Your destination for insight into the world of event fundraising, charity auctions and no-risk travel packages.
As the peak of summer winds down, fall fundraising season is fast approaching. That means it's almost time for many nonprofits' version of the "Super Bowl": the annual charity gala, auction, raffle, tournament and more. Imagine the doors are open, the ballroom is full, tickets have been sold, and the crowd is ready to support your cause—with bigger philanthropic wallets than anyone ever estimates. You've only got 4 or 5 hours to capture all that money for your cause before it walks out the room at the end of the night. Time is not your friend, and you don't want to waste any of it. Where should the money come from during your fundraising event? Everyone knows the most popular income streams: the live auction, silent auction, cash appeals. In fact there are many different income streams to consider: In this revenue-generating tree, the leaves represent the money you're trying to raise for your cause. Each root and tendril represents a different potential income stream that could be pulled up during your charity fundraiser. Bottom line: Profits don't just happen. To get all the leaves off the tree, organizations need to create a detailed, diverse profit plan now, months before the fundraising event, in the planning stages. And you need someone who knows what they're doing at the helm of your event—someone who will use the right tools at the right time to raise as much as possible. Read on for practical tips to incorporate diverse revenue generators into the night's agenda, plus the answers to a few common questions we've received on the topic. Cut fundraising "dead zones" out of your agenda When planning the night's agenda, think very critically of each element in the evening's agenda. Is this producing income and getting us closer to our final fundraising goal? The seven most expensive words in business: 'We have always done it that way!' - Catherine DeVrye This can be difficult for many nonprofits; after all, the annual gala has always had a lengthy entertainment portion, a 45-minute speech from the hospital administrator, the presentation of a dozen awards and the same trusty gift baskets and restaurant certificates in the silent auction. That doesn't mean you can't do better. In fact, thinking outside the box, amping up excitement and streamlining the program will likely be a gamechanger for your event.
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.
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-ups-manship 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.
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.
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.
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. Here are 3 ways to engage your audience early and start fundraising before the first item hits the auction block. Lights (Step 1): Establish and share fundraising auction goals. You're already educating potential donors and attendees on the who, what and when of your event through mail, phone and email campaigns. Now's your chance to reinforce the why: to raise money for a great cause. Pre-event promotion campaigns are an ideal time to educate people on the mission of your organization, plus highlight your fundraising goals. This ensures everyone is ready to support your cause while having a good time. In marketing materials like newsletters, try including a short testimonial from someone impacted by your work. Include one simple photo and intriguing pull quote per story, and emphasize that these accomplishments wouldn't be possible without the funds raised at your auction.
When it comes to silent auctions, there is a common misconception with both auction planners and prospective bidders that there is one winner for each item. While that may be true for many items on a silent auction table, this is not the case with Winspire’s no-risk travel, entertainment and sports packages. Each of our packages has been developed so that they can be sold multiple times in a single event.
Several people bidding on the same package? Maximize your silent auction fundraising revenue by accepting the second highest bid and sell the package to the top two bidders. Then quickly go back to the third and fourth highest bidders who may well want to increase their bid slightly to be winners too! More happy winners, more excitement and more revenue for a great cause.
Two weeks ago we announced the Ohr O’Keefe event. In addition to being a really fantastic evening, they sold five exotic Winspire packages, allowing them to maximize their fundraising revenue at the event. Following is a list of the five Winspire packages they sold... San Francisco Tonga Room Dining Experience Dinner at Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, Fairmont San Francisco 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (3370-2) Ireland Adventure 6-Night Getaway in Dublin, Ennis & Killarney, Historic Castle Overnight Stay, Rental Car, Guinness Storehouse VIP Tickets, Gap of Dunloe & Aran Islands Excursions with Airfare for 2 (1302-2)
We wanted to share a comment from one of our winning bidders who recently returned from his Charleston Luxury Getaway...
We would like to congratulate one of Winspire's Travel Partners, Celebrity Cruises, for some exceptional reviews they recently received. In the prestigious annual Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards celebrating the world’s best hotels, airlines, cities, islands and cruise lines, Celebrity ranked #1 in the highly competitive large-ship (2,500+ guests) category. Nearly 29,000 readers participated in Condé Nast Traveler’s 24th annual survey, evaluating cruise lines in seven areas: Food/Dining, Staterooms, Design/Layout, Crew/Service, Shore Excursions, Activities/Facilities and Itineraries/Schedules.