Sunday, September 16, 2018

The face of Charity Event Fundraising has changed


Many don’t realize that the face of fundraising has drastically changed.  Many charities still continue to host their fundraising events as if it was still in the 1990’s.  However, with society changing as well as the amount of charities rising across the nation to over 104 Million registered U.S. Non Profits, in order to get people’s attention and ultimately, financial donations and support – Charity Fundraising, especially Event Fundraising has had to change and evolve.

In the 90’s, there were fewer charities.  This was the era of the Mortgage Boom with money flowing everywhere.  Many affluent (aka Rich) people used charitable donations for tax breaks.  However, as the Mortgage Bubble exploded which then in turn caused the great recession – many charities closed their doors based on charitable donations decreasing rapidly.

Then society changed, using the famous quote from John F. Kennedy “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – that message became the direct opposite in regard to charitable fundraising. 
We became a “What can you do for me” society.  Affluent people began to be selective in regard to who they were going to donate to.  In regard to Fundraising Events, a charity now had to truly put on a show in order to get the attention of potential donors.  If you have noticed, there are some incredible productions going on across North America in regard to Gala’s and other charity events.  As
an example, Washington D.C.’s “Fight Night.”  The venue is a black tie Gala based around boxing and UFC.  There is a Ring in the center of the venue and during the night, various fights occur – all in an effort to raise money.
Why do they go to these extremes?  To attract the wealthy and elite from Washington D.C. and throughout the region.  This event raises many millions but the production is incredible. 

The days of hosting a successful fundraiser at the local Fire Department or lesser venue are long gone.  Also, charities need to truly step up their “Fundraising Game.”  They cannot repeat the “Same ole, Same ole” when it comes to raising dollars to fuel their mission.  They cannot use old methods to attract and entertain new supporters and ultimately large scale donors.

Everyone wants to says and asks “We don’t know how to get Financial Sponsors, can you help us?”  Of course I can help, but first you must understand the “Why” you are having the problem. 

I will address all the important facts on why the face of charity fundraising has changed and the remedy as well as the problem with the solution  on how to attract large scale financial sponsors as well as affluent donors:

#1 – Financial Sponsors – As addressed above, the competition has risen
drastically amongst charities.  When someone opens a charity, they truly believe that they are an “Island amongst themselves” and as soon as they open their doors; money is going to flood in.  However, this does not occur.  They assume that everyone they approach will lay out large sums of money to help – again, this does not occur.  They speak to companies who are not interested.

      Reason:  You must understand, that businesses are approached daily by numerous charities wanting donations.  The business must pick and choose who they support and ultimately donate to.  If they gave to everyone, they would soon be out of business.  Charities will use the age old saying “It’s tax deductible” however, with the new tax rulings, only 30% of their donations are now deductible.

     Remedy:  Before going out looking for donations, do you understand the “Reality” of what you are asking and do you understand, respect and know what the sponsors want in return?  Here is the reality, they will use their “Marketing Dollars” to donate to you.  They want to be “Marketed” at your event, they will want to know where your event is occurring and how many guests you will have.  Why do you ask is this important?  Because the larger the crowd, the more people will see their “Brand” or “Business Name.”   They want “Drivers.”  What is a “Driver”?   A “Driver” is something that will drive people into their businesses – advertisement.  They want “Bang for their Buck.”  Are you prepared to give that to them?  The problem is something they all have experienced; most charities take their money or their donated items and don’t care about marketing the individual businesses who donate. They just take the money and they are gone.  Before you start asking for Financial Donations, prepare a flyer or some type of packet which offers Sponsors and Donors a marketing plan at your event.  If you are unaware, go to someone who could possibly donate and ask them what they would want in return.  Just remember, your success hinges on offering the Sponsor something in return for their investment.  Would you invest your hard earned money if you were not guaranteed a return?  Or would you just throw it away – your mission statement no longer is sufficient.

#2 – Guest Count at your Event – In a space such as the charity world, you must understand that competition is stiff.  Let’s take for example these states and large cities:

a.     Massachusetts - 41,686 results found
-         Boston - 6,952 results found
b.     New York - 94,882 results found
-         New York City - 22,995 results found
c.      Maryland - 39,008 results found
-         Baltimore - 6,868 results found
-         Washington DC - 14,172 results found
d.     Florida - 97,472 results found
-         8,805 results found
e.     Texas - 125,856 results found

As you can see from the results, taken directly from the website www.GuideStar.org, the competition is incredible.  Each weekend, charities in these areas are hosting fundraising events.  The demand is intense prompting the citizens to ask “Which one should we go to?” 

Unfortunately, this is a “What can you do for me?” society.  They will ultimately pick the event which has the highest appeal. 

            Reason:  Many charities use the approach “If we make our event as cheap as possible, saving us as much money as possible, while keeping our ticket prices as low as possible, we will get a much higher guest count and we can charge a fairly good ticket price putting more money in our pockets.”  They look for cheap venues, donated food and drinks, utilize donated items only and their fundraising platforms are old and tired.  Since their tickets are cheap, they only attract people who can afford a lesser priced ticket cost.  Since they are having their event at a “Lesser Venue,” again they attract people who feel comfortable there and not affluent guests.  Since they are having a cheap ticket, at a “Lesser Venue”, Sponsors will not be interested.  Filling a room with people who can only afford a cheap ticket – OR – selling your tickets cheap does NOT equal a higher profit return, in fact, it does the exact opposite.  Charities raise less money because they are not attracting the right crowd. 

            Remedy:  Charities must ask themselves this question – is their event a “Friend-Raiser” or a “Fundraiser”?  If it’s a “Friend-Raiser” then by all means, have an event at a lesser venue with a cheap ticket to gain support from your community.  However, if it’s a “Fundraiser”, there are two (2) keys to attract the right guests, donors and sponsors. 

a.     Venue – The venue is vital in attracting the right crowd.  People who can afford to donate, will only want to come to a nice place.  They will be not attracted to a lesser venue.  Furthermore, affluent people will be attracted to the venue based on how nice it is.  It’s the exact same reason why affluent people prefer Ruth Chris Steakhouse over McDonalds.

b.     Menu – The menu is secondary to the Venue however, because of the mentality of “What can you do for me?”, people will want to know what does my ticket price include?  The ticket price also includes the venue.  They want good food and enough of it.  They do not want Ladies Auxiliary Food or a “Donated Pot Luck” buffet.  People do not want a small piece of chicken, with a scoop of mashed potatoes and a few green beans. 

Now, do you want to know what guarantees your event will be a success?  This will probably be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the “Cornerstone” guaranteeing success.  Any guesses?

a.     Ticket Price Guarantees Success – Putting it bluntly and using a common statement I make “A Cheap Ticket gets your Cheap People.”   The price of the ticket guarantees success and here is why.  The ticket price has to be high enough to push away people who cannot afford to donate to you.  Now as “Crass” as the seems, it’s reality.  Think about it, if someone buys a ticket, comes to your event, eats the food, has several drinks but does not donate through any of your fundraising platforms, does this benefit you?  No not at all.  I call this type of person a “Grazer.”  They are only coming to eat and drink and that’s it.

b.     The ticket price must be a “Financial Hurdle” – Did you know that on many online ticketing sales platforms, there is a prompt that says “Tickets under $150.00.”  Now why is that?  Because affluent people do not want to go to events under $150.00…they want to hang out with like-minded people.  Your ticket price must be high enough to push away people who can afford to donate while “Pre-Qualifying” your guests to see if they can donate to you.  If they can afford your ticket, they can donate.  But, don’t skimp on the meal just to put more money in your charities pocket – give them something they will love.  Take care of them and they will take care of you.

#3 – Donated Items vs. Consignment items – Many smaller charities feel that if they get all the items donated for their event, they will keep 100% of the profit.  But, what the charity does not realize or take into account is that the business had been approached 10 times that day asking for the same thing by other charities in the area.  Each charity feels they are the most important and gives them the same line “It’s Tax Deductible.”  As business owners, they don’t want to be rude but they have to pay the bills and keep their lights on.  They cannot possibly donate to everyone.  So if they do donate, its something which has not been selling in their stores or a “Gift Card” which draws people into their business which allows them to “Upsell” them on other products.  However, here is reality so gear up.   

Reason:  You may not agree with this, but it’s reality.

a.     Donated Items - When you approach a business and ask for a donation, they have a decision to make – Yes or No, its honestly that simple.  If you send out letters, its easy for them to just throw it away.  If you send out emails, it’s easy to hit Delete.  If they donate, charities believe that their guests will pay full retail for the item or items.  The reality is – donated items are only bringing 1/8th to 1/4 of retail.  People are looking for a “Deal.”  Charities often receive Gift Cards as a donation but ask yourself this “Have you ever bought a Gift Card for yourself?”  No.  Another common item we see at all fundraising events are “Gift Baskets.”  However, again, ask yourself this “How many Gift Baskets did you give to your family or friends for the holidays?”  None.  Everyone is looking for a “Deal” – they will buy your items but for pennies on the dollar.  Furthermore, your event will look like a “Yard Sale.” 

Remember this saying – “It’s local people, attending your local event, with items donated by Local Businesses – if they wanted that stuff, they would have went and bought it themselves.”  They will buy it, but will want to pay minimal for it.

Does this truly benefit your charity?  Does it hurt the donor if the item they donated sells for next to nothing?  If the donor finds out, do you think they will donate again?

b.     Consignment Items – Many people think “Why should I pay for something when we can use donations which we keep 100% of?” Go back and read the paragraphs above for the answer.  Do you think if there is a $50.00 Gift Card that people will pay anything near that – OR – full retail…or above it?  Hell No!!!  You need items that will attract people to your event and that are extremely hard to find, exciting and that everyone wants but never sees.  This creates excitement and prompts high bidding.   Here is a question “Who is really paying for the items – You or the Winning Bidder?”  The Winning Bidder and you are getting FREE MONEY from the profit.

Remedy:  First understand the reality of donated items and how they perform in charity auctions.  Then understand the need for consignment items while also understanding how to correctly use them.  Think about this – what event will people want to attend – the one with gift baskets and gift certificates or the one with Travel Packages to far off Beach Destinations, autographed items and Jewelry?  Donated items certainly have a place in your fundraising event but they must be used in a way that absolutely GUARANTEES success.  Secondly, understand that when you use consignment items, you are getting “FREE MONEY.”  Plus people will be excited about your offerings. 

Summary: 

Ladies and Gentlemen – the face of fundraising has changed.  You have to have a fresh new approach while keeping an open mind on what are the current trends.  People like “Exciting”, they love a nice place to go to with good food.  They like great items to bid on, they like a well-produced event.  No one likes “Boring.”  Financial Sponsors are drawn to these types of events due to the marketing potential.  There are ways to absolutely ensure that your event will be successful BUT you have to be open minded enough to allow for these changes or you will be caught on the fundraising Hamster Wheel with little return.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can and will absolutely ensure that you and your event is incredibly successful both financially and also through your guests experience.  BW Unlimited understands how to best utilize donated items to ensure that you receive 10 times the retail price instead of 1/8th to 1/4 through various means in your fundraising event.  Remember, you live a full time life with a full time job and full time commitments and a full time family – are you up on all the current fundraising trends and successful tactics?  Call in the Big Guns – BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising will knock it out of the ballpark for you. 

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising Leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  We can help you and your charity with everything from beginning to end – check out our website at www.BWUnlimited.com to find out more.

Contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com, email George at George@bwunlimited.com or call at 443.206.6121, we would love to help you.





Friday, September 14, 2018

"Broken Spoke Fundraising" - Unknowingly repeating unsuccessful fundraising tactics


I’m sure you’re familiar with the old saying “Repeating the same thing over and over expecting different results.”  Well I’m going to introduce you to a whole new phrase which applies to the charity world – “Broken Spoke Fundraising.”  These two sayings have a lot in common because they address the same issue which many charities like yours are experiencing.  But you don’t know why you are having problems.

So imagine this – you and a friend or loved one are a part of a charity who has a fundraising event coming up in a several months.  You are invited to go to another charity fundraiser which a local charity is hosting.  You have little experience hosting a fundraiser since you only do one or two a year.  But while you’re there at the fundraiser you were invited to, you take mental notes on what they are doing to raise money.  You think to yourself “We will do these things at our event.”  Now, what they are doing seems like a great idea and also appears successful – so why not do them at yours right?

The problem is this – you honestly do not know if what they are doing or did do was successful.  What appears popular could have not been a successful way of fundraising.  As a real life example, charities all across the country have been doing a raffle called a “50/50” for decades.  But…have you taken time to think about it?  Let’s say you sell $5,000.00 worth of raffle tickets.  The prize which you give away is $2,500.00.  Why on earth would you give away ½ of your earnings?  Charities hope and pray that the winner donates the money back but after a three (3) year study by our company BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, 83% of the time the winner does not donate the money.  As a professional fundraising event planner, those odds are bad and we do not ever do raffles or games which give money away as a prize because we are there to raise money, not give it away.

So, you start planning your fundraising event and utilize the ideas you saw at the local fundraiser you attended.  You don’t know if what they did was actually successful even though it appeared like it was.  But while planning it, you didn’t take the time to go and speak to the charity and get the full run down of how the raffle works and what you need to run it – so you miss something when repeating it.  In reality, the fundraising tactic they used wasn’t successful and when you do yours, you missed something making it that much more or less successful.  You now broke a spoke in the wheel which already had broken spokes to begin with.

Then you go through your event and wonder why what you did, did not produce what you thought it would but you decide to move on until next year.  You figure “Well, we will try it again and it will be different” – it’s not.  You begin to repeat the same things over and over and over again, hoping and praying or expecting different results – which never comes.  In fact, you spend days, weeks and months out of your full time life only to not be as successful as you want to be. 

This is what I call “Broken Spoke Fundraising.”  You truly can’t copy what others are doing for many reasons:  #1 – You don’t know if what they were doing was successful and #2 – You don’t realize that people are tired of the same old things. 

Another saying which holds very true is “Everything has a shelf life.”  What this means is…if you don’t change things or evolve, what you are doing will eventually die out and fade away.  In today’s society, people tend to get bored quick.  When you’re planning your next fundraising event, think of innovative fundraising platforms which are different and exciting.  Get away from the old 50/50’s and wheel’s…and do something that people will have fun with. 

More importantly, don’t copy what another charity is doing if you don’t have all the facts – which seldom do.  Most charities just accept what money came in and move forward.  Be smart and plan to be successful.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising would love to help you plan your next fundraising event and provide you and your guests with new, innovative, exciting fundraising tactics which not only your guests would love but will be extremely successful.  Contact us today at www.BWUnlimited.com. 

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  BW can help you plan, manage and host an incredibly successful event which has a diverse amount of fundraising platforms which your guests will love time and time again creating a unique fundraising event that they will come back to each year but will also tell their friends.  Let BW help you by contacting us at www.BWUnlimited.com.


Saturday, September 8, 2018

How to reduce or stop “Stressing Out” while planning your fundraising event.


We all live extremely busy lives today.  Between our families, work, friends etc. it’s hard to juggle it all.  We live full time lives, with full time jobs, with a full time family, with full time commitments and then…we are asked or we take on planning and hosting a fundraiser for a charity or someone in need of help.  Your stress level increases incredibly with all the responsibilities you take on and our lives become like a “House of Cards” – one mistake and it can come tumbling down.  The stress of it all weighs heavy on our minds. 

If you’re not a full time or professional event planner or fundraiser for a charity as a career, then this extra added pressure will consume you.  We all want to do a great job but if we “Stress Out”and worry – it just makes it that much harder to deal with.

Here are a few tips to help you not “Stress Out”:

#1 – Plan to Plan – create an outline or a plan in the very beginning.  A plan will help you tackle each task and allow you to check them off as you progress.

#2 – Building a Team – Team Building is perhaps the most important aspect of helping you battle stress.  If you are a control freak, try to “let go of the reigns” and ask for help.  You’re not going to be able to handle this on your own.   You can divide up tasks and get much more accomplished if you have people around you involved.  The larger the team, the easier it is.

#3 – Ask for help from a Professional – If you are not an experienced, successful fundraiser, you won’t have the foggiest idea on how to plan a successful fundraiser.  Unfortunately, what normally happens is – we attempt to duplicate the last fundraiser we went to.  However, we really don’t know if that fundraiser or the methods used were successful.  Contact a professional event planner but before you do, “Vet” them to see what “Charity Fundraising” experience they have.  Ask them if they specialize in planning and running a charity fundraiser.  Charity Fundraising is an art, it takes extensive knowledge about current trends, what to do and not to do, contacts with the appropriate vendors and so on.  Event planners are not fundraisers – like Mechanics aren’t Doctors.  Charity Auctioneers have extensive knowledge about what and how to be successful.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is the only full service, Charity Fundraising event planning company in North America.   How many, a few people have the belief that not hiring a professional and saving the money is a much better way to raise funds.  However as the old saying goes “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait till you see what it cost you when you hired an amateur.”  Ask for help from a professional.

#4 – “Chairman” – As you build your team, determine who are the best at what they do.  Appoint those people as part of your leadership team.  For instance, “Ticket Chairman” – this person handles all ticket sales and questions from potential buyers.  They hand out tickets to your team and collect the money and information from the buyers.  They also can help by doing your floorplan, placing people at certain tables etc.  “Merchandise Chairman” – this person can conduct a running inventory of all the donated items you received while also directing your team to go after certain items which will help your event and also acquire consignment items to build up the excitement level at your event.  “Event Team Leader” – this person can assign certain jobs at your event such as “Check In”, “Check Out”, “Games & Raffles” etc. 

#5 – Start Early – Don’t wait for the last minute to begin to get ready for your event.  Several days prior, start the process of ensuring you have “All your ducks in a Row.”  Get all the paperwork done, pack up everything so that the day of, you won’t have much to do other than go to your venue.  Get to the venue early as well as your volunteers and start setting up.  Leave enough time so you can go home and relax before your event starts.

These tips will greatly help you and your Team have a much better experience while also reducing your stress level.   BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can greatly assist you by keeping your duties small while also directing you on what to do next.  BW will guide you and your team through the myriad of pitfalls so that everything is streamlined and highly successful.  BW will also help by being a major part of the planning, managing and hosting of your event so that you too can enjoy yourself and spend time with your guests, supporters, donors & sponsors.

If we can help you, please feel free to contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com, email at info@BWUnlimited.com or call us at 443-206-6121, we would love to help make your life a lot easier.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

When will fundraising start to hurt a charity?


Every single day, especially on Facebook, I see charities fundraising.   Many of these charities are the same one I see repeatedly asking for contributions or donations.   They are constantly asking to give to them so they can continue their mission.

With 104 Million charities constantly trying to fundraise for their missions, fundraising is a “Dog Eat Dog” competition.  Everyone, especially those who are in the same category such as Non Profit’s focused on Animal Welfare, is fighting over the same dollar.  Competition is tough!!! 

But at what point does too many fundraising begin to hurt a charity?  I’ve watched as certain charities are constantly asking for donations or running various fundraising campaigns.  Each time, the amount raised goes down and down.  Why is this happening?  Simply put – People are tired of being asked repeatedly to give.  It nearly becomes begging or even “Pick Pocketing.” 

A charity who does this type of fundraising will eventually see very little return while hurting their reputation.

Charities should devote their fundraising efforts on the following:

#1 – Cultivating Major Sponsors (i.e. Companies & Major Individual Donors).

#2 – Planning two fundraising events a year which we refer to as an “A” event and a “B” event.  The “A” event is a Gala or large scale fundraising event.  The “B” event can be “Golf Tournament”, “Walk-A-Thon” etc.  Charities can also look into hiring a company to run a “Capital Campaign” which sends out a massive mailer to everyone asking for donations.

However, constantly and repeatedly asking for donations is absolutely going to hurt you and your charity in so many ways and the damage will be unrepairable.
Just Food for Thought – If you were constantly asked by a friend to borrow money that they never paid back, how many times would you oblige their request?  Think about it before you ask.

If we, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can help you and your charity devote your time and effort into planning and hosting a successful fundraising event, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Tickets will NOT be Sold at the Door


There are 100’s if not 1,000’s of mistakes charities can make which spell disaster but the most major mistake a charity can make when planning their fundraising event is to either allow people to pay at the door or to actually tell your supporters & possible guests that they can pay at the door.  Just don’t do it and here is why.

Eight years ago, while helping with a Therapeutic Program in South Carolina, I fully instructed our client on how to sell correctly and successfully sell tickets including not allowing people to say they will purchase them at the door.  Our client, let’s call her Sarah, had rented a large plantation house which also included the menu with an open bar.  During the planning process, I routinely checked in with “Sarah” and she would report that on each occasion, her guest numbers were increasing astronomically finally selling out completely.  I was very proud to hear how successful Sarah and her committee were packing the plantation.  However, here is where the story goes sideways and overturns.  About a week away, as we were preparing to go to South Carolina, Sarah called telling me that the Plantation was looking for final payment which is very routine and she asked what she was supposed to do.  I simply said “Well, write them a check from all of your ticket sales money that you put in the bank.”  She said “Uhhhh, I don’t have any money in the bank and don’t have any way of paying for it now.”
 
I paused, to allow what she had just said to catch up and I could derive what she
was saying.  I said “Sarah, please tell me you listened to what I was telling you, to sell tickets and deposit the money.  To not allow people to tell you they will pay at the door.”  That is when Sarah exploded “This is the south, you don’t know people here.  What they tell you is what is going to happen.  Their word is gospel.”  With my head in my hands, I knew what was going to happen.  I said “Sarah, those people are not going to come to your event, I told you to not do that, your event is going to be a disaster.  You better hurry up and collect all the promised tickets immediately.”  That is when Sarah said “I can’t believe you’re not listening, you’re fired” and promptly hung up the phone.  Needless to say, Sarah was contractually obligated to us but what made matters much much worse, she also was financially obligated to the Plantation, the decorator, a band and several others.

Several months went by and while heading to upstate New York (to help Cornell University), my phone rang.  It was her boyfriend who told me that they were no longer together while asking if I heard what happened.  Exactly what I said would happen, happened.  Out of the 450 supposed people who were paying at the door, only 18 showed up.  Sarah had to take a personal loan out to pay for the event and she was forced to close down her charity.  He said and I can hear his words now “George Sir, you were right, she should have listened to you, I’m sorry.”
 
Here is why telling people tickets will be sold at the door or allowing people to tell you they will pay for them at the door is a MAJOR mistake:

#1 – Caterer – The venue will ask for a head count prior to your event so that they can prepare food for the number of guests who are attending.  However, if you are selling tickets at the door or allowing people to pay you at the door, you truly don’t have an accurate count on how many people are coming.  There are two negatives to this:

a.    Your guest count is high – People do not show up at your event and too much food is prepared which you are paying for.  Eventhough you believed they were coming, the caterer will want to be paid for the amount of people they prepared food for.

    Your guest count is low – Many more people show up to the door than you had planned or paid for and the caterer did not prepare enough food.  The guests who had paid prior to the event do not get enough food which causes them to have a negative experience.

#2 – An Easy Excuse or Brush-off – A very easy way for people to give an excuse for not buying tickets is to tell you “I’ll buy them at the door.”  It’s easy since they don’t want to make you mad or look bad.  But it most certainly is a brush-off. 

#3 – Pre-selling ticket success – By only Pre-selling tickets and telling people they are not available, people will be much more apt to purchase tickets and you will have a much better chance to sell completely out since you will know what your true ticket count is.

Summary:  If people do not spend money than they have nothing to lose.  A common saying is “They have to skin in the game.”  If they didn’t pay for the tickets, they have nothing to lose.  You know yourself, you may just simply change your mind or find something else to lose.  BUT if you spent money, you are most certainly going to attend.

Please heed my warning;  NEVER EVER tell people they can pay for their tickets at the door or allow people to tell you they will buy them at the door.  You will definitely be much better off telling everyone that “Tickets will NOT be sold at the door.”

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a full service company and a North American charity fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  We can help you avoid the 100’s of pitfalls and direct you toward hosting a highly successful event.  Contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Why events fail to be successful the 2nd year - Sophomoric Syndrome


There is syndrome, believe it or not, in the charity fundraising world that is symptomatic with groups or volunteers who are successful one year but not the next and here is the reason or cause why it happens -  It’s called the “Sophomoric Syndrome.”  

Wikipedia defines the “Sophomoric Syndrome” as when ones effort fails to live up to the standards of the first effort.
Before we go any farther, ask yourself these questions to determine if you are suffering from the "Sophomoric Syndrome"?

#1 - Are you putting forth the same effort as you did last year?
#2 - Are you posting your event and telling everyone how incredible your event is going to be on the Social Networks such as Facebook?
#3 - Are you talking to all of your friends, the same ones you did last year?
#4 - Are you going out looking for donated items and sponsors as you did last year?
#5 - Are you attending Committee or Team meetings like you did last year?

If you answer NO to any of the above questions, than you need to see a Fundraising Doctor immediately.

A very close friend and former Regional Director of an outdoor charity, Scott Berg, told me about it years ago.  Scott has worked with 100's of volunteer committees and has seen it all while having a wealth of knowledge surrounding committees and fundraising.  What happens is simply this – Let’s say for practical purposes that a charity or group holds an event one year and they work their butts off on it.  Their event is successful (moderately or highly successful) and they sit back proud of their accomplishment.  However, the following year, they have to start over again.

Because they were successful the previous year, they believe that their previous success will allow them to coast with their next event.  They believe tickets will be sold much easier, financial donations will be much easier and getting donations will be much easier to obtain.  Furthermore, each and every team member will also think that the other members of the group will pick up their slack.   In the end, everyone on the team or group slows down.

However, the opposite is true.  Even though everyone knows the event and loved it, the team or committee still must put in the same amount of effort if not more so.   

Furthermore, if the team slows down, the possible guests will not see the same amount of effort and they will react negatively to it by not purchasing tickets.

No one is immune from the “Sophomoric Syndrome.”  However, great leaders will ensure to motivate their team or committee to strive to make their event much much better while encouraging them to get out there and put in the work.

Again, no one is immune.  This even transcends into the business world.  Successful people don’t just sit back and coast because they have reached their goals – not at all.  The opposite is true – in order to be successful, you must work hard to maintain it.  You have to put in the effort to maintain your success and work even harder to keep positive momentum flowing.

Just remember, each year, you have to put forth maximum effort to get maximum results.  Do not let boredom slip in or it will spell disaster for whatever you are trying to accomplish. 

The cure for “Sophomoric Syndrome” is – believe that every year, your event is BRAND NEW again and put the effort into it to ensure its successful.  If not, you will see a marked change when it comes to time to make a deposit into your charities bank account.

To learn more tips, tricks and fundraising success trends, follow us here, on Facebook and watch our video’s.  If we can help you, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

If you think its expensive to hire an Expert, wait till you hire an Amateur.


I say this all the time so just like everything I say, its become a part of my script.  The reason it’s became a part of my script is based upon its meaning and importance.  So here it is:

“If you had a bump on your neck with spiders crawling out of it, would you go to your mechanic or a Doctor?  If you were building a house, would you get advice from your Doctor or talk to an Architect or Contractor?  If you had serious legal issues, would you go to your Contractor?”

Obviously, the answer is No – simply No, you would seek the advice of an expert. 
However, when it comes to fundraising, we as charities commonly make the mistake of asking someone with no experience in fundraising and no understanding of it. 

Unfortunately, fundraising is not just something you “Wing” especially if your charity or organization truly needs to raise money to pay for your activities or mission.  Why place something so vitally important in the hands of someone who is not an expert?

Fortunately, there are experts across the country – Charity or Benefit Auctioneers and/or BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising which is truly the only Charity Fundraising Event planning business in the world.  BW does not plan weddings and birthday parties – we only plan fundraising events. 

If you go to an event planner, the event planner will have a background in planning birthdays, weddings and Bar Mitzvahs and they are the experts in their fields.  If you’re getting married, don’t come to BW because we will look back at you with an empty look but we won’t say “Sure, we can do it.”  No, we will tell you to find a wedding planner.

Yes, a Charity Fundraising Event such as a Gala is an event – but the importance of the event is the fundraising capability and result.  Event planners look at the actual event, however, with a fundraising event, the event begins months before with ticket sales and finding financial sponsors.  There are elements inside a fundraising event in regard to the fundraising platforms that you must know and have a depth of knowledge in.  The Why’s and How’s are the most important.

In summary, if your charity truly needs to raise money – seek the help of an Expert, an Expert Fundraiser whether it’s BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising or some other person or company, get the assistance of an expert – don’t leave it in the hands of an amateur. 

There is a very famous saying that is so incredibly true – “If you think an Expert is expensive, wait to you hire an amateur.”

If you, your charity or your organization needs help, please contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com or email me at George@bwunlimited.com.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  BWUCF is the only full service, charity fundraising event company in the world with an extensive resume in regard to hosting highly successful charity fundraising events.  If we can help you, contacting us is free at www.BWUnlimited.com.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

How do you get above the crowd noise of charities?

Have you ever been to a stadium with screaming fans, a packed restaurant where you can barely hear or a concert with extremely loud music?  I’m sure you have.  You can’t even hear yourself talk and definitely can’t hear the person next to you. 

Well, what do you think is going on in the charity world?  Now imagine this – can you imagine being at a stadium filled to the top with standing room only and even people in the parking lot, the hallways etc. and all of them add up to 104 million people in one place.  Can you imagine that.  Now add this in – all of them are screaming at the top of the lungs – their screaming would drown out all the other screams until its an unrecognizable roar.  Now, add this, there is some Rockstar standing on the field, surrounded by millions of people and everyone is trying to get his or her attention, it would be impossible to pick out one voice.  But what does that have to do with fundraising?

These are the current statistics of the “Crowd Count” or how many charities there currently are in the United States:

Current registered U.S. Non Profits:    104 Million
Many charities have chapters:              50 Million chapters (*sub charities)
Benefit Fundraising Events:                 50 Million (**non charities)

Total rounded evenly:  200 Million charities – This ladies and gentlemen is your competition.

(* Sub charity means an entity raising money separately to give to the mother charity – NAACP, Ducks Unlimited, Chamber of Commerce etc.)

( ** Benefit Events are events held for a cause such as someone is sick and family and friends are raising money to pay hospital expenses, a house burns down, a storm hits and cause damages)

If there were 10 people involved in each charity, there would be:
2,000,000,000 = 2 Billion people

With all of these charities screaming to potential donors while other charities use their donor money to produce TV Commercials, Ads, in store donation drives etc., how in the world do you get your charity even noticed “Above the Crowd Noise”?

How to get heard above the Crowd Noise

With 200 million charities fighting to get potential donors or supporters attention, many of which are the same fighting to get the same dollar – how do you get noticed?
This is a very real life story and a charity client of ours asked.  So here is the answer whether you like it or not.

The reality of it is this.  People have become “numb” to being asked to donate or hearing this charity and that charity.  So now, they drown them out.  Every single person has their “Pet Charity” or the one they like and support and then they don’t care about the others no matter how hard you try to get their attention.  They just don’t care.

The Solution

About 50% of our clients listen to us in regard to this approach and the other half, well they don’t and their event fails because simply put – they put themselves back in the crowd noise. 

You have to accept the fact that there are other charities out there that are exactly like yours, your forcing people to pick.

So how do you get heard above the crowd noise?  You don’t get in the crowd!!!  You take a completely different approach and here it is.

What do we all have in common?  We all like to eat, well we have to, but we all like to eat, drink and have a great time with our family and friends.  We all like to go to nice places and either win stuff or just relax and have fun. 

When you are advertising or talking about your “Fundraiser”….you DO NOT refer to it as a “Fundraiser.”   When you are posting information about on the Social Networks, you DO NOT talk about your charity!!!  Now I understand that you absolutely love your charity and you do have your supporters, but the goal here is to attract NEW supporters and guests right?

In order to get above the crowd noise, you come at them from the angle of this incredible event with awesome food at a fantastic place, with great items to win, how fun its’ going to be, the live and silent auction and raffles if you plan to do them.  You take that approach.  Everyone loves a great party right?  Well, tell them about this great party you are having…not the charity.

You may disagree but the events we plan, manage and host that our clients do exactly what we tell them routinely have over 500 people there.  It’s all about building excitement, building “Hype.”

You have to use a very descriptive “WOW Factor” description when talking about your event in order to gain their attention.  Furthermore, you need to post and repost and repost over and over again.  Albert Einstein proved that people need to see something seven (7) times before they react.

Be excited, give them the WOW factor and not “It’s going to be great, good food, drinks etc.  Wanna buy a ticket?”

Follow my advise and watch what happens…success!!!


BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising would love to help you plan, manage and host your next event and give it the “WOW Factor” it deserves.  Contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.