Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fundraising Magazine: Do you want to know how to attract Large Financial Sponsors?

Before we begin – ask yourself, how many of your donors or sponsors ask to remain anonymous?  Not many or none?  Why is that?

First, understand that very few large financial sponsors will be attracted to your event based solely on the mission of the charity.  If they are, they will still want the same thing that other sponsors ask for.  Rarely will anyone make a donation and want to remain anonymous. 

Large Sponsors, normally companies, are attracted to events which have a large or affluent guest list.  The attractant is what is called “Drivers.”  They will be very interested in knowing how many people will see their logo and company name.   For instance, Workmen’s Compensation Attorney’s will be attracted to be sponsors for events which have a large attendance of a sector which they market to heavily. 

As an example, recently I introduced a well-known restaurant a charity who was hosting an event.  As they sat and spoke for 42 minutes, I noticed the one thing that wasn’t being discussed.  I stopped the conversation and asked the charity representative what wasn’t even being discussed.  He didn’t know or even realize until I said “She hasn’t asked once what your mission is or what you’re going to do with the sponsorship money.” 

A large attendance is a major reason for sponsors.  When they find out that you will have over 600 people at your event, they will definitely start thinking about sponsoring.  They will know that the guests will see they are supporting their charity and want to support them. 

When setting sponsor levels, remember, large numbers are scary to the normal business owner.   Providing lower levels of sponsorship is key to your ultimate success – Volume is better than few.  The reality is – charity fundraising is business.  Sponsors will invest their advertisement dollars to sponsor your event in exchange for advertisement.  The same is true with donated items. 

Businesses and affluent individuals are looking for advertisement which will “Drive” people into their businesses.  Prior to engaging possible sponsors, ensure that you lay out a plan or a sponsor package which will provide sponsors with advertisement to all your guests as well as those thinking about coming to your event or supporting your charity.

There are various ways to ensure that your sponsors get more than their fair share of advertisement as well as receive an overwhelming response from their sponsorship or donation.  The sponsorship advertisement can extend farther than just your event which is yet another attractant.

Just remember businesses are owned by people who also need to pay their bills to keep their lights on.  Simply by saying “It’s tax deductible” is not enough anymore.   This is the era of “What can you do for me?” – Keep that in mind prior to even beginning.  You can turn their advertisement in your event to add Glitz, Pizzazz or Eye Candy to it which will help the appeal of the overall experience.

If you would like to learn what possible sponsors find appealing and how to provide them an overwhelming amount of advertisement at your event, contact us 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 will help you build a sponsorship package which will attract all levels of sponsors.  Contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com for more information.



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Charity Auction Item Counterfeiters Exposed!!!

The hottest topic in the Autograph Memorabilia world today is “Hot to Spot a Fake Autograph.”  Well, its an unfortunate fact that there are counterfeiters out there but what makes matters worse is that there are a few in the Charity Market Place.  The reason these companies exist in the charity market is based solely on the fact that those who are trying to fundraise.  They are easily caught up in the “Glitz & Glitter” of the items they offer such as band signed Guitars, Cast Signed Movie Posters, Autographed photos from deceased Presidents, Musicians, Celebrities and Athletes.  Signed Music Sheets and autographed Boxing Gloves including all the Boxing Legends including Mohammed Ali.  Honestly, I’m just astounded people will even believe that these types of items are real.  They are so badly counterfeited, that it astounds me that people fall for it.

Ok here are a few tips anyone can use to check to see if those items are real:

#1 – Don’t get caught up in the Glitz & Glitter – it’s all plastic.  Seriously, think about it, do you think that the Rolling Stones are all in the same place at one place?  No. 

#2 – Here is an easy one, check Google, does any other company out there carry those items outside of the charity industry?  In the real autograph world, no one has those items.  Real autographed items can be found everywhere – not just those companies.

#3 – Another easy indicator – Who is the Authenticator?  A lot of novice collectors or charities will say “It has a Certificate of Authenticity” – That means absolutely nothing.  What matters is who is the authenticator?  Are they accepted in the Sports Industry?  Does the company have pictures of these people actually signing the items?  Do they use an unknown authentication company?  There are only two “Authentic Authenticators” – JSA and/or PSA/DNA. 

#4 – Common Sense – Seriously, just use common sense about these items.  We had a charity use these items and took them to an “Authentic Authenticator” and they found they were counterfeit. 

#5 – Lifetime Guarantee – We don’t offer a Lifetime Guarantee for our items – that if they are found to be counterfeit, you can return them.  Ours are authentic, no guarantees because they are real.

#6 – Do you know who you are dealing with – With these companies, why aren’t there pictures of the people who work there or their names?  A little mysterious.

#7 – Ask them where the items were autographed?  If they say outside of a show or an appearance, an authenticator can’t be there to ensure the autographs are real.

Charities or whoever is reading this, please just use common sense. Don’t be fooled – we are here to protect you. 

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising does not carry these items because they are not authentic.  We have been approached by several companies selling these types of items – we will not use them.  It’s all about integrity in the end, not about the almighty dollar bill $$$$.  If you want to ensure your guests receive real items, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.


BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  BWUCF only offers 100% authentic items authenticated by the most reputable companies in the world.  You can rest assured that our items are 100% authentic.  In fact, we don’t offer a life time guarantee that you can return them if they are found to be counterfeit.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mended Little Hearts - We are here to help

Recently, we met several members of “Mended Little Hearts” – Mended Little Hearts is a support program for parents of children with heart defects and heart disease, is dedicated to inspiring hope in those who care for the littlest heart patients of all. Mended Little Hearts offers resources and a caring support network as families find answers and move forward to find healing and hope.  For families with children who live with heart defects and disease, Mended Little Hearts is a support network providing education, advocacy, awareness, and outreach.

While speaking with them, I learned just how they are doing to help these beautiful angels and their families.  However, it was surprising to learn just how hard of a time they are having successfully fundraising.  That is why we, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, threw our collective hats in the ring.
This portion is directly to those who are involved with Mended Little Hearts:

I would like to introduce myself and my company.  My name is George Wooden, President/Founder & Owner of BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising.  We are proudly a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  We help well over 1,400 charities each year by either providing them auction items and with a select few, we help them plan, manage and host large scale, charity fundraising events which are “EXTREMELY” successful – not only financially but by growing support.

After meeting with several people involved, I realize that you may be nervous about stepping out of your comfort zone and allowing us to help you.  It’s scary, we understand…however without risk, there is no reward.  We have never hosted an event which has failed.  At this point, we pick and choose who we help.

In terms of reality, you are being asked to fundraise without any training, education or a background on how to properly fundraise.  You are unaware of the national fundraising trends, you are unaware of why people donate or how to attract large sponsors.

You are living full time lives, with full time commitments, a full time job with a full time family – then you are a fundraiser.  With that being said, if you are untrained, could you also be a doctor, lawyer, home builder?  In a time when successful fundraising is vital to your overall success, shouldn’t you have help?

We would be lying if we said the economy is great once again.  Charities are unaware of the challenges they phase when it comes to fundraising.  Competition for the “Almighty Dollar” is stiff – there are currently 104 Million U.S. Non Profits all fighting over exact same dollar!!! 

Fundraising today is strategic and sadly said, successful fundraising today has little to do with the actual charity trying to raise funds.  It’s about the package, the event and what you are going to provide the donor.  With so many charities screaming “Please donate to me”, how do you get above the crowd noise and attract large scale donors or host large scale events? 

Most of the largest fundraising events across North America is actually our company.  We have raised Millions across the United States for Charities and are growing each year. 

Ask yourself this simple question – what did you last fundraising event profit?  Profit, not Gross, actual profit?  How long did it take you to plan that event?  How many people were involved in the planning?  Then take that number, divide it by the months it took to plan it, then divide again by the amount of people, then again by the number of months….would you work for that? 

The facts are this:  The beginning of successful fundraising across North America is $100.00 a head, Net.  That means if you had 300 people at your event or participating, you should have made at the very least $30,000.00.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising normally does 1.8 to 2.5 times the national norm. 
We will help you plan an incredible event, be there through it all.  Help you completely sell out a venue for your event, teach you how to get large scale financial sponsors and grow your charity.  We will be on site for your event to manage and run it.  At the end of the day, you will profit more than you could possibly dream of.  We have proven this time and time again with our 100’s of clients – go to our website “Testimonials” page and watch the video testimonials. 

We help you every step of the way, taking away 95% of the work while guiding you around the pitfalls.  During the planning stage, we are available to you 24/7.  We will attend meetings while giving you guidance.  We provide everything for the event itself.  We will train you on how to sell a massive amount of tickets and get donations.  We will help you get major financial sponsors and then, plan and put on an event that everyone will rave about.

A person with no background in fundraising should not be expected to know how to fundraise – we are the experts in this field. 

We understand you may be scared, because in the end, you represent children.  I understand because my very own son was born with numerous birth defects.  I spent 20 years of my life as a Maryland State Trooper with Integrity being the cornerstone of my life.

If you would like to witness what we do first hand, please come to Jennifer Miller’s Benefit Fundraising event on November 10th in Baltimore, Maryland.  Jennifer’s son Luc was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  Her event is called “Luc’s Mega Minion Bash.”  100% of the proceeds go to the Miller family to help them with their medical expenses. If you have any questions whatsoever or would like more information about this event, please contact Esther Miecznikoski at (410) 688-6498 or by email at lgsapr11182@aol.com.  There will be well over 500 people there.

After Jennifer asked for our help, she became so impressed, she asked to join our team so that she can help Mended Little Hearts as well as charities across North America.

Again, in closing, successful fundraising is strategic and is centered on understanding business.   We would love the chance to help you and your charity blow away your fundraising goals so that you can do more.  If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Miller at Jennifer@bwunlimited.com or call her (410) 920-1432.

Remember, we understand it’s scary – we are here for you….without risk, you will never know what the reward that is waiting for you just around the bend.

Respectfully,
George Wooden
President
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising

www.BWUnlimited.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nothing better than Reality instead of fluff

Recently, a member of a charity contacted us and was asking about how we can help them.  But wanted to know what the costs were etc.  Before I began informing her about our cost structure, I asked her about their fundraising events.  Needless to say, they believed they were successful but in reality, they were far from it.  In fact, the reality of it was that they were making very little without an enormous amount of effort.  The problem is, when it comes to charities, they have it all wrong, completely wrong.  In the “For Profit” world, you go after and pay the best in the business to get maximum results for your company.  The price you pay is minimal compared to the result.  However, in the charity world, the belief is exactly opposite – spend very little to make as much as possible.  Does this make sense at all?  And why do charities think like this?  And why?  So here is her question and my response:

---------

QUESTION:  For my event, it would be great to have more info from you regarding fees and such, should the organization decide that they would like “outside” help.

ANSWER:  I would absolutely love to help you.  Can we talk about your event more? 
When we spoke, I remember your Net was low in accordance with the amount of people you had in attendance.  Look at it like this - # of guests divided by your Net.  The absolute beginning of successful fundraising, which is a guide for professional fundraising is $100.00 a head Net.  400 people = $40,000.00 net (after pay alllllllll the bills including us).  We are paid through the event and not from your charity.  The difference between us and doing it alone is this - Baseball Teams go after the best players who they have to pay heavily for to win games and eventually the World Series.  We pay Doctors, Lawyers, Contractors for their expertise - we are the #1 fundraisers in North America. 

Having a volunteer or someone who doesn't truly know, study or even understand fundraising will believe it's all about the charity - the financial success that is.  When in reality, it’s not at all - it's all about the event.  Namely, the Venue/The Menu/The Fundraising platforms such as a Live & Silent Auction & Raffles.  The belief that fully donated items are the way to go in regard to fundraising when in reality, donated items are only profiting 1/8th to 1/4 of retail in any live or silent auction across the United States.  How to attract major financial sponsors, what they are looking for and why they sponsor - its not about the charity, its about the event.  How to successfully get your attendees to willingly donate money to your cause and why they do? 

When you have a major donor of an item - how not to make them mad because their item they donated does not bring top dollar.  Why have a live auction and who are you targeting with it.  What types of items do people pay ridiculous amounts of money for time and time again.  What types of event excite people who do not know about your cause, will want to be a part of as well as successful event marketing trends which bring the spot light on your event.  How to get above the crowd noise of the 104 Million registered U.S. Non Profits out there who are trying to get people to donate like yours is. 

But mainly - think of it like this.  What was the "Net" of last years event?  Now you have to be absolutely honest with yourself when it comes to this because its a real eye opener.  Divide your true "Net" by the amount of people it took to plan the fundraising event.  Then, divide that number by the amount of months (the true amount of months) it took to plan it.  Now, look at that number....does it make sense?  Would you work that long for that low amount of pay in your own life? 

Another common mistake is that charities believe that people want to hear speeches,
watch presentations or people given awards when in reality - no one likes to hear long winded speeches and it slows down the momentum of the event itself.  Speeches need to be kept to a minimum.  The charity should "Work" the room, meeting their guests and sponsors.  To deliver the mission or to tell people about how wonderful your charity is, Video is the absolute best way and is entertaining.

Summary - we are proud to say we hit 1.8 to 2.5 above the national norm for successful fundraising of $100.00 a head net.  We are proud to say that our events normally sell completely out because of the way we build, plan and market it.  At our events, it’s a "Norm" that people will ask to buy tickets for the very next event, which is a year away. 

Our events are extremely fun, entertaining and all about the excitement of the event itself....that is what brings success - excitement and happy people.  Happy people donate heavily.  Bored people do not.

It's all about desire - the desire of your charity - if they truly want to be successful.  Why have a volunteer or someone who does not know how to fundraise or specializes in planning these type of events, planning your event!!!  Would you want your mechanic doing your surgery?  Would you want your housewife friend representing you in court when she has no background in Law?  Would you want your accountant building your house when he has no background in building?  Or - would you want the best in the business cutting into your skin, representing you in court or planning and building your house?

It's all about desire to be better - we are not expensive, but it is expensive when you have someone with no background doing your fundraising - which it seems you already do.  For some reason, people's mind tend to shut completely off when it comes to fundraising.  They plan an excellent event at a fantastic venue but when it comes time to actually fundraise - they think cheap is better when in reality, its not at all.  The most important thing a charity can do is to have a professional helping them. 

In a down economy, when fundraising is tough, wouldn't you want the best in the business helping you with a proven long term track record?  All of our current clients do.  In fact, we go back year after year after year after year. 

Here are some incredible examples:

A small group needed to raise money - they said in their wildest dreams they would love to raise $40,000.00.  They hired us, their 1st event did $161,000.00 Net.  2nd event did $248,000.00 net.

A small, unknown charity needed to raise $90,000.00.  Over 6 years, they had only raised $6,000.00 and couldn't get 50 people to come to a dinner fundraiser.  1st event - 810 guests with $141,000.00 Net.

A very well-known national charity was reporting to their board that they made $360,000.00 however; the money in the bank did not equal what they were reporting.  Their chairman of the board asked that I look over the financial reporting quietly.  I determined that 95% of the money raised came from pre-event sponsors but when they had their event, the actual event was in the negative forcing them to spend money which the pre-event sponsors donated.  They shouldn't have even had the event.  We took over, the event made $458,000.00 with the pre-event sponsors. 

The list goes on and on and on and on....

Successful fundraising is strategy...it’s not a wish or a hope.  Rarely do charities go back and examine what their event did or what made money or what their losses were.  They take the money, accept it and make themselves believe that they were successful.  They never try to improve by learning by their mistakes.  We do...

So - all in all, we are the best in the business with a proven track record and resume.  We would love to help you.

We can provide a management team which includes everything from graphic design, to event set up, paperwork, planning, managing and hosting – directing the committee
and being onsite to manage the event...to even providing an entire event staff that our clients don't even have to do anything other than check people in and do your program (Awards, speeches etc.).

In summary – does it make sense to put the most valuable tool in a charities arsenal (their fundraising) in the hands of someone who has no background in it when it’s absolutely crucial to the funding of their mission?  No it does not but charities do it day in and day out all across North America every single day.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fundraising 101: Successful Fundraising is like Chess, not Checkers.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with a client who is now more of a friend.  We were discussing his problems with his charity coming to decision about their fundraising efforts.  During the conversation, I told him that people just don’t understand it.  They come and experience one of the events which we produce and say to themselves “Oh I can do what they do” and the following year they start off on their own trying to duplicate what we do.  They have no idea what they have got themselves into.

You see, people come to our fundraising events all across the country and they see it and think “hmmm, so they put items out on tables and people bid on them or buy raffle tickets, that’s easy.”  Then, they think they have it figured out and start thinking well, we really don’t need a Live Auction because that takes too long and not many people in the crowd bid on the items.  Then, they think about raffles…well we really don’t need all those raffles that they do in fact, I know, we should do a 50/50 raffle and just a couple of other ones.”   Then, here is when it really goes off the tracks “We shouldn’t hold it in a high end, expensive place.   We need to find a place that is cheaper and maybe we could get the food donated.”  As the train starts plummeting off the bridge down to the river below, they say this “Well, they put all of that consignment stuff in the silent auction that we have to pay for, donations are free and we keep 100% of the profit especially because the retail value of the items which he used in raffles is a lot.  They don’t know what they’re doing….we can do it better, cheaper and make much more money doing it our way.”  Just before the train hits the water in an explosive fire ball, they say “We need more entertainment, a band possibly and give people more time to dance.”  Then as the train is burning up, they decide “Lets save money and have a Cash Bar so we don’t have to pay for the alcohol too” and that’s when Taps starts playing.


Seriously that’s what happens….How do I know, because I see it time and time again.  So while I was talking to my friend, he said “the way you do your fundraising events is more like Chess instead of checkers” and he’s absolutely right!!!  Successful fundraising is EXTREMELY strategic.  There are reasons why we do what we do.  There are reasons why we promote having our events at higher end venues with great food.  There are reasons why we have a Live Auction, a silent auction and tons of raffles.  And there is definitely a reason why we promote the use of a DJ and not a band and definitely not a lot of “Dancing” time.  There are reasons why we don’t do 50/50 raffles and there are also HUGE reasons why we use consignment items over donated items all day and all night in Silent and Live Auctions and utilize the donations in raffles.

A very long time ago, we did several events which were in competition with other charities in the area which did something similar.  Those charities actually sent people to our events and they took video of our entire Silent Auction, Live Auction and Raffles.  They wrote down each and every item and where it was in the event.   Why?  Because they believed they could duplicate it – nope.  They tried and their events were disasters.

So….he’s 100% right!!!  Highly successful fundraising is exactly like Chess – it’s extremely strategic. You have to study it, study people and how they respond.  Talk to businesses and try different things year after year, time after time to figure out what works and what don’t.  There are reasons for everything – from the biggest things down to the tiny details that no one notices.  The logistics of our events are ridiculous.  You really have no idea what goes into something like what we do – but then again, that’s why we are a North American Charity Fundraising Leader. 

So before you launch off into what you think is going to be a highly successful fundraising event, stop and think – should I call them or not?  Then there are those charities out there who will hire a “FREE” Auctioneer or go after a “FREE” venue with “FREE” food and so on.

Then the stress, oh my god, the stress of putting something like this together is daunting.  Do you know how to promote your event?  Do you know what to tell your committee?  Do you have a committee?  Do you know all the equipment and paperwork needed for your “FREE” Event?

Your FREE event is going to cost you more than you could possibly imagine and then, you will lose more money than you could dream of, hoping to just break even. 
That is what playing fundraising checkers is all about – but we are the champions at fundraising chess.  If you would like our help, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com, we would love to help.


BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  We can help guide you, your committee and your charity around the myriad of fundraising event pitfalls toward an incredibly successful fundraising event that will make a huge impression on your guests and raise you more money than you could ever dream of.  Many of our clients started out nervous, scared and skeptical but when it was all over, they couldn’t wait to start planning their next event.  Contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Understanding how to play the charity fundraising "Game"


Most people have no clue how large the charity “Marketplace” truly is.  I routinely ask new clients I meet with how many charities do they think exist in the United States.  2,700?  10,000?  100,000?  No – there are an unbelievable 104 Million charities.  If you then remember there are at 10 people involved with every charity, the number goes astronomical.

Synopsis:

There are 104 Million registered U.S. Non Profits.  Most popular charities realize that growth comes from opening “sub charities” in other areas of the country, these “sub charities” are called “chapters.”  Chapters not only spread the mission of the charity but they also are a highly successful fundraising method – basically the children of the charity feeding the mother. 

With that in mind – the 104 Million registered U.S. Non Profits grow to 150 million counting the “Sub Charities” in the equation. 

There are two types of fundraisers:

a.    Charity fundraiser – A registered 501(c)3 Non Profit – Basically a charity business.

b.    Benefit fundraiser – When a community comes together to hold a fundraiser     for someone or something in order to help them.  The IRS allows for an unregistered group to host one (1) fundraiser a year for a cause which is deemed non-taxed.  These types of fundraisers are routinely for an ill child, a storm damaged community or a family hit with an unseen tragedy.  These are called “Benefits.”  These “Benefit” fundraisers are not tracked nor are they counted in the 104 million.

With the above in mind, going from 104 million registered U.S. Non Profits, adding the sub-charities/chapters, the number rises to 150 million fundraisers.  There are an untold number of Benefit fundraising events going on but we know they are going on constantly.  Adding 50 million benefit fundraisers a year, the number rises to 200 million fundraising entities holding fundraising events each year.  So how do you still out above the crowd?

200 Million Fundraising entities in the United States, each needing to fundraise each year to keep their mission going with only 50 states in the nation. 

Fundraising competition is ridiculous!!!

The “Fundraising Myth”:

Most charities or fundraisers simply have no idea about the above number.  Each understandably believes that they are an “Island amongst themselves.”  They believe that their charities mission or why they are hosting a benefit fundraiser is more important than any charity in existence.  They believe that everyone will want to be a part of it and everyone will want to donate to their upcoming fundraiser.  They believe that everyone will want to come to their fundraiser.  With that belief, they advertise their fundraiser with the name of the charity because that is what is going to attract people to their personal mission.  They sit back and wait….and wait….and wait.

The “Donations Myth”:

Many charities believe that because their charity or benefit is so important and valuable, that businesses and individuals will line up to donate.  They also believe that if they ask, businesses will donate high end items such as Harley Davidson motor cycles, cars etc.  If they do donate, they donate items which will bring the retail price or higher because people will want to give and pay above the retail price.  They believe that every business they approach will say “Well, what do you want or what can we give you.”  Same holds true with sponsorship – companies will flip open their checkbook and say “Okay, how about $10,000.00?” 


The “Reality of Fundraising”:

Forget the myth above – it’s entirely 100% false.  Do you remember the amount of charities I reported above?  There are so many charities out there with everyone screaming, paying for marketing etc. that everyone chooses a “Pet Charity” or a charity they believe in and give to that one if any at all.  The citizens of the United States are also bombarded with charities asking for money.  Everywhere they go, they are asked to give.  They become “numb” to being asked for money which makes them numb to the mission of the charity so they tune it all out.  No matter where you turn, someone has their hand out – right?  Right.  People are not paying attention.  Here is the hardest part to understand and comprehend – people don’t care because of this.  They just can’t – its reality.

The reality is that people involved with charities “Hit Up” businesses constantly. Everyone is asking for donations and businesses can only give so much – they have to worry about keeping their own businesses afloat and their lights on.  If they give, they give something they can afford to give away – most likely something that is not selling in their stores.  But we as charities believe that those items will bring full retail or above – this never ever happens. 

Donated items are only bringing 1/8 to 1/4 of retail across the county in any Silent or Live Auction – People are looking for a deal and will not get anywhere near the full retail value – here is why:

Local People – Attending a Local Event – with items donated by local businesses = If your guests wanted those items, they would go buy them, themselves.

No one attends a charity event looking for a “Teeth Cleaning”, “Will preparation”, “Home Inspection” or “Botox Treatments.”  Items like this sell for an embarrassing low amount of money. 

Businesses donate because they want a return on their money.  They want “drivers” into their businesses.

The Solution:

Understanding all of the above, charities need to understand that it is vital to not act like the “Norm.”  They must plan their fundraising events as events and not as fundraisers.  They must stand outside the crowd.  They also must have a plan to give businesses what they want as well as their guests.  They must have a plan to utilize their collected donated items in a platform which will bring much more than 1/8 to 1/4 of retail. 

How does a charity plan an event which will sell out?  How does a charity raise well above the norm, more than they have ever raised?  How do they stand out in a crowd of millions? 

If donated items do not bring a lot of money in a Silent or Live Auction – then what should they do? 

Solution to the Solution:  

A charity must spend money to make money.  Fundraising events must evolve, change year to year.  They must be exciting and fresh and be more about the event and less about the charity.  This will bring people to your event and to your charities mission.

Are you ready to grow and be more successful, if so, contact us today.


BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American charity fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop.”  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is known across North America for planning fundraising events which have ridiculous successful results – not only financial but charity growth year after year.  Contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Founder – the story of “McDonalds” and how it relates to charities

For some time, I’ve been wanting to see the movie the “Founder” which is the story about Ray Krok and McDonalds.  So the other night, my wife and I rented it and sat back. 

Going in, I thought it was going to be the story about how an idea grew into such a massive scale.  How one man single handedly built an empire – a great business movie to watch and learn from. 

But what was about is simply this – if you don’t take your incredible idea and grow it or move it to the next level, someone else will.  What happened in the story (which holds true in regard to charities), two (2) brothers came up with the idea of McDonalds and how to serve their customers in a “Speedy” constant way.  They did not have a lot of their menu, their goal was deliver quality quickly over quantity in a time when “Drive Up’s with girls on Roller Skates” were the hit.

Well, the two McDonald brothers did want to franchise their store.  Along came Ray Krok who could picture the ability to expand.  The brothers fought it for all they were worth, but Ray saw otherwise.  He took their idea, eventually figured out a way to improve it then overtook the ownership making it what it is today – the most popular restaurant in the world, feeding at least 1% of the worlds population on a daily basis, well worth in the billions.

What Ray, with help, figured out was they were in the “Real Estate” business, not food service.  They bought the land that the restaurants sit on and lease it to the franchisee.  If the Franchisee doesn’t follow his direction, he revokes the land lease.  That easy.  The land then builds value and his profits go through the roof. 

What should a charity learn by this?  Well, what I’ve been preaching all along.  It’s not about how great your hamburgers are or your charity is, it’s about expansion, constantly evolving, staying fresh and consistent.  Its about expansion in that your charity must do whatever it needs to do to constantly grow, reach new people, new donor’s and spur growth. 

If you stay the same, but have a great idea, believe me…someone will “swoop” right in and steal your idea and grow it.  You will be just a memory like the McDonald brothers are and were.  Seriously, do you even know their names?

Now – how does a charity expand?  By following these simple rules:

#1 – Your web presence must be stellar – Your website is the face of your charity.  If is not “Top Notch”, donors and sponsors will go look, not be impressed and you will never know they were there snooping around.  It’s not like the old days when people came to your office – they first go to your website.

#2 – Be the Dancing Monkey – If people felt so strongly about your mission, you would have no need to host fundraisers.  There would be stacks of checks in the mail every day.  Give them what they want – a fantastic event that attracts people to it first, then to your charity.

#3 – There are no emotions in business – People will steal your ideas.  Let me give you a very real life example.  A long time ago, people use to attend my events and literally video tape what we were doing and write down everything we had displayed.  But what they did not know was the method or reason behind it.  They wanted to steal my ideas and do them on their own – they failed.  Why did they fail?  Let me tell you why, because they did not know what the reasons were behind certain things.  What I mean by there are no emotions in business is this – people don’t care.  Everyone, every charity is out for themselves and themselves only. 

#4 – How to expand – This takes work.  If you have the ability to expand your charity into other states, do it.  Allow people from other areas in the country to get involved.  Remember, you own the land (your charity), they are just opening a store on it.  You control what goes on.

These are just ideas, notions to consider.  But like Ray Krok and the McDonald brothers, if you don’t move forward with your idea, someone else will.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising Leader in a "One Stop Shop" convenient setting.  If you would like our help, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com or call us directly at 443 206 6121.



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Charity Fundraising “Flat Line” – The “Sophomoric Syndrome”

There is an old saying that says “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”  This is incredibly true for charities that experience success early.  However, as their charity ages, they tend to get set in their ways and lose track of reality.

Furthermore, no one likes to hear the reality of things.  Most charities believe that their mission is the best and deserves the most but what most don’t realize is this – people give because they want something in return.  Whether it is acknowledgement of some kind, satisfaction or whatever, they want something.

The competition for charities trying to fundraise is stiff.  With over 104 Million charities in the United States, Non Profits need to be on their game per se.  They must grasp the plain and simple fact that in order to attract people or supporters to their charity, they need to be a “Dancing Monkey” of sorts.  Laying out the bait to gain the attention of people shopping the charity superstore is extremely important.  The best way of accomplishing this – is to host an incredible event for people to attend.  Making it more about the event and less about the charity and the fundraising aspect.  Does this make sense?  No it doesn’t but then why are BW Unlimited events so large and always so successful? 

Test Case #1:   Recently, we were asked to help a charity which had not been successful raising money for 6 years.  However, when we came on board, we were given “Carte Blanche” to do what we wanted and how we wanted.  This charity had a very hard time getting people to attend their small functions and within the 6 year period, they had only raised a grand total of $6,000.00. 

They did not question our methods, in fact, we provided guidance and they followed it a “T.”  Everyone prior to during the beginning discussion stages, was very critical saying that it would never work, people won’t come etc.

End result – 1,000 attendees and close to $80,000.00 in profit in the bank “PRIOR TO” the event.  People are excited about the charity and the next event – which will be much larger and much more profitable.

However – this leads to the next problem – a very real issue referred to as the “Sophomoric Syndrome.”

What is the “Sophomoric Syndrome”?  It’s when a group is extremely successful and the following year, they lay back and think that last year’s success will come rolling in without much work.  They don’t go after as many donations, they believe people will just buy tickets because of last year, they don’t go after financial sponsors as hard…they lay back and think people are going to come to them. 

Oddly enough, you need to work twice as hard.  Remember the “Dancing Monkey”?  People get distracted and want to be entertained.  The event needs to change and evolve to keep people interested and involved.  The charity must GROW to stay relevant.  They need to lay out the “Bait” thick and keep attracting more and more to their event.  Their event has to grow bigger, become more impressive etc.  Growing the committee is more important but the committee too must understand the “Reality of Charity Fundraising.”  Why people and businesses donate – because they want something. 

They must understand that they are not the only Charity in existence, because there will be 100 charities behind them asking them for donations and giving them what they want – the donor can sit back and make demands to see who wants their money.  This is reality folks.

Have you ever seen one of those business graphs with profits and losses going up and down?  Well the same holds true with a charity.  Charities must think like a business and use strategy to run it.  They need to ask themselves these questions: 

#1 – “How do we grow and become more profitable?” 

#2 – “How do we stay more relevant?”

#3 – “What can we do to attract more people to us?”

#4 – “How can we compete in such a competitive market place?”

And perhaps the most important question….

#5 – “Are we doing this for fun or do we want to do more, grow and become much more successful?”

Be realistic – ask yourselves the above questions.  How do you combat the problem detailed above?  Each year, you need to start over, keep everyone engaged and excited about what lies ahead.  Get rid of any negativity and grow your infrastructure.  If not, this is when the “Charity Flat Line” starts to happen.  You can tell this is happening when donations slow down. 

Let’s be real for a minute – do any of your charities walk out to the mailbox in the morning and find stacks of checks waiting for you?  No.  That is why you must go nuts when it comes to fundraising!!!  You absolutely must work even if you hire us – we will teach you how to stay relevant, how to stay competitive but in the end, it’s up to you to ensure your pulse keeps beating.

Everything ladies and gentlemen has a shelf life.  Case in Point – there was a very well-known Veterans charity with a very recognizable logo that just a year or so ago everyone loved.  Millions upon millions of dollars poured into this charity but then they lost their way.  It became more about the charity and marketing then it did about this mission.  People became very critical and before too long, investigations began, news stories exposed them and now where are they?  Gone.

Everything counts – EVERYTHING.  You must stay ahead of the pace.  Everything matters, your web presence, your mission and your fundraising efforts.  If not, your pulse will stop and your charity will flat line.  There are plenty of examples of this. 


BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a charity fundraising leader in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting.  We can help you and your charity understand the competitive nature of charity fundraising and guide you toward a bright future while helping you by planning, managing and hosting highly successful charity fundraising events which will not only help you raise the money you need but grow your charity in ways you could not have predicted.  Check out our website at www.BWUnlimited.com or call us directly at 443 206 6121.  We would love to help you.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

CONTROVERSIAL: The "Snowflake Approach" to fundraising

WARNING:  If you are offended easy, stop reading now.  As you see, there is a lot of content below.  Stop reading if your feelings get hurt easy.  You’ve been warned.  By the way, if this Blog offends you, I really don't care.  Feel free to comment about how nasty I am, or use the word that most people do, that I'm "Abrasive" - I won't be offended.

No lie, literally, I just received a phone call and could not stop laughing.  It totally made my week.  This is a TRUE story, but the names are changed to protect the innocent parties lol.  But here it is.

Last year, I worked with a charity who had never done a fundraiser before.  Now, knowing me, do you think I walked softly through our meetings and used a soft tone of voice or was I me?  You remember me don’t you?  The retired State Trooper, former Undercover Narcotics Detective, 6 foot 5 former Marine and notably the best fundraiser in North America – yes I said it.

So the phone call goes like this “Hey I just wanted to call you and tell you why my charity isn’t hiring you this year.”  Of course I said “Okay, why?”  The caller, lets call him Steve said “Well let me tell you about the meeting we just had.  The person who is now in charge of doing our fundraiser actually said and I quote….I don’t want anyone’s feelings to get hurt so if you don’t mind helping us, we would really appreciate it.  We aren’t telling you to sell tickets or demanding you do but if you don’t mind, would you please help us sell some tickets.  If you have something to say, because we don’t want your feelings to get hurt, we want you to speak up because it’s very important that you’re feelings aren’t hurt.” 

That is when I fell out of my chair in total laughter.  I dropped my phone while falling and could hear “Steven” laughing as well.  I picked up the phone and he said “And that is when I walked out of the room.”  I was speechless – are you kidding me? 

Now look to the left at my picture, do I look like a guy who cares if I offended your feelings or if I care that the way I talk is abrasive?    

Because I am a "Take Charge" kind of guy, I don't mince words and I'm extremely direct, my direct approach is not and how do I say "Loved by all."  I have no room or time to hand hold.  You hired me to raise a ton of money for your charity, so lets get it done and here is how we are going to do it.  I can't just shake off 20 years as a State Trooper to suddenly be someone's babysitter.  That's not me...eventhough some people have tried to teach me a "Kinder, Gentler Approach."

But then this is what the world has came too.  Political correctness, which you already know I am not, has taken hold into every facet of our world, now to include fundraising.

Now lets take this in direct contrast of a charity I just met with –which I don’t have to mince words or change names.  I work with A LOT of police agencies and Law Enforcement foundations.  These guys and girls could care less that you what you say, in fact, if  you don’t drop the “F” bomb every once in awhile, they will think you’re weird. 

They are take control kind of people, do as they are told and follow orders.  Let’s take as an example Chris Heslop or as I call him “Mr. Happy.”  Chris is the President of the Police K9 Association and without a doubt, does not mince words.  He says whats on his mind and is very course in the way he says it – I love it!!!  Jen Krauss from the Prince George’s County Police K9 Section – she tells it like it is and will tell you to go “F” yourself if she doesn’t like what you have to say.  But then these two have hosted incredibly successful fundraising events.

So as I’m wiping the tears away from my eyes from laughing so hard, I told “Steven” that I was going to write this Blog and title it “The Snowflake Approach” and he please do.

When planning a fundraising event that you want to be successful, the very last thing you want are people on your committee who need a participation trophy when your event fails.  You don’t need people around who get their feelings hurt if you say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing – you need people who are go-getters!!!  People who are not afraid to walk up to someone and say “Buy tickets.”  Snowflakes are people who will be absolutely worthless to you and your committee and in the end, your fundraising event.  They won’t sell tickets to come, they surely won’t get donations because they don’t have the “Guts” to walk in and ask for donations.  You need people the exact opposite. 

Now it all makes sense.  Now I know why it was like trying to climb Mount Everest backward carrying a 1,000 lbs. on my back planning their fundraiser.  Remember, in order to be successful at anything in life, you have to GO AFTER IT!!!  In order to host a successful fundraising event, you can not be afraid to hurt anyone's feelings, you can not be a snowflake. If you are, you’re in the wrong game. 

Do you think anyone who ever became very rich or successful was a snowflake?  Doubt it.  Now that I’m thinking about it, every single event that we have done that was highly successful, none of them were ran by snowflake type people.

In order to be successful, you must have people who are Type A.  Who are not afraid to talk to everyone and anyone.   Non-negative, Positive from beginning to end people who will kill themselves nearly to ensure that you are successful. 


If you would like to learn more on how to grow a successful charity fundraising committee, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.