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Winspire News

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

Lawsuits, Sponsorships & More: Lessons Learned from Our Top 3 Podcast Episodes (So Far)

Posted by Summy Lau

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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.

In the largest fundraising podcast venture to date, Events with Benefits has given listeners unprecedented FREE access to a wide variety of experts in all areas of fundraising and development!

To celebrate reaching our tenth episode this week, we wanted to share the top 3 most-listened-to podcasts of 2017 and important lessons from each (like how to avoid a lawsuit at your fundraiser!). Then head to www.EventswithBenefits.com to give any of the episodes a listen.

We hope you'll gain new ideas to surprise, inspire and engage donors this spring!

#3. Legal Considerations with Mary Tovella Dowling

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When it comes to fundraising events, there's a lot of uncertainty. Will this item garner a high bid? Will the auctioneer entertain the crowd? Will enough guests attend?

Fact is, even low bids and an unenthusiastic audience are not the worst case scenario for a nonprofit.

Running into legal trouble at an event can bring any nonprofit into financial jeopardy.

Ever considered the fines of an unauthorized raffle; illegal or irresponsible sale of alcohol; or an injured donor on the dance floor?

We don't like to think about these "what if's", but a little preparation now can spare you major headache down the road. That's why we encourage you to listen to this unique podcast with special guest Mary Tovella-Dowling, attorney at For Purpose Law Group in San Diego, Calif.

In a litigious world, Tovella-Dowling offers invaluable, money-saving insight on potential legal pitfalls. She offers preventive measures to take before getting into hot water, including...

  • Why seek legal advice
  • How to be compliant with local, state and federal laws
  • The importance of being well insured - and having a policy that covers volunteers
  • The ramifications of running an unregistered raffle
  • Tips to serve alcohol responsibly at an event
  • Contracts you need to protect yourself (with sponsors, the venue, etc)

...and more! Take steps now to protect your nonprofit's sustainability for years to come. You can also contact Tovella-Dowling for a free 20-minute consultation via the link in the podcast show notes here.

Listen Now →

#2. Partnerships with Parker Pike

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For many charitable organizations, sponsorship is a notoriously tough nut to crack.

Your development strategy may rely on soliciting sponsorships from local businesses and individuals - but year after year you're stuck competing against hundreds of other organizations making the same requests.

No wonder the vast majority of solicitations go rejected or, more commonly, ignored.

How can you make sure your proposal makes it to the top of the heap?

Read More

Topics: fundraising, charity auction ideas

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

Posted by Summy Lau

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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.

First, they're relatively low cost, since the entire promotional campaign and "event" is held online. Online fundraising strategies are highly interactive, giving you plenty of trackable data to reveal more about your donors - and what sets you apart from the competition. Finally, new visitors are given a low-impact way to find out more and support your cause. 

Here’s 7 surprising, exciting you can make use of online mediums when planning your next fundraising adventure.

Host an online fundraising auction

Online Fundraising AuctionOnline auctions offer a digital take on the traditional auction house event, making it easy and cheaper for guests to attend and take part. You can auction almost anything you want, as long as you approach the right audience for your niche. Online auctions are a proactive way to raise money and get friends and family to rally around your cause.

Online auctions are also scalable. From individual fundraising auctions (like selling belongings on eBay) to priceless travel packages that generate buzz among your bidders, you can scale the online auction to your fundraising goals and needs.

Read More

Topics: fundraising, online donors, nonprofit websites

5 Tips to Share with Your Auction Committee Today (like the downside of sponsored tables)

Posted by Summy Lau

We've all been there...

When you think of putting on the annual charity auction, 5K Fun Run, golf tournament and more, do you get excited?

Or are you more like one organizer who described it like this: "I feel like someone emptied a jigsaw puzzle on top of my desk and now expects me to put it together - without the box."

Fact is, the number one reason events don't reach their full potential is that most event organizers simply don't know what they don't know. We tend to do events the same way they've been done - and make the same mistakes - for years, until the event is difficult to justify having at all.

That's why at Winspire we're passionate about providing resources, tips and ideas from event fundraising leaders across North America to help you reach and exceed your fundraising goals.

In today's post we sat down with Noah McMahon, founder and CEO of a company that specializes in putting together multi-million dollar fundraising events and philanthropic consulting. Drawing from decades of event production experience, McMahon shares 5 useful event planning tips, including how to:

  1. Surprise the audience.
  2. Focus on face-to-face invitations.
  3. Combat the "table sale" bystander effect by setting expectations in advance.
  4. Set (and write down) BIG goals.
  5. Commit to measuring impact.

Best of all, each tip can be applied to fundraisers big and small. Let's get started!

1. Surprise the audience.

"I have rarely been involved in events where you can send out invitations, sit back and all the seats get sold. So I like to focus on 'event architecture' when designing an event," McMahon says.

The first step to selling tickets and generating buzz for your event, is to create someting that's different and better than what people expect.

Read More

Topics: fundraising

How to Persevere Through Common Fundraising Challenges (+ 4 Event Planning Tips)

Posted by Summy Lau

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So many nonprofits are scared to ask for what they want.

"I'm being an imposition."

"Asking for the organization sounds like I'm asking for myself."

"They'll probably say no."

Sound familiar?

Fact is, if you don't ask, you can't further your programs and multiply your impact.

In today's post, nonprofit coach Lynda West draws from years of mentoring charities to discuss how peer-to-peer mentoring groups, called "masterminds", can help you get to the next level of fundraising success. Get 3 concrete tips to gain confidence and ask for what's needed to achieve your goals.

Then head over to our weekly podcast, Events with Benefits, for the full 30-minute episode all about persevering through many common challenges nonprofits face.

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Joining a Nonprofit "Mastermind"

First, what is a "mastermind"?

Forbes defines a mastermind as "a group of smart people [that meets] weekly, monthly, daily even if it makes sense, to tackle challenges and problems together. They lean on each other, give advice, share connections and do business with each other when appropriate."

Peer-to-peer mentoring can be very powerful. That's why joining - or creating - a group of like-minded fundraising professionals is the #1 thing you can do to get to your fundraising efforts to the next level. Here's why.

1. Provides accountability

"I mentor people both remotely (via Zoom web conferencing) and locally," West says, "and I've found that what matters most is not their location, but how much time they're willing to devote to the program."

Read More

Topics: fundraising, raise-money, charity auction event

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

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 Online Auctions Boost Year-Round Giving

Posted by Summy Lau

Holiday online auctions boost year-end giving for nonprofitsWith 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 an online auction.

Note: While this post focuses on using online auctions over the holiday season (when gift shopping and philanthropy collide!), these best practices can be applied to jumpstart giving at any time of year.

 

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

9 of the Best #GivingTuesday Landing Pages We've Seen

Posted by Summy Lau

Build a Branded Landing Page for #GivingTuesday

Can you believe there's just one week until Thanksgiving? With over half of nonprofits receiving the majority of their contributions between October and December, it's no wonder development departments across North America are turning their focus to year-end giving campaigns.

The first milestone is Giving Tuesday, a global celebration of philanthropy on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year it will take place on November 29, 2016.

As discussed in our recent post, "4 Quick Tips to Raise Money on #GivingTuesday," ideally you've already been in contact with donors to raise awareness about this day.

If so, you're in great shape to capitalize on this fundraising opportunity. If not, rest assured it's not too late to join in the fun.

Read on for concrete tips and 9 real-life examples of landing pages that effectively capture year-end gifts.

Build a branded donation landing page

First, what is a landing page? It's a distinct, standalone web page built for one objective. Landing pages typically contain forms for capturing information, like email addresses for newsletter subscriptions or, for the purposes of this post, making a donation.

Here are several best practices of building a branded Giving Tuesday page, and they apply to any donation page year-round.

1. Urgent Headline

Right from the start, define the mission and goal of the campaign.

Create a snappy tagline to explain your mission. According to web analytics platform Kissmetrics, people tend to read only the first 3 words and last 3 words of a headline when scanning. So you want to keep titles as short as possible.

Read More

Topics: holiday-season, fundraising, merry-christmas, donor-relations, thanksgiving

6 Ideas for a Creative, Effective Holiday Giving Campaign [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Summy Lau

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With Halloween in the rearview mirror and Thanksgiving on deck, the holiday season is upon us - and with it, the warm and fuzzy feelings of family, gratitude and giving back.

We recently provided 4 quick tips to raise money on Giving Tuesday, a global day of philanthropy that occurs each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. For most nonprofits, this day kicks off a weeks-long year-end giving campaign.

You may know the greatest amount of charitable giving occurs during the holiday season, but did you know donors that start giving in December are worth 52% more over time than those who start giving at other times of the year?

Year-end giving is not only critical for 2016's bottom line - it sets the stage for years to come.

Read on for an infographic that covers the latest trends in holiday charitable giving, including the top cities in America that see a double-digit increase in average donation size during the holidays. We'll also discuss 6 practical and creative tips to maximize year-end donations.

Read More

Topics: holiday-season, fundraising, nonprofits

4 Quick Tips to Raise Money on #GivingTuesday [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Summy Lau

What is #GivingTuesday? (Infographic)

Giving Tuesday—the latest iteration of post-Thanksgiving spending days (think Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday)—is a global online movement dedicated to giving back. The occasion puts the spotlight on generosity, inspiring people around the world to invest in causes they believe in.

Since its inception in 2012, more than $55 million has been raised to support over 10,000 participating organizations.

On November 29th, 2016, your nonprofit will get the unique chance to engage a wide range of supporters with a Giving Tuesday campaign, setting the bar for the holiday giving season to come.

There's only 41 days (6 weeks) left until the big day!

Is your organization ready?

Check out today's infographic to see the huge impact Giving Tuesday has on global philanthropy, then get 4 quick strategies for nonprofits of any size to tap into its momentum.

Read More

Topics: fundraising, nonprofits, thanksgiving

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 →