Your destination for insight into the world of event fundraising and charity auctions.
In today’s tech-saturated world, having a website is essential for any nonprofit or organization to connect constituents to their cause. Nearly every other marketing initiative you use—be it social media, an e-blast, newsletters or annual reports—will push supporters to your nonprofit website, so you want to make sure the final destination is attractive, straightforward and easily navigable. And since people tend to browse quickly and multitask on the web, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and encourage participation. While most nonprofits understand the value of online marketing, many aren’t sure where to start. Let’s look at 3 ways you can give readers the motivation and tools they need to support your cause. Tip #1: Attractive Design and Branding Keep it simple. When it comes to site design, each organization has its own preferences: sleek and modern, colorful and kid-friendly. While design can reflect the nature of the organization, the general key to success is that “less is more.” Below, the homepage for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a great example of minimalism. They take advantage of negative space, guiding the reader to information and donations. A site that’s too cluttered, especially the homepage, can drown out your main message.
What a year it has been! So many new and exciting things are happening in the event fundraising world, and we have the articles and resources to prove it. For this post we compiled a list of the top six most-viewed Winspire News articles from 2015... but our helpful content didn't stop there. This year we dedicated ourselves to covering a wide range of topics designed to help nonprofit professionals improve everything about their fundraising events. We discovered the top 12 charity event themes and paired them with auction items, highlighted best practices for promoting a fundraising event, published a variety of interesting nonprofit infographics and discussed the importance of tapping into donor travel budgets. It has been an honor for all of us here at Winspire to be a part of your fundraising journey and help with so many incredible events in 2015. Here's to another successful year!
With a limited number of fundraising events each year, it is important for nonprofits to choose events that will maximize their revenue while minimizing their expenses. A survey by Software Advice of roughly 100 nonprofits who had conducted at least one major fundraising event event in the past year showed that while Fun Runs/Walks can be an easy revenue generator, charity auction events still generate the most money.
Using consignment travel to supplement your charity auction is beneficial for many reasons - it saves time, adds variety, helps identify new donors - but what about raising money? The fact is, consignment travel packages can be extremely lucrative for your nonprofit, especially if you can sell a trip to several people and make a few hundred dollars from each sale.
Strolling through the streets of Paris with your sweetheart is the perfect way to celebrate your anniversary. But your 50th birthday calls for a party… Imagine you and some of your close friends on the beach in Cancun, enjoying an all-inclusive luxury resort. Or maybe your father-in-law is retiring and you want to get the family together to celebrate with a long weekend in Napa, staying in a 3-bedroom cottage at a winery. Point is, there are times when a shared experience is right for the occasion, which is why offering group opportunities for traveling with family and friends to your donors can dramatically increase the money you are able to raise in your live auction. It's a big trend! The latest trend that we’re seeing from nonprofits across the country is more travelers asking about group trips that include four or more people. Why? Because people love traveling in groups! Group experiences are popular for people of all ages - whether it's a couples retreat, family trip or a group of girlfriends celebrating a special life event. A few examples include...
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!
Incredible travel packages designed for silent auctions We are excited to introduce a new category of Winspire Experiences built specifically for the silent auction tables. This new collection of exciting travel packages was designed to save you time and raise more money by delivering turn-key silent auction items that appeal to a wider audience of potential bidders. Strategic Price Point With Nonprofit prices ranging from $1,000 - $2,800 and a diverse selection of enticing travel packages to choose from, this catalog is for event fundraisers who want to target new donor groups and add variety to their silent auctions. These packages are designed to attract people who might not typically consider buying trips at charity events because they feel like they're "out of their league". Now they may be pleasantly surprised to find these new offerings that fit in their budget! You've heard us talk about the untapped potential of people's existing travel budgets. Just as people may budget for their philanthropic donations, they do the same for what they plan to spend on travel and vacations each year. Why not tap into both of these? According to American Express, 53% of Americans save money each year specifically for travel. We wondered if that percentage was any higher if you looked at the audience of your typical charity auction gala. We surveyed over 1,000 winning bidders and found that 69% of charity event patrons budget at least $5,000 each year for vacation travel. That's money that is "left on the table" instead of going towards your cause.
The big season for charity events may have wound down just as the thermometer has inched upward, but that's no reason to take a vacation from staying in touch with donors. These great summertime stay-in-touch ideas will give your stakeholders a break from a hard push for donations without letting your charity fade from their memory. Lighten up your email campaign, have fun with a direct mail approach and give your social media a seasonal makeover. Your year-round communication plan should ensure donors know they remain top-of-mind and that their gifts are important and appreciated, no matter the calendar page. The slower pace of summer is also the time to send those handwritten, personalized notes to your biggest supporters, letting them know how much they are appreciated. Give Your Emails a Seasonal Makeover 1. Make them mobile. Most nonprofits realize the critical role that email campaigns can play in engaging donors throughout the year. But a growing segment of your stakeholders — as many as 80 percent by some estimates — expect to be able to view those fundraising emails on their smartphones. This is even more critical during summer when vacations, increased time outdoors and recreational activities can take people away from their usual computer or laptop screen. 2. Keep it short and sweet. In addition to ensuring you've chosen a mobile-friendly email template, there are a few other things to keep in mind when emailing your stakeholder list during warm weather months. For example, shorten up your usual content into a more breezy, summer-time version. Also, consider adding a fun twist only for the summer months, such as a summer-only trivia game or warm weather contest. Use your email campaign to share a short story or quote taken directly from a client. For more, read the article we posted with 10 email marketing tips for cultivating major donors.
Auctions have been used for everything from arranging marriages to auctioning antiquities and works of fine art. While early auctions were closed by driving a spear into the ground instead of the gavel typically use today, the general concept of the auction has remained the same. Over the last 2,000 years, many specialized variations on the standard “open ascending price auction” have been created to provide a more specialized auction experience that best fits the goods or services up for sale. Some of the first American settlers, the Pilgrims, were known to use auctions as a common method of selling crops, livestock, tools, tobacco, and even entire farms - so auctions have been an integral part of our nation's history. In the last 50 years, charity auctions – typically live and silent auctions – have become an immensely popular means of raising money for nonprofit organizations. Charity auctions are the fourth-fastest growing segment of the auction industry with roughly two-thirds of all National Auctioneers Association members conducting at least one charity auction annually. View the infographic →
Some people have a stereotypical view about auctioneers. They might imagine a really, really fast talking auctioneer who builds immense pressure in a room to sell cars or cattle to big crowds. While that might be how commercial auctioneers work, benefit auctioneering is a completely different game. Charity auction specialists utilize a unique style, skill and strategy for extracting donations from an audience of nonprofit supporters. To illustrate the difference between these two professions, we found two videos of auctioneers performing at the top of their industry. The first video shows the speed and style of a commercial cattle auctioneer, who delivers a chant that is extremely fast, intense and inaudible (yet still undeniably impressive)... Next we have a video of a benefit auctioneer, our friend Danny Hooper, who demonstrates a completely different level of showmanship and engagement with his audience. You will notice his attention to being a good host and entertainer first, and auctioneer second...