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

Importance of Individual Giving [GRAPHIC]

Individual giving is the biggest revenue stream for most Nonprofits, and it all starts with fundraising events.  According to Giving USA, gifts from individual donors accounted for 81% of giving in 2010, while only 19% of giving came from foundations and corporations. A more recent study conducted by Giving USA shows that this trend is continuing to grow. In 2014, corporate giving declined 3.2%, while donations from living Americans grew 2.7%. Individual donors are clearly necessary for Nonprofits to thrive. 

  • 3 min read
  • Nov 11, 2014 12:31:00 PM

10 Golden Rules of Donor Development

Donor cultivation is a critical part of achieving a charity's mission. Build a good relationship with donors, and you set the stage for a lifetime of giving. Ignore the importance of donor relations, however, and your donors may become loyal givers elsewhere.

  • 6 min read
  • Nov 4, 2014 9:53:00 AM

6 Simple Ways to Engage Donors This Holiday Season

Many Nonprofits hold their fundraising events during these fall months before the holiday season hits. After the events are over and the holidays begin, donors may still be willing to give – so it's important not to end your fundraising efforts prematurely.  Studies show that online donations often increase during the holiday season. In a 2012 survey by Charity Navigator, 90% of donors polled said they donated during the year-end giving season. Online gifts rose 16% during the same period in 2013 according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. This increase might have to do with the popularity of online campaigns like #GivingTuesday, which happen around the holiday season, but more importantly has to do with the spirit of giving during the holidays.

  • 7 min read
  • Oct 21, 2014 11:55:00 AM

Raise More Money After Your Auction Event Using No-Risk Experiences

A critical - but often overlooked - time to reach out to donors is after your fundraiser auction items event. Post-event communication gives you the opportunity to personally thank donors for their involvement, gather feedback and, if the opportunity presents itself, raise even more money. Guests who miss out on live or silent items  during an auction may still be interested in making a purchase at the winning bid price after the event is over. One of the main benefits of no-risk auction items is they can can be sold multiple times, giving you the power to continue offering a package at the winning bid price even after an event is over. Offering donors a second chance to purchase an incredible trip doesn't require much extra work and has the potential to raise a few thousand additional dollars for your cause. Create a Target List Before you start reaching out to donors, consider the best approach. Not every guest needs – or wants – to hear about travel packages that are still available. Narrow down your donor list and target those you think would be most interested and financially capable of purchasing a travel package. Are there donors who have contributed a large sum in the past but gave less this year or couldn’t attend? These are perfect names for your list! Oftentimes there are event patrons who expressed interest in a particular live or silent auction item but missed out because they: Bid competitively but lost - There are always going to be bidders who don't win an item at your event. Maybe they stopped bidding because they were waiting to bid big on a later item, only to lose that bidding war as well. It's not uncommon for a donor with good intentions to go home empty-handed, still wishing they would have bid higher on certain items. Missed their chance to bid - Most charity auctions are large social affairs so it's not uncommon for guests to get distracted and miss their chance to bid on an item they were interested in. There are also going to be guests who left the room for a few minutes to take a call or visit the restroom during the live auction. Couldn't attend the event - This is one of the most important groups of donors to follow up with regarding post-event donation or purchase opportunities, especially if you suspect they would have been an active bidder at the event.  If there were a number of attendees bidding on an item, this is a good sign that more donors may be interested in making a post-event purchase. Make sure you record who is interested in what. During the live auction, have a volunteer jot down paddle numbers or set up a video camera and film the audience so you can see who bid on the travel packages.  After your event, the way you present your offer to donors can have a big impact on the effectiveness of the campaign. Start with a phone call to each donors and then follow up with an email campaign.

  • 11 min read
  • Sep 16, 2014 12:34:00 PM

9 Essentials of Highly Effective Nonprofit Content Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

“Content marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted audience, focusing on all stages of the [donor development] process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.” Instead of traditional outbound marketing methods like buying print, radio or internet ads and hoping for prospects, content marketing takes the inbound marketing approach of pulling donors toward your organization through the development of consistent, high-quality content. By producing and distributing valuable information - and lots of it - you enhance your Nonprofit's reputation, create brand loyalty and ultimately inspire more revenue from your donors. “Content marketing” has become one of the biggest buzzwords of the digital marketing space within recent years. Successful Nonprofits, corporations, small businesses and even government institutions now understand that to become an authority in their industry, they need to provide proof of their expertise and the content to back it up. The concept of content marketing is actually nothing new. The first customer magazine to hit the shelves was “The Furrow” from John Deere. Launched in 1895 it now has a circulation of 1.5 million in 40 countries and 12 different languages. Costco publishes The Costco Connection magazine for free each month as a value added feature for their members. This magazine serves to tell the Costco story and ultimately attract and retain customers. These days, the digital equivalent of a customer magazine is an organization’s blog, which usually serves as the central hub for broadcasting creative and informational content that provides real value to your target market.  The content utilized can take many forms, including videos, whitepapers, infographics, e-books, case studies, Q&A sessions and how-to guides.  Click Here to see the "9 Essentials" Infographic >> Is Content Marketing Important?

  • 6 min read
  • Jul 22, 2014 10:43:00 AM

5 Ways To Thank Online Donors and Make a Powerful Impact

Online charitable donations were higher than ever last year - a trend that will likely continue in 2014. That means Nonprofits must provide online donors with a seamless giving experience that includes a prompt and genuine "Thank you" and some public recognition for their support. This post-donation messaging is crucial to maintaining positive relationships that encourage future donations. Consider these five guidelines for thanking online donors and making a powerful impact. 1. Confirmation page It takes only a few simple details to ensure a smooth digital donation process. After a user submits a donation online, a confirmation page should appear and verify acceptance of the donation. This page can serve as a receipt for tax purposes. Additionally, this is your first opportunity to thank generous online donors. Create concise, genuine language to express gratitude on this confirmation page. 2. Email A thank-you email should be standard for online donations of any size. If you are using a service to help you collect online donations, most will have features built in for sending automated thank-you emails. If you are managing online donations yourself, compile a list of donors in an excel list with their names and contact information. These tips will help you create a great thank-you email: Customize the email with the person's name and donation amount to add a personal touch. Include pictures, stories and video embeds of how the donation is making an impact. Offer your name and contact information to encourage open conversation. Create an engaging subject line. If you don't have an automated system that sends emails for you after each donation, aim to send out batch thank-you emails within 48 hours of the donation. 3. Donor appreciation page Have a special place on your website to recognize businesses and individuals who donate or support your cause. Businesses in particular will appreciate the recognition as well as any new traffic you can direct to their website, which will encourage future donations and sponsorships.

  • 6 min read
  • Jun 17, 2014 11:03:00 AM

6 Fundraising Ideas to Help Connect with Millennial Donors

Millennials - that massive segment of the population between the ages of 21 and 35 - are known for their generosity and interest in charitable causes. Many Nonprofits, however, struggle to connect with younger generations. Consider these fundraising auction ideas for attracting millennial donors and maintaining positive relationships with younger audiences. 1. Be tech savvy Millennials grew up with computers and the Internet. Technology is a big part of their daily lives so it's better to skip snail mail and opt for digital outreach. Email is key, but don't forget to connect via social media, too. Keep your website, online profiles and accounts up to date and interact frequently with followers and members. And please - optimize your site for mobile! Many millennials will use a tablet or smartphone to access your online information and you want to put your best "virtual" foot forward. Click here for a quick tutorial on how to embed a YouTube video in a blog post. 2. Focus on the cause Millennials support causes they are passionate about, not institutions. The best fundraising ideas for connecting with millennials is to use stories, photos and video to make an emotional appeal. They want to know how their money is making a difference rather than details about the organization. Explain how $100 feeds 50 children for a week, and then embed a video on your blog that shows your organization in action. Always try to demonstrate results and impact - the message is more likely to be heard and inspire action. 3. Convey genuine gratitude Without the right personal touch, electronic communication can quickly become impersonal and stilted. A millennial who donates digitally should get the same genuine "thank you" that other donors receive. Be genuine and do your best to rise above the obvious canned response. If you do have an automatic thank you or confirmation email, use the person's name, indicate the specific amount they donated and include an emotional story about their impact. And yes, it's ok to pick up the phone and make a real-time connection; it might be the unexpected outreach that can forge a life long connection.

  • 8 min read
  • Jun 10, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Why Nonprofits Need a Social Media Strategy [INFOGRAPHIC]

Click Here to view Infographic With its growth in popularity, social media has become one of the hottest topics in the Nonprofit sector for organizations of all sizes to showcase their nonprofit auction items. Despite its widespread adoption, many organizations still have questions about how to use social media to further their mission and connect with their supporters. Social media is a low-cost, effective marketing and communication channel that allows you to empower your supporters to share your organization’s mission and achievements in an interactive forum. Common obstacles nonprofits face when adding social elements to their communication and marketing efforts include: resourcing, understanding best practices, learning the nuances of specific tools and measuring ROI. As with any new technology, familiarity builds confidence. Having clear objectives will help simplify the planning and execution of a social media plan. It doesn’t need to be overwhelming or difficult. Social Media is a supplemental communication channel that can add tremendous value to your supporters and organization. Click on the image to the right to enlarge the infographic. The information might surprise you! 

  • 3 min read
  • May 19, 2014 11:39:00 AM

5 Ways to Give Your Biggest Donors the VIP Treatment

The financial success of your fundraising event depends largely on the attendance of your biggest donors. Chances are these top donors are patrons of other philanthropic organizations as well, which means you’ll have to compete for their attention. It’s crucial to give your most important guests a memorable experience to ensure they return to your event and contribute year after year. So how do you leave a lasting impression with your top donors? By treating them like the VIPs they are! Going the extra mile to make sure your VIPs have a special evening will let them know how important they are to your organization, helping you cultivate stronger donor relationships and counteract donor fatigue. Here are five ways to give donors the VIP treatment at your next fundraiser auction items event. 1. VIP Parking Small inconveniences like looking for a parking spot can start the evening off on the wrong foot – especially if you’re hosting a larger event where parking can be tricky.  To prevent these little frustrations from ruining your guests’ evening, create a VIP parking section or offer free valet services to your biggest donors. You can also provide a separate VIP check-in line to reduce waiting time gaining entry to the event. The fewer hassles donors have to deal with, the better their experience will be. 2. VIP Reception Before your event starts, show how much you appreciate your biggest donors' contributions of time and money by hosting a pre-event reception, complete with cocktails and appetizers. At the reception, present plaques that donors can display at their homes or workplaces, or give out wearable recognition - such as lapel ribbons - for donors to wear during the event.

  • 6 min read
  • Apr 30, 2014 12:06:00 PM

3 Reasons Your Fundraising Event May Actually Lose Donors

Fundraising events are for more than just raising money. They are also designed to attract new donors and keep current supporters interested. In order to keep donors returning and supporting your mission year after year, it is important to host successful events. If you’ve been losing donors in recent years, it could have something to do with your fundraising events. When planning and hosting fundraising events, avoid these costly mistakes: 1. Bad timing – Even a really great fundraising event with amazing fundraiser auction items might not attract donors if it is set at the wrong time. An event right after holidays, for example, may not be well attended. Push that event to spring and you will likely get a better response. Multiple events happening in town on the same night could also affect attendance. If your community has some sort of social calendar, make sure your benefit isn’t competing with other big events.

  • 4 min read
  • Jan 16, 2014 9:07:00 AM

4 Surprisingly Simple Cures for Donor Fatigue

Have donations to your Nonprofit hit a plateau? Have previously active donors suddenly disappeared? Are you having trouble engaging high-level donors? If so, your Nonprofit may be suffering from donor fatigue: Do·nor Fa·tigue   noun 1. a lessening of public willingness to respond generously to charitable appeals, resulting in part from the frequency of such appeals. In other words, bombarding your supporters with bland and monotonous appeals for donations may diminish donor interest and weaken your base. We all know a solid donor base is critical to the success of your Nonprofit, which means keeping donors active, engaged and excited. Following are four simple ways to treat donor fatigue and replenish the passion your donors have for your Nonprofit and its mission: 1. Be Choosy About Communication Channels It’s been said before, but it's worth saying again: Communication is key to keeping donors informed and open to giving. Approach each donor – particularly those who donate larger amounts – with an individualized communication plan. Some prefer email over phone calls, others rarely sit down at a computer but love to chat on the phone.

  • 7 min read
  • Jan 14, 2014 9:49:00 AM

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