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

6 Easy Ways Nonprofits Can Get Stellar Online Reviews [shareable graphic]

When it's noon, your tummy's growing and you're looking to try something you turn to Yelp, Google, Foursquare or more? If so, you're in good company: Some 90 percent of people make decisions based on online reviews, while 74 percent of people say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. While brands have always had to manage their reputation, the first impression many customers have with a product these days is their reviews on Amazon, Facebook and more. As consumer dollars increasingly hinge upon online reviews, the same is true for philanthropic dollars. People want to know about your cause, mission and impact before donating. As a result, testimonials and ratings from an objective third party can be more influential than the impressive stats you might post on your own site. Positive reviews can change visitors into lifelong donors. Negative reviews can turn them into missed opportunities. Have you looked at your online reviews lately? If so, do those reviews improve your credibility...or raise red flags? In today's post we'll look at 6 strategies for nonprofits to attract online reviews that leave a great first impression. We'll also provide a handy "Guide to Online Reviews" graphic to share with supporters that makes reviewing a breeze. Step 1. Do work that merits positive reviews. Don't worry: This is the easy part! The rest of this post is based on the assumption your organization is already doing work worthy of outstanding reviews. Here at Winspire, we have the pleasure of working with thousands of nonprofit clients, auctioneers, vendors and more to help raise more money for good causes. As a Winspire News reader, I'm confident your impact deserves to be shared on social media. Step 2: Create and claim profiles on multiple review sites Reviews are a numbers game. The more positive reviews you get, the less weight a negative review holds. It used to be that nonprofit rating sites like Charity Navigator led the way for these objective reviews. Organizations were evaluated based on criteria like financial health, transparency and overhead. While the process wasn't necessarily comprehensive, it gave donors some reassurance before deciding to give. Today the first search results that pop up for your organization are social media pages (like Facebook and Google) and directory sites (like Yelp, Glassdoor, Yellow Pages, and

  • 11 min read
  • Jan 24, 2017 7:05:00 AM

Get to Know Your Donors: The Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Surveying

How well do you know your donors? Perhaps you're pretty familiar with those that support your cause. Your organization is well established. You've been hosting fundraising events, meeting with major donors and recruiting board members for decades. Maybe you've just joined, or the organization itself is new. There's a lot to learn. Whether you're a long-time staff member or recent recruit, your donor database is changing (and hopefully growing) every day. If you're not carefully tracking your donors, you might be surprised at the characteristics of your "average donor". The more you know about your audience, the more you can plan programs, giving campaigns and fundraising events with personal impact. Today we are going to look at one great way to get to know your supporters: conducting online surveys. We'll cover: Choose an Online Survey Tool Create Your Survey Great Questions for Donor Feedback Great Questions for Planning Events Great Questions for Post-event Feedback Surveys in Action: Help Improve Winspire News! Want to improve your marketing and social media efforts, improve volunteer opportunities, choose a new theme for the next giving campaign or all of the above? Read on for a beginner's guide to nonprofit surveying. Choose an Online Survey Tool According to the May/June issue of Nonprofit Hub Magazine, one of the most common reasons nonprofits do not survey donors is the time commitment of tracking and interpreting data. So you might be surprised at the wealth of user-friendly, convenient and affordable online survey tools at your disposal.

  • 16 min read
  • Sep 15, 2016 8:15:00 AM

Secure Better Auction Items: How to Host a "Procurement Party"

One of the first steps in planning a fundraising auction is assembling the procurement committee. This team of dedicated supporters is given one task, and one task only: to procure unique items that cost little to nothing up front and are valuable enough to drive ticket sales and bidding. Let's face it: The procurement process is daunting, no matter how established your organization is or passionate your team may be. Fortunately, with careful planning and organization, any nonprofit can procure items that fetch high bids. The first step to curating an auction catalog worth talking about: hosting a "wish list" or procurement party! Read on for helpful tips to make the most of the party and get procurement off to a running start. What is a procurement party? A procurement party is a fun brainstorming session for your auction committee. It’s an opportunity for everyone in your committee to get together, kick things off on a fun note, and leave the meeting with an action plan and list of items to pursue. Some tips to keep your party both fun and productive:

  • 9 min read
  • May 5, 2016 10:34:35 AM

9 Easy Ways to Make Event Fundraising Emails More Effective

At Winspire, we are passionate about helping nonprofits raise more money. Event promotion, particularly email marketing, plays a huge role in the outcome of any fundraiser. Last week we looked at what makes an impactful "save the date" email invitation. Striking images, vibrant colors, concise copy and links to a website all encourage donors to mark their calendars for your annual gala, auction or tournament. But the "save the date" is just the first step in a months-long fundraising event email campaign. Are you simply sending weekly reminder emails that rehash the same information over and over? Or are you thinking strategically and creatively to encourage as much participation as possible from a diverse donor base? Make the most of every message with our 9 email "must-do's" to create anticipation and increase revenue at your event. 1. Understand your audience Writing effective email invites starts with knowing what motivates and excites your supporters. What makes your event stand out? How is your nonprofit making a difference? What do guests hope to get out of the event?

  • 12 min read
  • Apr 14, 2016 8:48:02 AM

12 Questions You're Asking about Consignment Travel, Answered

Including no-risk travel in fundraising galas, auctions and raffles is an increasingly popular strategy for nonprofits. Whether you are considering using consignment travel packages for the first time or have been leveraging Winspire Experiences for years, chances are you still have a question or two about how best to use this fundraising tool.

  • 11 min read
  • Mar 31, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Procuring Buzzworthy Travel for Your Upcoming Charity Auction: Webinar and Q&A with GreaterGiving

In this post: "Procure Buzzworthy Travel Packages in 2016" webinar recording and part 1 of our must-read Q&A. Most charity fundraisers are not complete without a dazzling live and silent auction. And for quality items that generate "buzz," drive ticket sales and raise bidding, travel is a proven charity auction bestseller—yet one of the most difficult items to procure. To the rescue: incredible Experiences reserved on consignment. In an informative and entertaining webinar, we teamed up with our friends at Greater Giving to explain how consignment travel helps you raise more money for your cause. Topics covered include: 3 reasons travel performs well in auctions How to host a procurement party How to procure travel packages 4 key strategies to consider when using no-risk travel...and more!

  • 9 min read
  • Mar 10, 2016 9:48:08 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

16 Fundraising Best Practices for Preventing Donor Fatigue

Donor fatigue describes the unfortunate situation where key contributors either reduce or stop donating to a nonprofit they had been consistently supporting in the past. Early signs of donor fatigue include: Reduced frequency of donations Smaller donation amounts Unresponsiveness to calls or letters Why does donor fatigue happen and what can nonprofits do to prevent it? First, it helps to understand the reasons for donor fatigue. There are some circumstances, like a change in the donor’s own financial situation, that you can do little about. In most cases, however, donor disengagement can be resolved with a heathly dose of sincere gratitude and a focus on improved communications. Let’s take a closer look at some ideas to minimize and prevent donor fatigue for your nonprofit.

  • 15 min read
  • Oct 13, 2015 10:43:00 AM

8 Ideas for Securing Incredible Charity Auction Items Early

Take the heat off by preparing for fall live and silent auctions now. Call your auction committee for happy hour by the pool and devise a strategy to round up the best items using these tips: 1. Build your procurement committee  Assemble a team of capable, connected and committed individuals to go out and acquire the items you want for your auction. Don't be afraid to be selective but make sure you give all interested parties an opportunity to get involved. For more on this, see: 5 Qualities to Look For When Building Your Auction Committee 2. Host a wish list party One of the best ways to get the ball rolling with procurement is to gather your committee and have an informal gathering to brainstorm ideas. Make it fun! Host it outside the office and provide food and drinks as an added incentive for team members to show up. The idea here is to create a festive atmosphere to get your team in the right mindset to discuss the event. For more on this, see this article: Kick Off Your Auction Item Procurement with a “Wish List Party” 3. Consider incentives to motivate your team Reward your committee members for their efforts by setting goals and awarding prizes for outstanding acquisitions. Start by talking to your team about potential incentives – they know better than anyone what motivates them. Then set procurement goals based on either the number of silent auction items or the dollar value of donations acquired. You can set goals and allocate prizes for individuals or for the entire procurement team, depending on your preference. For more incentive ideas, check out this article: 7 Incentives Guaranteed to Motivate Your Auction Committee

  • 10 min read
  • Aug 4, 2015 10:49:00 AM

Engaging Stakeholders in Shaping Your Next Charity Event

Nonprofit stakeholders are vital to the development of a sustainable and profitable fundraising event. As an event organizer, they are an invaluable resource as you seek to improve your event and reach ever-higher fundraising goals and expectations. Surprisingly, despite the value of stakeholder input, many nonprofits overlook the simple act of gathering feedback and using it in their planning of future events.  But first, who are stakeholders? Stakeholders are any individual or group of people who have a vested interest in the success of your nonprofit in fulfilling its objective. This includes any affected person or entity who doesn't necessarily serve a specific role within your organization, including individual donors, event patrons, business services, volunteers and even the beneficiaries you serve as part of your mission.  When was the last time you reached outside your organization for feedback to help you improve your event? If you are guilty of avoiding the steps necessary to engage your stakeholders and actively seek their input, it's time to put a plan into place to involve them in shaping your next fundraising event. The payoff will be greater excitement in the weeks leading up to your event and a resulting boost in participation. Longer term, you will have stronger ties with people who are key to your organization's success.   

  • 11 min read
  • Jul 28, 2015 9:00:00 AM

5 Summer Prep Ideas For Your Next Charity Auction

Ahhh... Summertime. Time to take a break from your charity’s fundraising activities until the fall, right?? Wait!! Instead, try taking advantage of the peace and quite with these five easy summer preparation ideas that will make things easier as you begin planning for your next charity event. 1. Procure Auction Items Early  Take the heat off by preparing for your fall live and silent auctions now. Call your auction committee for happy hour by the pool and devise a strategy to round up the best items using these tips: Decide who will be involved with procuring auction items. Board members? Other volunteers? Staff? Find people who are enthusiastic and motivated by your organization's mission and mobilize a committee dedicated to procurement. Consider possible incentives to motivate your team - perhaps a prize for the person who gathers the most items on the list. Establish a theme. Establishing a theme early on will help you and your committee come up with unique ideas for auction items and focus your procurement efforts on items that would be the most ideal for your audience. Survey past guests. Consider a brief survey of past attendees to determine what auction items they did and did not like. Quality matters more than quantity. For more, see Survey Donors to Boost Fundraising Revenue at Your Next Charity Auction.

  • 7 min read
  • Jun 25, 2015 10:15:00 AM

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