Your destination for insight into the world of event fundraising and charity auctions.

Ian Lauth

Ian Lauth

With an extensive background in marketing development and content design, Ian’s role at Winspire is to develop external communications, brand expansion and product delivery processes to help Nonprofits maximize their fundraising revenue. Ian serves as the Editor-in-Chief for Winspire News, creating and managing blog content, newsletters, eBooks and other resources for Nonprofit fundraising professionals.

Recent Posts:

BizWorld Lesson #6: Overhead Ain't Bad

  This article is part of a series titled "Lessons from the Biz World" where we explore valuable aspects of the for-profit sector we can apply to nonprofit management and translate into a more efficient, stable and successful organization with a greater impact.  There’s a big double standard when it comes to overhead at for-profits and nonprofit organizations. Where investment decisions regarding overhead might be no-brainers in the for-profit sector, they often come with much scrutiny in the nonprofit arena.

  • 9 min read
  • Sep 15, 2015 11:12:53 AM

12 Event Fundraising Themes Matched with Travel Experiences [Part 3 of 4]

In this four-part series we are exploring 12 of the most popular charity event theme ideas and offering recommendations for food, entertainment, decorations and attire. We're also taking this opportunity to show how easy it is to match up a variety of Winspire Experiences with almost any theme you can think of. So far, the themes we've covered include...

  • 18 min read
  • Sep 10, 2015 9:49:50 AM

Americans Need to Learn How to Take Vacation

The long weekend has come and gone, the kids are back at school and you’re back at your desk (*sigh*). Hopefully you had some time to relax and recharge during the Labor Day holiday... or maybe you didn't take any time off and you were working through the weekend, ironing out the details of your fall fundraising gala.  Well - you're not alone. Many Americans today ton't get enough "R&R", and it could be hurting how well we're performing at our jobs. The same goes for your donors, who will be attending this year's fundraising gala looking for an escape - and possibly a vacation - to help them unplug and recharge. 

  • 13 min read
  • Sep 8, 2015 11:27:49 AM

Most Charitable States in America [INFOGRAPHIC]

Donating both time and money has long been an integral part of American society.  According to the World Giving Index, the United States was the only country to rank in the top 10 in 2014 for each of the three categories they use to measure charitable behavior, including volunteering time, donating money, and helping strangers.  The National Philanthropic Trust states that 95.4% of U.S. households donate to charities, with each household’s average annual donation a robust $2,974.  Total U.S. donations to charity amounted to $331 billion in 2013, with 72% of that coming from individual donations. Below we look at charitable giving trends by state. The top five most charitable states are located in the middle of the country, with Utah ranking #1 overall and ranking near the top in just about every measurement of charitable giving.  Interestingly, other than the consistently strong showing of Utah, there is quite a bit of diversity in the states that ranked high in each metric below. Click here to view the infographic ↓

  • 2 min read
  • Sep 3, 2015 9:16:19 AM

Charity Auction Ideas to Match Your Event Theme [Part 2 of 4]

Picking a unique and exciting theme for your charity auction gala is helpful for many reasons. It gives you direction for promoting and planning many aspects of the event, helping your committee with decisions about the venue, decor, entertainment, marketing materials and even the food. Plus, it can make the night magical. A well executed theme encourages audience participation by transporting guests to a special place where they can get 'lost' in the evening. Offering this sort of experience for your donors and creatively tying it back to your nonprofit mission helps drive engagement, generate more bids on auction items and ultimately raise more money for your cause. Last week we posted this article as part of a four-part series where we list 12 of the most popular charity event theme ideas and matched them with Winspire travel packages. So far, the themes we've covered include...

  • 18 min read
  • Aug 25, 2015 10:23:00 AM

Millennial Giving [INFOGRAPHIC]

Millennials. Tired of hearing that word yet? Well we're not going anywhere (yes I am a millennial). Defined as the age group born between 1980-1999, this cohort of 'youngsters' is quickly growing in influence as they begin to take on more leadership roles at work and increase their spending power. There are approximately 80 million millennials in the United States, and by 2017, this age group will account for more total charitable donations than any other age group. The giving trends among millennials show that philanthropy is pervasive in this age group with 93% of millennials donating to charity in 2010. As this age group continues to enhance their wealth through career growth, the total value of these donations will balloon to immense proportions - which is great news! With such a large and growing sector of donors, it is important for non-profits to understand this demographic and cater their outreach efforts to the preferences of 20-30 year olds. Remember, these young adults grew up with technology and most notably - the internet. So it's no surprise that the first place they go to educate themselves about a cause is to an organization's website. It's also no surprise that they prefer to donate online through a website over any other donation method.  Furthermore, they are all completely glued to their smartphones. Which means they will likely be visiting your site using a mobile device, so make sure your website is mobile responsive and can be easily viewed and navigated using a smartphone's internet browser. For more info on mobile responsive and how to build a website for this future generation, check out the "Positive User Experience" section of this article. For an example, try checking out Winspire News on your phone right now.  Below is an infographic with some more great stats on millennial giving trends. Check it out!

  • 2 min read
  • Aug 20, 2015 10:05:09 AM

12 Charity Event Theme Ideas Matched with Travel Packages [Part 1 of 4]

Choosing just the right theme can be pivotal to your fundraising event's success. Engaging potential donors and building anticipation for the big night is important not only for your current fundraising gala, but for future events as well - and selecting a theme can spark plenty of promotional ideas to generate buzz in your donor community. Picking a cool theme isn't just about promotion, either. The event theme is carried through to create atmosphere and ambiance, setting the tone and giving you direction for planning many of the event elements such as decor, food, venue and entertainment. We will be sharing a list of 12 of the most popular charity event theme ideas we've seen used at the thousands of fundraising galas we work with each year with planning and promotional ideas, plus a few Winspire travel packages to generate buzz and bids among your donors. Charity Event Theme Ideas Click on a theme below to jump to that article. Part 1 Secret Garden Masquerade Black & White Formal Part 2 Moulin Rouge Oscars Medieval Part 3 Under the Sea Las Vegas Hawaii/Caribbean Part 4 Broadway Western Sports For our first installment, we chose to cover three of the most common event themes we've seen from around the country...

  • 16 min read
  • Aug 18, 2015 11:20:00 AM

6 Must-Have Volunteer Duties for a Successful Charity Event

Charity event chairs (great tongue twister!) love to have as much help as they can get when planning and executing events. Whether planning for a large gala this fall or a golf scramble this summer, utilizing volunteers will help your event thrive and benefit your nonprofit organization in plenty of other ways.

  • 7 min read
  • Aug 11, 2015 10:13:00 AM

8 Ideas for Securing Incredible Charity Auction Items Early

Take the heat off by preparing for fall live and silent auctions now. Call your auction committee for happy hour by the pool and devise a strategy to round up the best items using these tips: 1. Build your procurement committee  Assemble a team of capable, connected and committed individuals to go out and acquire the items you want for your auction. Don't be afraid to be selective but make sure you give all interested parties an opportunity to get involved. For more on this, see: 5 Qualities to Look For When Building Your Auction Committee 2. Host a wish list party One of the best ways to get the ball rolling with procurement is to gather your committee and have an informal gathering to brainstorm ideas. Make it fun! Host it outside the office and provide food and drinks as an added incentive for team members to show up. The idea here is to create a festive atmosphere to get your team in the right mindset to discuss the event. For more on this, see this article: Kick Off Your Auction Item Procurement with a “Wish List Party” 3. Consider incentives to motivate your team Reward your committee members for their efforts by setting goals and awarding prizes for outstanding acquisitions. Start by talking to your team about potential incentives – they know better than anyone what motivates them. Then set procurement goals based on either the number of silent auction items or the dollar value of donations acquired. You can set goals and allocate prizes for individuals or for the entire procurement team, depending on your preference. For more incentive ideas, check out this article: 7 Incentives Guaranteed to Motivate Your Auction Committee

  • 11 min read
  • Aug 4, 2015 10:49:00 AM

Engaging Stakeholders in Shaping Your Next Charity Event

Nonprofit stakeholders are vital to the development of a sustainable and profitable fundraising event. As an event organizer, they are an invaluable resource as you seek to improve your event and reach ever-higher fundraising goals and expectations. Surprisingly, despite the value of stakeholder input, many nonprofits overlook the simple act of gathering feedback and using it in their planning of future events.  But first, who are stakeholders? Stakeholders are any individual or group of people who have a vested interest in the success of your nonprofit in fulfilling its objective. This includes any affected person or entity who doesn't necessarily serve a specific role within your organization, including individual donors, event patrons, business services, volunteers and even the beneficiaries you serve as part of your mission.  When was the last time you reached outside your organization for feedback to help you improve your event? If you are guilty of avoiding the steps necessary to engage your stakeholders and actively seek their input, it's time to put a plan into place to involve them in shaping your next fundraising event. The payoff will be greater excitement in the weeks leading up to your event and a resulting boost in participation. Longer term, you will have stronger ties with people who are key to your organization's success.   

  • 11 min read
  • Jul 28, 2015 9:00:00 AM

U.S. and Canadian Travel Trends [INFOGRAPHIC]

Americans and Canadians are some of the largest spenders on international travel, with residents of both nations ranked in the top six worldwide in terms of average annual expenditures on international travel. Travelers from both countries most commonly make the easy intracontinental trips, with the U.S., Canada, and Mexico all registering as top travel destinations.  In addition, millions of travelers every year from both of these countries make overseas journeys to the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and even Cuba! When Americans and Canadians choose to stay closer to home and travel domestically, the most popular destinations are primarily the higher populated cities and warm-weather climates.  For the most part, when Americans and Canadians cross the border, their travel patterns mirror those of the domestic travelers in that nation. Interestingly, the main difference between the travel preferences of the two nations is that Canadians also frequently travel to some of the more remote U.S. states, such as Maine, Vermont, and Montana. In the following infographic, we explore these unique travel trends which exist between our two neighboring countries... 

  • 1 min read
  • Jul 21, 2015 8:50:00 AM

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