Monday, February 20, 2017

What is the reason for the "2017 Road Dawg Rumble" - Restoration of the MSP Museum, Maintenance of the Fallen Trooper Memorial & Walk of Honor

Today, I had the chance to meet Jack Howard, President of the Maryland State Police Alumni Association (MSPAA) at the Maryland State Police Museum.   I asked to see the museum after hearing for several months that it was in dire need of repair.  I arrived early and had forgot it was Federal Holiday leaving the grounds completely empty of MSP personnel walking to and from their offices.

The very first day that I met with Jack Howard, Bernie Spangler and Chuck Cave, they told me their need to raise money and why.  Knowing these men well, I was use to their direct nature.  They told me that the MSPAA was tasked with the upkeep of the MSP Fallen Trooper Memorial and the Walk of Honor as well as the MSP Museum.

I applaud the MSPAA for everything they have done and continue to do.  I especially applaud them for stepping up to take on this responsibility.  I am proud to be considered a member of such a prestigious group of men and women.

Several years ago, I visited the Museum when Pete Edge ran it but had not been to visit in years.  While waiting for Jack to arrive, I walked over to the Memorial and read the names, several I knew personally like Joe Lanzi and Eddie Toatley.  I looked at out how well kept the Walk of Honor appeared.  That is when I decided to shoot a Live Facebook Video to show everyone why the MSPAA was raising money.  That area is truly hallowed ground.  The Memorial stood alone in silence but it’s image spoke volumes to me especially since I had spent twenty (20) years as a Maryland State Trooper.

Jack arrived soon thereafter and we entered the Museum.  I was immediately shocked at how the place was in disarray.  It appeared more like a warehouse instead of museum.  Old photo’s scattered about, historical MSP items sitting outside in boxes….it was almost ghostly from all the memories of all the Troopers who have worn our badge.  History slipping away into the darkness. 

Jack proudly gave me a tour of the first floor and showed me some of the incredible items from the past of the MSP.  I saw photos from the beginning of MSP and the equipment the Troopers of yesterday utilized.

Then Jack took me into the basement just a few steps down a staircase from the entrance, that’s when reality of the problem truly sank in.  There was extensive water damage buckling the walls with the plaster falling apart all over the floor.  Paneling in other room curling from water damage, the ceiling falling in – the damage was extensive. 

Knowing enough about building, I immediately knew that if there was this much damage to the exterior walls, there must be extensive damage to the walls interior.  The area also held old logs, photos and MSP Memorabilia. 

I asked Jack his permission to video him as he gave all of us a guided tour of the ruin or as Mr. Howard refers to it as “The Museum has been laying in fallow for eight (8) years.”  I was speechless and honestly, not very proud of myself or my MSP family.

We, the people who make up the MSP, most likely believe that the State of Maryland pays for the upkeep, not true.  We also have most likely believe that MSP civilian personnel also keep the area of the Memorial and the Walk of Honor in shape, also not true. 

The Maryland State Police Alumni Association is solely responsible for the Museum, and maintenance of the Memorial including upkeep and landscaping, not groundskeepers.

At this moment, I knew my task meant more than normal, especially as a Retired Maryland State Trooper.  Somehow, I or we all need to know. 

This is only my opinion as a retired Trooper – I had no idea that the MSPAA had anything to do with it until I saw a plaque near the Memorial detailing those exact words.  I thoughts that the Pikesville Groundskeepers moved the lawn and took care of the landscaping.  When I saw the damage to the building, prior to entering the front door, I thought especially since it was an historical building that the State would take care of it.   Something like this, to this extent, could never ever happen.  Sadly, I was wrong.

I have been seeing all the suggestions posted on Facebook and all have merit.  But everything takes money and a lot of it.  Either fixing that building or moving to another, it takes an enormous amount of money.

So with this enormous undertaking, we need an enormous amount of people to help.  Everyone – both current and retired Troopers, MSP Civilians and law enforcement supporters…all must grab the rope and pull together.

Now you know why the “Road Dawg Rumble” is so important.  To give the MSPAA the funds they so desperately need to get these incredible tasks accomplished.  We need as many people as possible to buy tables and tickets to the Road Dawg Rumble.  We need Event Sponsors.  Byron Warnken already donated $10,000.00 as the Platinum Event Sponsor.  July Guyer, a former Trooper now Attorney, donated a Bronze Sponsorship of $1,000.00.

If you care about what I just spoke about and want to help, I ask that you help us spread the word.  Sell Tickets or Buy them.  Attend our committee meetings and be a part of the solution.  For that, you will attend an incredible event which will fund the project. 

The more people we have, the more sponsors and donations we have, the easier the task becomes.  And while helping the cause, you will have a great time doing it.

I challenge each and everyone of you to sell a Table of Ten (10) for the Road Dawg Rumble.  I challenge each of you to grab the rope with us and pull.

So – how many tickets do you want?


Contact Jack Howard or Kim Smith for tickets or questions. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fundraising 101: How speeches at Charity Fundraising Events hurt your final results

One of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s most famous quotes was “Be Sincere; Be Brief; Be Seated” in regard to speeches.  This rings incredibly true but most charities believe the opposite.  In fact, they routinely will give out awards, have an invited speaker or go on and on and on about themselves or what they do often assuming the role of a stand-up comedian.  NONE of this works in your favor, it actually detracts from your event.  Here is why.

A highly successful charity fundraising event is built on momentum.  In fact, often my clients will tell me their event is very short and I will always comment that it will not provide us enough time to build excitement.  Having an excited, happy crowd equals money raised. 

In fact, when we (BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising) plan our events, we plan them to build up the excitement to a “Fever Pitch.”  Our events are often referred to as controlled “Three Ring Circuses.”  You want people having fun and moving around your event.  You do not want to see them seated and bored to tears.  Boredom leads to “Im ready to leave” without donating a dime.

We plan our events down to every 15 minutes – something is always happening or about to happen and we build the excitement moving directly toward the Live Auction and “Fund a Need.”  We want people up and walking through the various fundraising platforms. 

Fundraising Platform – Raffles, Silent Auction and Live Auction – anywhere a charity is raising money inside an event.  This term was coined by George Wooden, President of BW Unlimited, llc.

Now this is where the charity will always step in and say “We have a speaker” or “We want to give out Awards to our employees.”  Then that’s when I sit back in my seat and ask “Why?”  I ALWAYS tell them if they are going to have a speech or presentation, to please keep it extremely short.  However, many people like to stand in front of a crowd and hear themselves talk.  A ten minute speech runs on and on for 45 minutes.  I always tell our charity client to keep it ten minutes and to please inform the speaker of the same.  REMEMBER folks, we are on a “Timeline.”  Then the speech begins and goes on and on and on.  Now everything we have planned after, falling within the timeline, is now pushed back even further.  Then, you will have someone from the crowd who wants to say a few words.  It happens all the time.
 
So here is what happens to your crowd – You started your event with a cocktail hour with music being played.  Then as people start to drink and talk to their friends, they begin to have fun.  That fun then starts to spill over to your raffle and silent auction.  The excitement is building.  When the raffles are over, prizes are given out to the crowd causing more excitement.  Picture the “Price is right” with a lady’s name being called and her running down the aisle waving her hands above her head. 

Then an announcement is made that the Silent Auction is closing in 10 minutes.  People, who have been waiting all night to bid, suddenly run over and place their bids….the room is a “Buzz.”  As the Silent Auction closes and people are excited and happy, that’s when we ask everyone to take their seats to listen to “Johnny Speechinator” get up and talk.  Johnny goes on and on, makes a joke about the charity telling him to keep it short but he has so much to say.  It goes on and on, your guests start falling asleep, the excitement level plunges.  You start seeing people get up and go to the bar or to the bathroom.  Now, the excitement which you have built all night completely dies. 
 
Then the Live Auction kicks off which ladies and gentlemen is built on momentum.  Like a train, your event started chugging down the track faster and faster…but because of your speech, it stopped dead and totally ran out of steam.

Now, your expecting your Auctioneer to be a Magician and possibly pull a rabbit out of his hat, it’s not happening.  A great Live Auction is also built on momentum and also takes advantage of the momentum of the evening.  The Auctioneer now has to get people excited again, when they are already bored.  Then, after the Live Auction, you do a “Fund A Need” – if you are not familiar with a “Fund A Need”, its often also referred to as a paddle raise.  It’s when people are asked to openly donate money by raising their paddle or bidder card.

But again, the speech killed the “Buzz” in the room, the Live Auction tanked and now everyone wants to leave and the donations are very low.

Remember folks, a successful event is built on the energy of the crowd, your guests.  How happy and excited they are, how engaged they get into your event.  When they are having fun with their friends and others in the room. 

Please, thank your guests and supporters for coming.  Let them watch a video about your charity and its mission but please DO NOT give long winded speeches by a talking head – it will absolutely hurt your fundraising goals much more than you know.

This is yet one small part of a successful event.  If you would like to learn more about how a highly successful event is planned, managed and hosted, please contact us today at www.BWUnlimited.com, we would love to help you.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  BWUCF is know all over North America for planning many incredible highly profitable fundraising events as well as staffing them with “Team BW” so that charities can enjoy their event instead of working it, we are also known for providing high profile auction items to charities all over the country.  To learn more, go to www.BWUnlimited.com


  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Why "Authentic" Autographs are so ridiculously expensive!!! www.BWUnlimited.com

Everyday, people and especially charities, are scammed.  The most popular scam is autographed items.  Well with this blog, I hope to shed some light on the reality of Authentic Autographed Items as opposed to Counterfeit aka "Fake" autographed items.

For instance, the Super Bowl just occurred and the autograph world is on fire.  Obviously, the most sought after autograph is Tom Brady's.  Well, Tom Brady isn't cheap.  In fact, his autograph is extremely expensive.  Now understand this, we (Wholesalers) do not set the prices for the autographs we offer - the Athlete and his Agent does.

For a Tom Brady autographed unframed 8x10 photo, the Wholesale price is $849.00.  Don't go nuts
just yet and ask why in the world its so expensive, think about this - an autographed Tom Brady Jersey (NOT Game Worn) is being wholesaled for $999.00.  Are you about to have a stroke?  Don't because if your looking for a signed Tom Brady Full Size helmet, the
wholesale price is an astounding $1,099.00.

I know what you're thinking, these guys get paid millions upon millions of dollars and yet they charge so much for their autograph.  Do you know why?  Because they can and worse than that, they get those prices easily.

Now remember, those are wholesale prices, in fact, the pictures here are from a wholesale price sheet just sent out.  Now keep in mind, these are REAL, very REAL.  So if you see them cheaper, they are without a doubt fake.

Now lets take an autographed Muhammad Ali boxing glove.  Understand that hes not signing any longer.  His authentic autographed Boxing Gloves are being sold for $4,000.00.  Yup, you read it right, $4,000.00.

There are companies out there who offer much cheaper Tom Brady and Ali items - But John Brady and Jimmy Ali signed them.

Remember, if its too cheap....something is wrong and it DOES NOT MATTER that its going to a charity event.  Don't believe the hype...you are being scammed.
 
I always preach this - its not about how great the autograph looks or how real it looks, its about who the authenticator is.  Only Authentic Authenticators should be considered when considering either to purchase or accept the items for your charity event.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising only offers autographed items which are 100% authentic and authenticated by either JSA or PSA/DNA, the two most reputable authenticators in the world.  Our Logo is truly like the good housekeeping seal of approval in regard to autographed items.  For more information, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.

Fundraising 101: Do you truly want to host a successful fundraising event?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Event Marketing – the “BWU” way – Event Brand Identity 101

Let’s be perfectly honest, how many event flyers have you seen?   Probably tons and probably twice as many that you’ve ignored because it did not catch you eye.  Lets talk about Event Tickets – White Card Stock with simple black letters – right?

Say it with me – Booooooooooring.  Yawn.

The one thing that we at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising feel is most important – is consistent branding and very noticeable.  People like exciting!!! 

It all starts with the name of the event. We think of creative, different names for each event which builds brand identity.  Do you understand what brand identity means?  If not, it means instantaneous recognition of the event just from the name of it.  It builds identity.  After we find the name, we move on to the flyer to match the name.

Our graphic design department starts at the flyer.  As you know, I preach FACEBOOK, FACEBOOK, FACEBOOK right?  Our flyers are meant to catch eyes on Facebook.  High profile and totally cool. 

As an example, you may be familiar with our Blues Brothers Events both in Maryland and Ohio.  Each year, with each event, we change the look.  Recently, BW even trademarked the term “Blues Brothers Bash” meaning we own that name now.  But we create these flyers to catch eyes. 

Do you know who the host of the Blues Brothers Event is or can you possibly even think of who it could be?  Think about it – Blues Brothers….Police, in fact the Prince George’s County Police Foundation.  We hosted the first one and it was outrageous, now for the 2017 version, everyone already is familiar – it sells itself.

Next up…the Maryland State Police Alumni Association came to us and asked for our help.  After weeks of pondering, we ended up with a very cool name “The Road Dawg Rumble.”  A “Road Dawg” is a nickname for a Trooper who works the highway patrolling.  So, we came up with a Bull Dog wearing a Maryland State Police Stetson.  Tire Tracks etc – definitely very State Trooper.

Then to keep the identity going, everything matches the flyer.  The tickets, the facebook headers….everything.  I especially feel its very important to have tickets that match everything else.  It creates more excitement.

Our Graphic Designer Bob Lynch always knocks it out of the park – each event continues to build Brand Identity which draws more and more attention.


If we can help you with your next charity fundraising event, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com or at info@bwunlimited.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Charity Questions: Which is better - Autographed Memorabilia – VS. – Wall Art & Décor www.BWUnlimited.com

This is a common question and honestly it’s something I had to wrap my head around when I first started business.  I wondered why autographed items were so expensive. 

Question #1:  Why are autographed items so expensive?

People truly believe that we stand out in front of a dug out or a stadium with a ton
of people and ask Athletes for their autographs – not true.  They think that Athletes or Celebrities autograph items for free.  I’ve heard this frequently “These people are celebrities and high paid athletes, they should do it for free.”  If you believe or even think that, you’re truly living in a fantasy land. 

Another major reason is and yet another reason that sets us apart from our competition who are documented counterfeiters, authentic autographs are NOT easy to come by.  We run out of them continually.  They are only so many.  Our competitors seem to never run out of the same autographed items, even when people die.

Athletes, through their representatives charge to conduct autograph signings.  In fact, the latest and greatest is – they charge to get a picture with them, its called a Photo Op.  Some Athletes such as Derek Jeter, Tom Brady & Peyton Manning charge ridiculous amounts of money.  Where other athletes don’t charge much at all.

For instance – what is the difference here? 


About a $800.00 difference.  Tom Brady’s autograph is ridiculously expensive!!!

So you have to understand, autographed items have a “Niche” market.  In fact, keeping with my Honesty & Integrity policy, I only offer what is called a Replica Helmet and seldom a Pro-Line “On Field” helmet.  I will only offer a Pro-Line when it’s the only one available.  A Replica Helmet looks exactly like a real helmet, it’s the exact same shell but a Pro-Line has all the real padding and is slightly thicker.  From 3 foot away, you can’t tell the difference.  Pro-Line’s are more for Collectors and are much more expensive.  Charities on the other hand, need to put more profit in their bank accounts.


Question #2:  Why is Décor & Wall Art better than autographed items?

Well, before I answer this, I need to tell you how we came up with the idea of Décor.  Again, reference the above, autographed items are expensive. 

When I first began, I was a part of an autograph signing with the Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher Roy Halladay.  During the signing, he forgot to sign one of the photos.  So, I was going to an event in Philadelphia and had this unsigned photo.  I framed it and put it on the silent auction not expecting much with a very low starting bid.  It sold for $550.00!!!  I was shocked!!!  It wasn’t autographed; it was just a fantastic photo.   (Here it is).

The 2nd time, I had a Philadelphia Phillies Banner.  I thought, I can’t just lay this banner on the table; it’s boring so I had our framing department simply frame it.  It sold for $330.00 (3) times!!!  Again shocked!!! 

So that is where it all started.  The reason people love our Décor & Wall Art is for various reasons – they are extremely nice, they have laser engraved autographs, they are very large and the pictures are awesome. 

We have Collages ranging from Legends to Ticket Collages.  We have Celebrity quotes along with historical events.  They just do awesome.

Plus – now here is the major reason they do great – we can offer them to as many bidders that are interested.  Our charities can double or even triple their profit.  We can also make items that truly cater to the crowd and are always coming up with new items based on current trends or winning seasons.

That’s the answer.  If you would like to see our Catalogs to see what we offer, email me directly at George@bwunlimited.com.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  If you would like to learn more, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.