Monday, May 20, 2019

TOP Themed Gift Basket Ideas for your next charity fundraiser

As we all know, gift baskets are always a big hit at charity fundraising events across the country.  With this blog, I hope to share some excellent ideas that will get your guests excited about your offering.  Remember have a plan for each while also thinking about your guests.

Instead of just throwing together baskets, always set out with a plan.  A basket with a theme is always very enticing and exciting.  When planning to build these baskets, give several out to your volunteers or team members for them to go after.  Remember – Size Matters.  The bigger the basket, the more it will attract attention.  Here is a list of great themed baskets which everyone loves:

  1. Chocolate Lovers Basket – filled with various chocolates as well as chocolate drinks.
  2. Grilling Basket – Filled with Sauces, Spices, Grill Gloves, utensils etc.
  3. Italian Dinner Basket – Pastas, Sauces, Kitchen Utensils for pasta, Bottle of Wine
  4. Wine & Cheese Basket – A Bottle of Wine, wine glasses, various cheeses, a cork screw, cheese knife etc.
  5. Car Care Basket – Bucket, Car Wash items, Car Wax, Windex etc.
  6. Kids Beach Basket – Beach Toys, Squirt Guns etc.
  7. Dog Bowl Basket – Fill a large Dog Bowl with Dog Treats and toys.
  8. Movie Night – Empty Pizza Box, Gift Certificate for Pizzas, 2 cheap DVD’s from Walmart, Liter of Coke, Liter of Sprite, Pop corn
  9. Make Up Basket – Make Up, Make Up bag, etc.
  10. Picnic Basket – Picnic items
  11. Craft Basket – Crafting items
  12. Spa Basket – Soaps, Candles, Bubble Bath etc.
  13. Candy Basket – Very fun, fill it with every kind of candy you can find, vintage candy is always a hit.
  14. Junk Food Basket – Potato Chips, Pretzels, Doritos, Dips etc.
  15. Coffee Basket – Coffees, cups, cookies etc.
  16. Sports Fan Basket – Calendars, Shirts, Coozies etc.
  17. Lottery Tree – a Bunch of Scratch Off Lottery Tickets
  18. Christmas Basket – Christmas items
  19. Tea & Cookies Basket – Various Teas, cups, spoons etc.
  20. Tailgate Basket – Fill a Cooler with Tailgate items, junk food etc.
  21. Disney Basket – Disney items
  22. Spices Basket – Different Spices, sauces etc.
  23. Baking Basket 
  24. Gardening Basket
  25. Pet Lovers Basket
  26. Kids Toys Basket
  27. Sports Baskets – One Basket filled with items for each Team

If you know anyone who sells Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Tupperware, or anyone like that, they will ALWAYS donate a basket.

Many of these items can be found in your local grocery store or Dollar Store.  Remember, build them big so that they attract attention.

For more tips and successful ideas, check out our website at  We would love to help you.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Missing the Mark - Alternative Fundraising methods

Over the years, I have spoken to, observed or advised charities across North America.  The numbers are in the 10’s of 1,000’s and continue to grow each year.  I’ve spoken to and helped charities in every state and most of the Canadian provinces.  One single issue comes up all the time, charities or nonprofit organizations trying to find an alternative method of raising funds outside of a Gala or Dinner.
I recently spoke with (2) individuals from charities or groups that desperately needed to raise money.  One of these groups was actually deeply in debt and needed to fundraise to get themselves out of the financial hole they were in.  They were calling me asking for help but when I told them what we would do, both decided not to move forward because they feel that there are other ways to raise the funds they need other than hosting a social gathering. 

These charities represent many across North America who believe that “Gala’s” or events like that are over done.  They believe that there are other ways to raise a major amount of money like these events do.  Sadly, they are mistaken and inevitably work harder to raise less.  They will aim all over the target but the bullseye and miss the mark they so desperately need to.

These events are social, people get to purchase a table and be with their family or friends for a fun night out.  They can enjoy great music, great food, drinks and bid/win amazing items.  They also get to support a charity which they feel close to all at the same time. 

Creating an event causes everyone to come and attend and these are normally held on a Friday or Saturday evening.  Guests get dressed up, are relaxed and enjoy the evening out.  Sponsors on the other hand are attracted to such an event for marketing reasons and therefore will make large financial donations just so that the guests see that they support the charity hosting the event. 

When people are relaxed, enjoying themselves they are quicker to open their wallets and hearts to help the cause.  Furthermore, there is no better time to educate the guests on the mission of your charity/nonprofit.

Think about it, who doesn’t enjoy a great dinner and an evening out?  The bigger the event, the larger the attendance will be which equals larger donations and a successful fundraiser.

Give people what they want!!!  Have you seen Facebook lately?  On people’s birthday, they are asking for their family and friends to donate to the favorite charity.  There are GoFundMe pages posted every single day all over the country.  People get overwhelmed and "Numb" to charities because everywhere they turn, they are being approached "Cold" and being asked to donate.

But if you give people a great night out at a very nice place, who wouldn’t want to go to that?  If done correctly, your guests won’t even realize they are donating so much or donated at all.  These types of events are entertaining and that is why they are successful if planned and managed correctly.

If you would like to host an incredibly successful fundraising event, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising would love to help you.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North America Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  Contact us at, we would love to help you and your organization exceed your fundraising goals.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Fundraising Secret: Successful fundraising is “Common Sense.”

Every single day, I am astounded at some of the things I hear when it comes to charities or groups fundraising locally or across our great country.  For some unknown reason, the people planning the fundraising events turn off their brain when it comes to planning one of the most important aspects of their organization – Fundraising.
See folks, successful fundraising is honestly “Common Sense.”  However, the charity planners shut it off when planning their events.  Why?  Because “Common Sense” goes against what the old school mentality is about successful fundraising. 

Here are some examples:

Example #1 – Charity Entitlement:  Each charity across our country believes people should donate simply because.  That’s correct – simply because.  Whether it’s simply because they asked people or simply because they are great etc.  What they fail to realize (Common Sense) is that there are millions of charities across the country acting the same way.  They fail to realize (Common Sense) that the same people they are asking have also been asked 1,000 times to donate to their causes.

Example #2 – Fundraising Event Planning – Charities believe that everything should be donated.  From the place where they are going to host their event, to the catering and the bar and that the band or DJ should play for free.  However, (Common Sense) if everyone donated to everyone who either tried to hold an event there, who wants them to cater their event or a DJ/Band to play the event, those places or businesses would quickly go under (Common Sense).  Charity Fundraising is Business folks.  Charities should also understand (Common Sense) that if a business is donating, it’s not going to be the best for their guests (Common Sense).  The business will donate what they can afford to donate.  A Venue (place) is in the business of renting out their facility to people and organizations like the charity (Common Sense).  Charities will often host their fundraising events as “Less than” venues thinking that it’s better to go cheap so they can profit more.  Also, charities often will go very cheap when planning the meal their guests will receive and will have a “Cash Bar.”  Then the charity will sell their tickets for an astronomical amount.  But…(Common Sense) affluent people and even middle income people will not go to an event at a “Less than” venue and when they get there, (Common Sense) see the small or cheap meal they are receiving but paid much for (Common Sense) and realize they have to purchase their drinks – They financially shut down (Common Sense).  They think to themselves (like we all would and do) “Well, if I paid “X” amount of dollars for my ticket, that’s enough since I’m not receiving much” (Common Sense).  Then the cash bar (Common Sense) – If people are spending money to buy drinks, where are they not spending it?  With you and your charity !!!  (COMMON SENSE).

Example #3 – Donated Items – For some reason, charity fundraising groups really shut off their brain here but it’s “Common Sense” if you just think about it.  Charities believe that since they are entitled and that every single business should donate an item or items to them, that everything they have in their event should be 100% free.  The problem is again (Common Sense) – there are 104 Million Charities in the United States and businesses in your area are “BOMBARDED” with charities and groups asking for donations.  Business owners can not possible donate to everyone who asks (Common Sense).  So they will often donate items that are not selling in the stores.  Plus it’s local people, attending a local event with items donated by local businesses right?  If your guests wanted to those items, they would go to that business and buy it themselves (Common Sense).  So, they attend your event and you display items they don’t want but will purchase them for a “Deal” (Common Sense).  The charity puts Gift Certificates and Gift Baskets on their Silent Auction and expect people to bid high at retail or above – but they NEVER EVER do !!!  (Common Sense).  Have you ever bought yourself a Gift Certificate?  How many Gift Baskets did you give away to your family or friends over the holidays?  The answer is NO or NONE (Common Sense).  But the Fundraising event planners forget this very important aspect and shut off their “Common Sense.”

Here is another secret – When planning your event, think as if you are a guest there.  What type of venue would you like to go to and what would you like to eat and drink, what would you bid on….than plan your event accordingly.  Simply use “Common Sense”!!!

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a charity fundraising leader in North America in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  If you are planning a fundraising event and want to be ridiculously successful as all of our clients are, contact us at – we would love to help you.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The “Reality” of Donated Items: What is the true value of donated items?

Before I give you the answer, just imagine these facts:

#1 – Today there are 104 million registered U.S. Non Profits – many have charities which could be considered sub-charities for which there are at least 50 million.  Adding those into the 104 Million, we are now up to 154 million, and then consider the “Benefit” events.  A “Benefit” Event is when a group of people organize a fundraiser for a specific cause which is NOT a charity such as storm damage, illness of a child etc.  Adding these “Benefit” events, we are now nearly 200 million charities or organizations across North America holding fundraisers.

#2 – The U.S. Census reports that there are 27.9 million small businesses in the U.S. with a total of a little over 65 million total businesses.

These are facts reported by the Small Business Administration, a part of the U.S. Government – you can find these facts by simply running “How many businesses are in the U.S.” on Google. 

Comprehending and fully understanding what this means is that for every business – there are a total of (3) more charities. 

Each one of these businesses are owned and operated – 27.9 million are small businesses. 

Let’s pause for a minute – as you can already agree, the number of charities compared to the number of businesses (especially small businesses) are staggering, don’t you agree?

However, here is the reality – most charities across the United States still believe that fully donated items are the only way to hold a successful event.  They believe that businesses should fully donate items because they are deserving – which they are.

Here is the myth – Charities believe that fully donated items are 100% free and that they will either raise 100% of the value of the item and again, that this is the only successful method fundraising and that utilizing items they have to “Pay” for is unsuccessful.

Hold on – here is where you won’t want to hear the “Reality of donated items and their true value.”

The Reality:

This video is a client in Twin Falls Idaho speaking about the "Reality of Donated Items" - This is not us saying it, it's a charity!!!

The reality is, businesses across the country are BOMBARDED by charities requesting they donate items for their charity fundraiser. 

***BW Unlimited LLC. did a comprehensive 3 year study comparing the success rate of donated items while also interviewing well over 500 business owners about this topic.

The reality is this – business owners cannot possibly donate to every single charity, organization or group who asks for a donation.  Many companies have put “Stop Gaps” in place to deter or defer these requests.  They use the method of telling these groups to go to their website, fill out a form or provide them a form and it will be sent to their corporate office who will determine if they will donate.  They know that 80% of people will not complete the task and it also allows an entity away from their business to say “No.”  It’s simply a “Brush Off.”

Next, we must understand that business owners (especially small business owners) must pay their bills to keep their lights on.  They cannot possibly donate to everyone because they have to keep their doors open.  Business owners report that they will commonly donate items which are not selling in their stores – basically items no one wants.

Charities are still repeating the very old but untrue statement of “It’s tax deductible” when the reality is that businesses can only claim 30% of their donations and after that…they are losing money.  That statement is simply FALSE.  This changed when President Obama changed the tax laws.

Consider this as well – A local charity is hosting a fundraiser in a local place with local people attending the event.  If the guests wanted those items, they would have gone and purchased them themselves.

Common items you see in every charity fundraiser are – Gift Certificates/Gift Cards and Gift Baskets.  However, ask yourself these questions and answer truthfully:

#1 – Have you ever bought a Gift Certificate – for yourself?  No.

#2 – How many Gift Baskets did you give to your family or friends for the Holidays?  No.

The 3 year study proved this to be true.  The reason these items are not successful in charity events is based on the very first word in their description “Gift.”  People purchase these items to give as “Gifts” but not for themselves.

Donated items, across North America, are only bringing 1/8th to 1/4  of their retail value.  At the very most, very uncommon, will bring 50% of their value. 

If you are the charity, deduct the time and fuel costs to get these items.  If you are being true to yourself and being open minded, are these items “Exciting” or do they appear to be like a “Yard Sale” without a theme?

Simply put ladies and gentlemen, if you still believe donated items are the best way to raise money, you are unequivocally mistaken. 

Then add in this – Rarely do business owners donate anything of great value.  If they do, they are most likely a part of the charity.  However, (This is a very real scenario and we have witnessed it first hand), imagine when the item that they donate does not raise 50% of its value, what does that say about the business who donated it?  It actually “De-Values” their store and their items.  We have witnessed donors get up in anger and leave the fundraisers.

I know you’re asking me this question now “So are you saying donated items are bad?”  No, not at all – but there is a way to ensure they are successful and still bring 100% of their value if not more – Raffles.  Raffling donated items ensures full value since everyone will purchase a raffle ticket.

Another common mistake that charities continue to do is to use the same donations year after year.  The very first year, the item will bring it’s maximum bid, the next year the audience gets smaller and smaller which means less and less money is raised using the item or items.

To summarize – please understand the facts surrounding the “True Value of Donated Items” and the reality of charity fundraising before you make an assumption or a mistake with your next charity fundraiser.

If you would like our help maximizing your next charity fundraiser, raising above and beyond your goals – contact us, we would love to help you.  Understanding the “Reality of Charity Fundraising” is part of the road to your success.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising Leader in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting.  Contact us at