Event Planning: Stay On Track 1-3 Months From The Event

Posted by Ian Lauth on Jan 31, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Event Planning: Stay On Track

As your event draws near, stay on task by creating to-do lists to keep track of everything you still need to accomplish. Here are four things you will want to take care of in the 3 months prior to your event:

Recruit event volunteers: You are going to need plenty of help on the night of the event to free up your time so you can  socialize with donors. It’s always better to have too many volunteers than too few. Volunteers can help you with the event registration; greeting guests as they walk into the room; assisting with the auction; item pick up; decorating; and cleaning up. Try utilizing different social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to advertise that you’re looking for help. Ask board and committee members if they have family members or friends who would like to volunteer. Perhaps someone’s granddaughter is in a community service club at her high school or college. Many local companies have community service teams who look for ways to help out in the community.

To ensure you are free to talk with donors during the event, try appointing someone on your committee with enough knowledge about the event to manage your group volunteers. Establishing a point person for your volunteers to go to will make it so you only have one person coming to you with questions during the event instead of the entire group.

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Topics: event-production, time management, competition

Event Planning: Attracting Attendees 3-6 Months Out

Posted by Ian Lauth on Jan 29, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Event Planning: Attracting Attendees

Once you are three and sixth months from your fundraising auction, it’s important to narrow your focus toward attracting attendees. Make sure the following tasks are on your to-do list and you are well on your way to getting them done: 

1. Determine Guest List: Creating a guest list will help you remember to invite all potential and important donors. Look at last year’s guest list to get started. Be sure to include those who couldn’t attend last year as well as those who showed up without a direct invitation. Compile the list and make sure you have complete contact information - including email and mailing address - for each guest.

2. Identify Your VIP Guests: Begin personally reaching out and confirming the attendance of your VIP guests who usually spend the most at your events. These "big spenders" usually have friends or colleagues who have money to spend, so take the opportunity to encourage your VIPs to bring new guests. You can offer free tickets and even entire tables for those who promise to bring groups of guests, but be careful how many tickets you give away. Your VIP donors know you are trying to raise money, so don’t hesitate to discuss with them the spending propensity of these new guests. 

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Topics: event-production, time management, competition

Event Planning: Five Key Accomplishments by 6-12 Months Out

Posted by Ian Lauth on Jan 28, 2014 9:12:00 AM

Event Planning 6-12 Months Out

Savvy event planners know one of the most important factors of success is starting early. That means six to twelve months prior to the big date, you should be busy creating your to-do list and checking off tasks as you accomplish them. Following are some of things you should have completed - or be well on your way to completing - by the six month mark:

1. Event Chair: The first step is to appoint an event chair. This will be the point person throughout the entire process, so make sure he or she has the time and passion to do the job right. Look for a "champion" who is motivated to help the entire organization succeed and understands the bigger picture. Many organizations elect two co-chairs to share the responsibility of organizing the event, but this depends on the size and scope of your operation. Once you've selected your Event Chair(s), it's time to start forming a committee of key volunteers – such as board members and staff – that can help throughout the planning process.

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Topics: event-production, time management, competition

Why Hire a Professional Benefit Auctioneer?

Posted by Ian Lauth on Dec 9, 2013 10:36:00 AM

Hire Professional Benefit Auctioneers to entertain, engage and encourage your audience to spend and donate money

Successful fundraising events require an emcee who can entertain, engage and encourage your audience to open their wallets. Who are you going to pick for the job? A volunteer? A local celebrity? A member of your organization?

Many Nonprofits assume the job of hosting is simple - any outgoing person who isn’t afraid of public speaking can surely do it, right? This assumption can hurt an organization's chances for success. It may be time to reconsider and look at hiring a professional benefit auctioneer.

The most common reason Nonprofits avoid hiring a professional charity auctioneer is the expense. This rational is short sighted because these professionals offer more than just gravitas when it comes to running a successful fundraiser. 

Whether you are expecting 30 guests or 300, paying for a professional benefit auctioneer to run your event is an essential part of hosting a successful fundraiser. Here’s why...

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Topics: fundraising, time management, benefit auctioneer

Kick Off Your Auction Item Procurement with a “Wish List Party”

Posted by Ian Lauth on Nov 18, 2013 12:19:00 PM


As a Nonprofit, you know brainstorming auction item ideas can be a daunting task. To get the ball rolling and discover unique and fresh ideas, gather your procurement committee together and have a wish list party.

A wish list party is a great way to kick your good old-fashioned brainstorming sessions up a notch and inspire your team to be more effective. To get the most out of the party keep the following tips in mind.

Make it Fun!

To encourage creativity and participation at the party, let the committee members enjoy themselves. After all, a little fun never hurt anyone! Host the party at a location where members will feel comfortable and relaxed, such as in your living room or backyard at home.

Provide Food

Arrange to have food and drinks available as an added incentive for your team members to show up. Pizza is cheap and appeals to almost everyone (even those who claim they never eat the stuff), but you can also make an easy salad for the health-conscious in your group. You can even turn the event into a potluck and encourage everyone to bring a dish.

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Topics: event-production, time management, auction item procurement, nonprofit survey

3 Quick Tips for Procuring Quality Auction Items

Posted by Ian Lauth on Nov 15, 2013 10:00:00 AM

Procuring Quality Charity Auction Items

Benefit auctions can be a successful fundraising strategy for Nonprofits and a great way to raise awareness. Before your Nonprofit can host a benefit auction, however, you first have to procure exciting and appealing silent auction items. Even with a dedicated and knowledgeable auction committee, this can feel like an overwhelming task. Follow these three tips to make the process smoother and easier to manage.

1. Calculate How Much You're Trying to Raise

When you ask Nonprofits how much money they want to raise, most are going to say there is no such thing as raising “too much money”. However, determining a concrete goal will keep your Nonprofit focused on procuring the right quality and quantity of items to make that number possible. As your procurement team begins the process of gathering items, take the time to determine the Suggested Retail Value and Estimated Yield of each item as they come in.

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Topics: fundraising, 10-reasons-to-use-no-risk, event-production, time management, auction item procurement

5 Step Timeline For Planning a Flawless Benefit Auction

Posted by Jeff Cova on Nov 13, 2013 11:17:00 AM

Timeline for Planning a Benefit Auction

Having a benefit auction is a great way to connect with members, expand your reach and boost fundraising efforts. But executing a successful benefit auction is a difficult task, even for the most experienced Development Director. These tips are a good start for establishing a timeline and ultimately throwing an amazing event.

Plan Early
Starting 9-12 Months Out

For Nonprofits who host an annual auction benefit, planning for next year’s event starts immediately as soon your event concludes. Follow suit by starting 9-12 months ahead of your event. Here are some to-do’s to start with:

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Topics: event-production, nonprofit communication, time management

Should I Host a Live or Silent Auction?

Posted by Ian Lauth on Nov 1, 2013 11:23:00 AM

Should I Host a Live or Silent Auction?

You’ve decided to host a benefit auction at your next big Nonprofit fundraising event — that’s great! You’ve taken an important step toward successful fundraising. Now you are faced with a few important decisions while planning the event, which can be overwhelming.

One of the first things you’ll have to decide is whether to have a live or silent benefit auction. How do you know which is better for your organization’s big night? Well, before we get ahead of ourselves, first let’s talk about the difference between the two.

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Topics: fundraising, event-production, time management

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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.