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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. Think your donors would be interested in Caribbean sand & sun right now? 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.
Experiential travel has always been a top seller in charity auctions and raffles. It is also one of the most difficult items for auction committees to get donated and fulfill. Developing a quality travel experience for your auction can quickly spiral into a nightmare of logistics, and unfulfilled promises and in the end - a complete waste of time. What's worse, you could end up with unhappy winning bidders.
One of the best ways to offset the cost of printing your charity auction catalog, as well as many other elements of your fundraising event, is to get corporate and/or individual sponsors to underwrite different parts of the event in return for recognition in the catalog. First, it's important to note that there is a slight difference between "sponsorship" and "underwriting", even though the terms are often used interchangeably: Underwriting: A donor pays for either all or a portion of an event expense directly. Almost any aspect of an event can be underwritten. An example would be finding a print vendor to pay for ALL printed materials, including banners, tickets, this catalog, forms, invitations, etc. Other sponsorship opportunities include a menu item, like dessert, or other aspects of the event like the centerpieces, the band or the booze. Sponsorship: A donor buys into a sponsorship package offered by the Nonprofit with the funds going directly to the organization to help offset event expenses. Examples include sponsoring a table for 10 or a "presenting sponsorship" where a donor would pay to sponsor - say - the live auction so it would read "The 2015 Live Auctrion, presented by XYZ". In either case, your objective is to defray the costs or expenses of your event by offering donors various incentives - such as verbal recognition or putting a company's logo on event banners or other printed material. You can offer a range of sponsorship and underwriting opportunities, each with its own level of benefits. [FREE TEMPLATE] Download the pre-designed 100% customizable Microsoft Word auction catalog template. One of the best places to offer potential sponsors some exposure during your event is in your auction catalog. If you haven't already, check out our professionally designed 100% customizable Microsoft Word auction catalog template, which includes space for you to recognize donors at the different sponsorship levels discussed below. So how should you structure the sponsorship and recognition options? Sponsorship Levels One option is to establish different sponsorship levels, each of which comes with its own level of benefits.
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