 🏥

Posted by Summy Lau

4 Cures for a stagnating Spring Charity Auction Fundraiser

If your organization hosts a spring or summer fundraising event, we hope you're getting more and more excited as the day approaches, donations roll in and plans begin falling into place.

But we know for many, the planning period is very stressful.

As we prepare for next week's webinar all about crafting strategic live auction timelines, we want to address the webinar attendees who have asked, "How do I refresh my 14 year event?"..."Our auction used to pull in five times what we got last year. What can we do?"..."Is it time to give up and move on to another type of event?"

Our quick response: Never give up. Fundraising auctions are still a fun, fast, and efficient way to generate a lot of money for your cause. But they must be done properly.

In today’s post, we'll focus on the quickest way to cure a stagnating event: revitalizing the auction catalog. Many factors can influence bidding and revenue, but the quality and fit of items offered is priority number one.

Read on for 4 practical cures to restore your auction to good health, including:

  1. Evaluate sales history
  2. Apply a hefty dose of "WOW" factor
  3. Start from the ground up
  4. Consider bestselling items

Best of all, these tips are perfect for getting a first-time auction off to a roaring start. Let's begin!

🏥 Auction Rx 1: Evaluate sales history.

Whether your auction is live, silent or online, it’s critical to put out the right items for your audience.

The best auction items appeal to many people in your audience, complement the event theme, and have high potential for significant bids.

How can you determine what's right for your audience?

First, look carefully at past revenue. What items have sold like hotcakes in the past? Which ones were duds? Focus your procurement efforts on items with a history of good sales.

(Important note: Anything that didn’t get a bid last year, should not be put out again this year.)

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Topics: procurement, event-production, auction item ideas

What to Do When Hiring an Auctioneer Costs Too Much

Posted by Summy Lau

Hiring a Certified Charity Auctioneer

In honor of our upcoming webinar all about maximizing the timeline of your live auction, let's talk for a minute about the most important person in the room: your auctioneer.

Your auctioneer is the quarterback of the night!

Think of your fundraising event as a championship football game. The game kicks off as the doors swing open. The clock has started ticking. Your team has only so much time to score as many points as possible until the opportunity has passed, and you have to wait until next year.

At a fundraising auction, once the game is underway, you truly don't know what exactly is going to happen. You don't know what opportunities are going to present themselves throughout the evening that you can capitalize on to generate unexpected revenue.

With the stakes this high, you need a quarterback that's trained to deliver under pressure.

By investing in a benefit auctioneer, you've got someone at the helm calling plays, generating momentum and dodging common live auction pitfalls—think delayed start times, awkward transitions, out-of-order items and more.

Of course, it can be hard for auction organizers to justify the expense. So in today's post we'll answer a few common questions asked by real-life nonprofit pros and volunteers, including...

  • How can I sell our event committee on using a professional fundraiser auctioneer?
  • Why do we need an auctioneer if we have an emcee?
  • What should you look for in an auctioneer?
  • How do I find a qualified auctioneer?
  • How much does hiring an auctioneer typically cost?
  • ...and more!

Read on for 4 common reasons nonprofits skip using benefit auctioneers - and how doing so could stunt their revenue potential in 2017.

Reason 1: We have an auctioneer donating their services for free.

It's quite common for nonprofits to try to leverage generous offers from auctioneers in other fields - say art, cattle, automobile, heavy machinery and more. This is predicated on the assumption that they're using the same skills to sell items.

Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

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Topics: event-production, benefit auctioneer

How No-risk Auction Items Take the Bite Out of Procurement

Posted by Summy Lau

As we kick off 2017, spring fundraising season inches closer and closer. For many event organizers, this can be a stressful time. Check out this recent graphic from USA Today:

How No-risk Auction Items Take the Bite Out of Procurement - ilauth@winspireme.com - Winspire Mail 2017-01-05 11-07-19.png

Indeed, for the fifth year in a row, "Event Coordinators" made the list of the 10 most stressful jobs of 2016 - a trend not likely to change in 2017.

For fundraising events, a huge part of the problem is procuring quality auction items.

The Scenario: You and your auction planning committee hold a successful wish list party and your procurement team leaves pumped, with a long list of ideas for unique auction items to retrieve. Fast forward a couple months. There's just a few weeks before your event. Your committee meets up one last time...and you realize the list of 'wins' from your wish list is a lot shorter than you thought.

Our latest Winspire News survey confirms this is a common struggle, with 1 in 3 readers ranking item procurement as their biggest fundraising challenge.

Thankfully, there's a better way.

If your auction catalog has gaps or lacks the "wow" factor that garners high bids, reserving consignment items for your auction can be a winning solution.

"Consignment" literally translates to the act of placing an item in the hand of another, but retaining ownership until the goods are sold. In the auction world, this means a company will lend you an item to include in your auction with no upfront cost. Then, if the item is actually sold, you buy the item from that company using a portion of the proceeds, and the remaining difference is your profit.

Why offer no-risk items if you don’t get to keep all of the money?

Read on for a few ways consignment items can make your life a whole lot easier and still generate a lot of money for your cause.

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Topics: procurement, no-risk-auction-items, event-production

Top Posts of 2016: Save the Date Invites, Sponsorship Letters, Auction Basket Ideas & More

Posted by Summy Lau

The 6 most-viewed posts of 2016 from Winspire News

What a year it has been! The world of event fundraising is evolving every day, and we have the articles and resources to prove it.

This past year, we covered a wide range of fundraising topics, including donor development, event production, unique travel Experiences and more - all to help nonprofit professionals raise more for their causes.

Read on for the top 6 most-viewed posts of 2016, including tips to write sleek "Save the date" invitations, secure new event sponsorships and get creative with silent auction baskets.

We hope you'll gain new ideas to surprise, inspire and engage donors in the year ahead!

 

Read More

Topics: fundraising, happy-new-year, nonprofits

Season's Greetings from Winspire

Posted by Summy Lau

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"A little smile, a word of cheer,

A bit of love from someone near,

A little gift from one held dear,

Best wishes for the coming year!" - John Greenleaf Whittier

On behalf of all of us at Winspire, thank you for being an integral part of our Nonprofit community. This past year, our no-risk travel items appeared in 2,800 fundraising events, raising a record $5.8 million to fund charitable work around the globe.

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In 2017, we're more committed than ever to serving as a valuable information resource for fundraising professionals. Check out just a few of the projects we have on deck...

  • Podcasts - Stay tuned for the launch of "Events with Benefits," a fun, informative audio series in collobration with leading industry experts like benefit auctioneer Danny Hooper
  • Webinars - Registration is now open for two January webinars (timing your Live Auction and holding an effective Fund-a-Need)
  • Social media - Join us on Facebook for Live videos, contests and more
  • New resources - such as PowerPoint templates for your live auction
  • Winspire News - We have more great content in the works, plus a new Donation Give-Away prize starting the first week of January

We look forward to learning your stories, addressing your challenges and celebrating your successes in 2017.

From our Winspire family to yours, we wish you every happiness this holiday season and throughout the coming year.

circle_image_2.pngSincerely,

Summy Lau
Fundraising Editor, Winspire News
slau@winspireme.com
(949) 544-8556

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Topics: holiday-season, holiday-greetings, happy-holidays

The Best Way for Your Donors to Travel to Cuba

Posted by Summy Lau

The best way for your donors to travel to Cuba

The most important key to success in auction fundraising events is offering desirable items worth the high bids you seek. One that certainly fits the bill: a bucket-list trip to Havana, Cuba.

From an easing of travel restrictions to the passing of longtime president Fidel Castro, Cuba has dominated the headlines throughout 2016.

Celebrities like Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra and most famously Ernest Hemingway flocked to the Caribbean nation in the 1950s - but economic embargoes and tourism bans soon made it difficult for the vast majority of Americans to visit the island's beaches, culture and cuisine.

Cuban travel for nonprofitsIn 2016, a series of regulation changes made travel to Cuba much simpler. Today, 10 major airlines (including United, Delta, American and Southwest) are sending a total of 20 flights from the U.S. to Havana daily, eliminating the need to coordinate charter flights or enter through a different country.

In addition to greater accessibility, it's easier than ever to stay connected on the island. Business Insider reports, "Several U.S. mobile carriers have signed voice, text and data-roaming agreements with Etecsa, the Cuban telecommunications provider," plus the number of Wi-fi hotspots continues to grow.

As a result of the changes, the New York Times noted last week that Cuba was in the U.S. top five most searched and booked destinations on Cyber Monday this year. It was also the fastest-growing destination throughout the year, up 153 percent from 2015.

Imagine giving your donors the chance to support your cause while buying an incredible excursion to Cuba.

Although tourism is still prohibited, your winning bidders can still enjoy all Cuba has to offer. Read on to see how Winspire takes care of the details for travelers to ensure their vacation is unforgettable.

Trips for education and culture

Fully guided group tours to Cuba have been permitted for some time. However, as of March 2016, the U.S. government allows citizens to also make “individual people-to-people educational trips”.

To that end, Winspire put together our signature Havana Highlights Experience. The itinerary meets the criteria of education, as winning bidders are introduced to the culture of Cuba through guided visits to Havana's most popular destinations. They'll also have plenty of free time to explore on their own and customize their trip—the best of both worlds.

Check out just a few of the guided excursions your donors will enjoy.

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Topics: auction-items, unique-experiences, travel-experiences, auction packages

2016 Shaping Up to Be North America's Most Generous Year Ever: INFOGRAPHIC

Posted by Summy Lau

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Did you know charitable giving is at an all-time high?

With ever-increasing revenue goals and more need than ever, this may seem hard to believe. But there's plenty of reason to be optimistic about the state of giving as we look to 2017.

Take #GivingTuesday 2016, for example. Online fundraising software provider Blackbaud reports a year-over-year growth of 20 percent! Any area of fundraising with double-digit growth, particularly in online and mobile donations, merits a closer look.

And while the final numbers from 2016 are still being tallied - with the two most important giving weeks of the year ahead - the momentum and record-breaking trajectory of 2015 successfully set the pace for another groundbreaking year.

Check out today's post for an infographic detailing positive trends in charitable giving.

(Also note: Limited spots remain for next week's webinar on improving auction timelines. If you haven't saved your spot, click here to register in seconds. Then invite committee members, auction chairs, volunteers, board members and more to sign up for what's sure to be a lively session!)

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Topics: nonprofits, infographic

WEBINAR: Register for "5 Secrets for Improving Your Charity Auction Timeline"

Posted by Summy Lau

5 Secrets for Improving Your Charity Auction Timeline

"The #1 enemy at any fundraising event is the clock."

You already know every fundraiser is a major investment of time, resources and effort. On the big night, you have just a few hours to generate as much return on that investment as possible.

How can you arrange the major fundraising components of the event program—the silent auction, live auction and fund-a-need—to maximize revenue?

As a member of our Winspire News community, I wanted to personally invite you to register for Part 1 of a FREE 3-part webinar series on this very important topic.

We'll team up with renowned benefit auctioneer Scott Robertson to discuss five secrets for the proper timing and sequencing of a Silent Auction.

During this one-hour session, learn how to...

  1. Schedule your silent auction and balance it with cocktail hour.
  2. Make announcements during your silent auction to encourage bidding.
  3. Close in sections to create a bidding frenzy.
  4. Adjust the program when using electronic bidding.
  5. Set up a quick and easy checkout process.

REGISTER NOW

Part 1 will take place on Tuesday, December 20 at 1pm ET/10am PT. Spots are filling fast, so I highly recommend saving yours now! Register in seconds at you.winspireme.com/auction-timeline-secrets.

Read More

Topics: event-production, webinar

6 Tips that Take the Stress Out of Managing Year-end Donor Data

Posted by Summy Lau

Tips for Managing Donor Data

Congratulations to all our nonprofits that participated in last week's fifth annual #GivingTuesday! Nationwide it was a rousing success: According to Blackbaud, online giving revenue was up 20% compared to Giving Tuesday 2015, fueled by a 33% increase in the number of nonprofits receiving online donations.

With December campaigns well underway, you've probably noticed year-end giving pulls in a wider range of gift sizes than the rest of the year. This means plenty of new donors...and with that, an influx of new donor data.

If you don't have donor data management procedures and software in place, this can be a stressful time. Invaluable information can fall through the cracks, weakening current and future fundraising efforts.

On the other hand, storing donor data correctly and efficiently as it comes in can improve results for years to come.

Fact is, almost every single fundraising campaign nonprofits execute revolves around donor data.

By keeping a robust and accurate set of data—and knowing how to leverage that information—your organization can better get to know your donors and ultimately improve fundraising.

In this article we’ll cover 6 practical steps to take the stress and worry out of donor data management. Learn how to:

  1. Use a donor database.
  2. Integrate your database with other fundraising software.
  3. Devise standardized data entry procedures.
  4. Clearly delineate data entry tasks.
  5. Segment your list.
  6. Clean your database once a year.

Best of all, you don't need to be a professional data analyst to implement these simple best practices. So, let's get started!

1. Use a donor database.

Use a Donor Database

Effective donor data management starts with using the right tools. Luckily, there’s software out there built to help nonprofits manage supporter information: donor databases.

Using a donor database, you can build comprehensive supporter profiles to track any data source imaginable. This gives you a clearer, multifacted picture of the people that care about your cause.

Read More

Topics: fundraising, donor-relations, donor development

9 Ways Holiday Online Auctions Boost Year-end Giving (plus, claim a FREE auction!)

Posted by Summy Lau

Santa-buy-now.pngWith Giving Tuesday behind us, it's time to close 2016 strong. You know the impact of December giving is huge. In fact, CharityNavigator.org reports 31 percent of all annual donations occur this month!

Today we'll look at one simple but commonly overlooked strategy for supercharging year-end revenue: running a holiday online auction.

Read on for 9 ways an online auction can jumpstart end-of-year donations.

Then, as a Winspire News reader, reserve one of our highly limited FREE online vacation auctions (a potential savings of $1,500 or more!) before anyone else - just in time for the holidays.

Claim your free auction

How do online auctions boost year-end fundraising?

1. Capitalize on holiday shopping trends

'Tis the season for buying gifts, and online shopping is making the biggest gains with consumers.

According to software company Adobe, last week's Black Friday reached historic highs for online purchases, raking in $3.3 billionmore than a 21 percent growth over 2015. What's more, mobile devices alone hauled in a record-breaking $1.2 billion.

As people forego the traffic and crowds, tap into the trend. Give supporters the chance to shop and support your cause with the click of the mouse.

Popular online auction items like spa trips, gift cards, electronic gadgets and luxury vacation stays all make great gifts...or special treats for shoppers themselves!

Read More

Topics: holiday-season, fundraising, no-risk-auction-items, happy-new-year, merry-christmas, online donors

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 →