Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Here's to an AWESOME New Year - 2015

Everyone at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising would like to wish you a fantastic New Year in 2015!!!

We truly look forward to hearing from you again this new year.  Our resolutions are simple - to continue to provide the best customer service while continuing to be a Leader in Charity Fundraising across North America!!!

See you next year!!!


George Wooden
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising
"North America's Charity Fundraising One Stop Shop"

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays from BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising

Happy Holidays from everyone at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising!!!  Because of you, our Charity clients across North America, we are a leader in Charity Fundraising in North America.  Thank you.

We promise and guarantee that we will continue provide the best items and services in the 2015 New Year.  We look forward to hearing from you and your charity in the new year.


George Wooden
& everyone at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising
North America's Charity Fundraising "One Stop Shop"

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chevy Chase autographed Memorabilia - PSA/DNA Authenticated

If you are fan of Chevy Chase, especially all of his roles from Saturday Night Live to the Caddyshack movies, we now have autographed items.

From Caddyshack Movie Posters to autographed Bushwood Golf Flags, just ask us for our latest Catalog to check out all of his autographed items.

Eventhough we have pictures of Chevy autographing the items, all of them are 3rd Party Authenticated by PSA/DNA.

These items are great for both Live & Silent Auctions for Gala's and similar events but also for Golf Tournaments.

Contact us for details at www.BWUnlimited.com. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Fundraising Auctions were a failure

Charity Fundraising Events are a lot of work.  With months of planning, meetings after meetings all boil down to it being worth the work if the charity fundraising event is a success.  If your last event wasn’t a success, maybe these are the reasons why:

1. You focused on the “Party” and not fundraising: 

You want your guests to have a great time so that they will contribute to your cause and bid on your auctions.

2. You did not to market your items before and during your charity fundraising event.

Because you want your event to be the “Rock Star” in your area, you need to let everyone know what to expect.  If you don’t, they are not going to be prepared – prepare them.  Post a list of the items available on your social networks like Facebook and send out emails to everyone with a “Preview Sheet.”  Let them prepare themselves with a strategy and with their spending.  They will see how much better your event is then all others in your area.

3. Your items were run-of-the-mill. Who cares?

Fascinate them with things they can’t get at the mall or at nearby stores. Experiential, Unique and  Hard to Find.

4.  Your focus was on awards and speeches instead of fundraising.

Your fundraising event was more about awards and speeches instead of focusing on fundraising.  Speeches and presentations should accent your fundraising efforts to let your guests know what you are doing in your community. 
5. You didn’t have enough Bid Spotters.

Find Volunteers who love to have fun and want to be an active participant in your event.  Having enough bid spotters in your audience is essential from turning a dead auction to a very lively, entertaining event.  Remember, people love to have fun…bid spotters can absolutely add to your fundraising success. 

6. You forgot it’s the live auction that brings in the big money.

Live auction items don’t need to be ridiculously expensive.  But the live auction items need to be placed in a way to maximize the auction.  The Live Auction items need to be placed prominently in your event to get maximum attention and away from your Silent Auction.   The best place for the Live Auction items are directly in front of your stage.  If you have the ability to have a video screen, show the items on a loop throughout your event.  

7. Your silent auction was a Yard Sale.

Did we mention your goal is to make money? Inexpensive items by definition don’t cut it, wasting valuable table space. Use them sparingly to give the low-spenders a way to contribute or bundle them to create more attractive items.  Offering these items in a raffle setting guarantees financial success.

8.  Did you openly ask your guests to donate?

Hoping and wishing your guest donate will not make it happen.  Openly ask them too donate by having a “Fund a Need” or “Paddle Raise” at the end of your Live Auction.  By placing envelopes on the table and hoping people fill out a donation card, won’t bring you the money you are hoping to raise.  Acknowledgement of a donation is key, let people openly show their support.

9. Your event is either too long or too short.

Your guests want to enjoy themselves, have a great meal and a few drinks, get the items they want and go home before the baby sitter starts calling.  By having an incredibly long event, with many long speeches will ensure your guest early departure.  Also, by leaving your fundraising platforms (Live & Silent Auction, Raffles & Games) open too long will also tell them not to bid because they are leaving  early.  However, by having a short event, the momentum of your fundraising efforts will not have enough time to truly get going. 

10. You had the Wrong Auctioneer.

After getting a beautiful venue, ensuring you have a fantastic dinner for your guests, getting someone from your Board or a local celebrity to conduct your auction is entirely a bad move.  Professional Auctioneers are a major part of your event and play a critical role to its success.  A Professional Auctioneer is truly a key to ensuring you raise the money you need.  Also, getting someone free to do your auction guarantees “You get what you pay for.”  Hire a professional Charity Auctioneer to conduct your Auction – it will make the difference.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a leader in North America in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting.  Known all over North America as the most reputable and respected “No Risk Auction Item” provider, the expert fundraisers at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can guide you to ensure that your fundraising efforts are not wasted.  Through many years of experience involved in 1,000’s of charity fundraising events, the experts at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising will bring your last fundraising event from “Run of the Mill” to a “Rock Star Event” that everyone will talk about.  Contact us today to learn how we can help you at www.BWUnlimited.com


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fundraising Secret #20 – Santa’s Charity Secret & the “2014 Gift Basket Builder of the Year Award”

Over our time assisting charities all across North America, we have met some amazing people.  We have also seen some fantastic donated items and many that we have just scratched our heads wondering “Why.” 

However, no one has figured it out better then Kathy Esposito and her committee from Espo’s Hope (www.esposhope.com) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  We had the pleasure of assisting Espo’s Hope recently with their Gala & Charity Auction.  Not only was everyone incredible to meet but one of the most significant things that I learned from them, is Kathy’s grasp of what is needed to succeed in regard to their fundraising efforts.

Kathy is an expert Gift Basket Builder, building and displaying gift baskets that are truly amazing.  Unlike most charities across the country, Kathy shops (spending money) all year around for awesome deals on discounted items because she understands that she can not depend on donations.  Then, she uses these items to build fantastic, very high profile baskets. 
Kathy also intermingled several of her high profile baskets with many of our "No Risk Auction Items" to present an awesome Silent Auction.  Having our items mixed with theirs, produced higher bids then normal.  However, she primarily utilized 80% of her Gift Baskets in one of her Raffles. 

Kathy even took it a step further, she was able to get deeply discounted handbags which was one raffle and then added several of the Raffles which we helped her with - the Balloon Wheel Barrow of Cheer Raffle.

Now, these aren’t small baskets, they are HUGE!!!  But what is really awesome about them is, they don’t contain a lot of items.  Her baskets range from Disney Baskets, Holiday Baskets, Bad & Body Baskets, Wine Baskets etc.

Then, this is what I am most proud of – she primarily uses all of her baskets in a Raffle.  When most charities would place them on the Silent Auction, she knows and understands why placing them in a raffle brings much more money than in a silent auction.   

Out of all the charities we assist each year, Kathy Esposito and the Espo’s Hope Committee has really figured it out. 

So with that, we would like to award them with the 1st Gift Basket Builder Awardgreat job Kathy and Espo's Hope!!!

Knowing the above and using Kathy’s knowledge about building baskets, Santa Claus can help you this year with the Gift Baskets for your next event.  What happens after Christmas in stores like Walmart & Target?  Everything gets deeply discounted in order for these businesses to clear their Christmas inventory right?

Charities should spend a few dollars and buy some of these items in order to build fantastic baskets.  These deeply discounted items will bring you a high return on your investments at your next event.  Following that up, after every holiday or season, charities should go hunting. 

Remember, people respond to the “Pizzazz” of what’s offered…if you have incredible looking baskets available, they will get very excited and your fundraising dollars will increase dramatically. 

Again, great job Kathy and Espo’s Hope!!!  If you would like to learn how to build fantastic gift baskets and also how to properly use them for the maximum result, contact us today, we would love to help.
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a leader in Charity Fundraising in North America in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting.  Known far and wide for providing the largest inventory of “No Risk Auction Items”, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising provides 100% Authentic Autographed items 100% of the time.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising also provides incredible Charity Travel Packages, beautiful decorative items as well as Men’s and Women’s Jewelry.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can also assist you and your charity with a host of Pre Event and Event services to take the stress off of your shoulders.  For more information, contact us today at www.BWUnlimited.com. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Secret #10 – How and why “No Risk Auction Items” greatly improve a Charities bottom line

We have talked about in other blogs in reference to the 104 million registered U.S. Non Profits in the United States.  We have talked about the competition and how charities can improve their status when planning their event.  But the one thing we have never really spoke about is, why do “No Risk Auction Items” greatly improve spending at fundraising events.    

A very long time, a few charities realized that they could not effectively fundraise utilizing donated items alone.  While hiring a very knowledgeable staff, the staff members began to contact companies in order to find items which would do very well at their fundraising events.  One of these Charities was and still is, Ducks Unlimited.  Whether you agree with their mission or not, you have to admire how well they fundraise.   

Each year, these few charities (27 in all out of the 104 Million) send all of their chapters a catalog to order items from.  Ducks Unlimited, like many of the 27, provides items with their logo attached to the items.  Ducks Unlimited has nearly 1,500 chapters around the world and host 7,500 fundraising events a year!!!  The members of each chapter look through the catalog and order the items, agreeing to pay for each item from the events Gross.   

Similar catalogs are sent to chapters of other charities as well.  The items range from Art, to equipment, kitchen wares, tools, decorative items, jewelry, outside and inside furniture etc. 

These items are then placed in their events live and silent auctions.  Ducks Unlimited, like the other 27 charities, has had an amazing amount of success based on this fundraising model.  These charities truly need to be applauded for taking such a radical step to actually purchasing items…however, the other 104 Million charities across the country are very late to catch on to this model. 

Believe it or not, these charities such as Ducks Unlimited grow because the fundraising events are totally built around the items which they have available.  In fact, they know and understand that people come to their event just to get a chance at purchasing the items.  They even take a step further and insist that the guests purchase memberships to their charity in order to have the ability to buy the items!!! 

Here is where this blog comes in – BW Unlimited’s “No Risk Auction Items” greatly enhance an event by providing incredibly nice items which are not found at retail.  People are attracted to these items since they are very hard to find.  In fact, if a charity is also utilizing donated items, the “No Risk Auction Items” always influence higher bidding for the donated ones available.

Unbelievably, I will tell you that these items are not the “End All, Be All” but by
utilizing these items at your event, the appeal for your fundraising event will be much higher.  Why you ask?  Summarizing it, how many fundraising events are in your area?  Many charities will only utilize donated items but your event has incredible items such as Authentic Autographed Items, Incredibly Decorative Memorabilia, beautiful Jewelry and Charity Travel Packages to destinations around the world.  People will talk, compare your event to the others in the area and see which ones they would rather attend – I can attest that they will talk about your event and your ticket sales will rise based on it.

Now here is the best part – your charity CAN NOT LOSE!!!  Why?  Because all of the items are marked up 20% for the starting bids – you are guaranteed profit!!!  No matter how high the bids go, you keep 100% of the profit.  On most occasions, the starting bids guarantee a $50.00 profit alone and from there it goes up and up. 

Think about it, for your next event, analyze the bids on your donated items and see if they are much higher based on the fact that you have BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising “No Risk Auction Items” mixed in – you will be amazed.  These items always support the sales of the donated ones.  Then ask your guests what they thought about your event and the items available, you will definitely be happy with their response.  Just remember this fact, donated items always come from local businesses.  Local people, attending a local fundraising event with items donated from local businesses – will these items have a massive interest?  No.

If you would like to learn more about what items and Charity Travel Packages that available to you, contact us today at www.BWUnlimited.com.  
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a leader in Charity Fundraising in North America in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting serving well over 1,400 charities each year.  BW Unlimited is known all across North America for providing 100% Authentic Autographed items 100% of the time, only providing autographed items which were reviewed by the two (2) most reputable Authentication companies around the world – JSA and PSA/DNA.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is also known for providing a wide array of incredibly decorative items as well as the largest inventory of Charity Travel Packages at the absolute best prices found anywhere.  BW Unlimited is also known for providing a wide array of Fundraising Event services such as a Charity Auctioneer, Event Staffing, Silent Auction Management, Event Planning Consultation and much more.  If you would like to learn more about how we can help you and your charity, contact us today at www.BWUnlimited.com – we would love to hear from.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Charities BEWARE!!! Investigation of Counterfeiters taking advantage of Charities

Normally, I write Soap Box Blogs for your education and to assist you along with charities across North America.  However, over the years, I have wrote many Blogs that address this topic. 

Honestly, this blog was somewhat long, but after I wrote it, I realized I could sum it up in just a few sentences. 
Before you read this – please read this article from a recent “Inside Edition” show about counterfeit autographed items offered by a certain company:

The above investigation revealed that a certain very well known Charity No Risk Auction item provider, provided a COUNTERFEIT autographed item to a Church.  And when confronted with the fact the item was FAKE, they ran.

This same company offers charities all across North America very high profile autographed items which are not authenticated by reputable companies.  After review by one of the most reputable companies - PSA/DNA, the autographed guitar was found to be COUNTERFEIT.

To summarize everything I was trying to say in the blog that I wrote and erased, I simply want everyone to know this about our company:

“BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising will NEVER offer counterfeit autographed items.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is family owned and operated and was founded on simple belief “Charity First.”  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising will only offer charities across North America authentic autographed items along with Charity Travel Packages at the absolute best prices.  BW Unlimited will offer the finest services along with expert assistance in regard to Event Management and Successful Fundraising Trend consultation. 
    We do not offer a money back guarantee if an item is reviewed by an authenticator and found to be fake or counterfeit– because we only offer 100% authentic items.  Why give a money back guarantee when the items are 100% authentic?”

-        George F. Wooden, President/Owner, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising

Thank you for reading this – we promise that we will continue to be the absolute most reputable company in the charity fundraising arena. 
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising offers charities across North America 100% authentic autographed items reviewed and authenticated by the two most reputable Authentication Companies in the World - JSA & PSA/DNA.  These two companies are the standard in the Autographed Sports Memorabilia world - and with that, they are BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising's Standard.  BW Unlimited does not offer or carry the high profile items these companies do, due to the fact that these items are not authenticated by these companies and are not found in the Autograph world. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fundraising Secret – How does your next event reach “Rockstar” status?

Do you remember the movie Field of Dreams?  What was the main quote from that movie?  “Build it and they will come.”  In this blog, I will help you begin to build it, and they will definitely come and come in droves.

Have you seen some of those incredibly huge charity events that are held in your area?  Or the ones across the United States?  Filled with celebrities, Rock Stars, Politicians and hundreds upon hundreds of people?  Believe it or not, those same charities were just like yours and started with an idea.  However, at a certain point, they started to plan their events accordingly. 

I am going to share a Secret with you – Just with our Fans, Friends and Clients.  I know for a fact – the exact way those Charity events became so large and how your next event can be the "Rockstar" in your area - where everyone wants to be.  To see people and be seen by people.

First, have you ever wondered just how many charities are in your area?  If you knew, it most likely will shock and scare you.  Go to www.Taxexemptworld.com and search your area, you will be amazed and maybe dismayed.  All the charities in your area are without a doubt, your competition.  “How are they our competition?” you ask.   The answer is simply that they are also trying to raise money in your area and get donations from the exact same people and businesses you are. 

Take the number of charities in your area and multiply it by 10.  10 is the number of people involved in that charity which are looking for donations from local businesses, trying to sell tickets to their fundraising events and seeking financial donations.  That’s a lot of people.  If you want to be frightened even more, expand your search to your city, county or even your state. 

If you recall my blog “Above the crowd noise”, we spoke about all the charities trying to get the attention of new supporters and charity event guests.  In the United States, there are 104 million charities in only 50 states.  From TV, Radio, Print Advertisement etc., charities today are working hard to get the attention of anyone who can possibly listen.  However, the problem is, they all drown each other out.  People begin to tune them out because everywhere they go, they are getting “Pitched.”

The question is – how does your charity get noticed and become the Celebrity Event in your area?  The key is creating an Event and not focusing on the charity.  I know this does not make sense, however, remember that your competition is also screaming for their share of the pie.  With 104 Million charities conducting marketing, how to differentiate yourself is to plan an event that everyone wants to be a part of.

How is this done?  In order to understand this appropriately, I am going to ask you to think like someone who knows nothing about your charity.  It may be hard, but try just for this exercise. 

To attract people to your charity, you first must put out the “Bate” in an essence.  What does everyone across the United States enjoy?  A great time right?  Great place with good food, great friends etc.  So, in order to attract people to your charity, you first must plan an event which provides the above – simple right?  The cornerstone of any great event is both the location and the menu quality.

You most likely are saying “Well, we are already doing that.”  Not true – you must plan your event as the guest sitting in the seat, instead of the charity.  Plan your event as though you are thinking of your “dream event.”  That means the food, the drinks, the venue and even the parking lot should all be up to par.  No one wants to go to a rundown venue with bad food. 

Then create a name or title for your event.  The title should be then followed by “supporting or sponsored by “ABC Charity (Insert your name here).” 

In order to stand out above the crowd of charities in your area and to begin to make your event reach “Celebrity Status”, here is where the planning begins.  As you are planning your event, every small detail should be accounted for.  But remember, plan it as though you know nothing about the charity who is hosting it.  Keep in mind that no one likes long winded speeches but everyone likes to watch a “Video.”  No one wants to sit through endless awards but would like to hear about the great deeds SOME of the people involved in the charity are doing in the community.

Here is a question I get asked all the time “How do I attract the big spenders?”  When I tell you the answer, you may not believe it.  It’s best to give you a real life example – there is a catering facility nearby our offices.  The food, the place etc. are all somewhat “Fair.”  However, no matter what the event or charity is that is holding an event there, the “Affluent” crowd in the area will NOT go there.  I don’t care what it is, they will not be caught dead there. 

Then it’s about the items available to bid on or win.  Every single charity out there has the normal Gift Baskets or Gift Certificates or a donated vacation home.  The key to attract people is high quality items and/or Travel packages.  You have to be not the “Norm.”  Don’t be boring, be unique.  Take a Risk…go out on a limb.

Another important thing to tell you, did you know that your ticket price dictates how well you will do at your event?  Many charities out there think that a low ticket price will attract people.  They believe that they can pack the room full of people and then those same people will spend money.  However, the opposite in charity fundraising is true – the lower the ticket price, the more of a chance people will just come, eat and leave.  A moderate ticket price – let’s say $60.00 to $80.00 for a single ticket is a great starting point.  The ticket price is a hurdle in some cases and nearly pre-qualifies your guests to determine if they will have the ability to spend or donate money (i.e. bidding on items and purchasing raffle tickets). 

In future Blogs or even older ones, I will let you in on many secrets – all which will help you grow your event and most importantly, your fundraising dollars.

If you would like our help, planning your event, contact us today – we would love to help. 

Did you know that BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a leader in Charity Fundraising across North America?  BW Unlimited is truly one of the fastest growing companies in North America, assisting more and more charities each and every year.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is the Charity Fundraising “One Stop Shop” assisting charities with “No Risk Auction Items” as well as Event Management Services such as an Expert Charity Auctioneer, Event Set up, check out assistance and much more.  If you would like our help with your next event, please contact me at George@bwunlimited.com or  www.BWUnlimited.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Charitable Giving Grew 4.9% In 2013

We all love to read good news, but great educational news is even better.  Forbes Magazine just published an article reporting that charitable giving is up 4.9% from 2013 and gave the credit to On Line Giving and a strong Social Media presence.

With the 2008 recession having a major impact on Non Profit’s (NPO’s) across North America, many small charities were forced to close their doors.  Why did that happen? 

The reason many charities had to close their doors was due primarily to strong, educated charities understanding the need for change.  They began to educate themselves on how to professionally market themselves through social media outlets such as Facebook and Emails blasts. 

These charities also focused on how to effectively fundraise.  With an eye on their local area and the recession’s negative effects on businesses, they began to effectively strategize on how to approach their fundraising efforts through a more of a professional approach. 

Formerly, they relied heavily on Grants, however, the recession also ended many of these.  The financial donations they were receiving also began to slow while donated items for the fundraising events were harder to receive and the quality of the items also fell.

These charities began to employ Event Planners and seek out higher quality items through businesses such as BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising for items that had a higher appeal.  They also began to place the ability to receive donations on-line and also sell tickets to their events via an on-line outlet.

The most common trait that all of the successful charities share is the fact that they continually educate themselves on how to approach fundraising based solely on what is happening across the country.  They listen to their supporters while searching out ways to gain more support. 

The recession was and still is a great way to learn about how to approach successful fundraising in the future.
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a Charity Fundraising Leader across North America in a “One Stop Shop” setting assisting both large charities and smaller ones.  BW Unlimited assists Schools, teams, Charities of all sizes from Maryland to Alaska each year – 1400 events a year.  The BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising staff constantly monitors both positive and negative fundraising trends in order to consult our clients through the myriad of fundraising pitfalls.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising offers a host of “No Risk Auction Items” such as Autographed Memorabilia that is 100% authentic, 100% of the time.  BW Unlimited is the only provider utilizing 3rd Party Authenticators from the world’s most reputable Autograph Authenticators – JSA & PSA/DNA.  BW also offers an incredible inventory of Charity Travel Packages including Once in a Lifetime and Vacation destinations worldwide.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising would love to help you and your charity with your next fundraising event.  Contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Are you stuck in a fundraising "Rut"?

Because we work with over 1,000 charities each year, meet with many of them and talk to every single one on the phone, we are fortunate to be able to determine when a charity is caught in a fundraising “Rut.”  But normally, the reason they are talking to us is to get out the situation they are in and start on a course of success.

However, we also talk to many more charities who are not even aware that they are stuck there.  Remarkably, they are unaware that their situation will never change in regard to raising more funds year after year.  When I have the chance to speak to them, they normally remark that they need to attract “Big Spenders” and ask if I can bring them to their event.  The sad part is, they don’t realize why they are there and will rarely listen to wise advice.

To determine if you or your charity is caught in a fundraising rut, let me ask just a few questions that you obviously can answer to yourself:

#1 – How many years have you been hosting your Charity Event?

#2 – Is your charity event a Fundraiser?  An Awards Ceremony?  A Community Event?  Or all of the above?

#3 – Have your fundraising dollars increased over that time?  Meaning, have you made more each year?  Or has your fundraising dollars decreased?

#4 – How many guests do you have attending your charity fundraising event?  Have your guests increased year after year?  Or has attendance gone down?

#5 – Has your charity fundraiser changed or evolved each year?  Or is it the same?

#6 – Based on your event, have you attracted more and more Event Sponsors?  Or lost them?

#7 – Do you go to the same Donor’s year after year and ask for similar donations as you did the previous year?

#8 – Do you only use donated products in your events live and silent auction?

#9 – Do you truly know what the “Net” or Profit was from your last event?  Do you know the previous years “Net”?

Now, using the above questions as a baseline in order to determine if you are in a fundraising rut, we need to first understand what Successful Fundraising truly is.   But in the same vein, you should also understand that Awards Ceremonies and Community Outreach events such as Festivals are fantastic but cannot be thought of as a “Fundraiser.”  There may be a fundraising component to each of these types of events but the focus should be on the mission of the event itself – awarding community members and employees or building awareness of your charity by inviting everyone to come to a Festival of sorts without a ticket cost. 

A successful fundraising event is structured, planned for financial performance.  Guests of fundraising events understand that the event is being hosted to raise funds with a certain “Ambience” to attract them.  The “Ambience” is a dinner, drinks, music with various fundraising platforms such as a Live & Silent Auction and various games/raffles. 

To best show a true example of a charity who understands successful fundraising as well as absolutely needs the funds to be raised, I will show you their numbers – however, I am going to call them “Charity ABC.”

As reported to Charity Navigator (www.Charitynavigator.com), in 2013, here are their numbers:

Charity ABC fundraising statistics:

Contributions & Gifts:       $32,184,911
Federated Campaigns:      $406,557
Membership Dues:            $18,742,745
Fundraising Events:           $22,808,171
Related Organizations:   $333,099

Total Revenue:   $185,148,845.00

All of the above numbers come directly from their Fundraising Events.  They sell memberships to their Charity at their Fundraising Events, in fact, you must purchase a membership in order to attend – it’s a part of the ticket price.  They conduct their campaigns via their events and gain mailing lists for other campaigns from their fundraising event guest lists.  Related organizations?  That is other charities donating money at their fundraising events.

This charity, like other charities similar to them, determined several years ago that a successful fundraising event is the absolute best place to grow their organization.  Why you ask?  Because people attend their events for the “Event” of it and not necessarily to support their charity. 

Charity ABC employs many intelligent people who understand the above statement “Attending the event for the Event of it and not to support their charity.”  Using that knowledge, by the time the guest leaves, they are members and receive quarterly newsletters for one (1) year.

Most importantly, Charity ABC and the other charities similar to theirs, all utilize a similar fundraising tactic – great items in their Live & Silent Auction. 

FACT:  I recently met with an employee of Charity ABC and he bluntly told me that they refuse to rely on donated items, in fact, they discourage their use.  They insist on PURCHASING great items for their events – because great items, attract great people and higher bids.

By the way, “Charity ABC” is Ducks Unlimited. 

How to get your charity out of their fundraising “Rut”

In order to break out of your fundraising “Rut”, you must understand that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”  It takes determination and discipline.  If you would like to see your fundraising dollars skyrocket, you first must understand that it is not on a one (1) year plan.  What that means is, you can’t change your event around and expect immediate results.

However, here are the keys to success:

#1 – Guest TrainingIf you have been hosting a mediocre fundraising event which
has had either similar or declining results, you must begin to train your guests on your spending expectations.  Recently, we were assisting a charity and their guests routinely asked where the cheap items were.   After they saw our items mixed in with many donated items, their spending went from rock bottom to extremely high on the donated products – beyond the expectations of both the Chairman of the Board and several of the volunteers.  You must train your guests on what is expected of them plus you must stick with it for more than one (1) event.  

#2 – Type of Fundraising Event – If you are hosting an event which has a small fundraising component or fundraising is not the main focus of the event, separate the two (2) events – host an Awards dinner or a “Community Outreach” event with a small fundraising component.  Then plan a Charity Fundraising event and let the focus be on that specifically.

#3 – Argumentative Staff or Volunteers – If your staff or volunteers argue that they like the “Old Way” they were doing things but you and the leadership know they need to make a change, have the discipline to explain why you are changing the tactic and why.  Remember, argumentative staff means they have passion for your charity – use that to your benefit.

#4 – Understanding and accepting fundraising reality – Perhaps the hardest part of this is both you and your staff understanding and accepting the reality of successful fundraising in 2014.  I have written blogs on this topic but in summary, putting it bluntly, businesses cannot donate fantastic items.  They can only donate items which they either want to get rid of or are not selling in their stores.  You must have items available that attract people while urging them to bid – and bid high.  Using our “No Risk Auction Items” benefits you and your charity and in fact, is guaranteed. 

In summary – while planning your next fundraising event, if you are “Aiming Low” financially, you will hit low.  But if you have the discipline to train yourself to “Aim High” financially, you will hit high.

But the question is – are you ready?  If you are, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising would love to help.  Contact us today at www.BWUnlimited.com.  Let us help you and your charity break out of the Fundraising Rut you are in.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a Charity Fundraising Leader in North America in a “One Stop Shop” setting.  The staff at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is the foremost experts in regard to planning and executing a successful Charity Fundraising event.   BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can not only consult you on how to plan and host your event but can also provide you and your charity with a wide array of No Risk Auction Items such as Charity Travel Packages, Autographed Memorabilia, beautiful Decorative items as well as exquisite jewelry.  If you would like our help, contact us today at www.BWUnlimited.com.  Let us help you with your next charity fundraising event.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Secret to Fundraising Success #5 – Bidder Numbers and Why?

Recently, BW Unlimited was assisting a Charity in the Washington D.C. metro area with their fundraising event and during the event check-in we spoke to hundreds of happy people as they signed up for their Bidder Numbers.  If you are not familiar with “Bidder Numbers”, they are given to each guest during check-in, in exchange for their contact information. A bidder number is quite simply a large card with a big black number on it.  Guests use this number to bid on the Live and Silent Auctions.  On some occasions, depending on the event, a guest may even purchase raffle tickets using this number.  At the end of the event, each guest will check out and pay for each item on which they were the highest bidder as well as the raffle tickets they purchased. 

While watching the Silent Auction, I observed many people browsing through the items and monitoring the bidder sheets of specific items on which they wanted to bid.  Interestingly, I watched as two gentlemen closely inspected one particular item.  They both stood talking about it and openly commented how fantastic it was.  Over the course of the evening I watched both of the men independent of the other come to the Silent Auction table and bid on that specific item. 

As the bid price climbed higher and higher I watched as they would place their bid and look around the room to see whom they could possibly be bidding against, when unknowingly, it was their friend.  As we announced that the Silent Auction was closing, both men went straight to the item and again began to bid.  Suddenly they both started laughing loudly finally aware that they were bidding against each other.  Ultimately, one of the gentlemen gave way to the other allowing him to win the bid without any further competition.  The most important thing to note in this example is that the final bid amount was fantastically high.

How did they not know who they were bidding against, its simple; they were each using a Bidder Number.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen charities who choose to use bid sheets with bidders names, not do as well as those who use an anonymous Bidder Number. 

For example – if you went to a Charity Fundraiser and went to bid on an item, but saw that your friend or coworker had previously bid, would you bid against them?  Most would answer with a resounding, “No, they would not”.  Utilizing Bidder Numbers makes the bidding anonymous therefore allowing for the maximum profitability potential for the charity hosting the event.

How it works – during guest check-in, there should also be a table for Bidder Registration.  Your guests sign up and provide their name, address, phone number and email address.  Once they fill out their information they are provided a bidder card with a large black number on it.  After the event, the charity maintains the bidder registration for various reasons but can also utilize it for event marketing.  It also provides a simple way to contact bidders who leave the event without picking up or paying for the item or items they won.

There are several other notable reasons that charities should utilize bidder numbers especially during a Live Auction.  After an item sells, the winning bidder raises the bidder card with their number on it for the Auctioneer to acknowledge and call out to the Auction Clerk; this also eliminates the need to write down a buyers name and information in a high pressure situation. 

Let’s speak directly to a company-sponsored table of ten (10) people who were given the tickets for free.  The charity will not have the contact information for the guests sitting at this table unless they were registered as bidders when they checked in.  Make sense?  While planning your next event, we recommend using the Bidder Number process and watch as the bids for your event items climb higher and higher; plus, you will benefit in having the contact information for all of the guests.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a leader in Charity Fundraising in North America in a “One Stop Shop” setting.  The fundraising experts at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising monitor successful fundraising trends, as well as negative trends, in charity events across the country.  BW Unlimited can guide you and your charity through the myriad of fundraising pitfalls through the planning and hosting of your next event.  If you would like our help, don’t hesitate to contact us at 410-658-8808 or contact us through our website today at www.BWUnlimited.com.