Tuesday, January 2, 2018

"You gotta spend money to make money"

As I begin to write this, I have to remind myself to stay as respectful as possible.  However, as my blood begins to boil and my head hits my hands, I asked myself “Why do charities think and do business the way they do?”  Or “Why don’t the people who work for charities and are planning fundraisers think like normal business men and women?”  You would think by now, that charities or fundraisers would already understand this important fact but obviously they still think opposite of what is true.  As it seems, charity fundraising is the only place where people believe that uneducated people, non-professionals are adequate for this endeavor.

The reason I am saying this is something that I deal with on a constant basis.  Nearly every single day, I am confronted with someone who works with or for a charity who believes they know how to effectively and successfully raise money.  Then, when I hear just how much money they raised, I only sit back and shake my head. 

“Why don’t they ask for help?”  “Why don’t they want to hire someone who understands what is needed?”  “Why don’t they use common sense?” 

Just this morning, I received a call from a charity looking for help with items for their event.  Obviously, I told them that would be easy and we could help them with everything they could possibly want and more.  But then I asked if they were having a Live Auction.  The person on the other side of the phone said “Yes and we are having Bid-Pal.”  So, of course I asked “Do you have an auctioneer?” 

This is where I nearly fell out of my chair – the answer was “No, we can’t afford it.”  So, hold on, you can afford Bid Pal which will not make you a dime, it just makes bidding easier but when it comes to having someone, a professional who is incredibly crucial in your fundraising success, you can’t afford that.  I attempted to explain but she just wouldn’t listen. 

Ladies & Gentlemen – it’s now 2018.  Fundraising has changed drastically.  Are you an educated fundraiser?  Do you know what the difference between success and failure?  Do you know how much money you should raise and how to raise it?  If you don’t, you need to consult with a professional. 


Successful fundraising is crucial to your survival.  Having someone stand up in front of everyone and “Act” like an auctioneer is like asking your mechanic to take out your Appendix.  You would never let someone perform something very important for you if they weren’t a professional!!! 

Why in the charity fundraising world is this simple thought completely backward to how charities plan and conduct their fundraising business?

Anyone planning a charity fundraiser should understand that there are 104 Million charities in the United States.  The beginning – the absolute beginning of successful fundraising is $100.00 Net per guest.  That means if you have 300 people, you should at the very least profit $30,000.00.  Do you or have you even hit that mark?  Don’t lie to yourself….did you hit it or at the very least get within a few hundred dollars of it?  The last place you should scrimp is in the planning and execution of your fundraising event. 

As with most charities, people are asked once a year to plan a fundraiser.  Normally, they just repeat what happened last year without knowing last year’s result.  Or they copy one they attended previously without knowing their result either.

Please heed my advice – whether it be BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising or one of the many incredible Charity Auctioneers across our great nation such as Renee Jones, Jeff Manning or Shelly St. John,  etc. - please hire a professional please.



As professional fundraisers, we want your event to be incredibly successful for you and your charity.  Plus we also want to have the ability to help you make it successful. 

We, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, study successful fundraising 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  What you may think is successful or might be successful maybe exactly opposite of what is successful. 

Have you ever heard the term “You gotta spend money to make money”?  Well, that statement is so true – it’s the difference between a windfall of fundraising dollars raised and a yard sale.

We would love to help you plan, manage and host an incredibly successful, highly profitable fundraiser.  Go to our website and contact us, we would love to meet with you and discuss how we can help.  Go to www.BWUnlimited.com.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Momentum: Why are ticket sales like a Freight Train? www.BWUnlimited.com

Have you ever seen a Freight Train that seems to extend for miles of cars?  I have and I’ve thought “How in the world do you get this thing up and moving?”  Can you imagine the weight of not only all the cars but the contents as well? 

Slowly the engine at the front will start pulling, the tension builds as each car gets pulled and finally, they as a group, become one and start to move slowly.   But the longer the engine pulls, the faster the entire train becomes until they are running at full tilt – speeding like a freight train and nearly unstoppable.

So what does this have to do with fundraising?  Well, sit back and let me explain.  The slow Freight Train analogy is the same as your ticket sales engine.  I always tell my clients to focus on their “Ticket Sales Engine” first and foremost, getting it up and running at full tilt.  The reason why is, if you do the appropriate things to get it up and running, it will run by itself while you and your team focus on something else.

It’s a scientific fact that people must see something “7 TIMES” before they react to it.  
Can you imagine in the old days of marketing, having to do a mailer that many times to grab people’s attention, it would have cost a fortune. 

But today, what is the biggest tool charities or fundraising event planners have at their disposal?  WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!!!  You got it right, yup…the Social Networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

I advise my clients to “Post Post Post” their event flyer…over and over and over again.  What else?  “Tag Tag Tag” all their friends no matter where they live.  Also, to invite their entire friends list to their facebook event page.

Now – here is a little secret about Facebook event pages – Don’t be fooled by people either saying they are coming or not joining whatsoever.  The reality is, a Facebook Event page is yet another way of marketing your event.  You have to constantly tell people about your event, over and over and over again. 

Ok, I can hear your thoughts “But George, people are going to get sick of seeing it and will complain” – You’re right…the people who don’t support you or aren’t coming may complain, but WHO CARES!!!  That’s the way you find out “Whose in and whose out.” 

So back to the freight train story – you have to build positive momentum around your ticket sales and here are a few tricks that you will find helpful:

#1 – Post your event flyer:  But post it with a “WOW this event is going to be absolutely incredible” type of description.  Nobody, absolutely no one likes boring!!!  Tell them how awesome it’s going to be and why – the food, the music, the venue, the stuff…whatever.  But DO NOT focus on your charity.  Why should you focus on your charity?  Because the EVENT will sell the tickets in mass.

#2 – Selfie Ticket Sales pictures:  Every single time someone buys a table, take a picture of them handing you the money or the check and post it saying “Johnny Rottencrotch just purchased his table of 10.”  That tells other people that tickets are selling and they want to be in the limelight too…they want you to post a picture of them.

#3 – Don’t give early deals:  This is just confusing – Keep it simple stupid.

#4 – Tickets will not be sold at the door:  Not only is a horrible practice to offer tickets at the door but if you’re hosting it at a great venue, they will want to know your guest count.   Telling people you will not sell tickets at the door while giving them a deadline, will spur them on to buy tickets.

#5 – DON’T COMPLAIN:  Never – EVER – Never Ever complain about low ticket sales.  Do you know why?  Because that will just tell the world your event is a failure.  Don’t scream at people, cuss at them, yell or blame them for not supporting you.  Just don’t do it.

#6 – On-Line Ticket Sales:  I’m neither for nor against online ticket sales platforms.  Buuuuuut…it’s not the “Cure All” to ticket sales.  In fact, it’s most ineffective.  People are lazy.  If someone says “Hey John, I’d like tickets to that awesome event you’re hosting” – DON’T tell to go online, go to this facebook or website, then over there, then click whatever and buy their tickets.  After the first two (2) sentences, you lost them.  They are lazy – Have tickets with you at all times.  When someone asks or the opportunity arises…SELL THEM TICKETS!!!

If you follow the steps above – your Ticket Engine will be up and rolling like a freight train.  But, if you think otherwise or the classic “I just don’t want to bother people” – you will be sitting in an empty room come event day.


If you would like to learn more about how to build “Ticket Sales Momentum”, contact BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, we would love to help you.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  Contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

5 Highly Successful Tips to go from a ZERO to a Fundraising HERO!!!

The following tips are for both novice and expert fundraisers.  However, if a Novice follows these tips, he or she can immediately appear to be an Expert or the Champion of Champion Fundraisers.   Fundraising is highly competitive since there are nearly 200 million fundraisers across the United States.  With that many fundraisers going on across the country, you must be noticed in order to be successful.

If you are an experienced fundraiser, meaning you have held or were a part of planning or hosting a fundraiser before – here is some information that will test the fact if you were successful or not.  Remember, you are only lying to yourself if you truly don’t answer the question. 

What was the “Net” (Profit after paying all the bills) of you event?  How many guests did you have at your event?  

FACT:  The beginning of successful professional fundraising in North America is $100.00 for every guest – 300 people = $30,000.00.  Do the math for your event and what is the answer.  If it does not equal the same result above, your event was not a success.  Depending on just how much of a discrepancy there was, that is just how truly unsuccessful you were. 

Here are 5 tips & tricks that will take from ZERO to a HERO Fundraiser:

#1 – BUILD A TEAM – The single most important task that you can do is to build a large, motivated team to help you.  “Build it and they will come” – The larger your team or committee is, the easier it will be to sell tickets to your event and also acquire financial sponsors and donated items.  To be successful, like playing “Tug of War”, the larger your team, the stronger you are and the easier all the tasks will be.  Anyone can help, ask everyone you know and ask them to ask and recruit their friends.  People outside of your charity can help.  Everyone wants to be a part of something exciting and big, everyone wants to be on the “Winning Team.”

#2 – PLAN TO BE UNIQUE – Do not copy last year’s event or even worse, an event you attended before.  The reason you don’t want to copy another event is solely based on the fact that you truly don’t know if that event was successful or not.  Just because something appears to be one thing, it can be the exact opposite.  Plan your event based on…your event only.

#3 – SOCIAL NETWORKS – If you are not on Facebook or Instagram, you should be.  If you are one of the very few people who think that the social networks are foolish, you’re not in the right arena.   Find someone who can help you take advantage of the networks.  Remember, advertising or marketing here is 100% free.   You can pay to boost your posts, but it’s not necessary….there are definite and successful ways to utilize the social networks (especially Facebook) to absolutely maximize the exposure of your event without paying a dime.  Advertising on the Social Networks is absolutely and highly effective.  You can also advertise what is in your Live & Silent Auction, your sponsors and donors.

#4 – FREE VS. PAID – This topic is not popular because most charities are still thinking in the “Old School” charity way of thinking.  Believing that you should get the food for free, the place (venue) you are hosting your event, entertainment and all the items for free or donated is exactly counterproductive to your success.  Do you recall the popular saying “You get what you pay for”?  The people or donors you want to attract will not be attracted to a “Less than” event where everything is for free.  You want to host your event at a very nice place with great food – not at a free place with free food.  Many charities still believe that the items on the Live & Silent Auction should or must be donated.  However, if you just think for a second, you’ll figure this out on your own.  If you go out, go crazy getting tons of donated items, think about where your items came from?  I would bet from the local area…the same area in which you are hosting your event.   The attractiveness of the items is not that spectacular because in reality, your guests are “Local People, attending a Local event with items donated by Local businesses” – if your guests wanted those items, they would have gone to those businesses and bought it themselves.  People are looking for a deal.  You must have items which people get excited over, not a $25.00 Gift Certificate to a restaurant nearby.  Charity guests will not and never ever pay face value despite what people think.  In order to attract high bids, you should have items which will attract extremely high bids.  Acquiring “No Risk” consigned items at your event will definitely make you money.   If you are paying for the food, the bar, the band or DJ or anything, why aren’t you doing the same thing for the items which you are utilizing to fundraise?  For some reason, charities tend to shut off their thinking when it comes to this.  Go back and read Tip #2 – be unique.  Having high profile items and experiences at your event will make your event much more noticeable.

#5 – HIRE AN EXPERT – Do you allow your neighbor to diagnose your medical problems?  No.  Hiring an expert will have a very high pay off.  The best in the business will never be free, they are the power players.  If you want to win the game, don’t you want the best players?  Professional Auctioneers who know and fully understand charity fundraising as well as Charity Fundraising Event Planning & Management companies will seriously have a huge impact on your final financial result.  This investment is absolutely the best decision you can make.  A professional fundraiser will also guide you through the myriad of mistakes toward a huge success – making you look like a HERO instead of ZERO.  In our lives, we want the best when it comes to Doctors, Lawyers, Builders etc.   Ask yourself this – are you an expert fundraiser?   If you are an accountant, mother, father, mechanic, doctor, store manager full time but once a year, you are asked to be a fundraiser – do you know the current fundraising trends?  Have you ever held an event that was highly successful?  Consult with an expert and hire the one you believe will help you the most.  That expert can help you raise $100,000.00 instead of $10,000.00.


BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising plans incredibly successful fundraising events across the country on a daily basis and has been for 10 years.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can help you plan, manage and host your event as well as provide you with high profile items for your Live & Silent Auction such as Worldwide Travel Packages, autographed Celebrity & Iconic Sports Items, Beautiful Jewelry and incredible D├ęcor on a “No Risk” or consigned basis.  We would love to help you go from a ZERO to charity fundraising HERO, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Houdini was a magician, not an Auctioneer !!!

Over the past several months, we have broken records for our business, helping more charities than ever.  We are helping more charities plan, manage & host events than we ever have.  But with this, especially as we transgress our great country, we are faced with several issues which plague charities.  Most of the problems arise from not being educated and still believing in the various myths that still exist.

Charities, or I should say the people who make up the charity and actually planning their next fundraiser, tend to live in a “Fantasy Land.”  It’s not their fault, you must understand but trying to educate them so that they not only better understand the “Reality of Charity Fundraising” is harder than trying climb Mount Everest backward in a "Speedo and flip flops." 

Charities don’t want to believe that the items donated to them are not going to bring full value (aka Retail Value).  The refuse to believe it – in fact, while I am often am talking to them about their fundraising, they stare blankly back at me with a dazed look on their face.  The reality is that they never go back and look to track what the items they had at their event, actually did or how they performed.

Sadly, charities (I am truly talking about the people) don’t think when seeking donated items, what kind of items they should be going after.  And, here is where you want to rip my head off, don’t truly care about the business who donated the item, they only care about how much money they could possibly make from the sale of it.  How do I know?  Because I use to be the “Donation King.”  I had it down to a science.  But then when I really figured it out…that is when I became a Donation God!!! 

Are you ready for a dose of reality?  Are you sure?  Before I go into it, let me tell you a little story.  I was helping a charity at an event which they had donated some very high end art.  In fact, they brought in the artist from out of the country – six (6) in total – all from South America.  The artists insisted that it had to be displayed in a very high trafficked area with amazing visibility of the artwork.  Understand that the event was very high end and the place, high end as well.  But…I know the reality of the reality.  I asked the artist if there were “Reserves” on the art which they said there were none.  I explained to the Artist what may happen and they obviously disagreed with me.  The pieces ranged (retail mind you) from $7,000.00 to $15,000.00 Retail – original art.  Because they wanted the art to be prominent, I ensured that everyone could see it and it was the centerpoint.  This same art took up the majority of the Live Auction.  Again, I asked them if they would be upset if it did not receive high bids, they laughed and shook their heads as if I was telling a joke.  Well during the live auction as I began to sell the art, the room fell silent (can you hear the crickets?).  The highest bid for the art was $350.00 for a $15,000.00 piece of art.  Then at the end of the evening, one of the buyers tried to back out of the bid so that he could buy items from us (our No Risk Auction Items – Mike Tyson autographed Boxing Trunks and a Sugar Ray Leonard/Roberto Duran dual signed Boxing Glove).  The artists were devastated but came over to me after the event and thanked me for educating them while asking if they should ever do it again – I told them no.

I could provide you with example such as when a donor was present at an event and the item which his business (which he was the owner of) donated an item worth $900.00 and it sold for $45.00 – he walked out immediately after seeing it sell for that amount furious.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I am sorry if you think differently, but Auctioneers are not Magicians.  We auctioneers cannot turn water into wine or make money fly magically out of people’s pockets.  Not one auctioneer in the world can.  You have to provide people with items or experiences that they would want.  Unfortunately, in the example above with the Artists, our Decor items sold higher than their original art – I find that sad.

Furthermore, charities must market the items which they have and will be available to bid on.  Facebook and email newsletters are perfect for this.  But putting people in a room and expecting them to bid on stuff just because…doesn’t happen. 
Another myth – this one will probably sting so gear up – people do not bid on items at your charity fundraiser because they are helping your charity.  This is 100% false.  What is true is this – they bid on items that are attractive, that they want.  The items that get the most bids are Hard to find items, things they have never seen before or Travel Experiences.  If this weren’t true, why do people get buyers remorse and try to return the items the following day?  Charities tend to think people walk in the door blind folded with a stack of $100 bills in their pockets and just throw it up in the air…wherever it lands is what they are going to buy and say “Well it’s for charity” – That is totally false and those days are over.

Be smart about what you are doing, be strategic when seeking donations and then market your donations as much as humanly possible.  Use Facebook religiously to market your event and the items available.

Something else very important – why is it acceptable to pay a venue for food & drinks, a florist for floral arrangements but not to use consigned items and travel on your live and silent auction?  I’ll leave you with that thought.

If you would like to learn how seek and get incredible donated items while ensuring the donors are happy by the result and how to also absolutely ensure that those items bring an amazing amount of money - or if you would like to learn more about how to host a successful charity fundraising event and how to plan your fundraising platforms such as the Live & Silent Auction effectively, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com, we would love to help you exceed your fundraising goals.