We are happy to say all of our partners are open for business. With fires 100 percent contained, wineries, restaurants and hotels are eager for your winning bidders to return.
To maximize your live auction revenue, it's important to cater every item to just the top 5 percent of spenders.
One bona fide way to "feed" this top tier of spenders: Offer luxury travel in the auction. Did you know the luxury travel sector is growing almost a third faster than the overall travel industry?
In last week's post, "How many items should be included in a live auction?", we concluded that most events use 7 to 12 items. More important than the quantity, however, is the quality. These 7 to 12 items need to be premium, big-ticket packages worth the high bids you seek.
What if you run into trouble filling the live auction with high-caliber donations?
You already know travel is a top seller at charity auctions - after all, who doesn't love a vacation?
Travel providers like Winspire make it easy for nonprofits to offer turnkey travel packages in their fundraising events at no risk or upfront cost. With over 140 unique trips in our catalog, it can be tough to know which items best fit your audience - and are most likely to ignite bidding wars.
Holding fundraising events has many fringe benefits for nonprofits: a chance to engage donors, promote awareness for your cause and have fun. But the #1 reason we have events? To raise money!
The key to raising money is focusing on profits.
As demonstrated above, that means netting as much revenue as you can while trimming expenses.
On the blog we tend to focus on revenue generation, but today we'll look at one practical way to do both: securing underwriters for big-ticket auction items.
Imagine being able to offer a trip to Bermuda in your auction and net 100% of the winning bid.
Check out today's post for an explanation of the process of underwriting, plus a quick video from benefit auctioneer Danny Hooper explaining how underwriters can help you offer incredible travel packages for free!
So...what’s an underwriter?
An underwriter is somebody, either a business or an individual, that agrees to pay the cost of a specific item in your event. This might be the catering, auctioneer, centerpieces, auction catalogs and more. The underwriter then becomes the official donor of that expense and receives recognition as such at your event.
Any covered cost is a win for your organization, but underwriting a no-risk travel package offers a special opportunity for underwriters to see their investment grow and multiply in minutes, before their eyes. Here's what we mean.
The most important key to success in auction fundraising events is offering desirable items worth the high bids you seek. One that certainly fits the bill: a bucket-list trip to Havana, Cuba.
From an easing of travel restrictions to the passing of longtime president Fidel Castro, Cuba has dominated the headlines throughout 2016.
Celebrities like Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra and most famously Ernest Hemingway flocked to the Caribbean nation in the 1950s - but economic embargoes and tourism bans soon made it difficult for the vast majority of Americans to visit the island's beaches, culture and cuisine.
In 2016, a series of regulation changes made travel to Cuba much simpler. Today, 10 major airlines (including United, Delta, American and Southwest) are sending a total of 20 flights from the U.S. to Havana daily, eliminating the need to coordinate charter flights or enter through a different country.
In addition to greater accessibility, it's easier than ever to stay connected on the island. Business Insider reports, "Several U.S. mobile carriers have signed voice, text and data-roaming agreements with Etecsa, the Cuban telecommunications provider," plus the number of Wi-fi hotspots continues to grow.
As a result of the changes, the New York Times noted last week that Cuba was in the U.S. top five most searched and booked destinations on Cyber Monday this year. It was also the fastest-growing destination throughout the year, up 153 percent from 2015.
Imagine giving your donors the chance to support your cause while buying an incredible excursion to Cuba.
Although tourism is still prohibited, your winning bidders can still enjoy all Cuba has to offer. Read on to see how Winspire takes care of the details for travelers to ensure their vacation is unforgettable.
Trips for education and culture
Fully guided group tours to Cuba have been permitted for some time. However, as of March 2016, the U.S. government allows citizens to also make “individual people-to-people educational trips”.
To that end, Winspire put together our signature Havana Highlights Experience. The itinerary meets the criteria of education, as winning bidders are introduced to the culture of Cuba through guided visits to Havana's most popular destinations. They'll also have plenty of free time to explore on their own and customize their trip—the best of both worlds.
Check out just a few of the guided excursions your donors will enjoy.
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For over a decade now, experiential travel has been a top seller in auctions and raffles. Travel is unique, appeals to just about everyone (who doesn't love a vacation?!) and, best of all, people already budget thousands annually for vacations.
Travel packages add the "WOW!" factor that separates your event from a crowded fundraising space.
Whether you procure your own trips or partner with a reputable travel provider like Winspire, you want to be smart about it. Travel packages are the highlight of any live auction, so you don't want to squander a cent of your biggest revenue potential.
Today we will highlight some of the major opportunities created by offering travel to your patrons, both for the night's profits and years to come. Get 20 specific, practical steps to:
- Select the best travel for your audience
- Place trips in your auction or raffle
- Promote travel before and during the event
- Profit as much as possible from each package
To help, we also created a handy slideshow presentation demonstrating these strategies - check it out above! If you're considering giving donors the chance to buy travel in support of your cause, use this guide to make the most of each item.
You know wine is a tried-and-true staple of charity auctions. Cases of custom-labeled or vintage wine, trips to Napa Valley, winery tours and more have always been magnets for bids.
Now another drink has caught the attention of fundraisers: craft beer.
As mentioned in our recent webinar "Ask a Professional Benefit Auctioneer!", auctioneers around the country have recently noted a huge spike in interest in ales. At a 2016 meeting of the National Auctioneers Association, they concluded craft beer is one of the hottest items being sold in fundraising events today.
How can your organization take advantage of the trend?
Combine craft beer with experiential travel, a consistent top-seller at charity auctions. "Beercations" offering unique tours and tastings, plus deluxe accomodations and travel arrangements, make for one standout auction item.
In the spirit of Oktoberfest, hoist a stein and read on for highlights of Winspire's best lager-loving travel packages, including a brand-new update to the Samuel Adams Boston Experience. (Like all Winspire Experiences, these no-risk trips cost nothing upfront to include in a fundraiser - your nonprofit only pays for the items that sell!)
Then, enjoy a delicious beer chili recipe perfect for brisk fall days.
West Coast: San Diego Craft Brewing Scene
VIP Brewery Excursion, Chauffeur, Manchester Grand Hyatt 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (3450-2)
Did you know sunny San Diego is considered the "Craft Beer Capital of America"? Local breweries like Stone Brewing Co., AleSmith Brewing Company and Ballast Point (pictured above) are consistently rated among the top breweries in the world. The Great American Beer Festival’s “Best Small Brewer” Award has gone to San Diego County brewers multiples times, including 2014’s winner, Coronado Brewing Company.
With more than 100 local breweries, microbreweries and pubs in the city, beer enthusiasts are flocking to get a taste of these highly acclaimed hops.
Imagine sending your donors on a 5-hour, VIP custom excursion at 3-4 breweries of their choice.
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As an event organizer or volunteer, what would you say is the #1 challenge fundraising events face?
Is it procuring the right auction items? Choosing the best time and date? Just getting people in the doors?
We think it's not taking advantage of every revenue opportunity.
All too often we underestimate the spending power of attendees. This "deadly sin" of fundraising events can show up in many ways: not charging enough for admission; delivering a timid cash appeal; wasting precious minutes on non-income generating entertainment; and as we'll discuss today, offering the same items in the charity auction year after year.
One revenue opportunity not to be missed: incorporating travel into your event. Travel is consistently a top seller at auctions, and here's why:
- People love traveling. (Who doesn't love a vacation?)
- Donors budget for travel. (Studies show 83% of winning bidders set aside over 5 grand for leisure travel each year.)
- Unique travel Experiences help your event stand out from the competition. (Did you know the majority of winning bidders attend 4 or more philanthropic events annually?)
Whether you procure trips yourself or partner with a reputable provider like Winspire, travel can be a game-changer for your bottom line.
Read on to learn just how much money you could be leaving on the table without a way to access your donors' travel budgets.
Have you heard? There is a massive travel budget, or money that people set aside each year for vacations, in North America.
According to American Express, well over half of Americans have a travel budget (and we all know that percentage is probably much higher among the guests at a typical charity fundraiser). In fact, a whopping $600 billion is spent on leisure travel each year!
For many nonprofits, offering travel in the auction opens the door to a whole new revenue stream—travel budgets completely separate from a donor's 'philanthropic' budget.
We could certainly use access to more revenue streams, but I don't think our audience really has the money to buy trips.
Valid point. But if you've never offered travel at your fundraising event before, you may be underestimating the giving power and travel budgets of your audience.
Surveys show 83% of winning bidders budget $5,000 annually for travel. What's more, 53% budget at least $10,000 per year for vacations.
What this means for your nonprofit: An overwhelming majority of your audience has set aside money to spend on a vacation package that they'll spend one way or another... whether through your fundraising event or with a travel agent.
Okay, some people in our audience are probably buying at least one trip this year. How do we know where they want to go?
While some cities and attractions maintain popularity year after year (think Hawaii and NYC), there are new, up-and-coming destinations and activities poised to become big winners at fundraising auctions this fall.
Check out our infographic highlighting the biggest travel trends of 2016 (spa day, anyone?), then learn how to quickly and easily reserve Winspire Experiences that cater to any niche traveler.