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

Charity auction success secrets: Better procurement, ticket sales, set-up & more

"The most common reason events fail is because organizers didn't do their homework right from day one," says A.J. Steinberg, founder of Queen Bee Fundraising and principal of Masquerade Events, on a recent episode of podcast Events with Benefits. "That means choosing the right type of event for your audience, creating a specific goal, and marketing successfully." With more than 20 years' experience planning fundraising events, Steinberg knows how to manage events as effectively, and with as little stress, as possible. Today we'll focus on her tips for hosting charity auctions, including: 3 most common auction planning pitfalls - and how to avoid Why ticket sales are higher for a first-year event than the third year The secret to getting more 'yeses' while procuring auction items The easiest way to transport and set up auction items If the content is helpful, be sure to listen to the whole episode and download Steinberg's free auction planning kit (including resources like the comprehensive Committee Task Outline).

  • 12 min read
  • Apr 10, 2018 6:15:00 AM

Turn silent auction duds into money for your cause (and 8 other FAQs)

Recently we hosted a webinar with fundraising software provider Greater Giving all about practical tips to describe, display, promote and sell auction packages more effectively. Today we are sharing part I of a lively Q&A session with charity auction organizers around the country.

  • 14 min read
  • Mar 6, 2018 9:38:56 AM

6 Steps to Your Most Creative Auction Item Ideas, Ever

A big part of successful charity auctions is strategically leveraging the auction items themselves. We recently hosted a free webinar all about best practices to procure auction items, maximize bidding during the auction, then raise even more money after the event.

  • 6 min read
  • Oct 24, 2017 7:15:00 AM

How many items should be included in a live auction?

"Dear Winspire, How many items should we put in the live auction portion of our fundraising gala? We usually have around 125 guests. Last year, we auctioned off 17 items and the coordinator said it was way too many – that people lost interest by the end. Do you have any suggestions before Monday's auction meeting?" - Nancy B., Indiana This is one of the most common questions we get: What's the right number of live auction items? Too few, and you've left money on the table. Too many, and you risk losing the crowd's focus.

  • 10 min read
  • Aug 1, 2017 7:50:00 AM

6 Tips to Assemble a Procurement Super Team

Successful charity auctions require high quality auction items. Step one: assembling your procurement team. Like any legendary group of heroes - think Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Super Friends - your committee is faced with a seemingly insurmountable task. To succeed, you'll need driven, creative people who demonstrate tenacity and come from all different backgrounds. Most importantly, they must be willing to step up for your cause when it counts.

  • 7 min read
  • Jun 20, 2017 10:37:08 AM

31 Ideas for Unique, Buzzworthy Silent Auction Baskets

If you've ever been involved with a charity silent auction, you know gift baskets are a given. They can range anywhere from $50 to $500 in value, depending on the quality and exclusivity of the items, and are popular for a few reasons: The contents are relatively simple to procure. It may be less intimidating for new donors, smaller businesses and individuals to sponsor part of an auction item or a basket rather than the big-ticket items in a live auction. (Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't ask!)

  • 20 min read
  • Apr 25, 2017 7:11:00 AM

How One Silent Auction Chair Procures 700+ Items Annually

Whether your fundraising event is in one week, one month or one year, chances are your charity auction could benefit from a few more unique, valuable items. Are you getting items that will "wow" donors, sell tickets and ultimately generate the bids needed to meet your revenue goals? If not - how can you equip your procurement committee with the necessary tools for success?

  • 13 min read
  • Apr 11, 2017 9:12:42 AM

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

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: 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.

  • 7 min read
  • Jan 5, 2017 10:13:43 AM

Craft Beer Is Selling Like Crazy at Fundraising Auctions

You know wine is a tried-and-true staple of charity auctions. Cases of custom-labeled or vintage wine, trips to Napa Valley, winery tours and more have always been magnets for bids. Now another drink has caught the attention of fundraisers: craft beer. As mentioned in our recent webinar "Ask a Professional Benefit Auctioneer!", auctioneers around the country have recently noted a huge spike in interest in ales. At a 2016 meeting of the National Auctioneers Association, they concluded craft beer is one of the hottest items being sold in fundraising events today.  How can your organization take advantage of the trend? Combine craft beer with experiential travel, a consistent top-seller at charity auctions. "Beercations" offering unique tours and tastings, plus deluxe accomodations and travel arrangements, make for one standout auction item. In the spirit of Oktoberfest, hoist a stein and read on for highlights of Winspire's best lager-loving travel packages, including a brand-new update to the Samuel Adams Boston Experience. (Like all Winspire Experiences, these no-risk trips cost nothing upfront to include in a fundraiser - your nonprofit only pays for the items that sell!) Then, enjoy a delicious beer chili recipe perfect for brisk fall days.  West Coast: San Diego Craft Brewing Scene VIP Brewery Excursion, Chauffeur, Manchester Grand Hyatt 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (3450-2) Did you know sunny San Diego is considered the "Craft Beer Capital of America"? Local breweries like Stone Brewing Co., AleSmith Brewing Company and Ballast Point (pictured above) are consistently rated among the top breweries in the world. The Great American Beer Festival’s “Best Small Brewer” Award has gone to San Diego County brewers multiples times, including 2014’s winner, Coronado Brewing Company. With more than 100 local breweries, microbreweries and pubs in the city, beer enthusiasts are flocking to get a taste of these highly acclaimed hops. Imagine sending your donors on a 5-hour, VIP custom excursion at 3-4 breweries of their choice. 

  • 12 min read
  • Oct 13, 2016 8:48:22 AM

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

When the presentation has loaded, click the full screen icon in the bottom right () to view larger 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: People love traveling. (Who doesn't love a vacation?) Donors budget for travel. (Studies show 83% of winning bidders set aside over 5 grand for leisure travel each year.) 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.

  • 9 min read
  • Sep 30, 2016 8:42:18 AM

This Easy Formula Takes the Guesswork Out of Auction Procurement [INFOGRAPHIC]

"How many auction items do you recommend for a fundraising event with X amount of guests?" This is a question we get all the time, and for good reason. Include too many, and the items will fetch fewer, smaller bids. Including too few may drive bids higher, but you've lost out on revenue bidders would have spent on more items. Perhaps there's a better question to ask: How many auction items will we need to meet our fundraising goal? Most nonprofits look at audience size to determine how many items they need in the auction (more on that below), but today we'll use an equally important metric: your fundraising goal. Fact is, the quality of your items can affect the quantity you need to procure. Using a few simple formulas, you can break down any revenue goal—no matter how insurmountable it may seem—into the approximate amount and caliber of items needed. To deduce your event's "magic number" of auction items, check out our handy infographic below.

  • 5 min read
  • Sep 22, 2016 7:45:00 AM

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