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4 Scorching-Hot Summer Strategies to Supercharge Your Fall Fundraiser

While nonprofit donor development is a year-round effort, summer often brings a well-deserved slowdown to the usual tempo. Sun, sand and a slew of holidays make it all the more tempting to save the tough planning for the next arrival of peak event season (fall and spring). That said, the summer months are actually the best time to prepare for your event. You have time now to recruit and train the best volunteers, choose a theme and curate a better auction catalog than ever. We often compare charity auctions to retailers that are only open for one night a year. With such a limited time frame to raise critical funds, you want to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. Whether your next event is in a few days or a few months, read on for 4 practical tips you can do right now to generate more revenue later. 1. Consider an event theme. If you've hosted the same gala for years, choosing a festive and unique theme can be a game-changer for your revenue. Themes keep events from growing stale by drawing in more donors, increasing ticket sales and ultimately creating anticipation for the big night. Surveys show 93 percent of all attendees prioritize having fun at charity events. A unique theme is a great way to have fun while keeping the focus on fundraising.

  • 10 min read
  • Jul 14, 2016 10:15:34 AM

This Simple Tool Delivers the Know-how to Raise $100,000 in One Night

Which type of fundraising event makes the most money in the shortest amount of time? Is it a golf tournament or gala, 5K run/walk or raffle? Our answer: events with auctions, and for one simple reason. They make it fun for guests to spend money quickly. At a typical auction... A nonprofit has set up a one-night-only storefront where everything must go. Donors arrive ready to compete for the best deals on unique items procured around the community. First guests browse the silent auction tables. Throw in dinner, cocktails, socializing and a good cause, and the money starts to flow very quickly. The silent auction is then closed and items sold to the highest bidder. Next comes the live auction. The energy of the evening is at its peak. A skilled benefit auctioneer taps into people’s competitive nature. She combines one-upmanship and big egos with an eager audience to ignite bidding wars. Tens of thousands of dollars are generated in a matter of minutes. These prestigious social events combine ticket sales, special cash appeals and winning bids to raise anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million in one night. So, how do they raise that kind of money? Welcome to the less glamorous side of event fundraising: Successful auctions require a ton of work and expertise. Committee chairs and legions of volunteers spend the better part of a year procuring donated items, creating displays, promoting the event, and more...all hoping the event will be both fun and profitable. Auction planning is extremely complex, and many steps can be mishandled or overlooked. Professional guidance is the key to unlocking an auction's full revenue potential. The secret to navigating the process and acheiving your event's full potential is professional guidance. Imagine having an auction expert by your side to advise best practices, track logistics and suggest hidden revenue opportunities. Wouldn't it be great knowing you've handled everything that needs to get done? That’s where Checklist Builder comes in. For months we have been developing a brand-new resource for event fundraisers in the Winspire community. Today we are proud to unveil Checklist Builder for you to try absolutely free! Read on to learn more about this new tool and how your organization can benefit.

  • 9 min read
  • Jun 23, 2016 8:51:02 AM

From Fundraising to "Friend-raising": 5 Post-Auction Must-Do's to Grow Lasting Relationships

You spend months procuring amazing auction items, coaching volunteers, promoting the event and planning logistics. On the night of the auction, everyone has a great time and you exceed your fundraising goals. It's almost time to celebrate! The last piece of the puzzle? Donor outreach and follow-up. While nonprofits understand the need to thank everyone involved after a big event, not all take full advantage of the opportunity to connect with supporters in other strategic ways. Here are 5 ways to make the most of your post-event donor outreach and cultivate rich relationships with your supporters for years to come. 1. Learn more about attendees and get feedback. Sometimes the only piece of information you have about guests, especially new ones, is that they’re willing and able to give to your cause. So finding out more about them is key to connecting in an authentic, meaningful way.

  • 7 min read
  • Mar 1, 2016 9:43:33 AM

4 Questions to Ask When Determining Starting Bids and Increments for Auction Items

Last week we discussed strategies for procuring buzzworthy auction items and preparing donors to bid. Today we explore another essential piece of the auction planning process: setting opening bid prices. You spend months preparing for the annual auction, but when the night comes, you have just a few hours to meet your fundraising goals. So how can you set the starting bids and bid increments that best maximize your chances for success?  The process can be a balancing act: Starting points that are too high may discourage bidding, while opening bids that are too low may limit revenue.  Here are 4 questions to help you think through this important process. 1. What is the fair market value (FMV) of my items? The fair market value (FMV) of an item describes its worth relative to similar items on the market and what buyers might pay. Knowing your item's FMV is a good starting point for determining an appropriate opening bid. Some items have a clear-cut FMV. Many donated goods like electronics, gift cards and collectibles can be found or compared to similar items on eBay and Amazon. However, many one-of-a-kind, unique items can't easily be valuated—which is exactly why they generate the most "buzz" and highest bids. Here you'll have to look for other possible benchmarks to determine an FMV.

  • 9 min read
  • Feb 16, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Setting the Stage for Auction Success: 3 Ways to Prepare Your Donors to Bid

Success is where preparation meets opportunity. When it comes to event fundraising, nonprofit professionals know this all too well. In order for your upcoming fundraising auction to run without a hitch, you spend countless hours gathering items, scoping out the venue and training staff, volunteers and auctioneers. But smooth logistics only account for half the story. Perhaps the most important piece of prep work: getting donors ready for the big night.

  • 5 min read
  • Feb 9, 2016 10:14:02 AM

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