Tuesday, December 12, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Houdini was a magician, not an Auctioneer !!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Recent Autograph Signings - "The Walking Dead" & "Sons of Anarchy" Cast

We are proud to now offer autographed items from both the “The Walking Dead” cast as well as the Cast of “Sons of Anarchy.” 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan "Negan from the Walking Dead" autographed "Lucille" Barbed Wire Bats inscribed "Negan."  Also available are autographed and framed 16x20 photos.



Norman Reedus "Daryl Dixon from the Walking Dead" autographed "Angel Wing Vests."  Also available are autographed and framed 16x20 photos.




Tommy Flanagan "Chibs" & Ryan Hurst "Opie" dual autographed Motorcycle Helmets.



Tommy Flanagan "Chibs" autographed Motorcycle Vests.




BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is the only Auction Item provider that offers charities 100% authentic autographed items, authenticated by the world foremost authenticators - JSA and/or PSA/DNA.  All of our items come complete with not only a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) but also with a photo of the items actually being autographed.  

If you are interested and want to learn more, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.  We would love to help you.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"The Reality of the Reality of Donated Items"

If you are a fan of mine or read my blogs, you repeatedly have heard me say repeatedly the same things over and over again.  As with most things I say, the lessons I am trying to teach come from real “Honest to Goodness” mistakes I’ve made or have seen made over the vast amount of years I’ve been involved in fundraising.

I am always incredibly inquisitive about why charities have the beliefs they have and why they do what they do.  What do I mean by “Do what they do”?  Well, what I mean is simply this – charities believe that donated items will bring close to if not higher bids than what they are worth.  Or, why they continually put items in a fundraising event which will not have the return they believe.

Ok – so the best examples are real life stories or real life examples right?  Well, I hate to admit but over the weekend, I saw most of what I preach against happen at an event which we were a part of. 

What most charities do not know is this – the larger, more profitable charities don’t even deal with small donated items.  They know these items are not profitable and only go after Sponsors and large items which are always on their live auctions.  They educate themselves because in the end, they are evaluated on their fundraising successes on a continuing basis.

So at this event we were a part of – prior to, we had begun to help their founder but our tactics seemed extremely counter intuitive.  But because she believed in what we were saying, she allowed us to do what we are known to do.  In her many donations, we found a basket which was better than most.  Because of the quality of items and that we also believe that a smaller scale fundraising event should not be all of our items – we placed this basket in the Silent Auction.  If I were to guess, the retail value would have been well over $200.00.  But as you hear me say over and over and over again, donated items only bring 1/8th to 1/4  of retail in any Silent or Live Auction.  Well, it brought only $65.00 – exactly what I say day in and day out.  Proof positive.

Then, another issue which I address all the time is donated Vacation homes as well as locally donated items.  I tell our clients continually how if someone can get a vacation home either given to them free or less, they will not bid on those items.  Same with locally donated items, if you live close-by to a store which donated items in the fundraising event you are attending, you’re not going to bid to the retail value – you and everyone else is looking for deal 100% of the time.  This is always correct at every single event we do.

So, after the event was over and we were packing up to leave, I overheard a friend of our client say to her “I wasn’t going to bid on that because I can use it for free” about a Vacation Home which was in the Live Auction.

I literally fell out of my seat yelling “Oh my God”….in fact, I said to my client “Remember that, we will talk about it tomorrow.”

Folks – people do not want donated items.  If you are solely relying on donated items, you will see the inevitable result – that everyone is looking for a deal.  People are NOT and will NOT bid on items anywhere near what they are worth despite the fact that they are attending a charity event.  This NEVER EVER happens!!! 

People bid with their wallets, not with their hearts.  It’s sad, gotcha, but it’s the truth.  Wake up to the reality of fundraising.  Fundraising is a treacherous place to be.  There are monsters under the bed if you go looking. 

If you understand the reality of the reality, you will make the right decisions which will always prove to be profitable. 

On another note, smaller charities believe that consigned items (like ours) pull money away from their donated ones.  This cannot be farther from the truth, in fact, they pull money out of the crowd that would not have been spent otherwise.  This is the same belief as previously stated above – that people pay full retail for donated items (Fantasy and Myth).  In fact, the profit they make on our items at the starting bid far exceeds the highest bids on the donated items.  I challenge anyone reading this to see how people will win items at very low levels for the donated items but will bid on our items which the starting bids are much much higher. 

Your guests DO NOT walk into your charity fundraiser with blindfold on and a pocket full of cash, throw the money up in the air and spend it blindly.  This ideal or thought process can’t be further from the truth but for some reason, charities think this way.  Your guests bid on items they want and will bid heavily on them.  However, if the items have a known retail, they are looking for a deal and will not bid anywhere near the retail.  However, on items such as ours or another provider, these items have no known retail causing your guests to make incredibly high bids over and over and over again.

This my friends is the “Reality of the Reality of donated items.”  I am not saying do not go after donations and only use consigned items, I am saying if you are going after donations, to use them in a way that they have a certain high profit return.

If you would like help with understanding the reality of charity fundraising and how to use your donations in such a way that they have a very high return, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com, we would love to help you.

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.