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Are You Missing Out on $5,000 Per Bidder at Your Charity Auction?

Posted by Summy Lau

As an event organizer or volunteer, what would you say is the #1 challenge fundraising events face?

Is it procuring the right auction items? Choosing the best time and date? Just getting people in the doors?

We think it's not taking advantage of every revenue opportunity.

All too often we underestimate the spending power of attendees. This "deadly sin" of fundraising events can show up in many ways: not charging enough for admission; delivering a timid cash appeal; wasting precious minutes on non-income generating entertainment; and as we'll discuss today, offering the same items in the charity auction year after year.

One revenue opportunity not to be missed: incorporating travel into your event. Travel is consistently a top seller at auctions, and here's why:

  1. People love traveling. (Who doesn't love a vacation?)
  2. Donors budget for travel. (Studies show 83% of winning bidders set aside over 5 grand for leisure travel each year.)
  3. Unique travel Experiences help your event stand out from the competition. (Did you know the majority of winning bidders attend 4 or more philanthropic events annually?)

Whether you procure trips yourself or partner with a reputable provider like Winspire, travel can be a game-changer for your bottom line.

Read on to learn just how much money you could be leaving on the table without a way to access your donors' travel budgets.

Benefit 1: Travel Appeals to Virtually All Bidders

Nonprofits love fundraising events because they create a personal connection between your donors and the cause. But we have to remember guests are sophisticated buyers who know how they want to spend their money.

At live and silent auctions, donors need to be presented with items that are worth buying. Your “one-night only storefront” needs quality items that appeal to every category and demographic in the room.

Enter the universal appeal of travel. Who doesn't love going on vacation or crossing something exciting off their bucket list?

With virtually unlimited options for destinations and experiences all over the globe, you have a lot to work with.

When you start planning your event, begin with your board. Go around the room and ask, “We know you’re going to be traveling this year. Where is it that you plan to or want to go?” This can give you a good idea of where your audience is interested in taking trips this year.

Charity Auction gift Ideas

Benefit 2: Donors Budget (a Lot!) Each Year for Travel

So we know supporters are traveling – a lot. But what if complete travel packages (with airfare, deluxe accommodations and a unique experience) are outside the spending range of your guests?

Fact is, you never know until you ask.

American Express reports some 58% of Americans set money aside each year for travel, while surveys reveal 83% of Winning Bidders set aside more than $5,000 for annual trips, and the majority also take multiple trips each year.

Offering travel at your event gives you the opportunity to redirect some of that travel budget to your cause.

While the price might be higher than you've seen your donors spend in the past, that doesn't mean they wouldn't do so in the future if the right Experience came along. The most important thing to consider is your audience and what interests them.

Get the details on our new Iceland Experience!

Benefit 3: Unique Travel Helps Your Event Stand Out

Your donors are going to a lot of events. We know this because we've asked. In fact, we survey each of the thousands of winning bidders who redeem Winspire Experiences each year to see if we can learn a little more about our service and the event fundraising space from their perspective.

Our surveys have shown that 76% (that’s 3 out of every 4 of donors!) attend more than 3 fundraising events per year.

You’re dealing with plenty of competition from other auction events filled with similar items. That really puts the burden on you, the event organizer, to provide unique opportunities for people to support your organization and your cause.

That's why the value of a unique, quality auction item like travel is threefold:

  1. Immediate revenue
  2. Support of the overall brand and event
  3. Lifetime value of identifying or retaining a major donor.

And we always have to keep that balance in mind.

The Easiest (and Safest) Way to Include Travel In Your Event

What if there was a way to offer incredible travel packages with no upfront risk or cost to your organization, that didn't take any additional effort or risk on your part to procure?

There is. Consignment providers make no-risk, open-ended and highly satisfactory travel possible.

Here's what we mean.

  • No risk: A good travel partner takes on the risk of purchasing open-ended travel along with the time of coordinating many different package components and overall logistics required to satisfy your winning bidders. And if the item doesn't sell for the profitable price you set at your auction, you aren't billed a dime.
  • Open-ended: Those sophisticated buyers don't want to be told when and where to go. In any given room, you can’t predict who will bid on the item, where they are from, who they might give the trip to and when they want to travel. Open-ended travel, or a trip without predetermined date, has the highest perceived value and has the most broad appeal to your bidders. (With Winspire, the winning bidder has up to a year to begin the booking process, and typically another year to redeem their trip.)
  • Highly satisfactory: Donated travel can come with all sorts of hidden risks, blackout dates and last-minute changes that leave winning bidders unsatisfied with their purchase...and unlikely to return for next year's auction. Partnering with a reputable travel provider like Winspire ensures your major donors are treated with the "white glove service" they deserve. Your relationship with the donor will be strengthened, since it was your organization made it all happen. Best of all, when travel is fulfilled to winning bidders' expectations, their positive testimonial by word-of-mouth or on social media helps generate even more buzz and excitement for next year's event.

Whether your event is in a few days or a few months, Winspire can help bridge the gap between travel's popularity at charity auctions and its difficulty to procure.

To see what we offer and reserve items for your event, check out our Top 10 Items below or click here to schedule a call with one of our Fundraising Specialists.

Speak to an Expert

Procurement, Travel Experiences, Auction Item Procurement
Summy Lau
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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