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.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fundraising 101: Incorrect thinking when planning for your guests and supporters.

I just have a simple question - are you or is anyone involved in the planning of your event a "Magician" or a "Mind Reader"?

No?  Then continue reading - A major problem that occurs when charities or their planners are planning their event is simply this – they think for themselves and not for their guests.  Perhaps, this is the WORST practice that anyone could ever do. 

Let me give you an example – Charities often plan events with a theme and as an example, lets say it has a “James Bond 007” theme.  Here is where the problems begin:

#1 – They chose a menu which matches the theme.
#2 – They contact us and ask for James Bond items.
#3 – They ask their guests to dress within the theme.

Now from the outset, it seems like a very interesting theme however, the reality is simply this which most planners seem to forget – Just because there is a theme, people still like what they like and all people are generally the same. 

When planning your event, you have to think for your guests and not for what you like.  This is a common problem and devastating to the end result.

Let’s say planners are planning a “German” themed event.  They want a German menu, German drinks and then will inevitably want German themed items on their auctions along with German music.  They may even have it in a German venue.  So here are questions to ask yourself:

#1 – Will your guests like this?
#2 – Will your guests like the menu?
#3 – Will they like the music?
#4 – Will they bid on German themed items?
#5 – Will they like the venue?

The reality is simply this again – everyone enjoys the same things – good food, good music or entertainment and of course, exciting items to bid on.

Since we are an auction item provider to well over 1,400 charities a year – we are well aware of what people like…because of all the mistakes we have made in the past.  We have planned many events with many different menus’ – both plated and buffet in many different venues.

In every crowd, here is a common theme – keep in mind, people are the same in Maryland as they are in Texas, in Florida, in California, in Alaska, in Michigan and in Boston. 

#1 – Everyone enjoys a very nice venue.
#2 – Everyone enjoys great food and plenty of it.
#3 – Everyone likes good drinks.
#4 – Everyone likes to be entertained and most commonly, they enjoy a wide array of music types – that is why I normally suggest a DJ.
#5 – In every single crowd, there are people who like Sports, Jewelry, exciting d├ęcor and Vacation Packages.
#6 – Everyone enjoys a well-planned event.

When you insist that your guest like what you do, you will lose every single time.  Try to think for the masses and not for yourself or your group.  Don’t insist they like what you do or make them like it.

Here is another issue which I always advise my clients and vitally important when planning your event.  The two most important aspects to understand that ensures your event is a success – the Venue & the Menu.

You can’t argue with me, this is a “What will you do for me” society.  The Venue is VITALLY important to the success of your event.  No one wants to go to a place that is “Less than.” 

A common mistake which if you think about it, makes ZERO sense is that if a charity hosts an event at a “Lesser or Cheaper” venue and don’t spend much on food or services, they will make more profit.  This is the exact opposite of what is reality.  Here is why but I want you to ask your husband or wife:

#1 – If you had the choice – would you go to the American Legion or Ruth Chris Steakhouse for dinner?

Do I need to give you the answer?  Everyone wants to go to a nice place, get dressed up and have a great time.  Going the “Cheaper Way” will give you a less than successful event.  You can’t mark up your ticket prices at a less than venue - your guests know what they should be paying and will be angered by paying a high price for a "Less than" menu - and that will immediately hurt your profit or fundraising success - believe me.

The venue is key but you have to grasp and understand “You have to spend money to make money” – The venue and menu is the bate to come to your event. 

In closing, when you are planning your event, don’t think about yourself, what you like and what you want…think about what your guests and supporters would enjoy.  Also, remember, the venue is 100% important  to the success of your event – “You have to spend money to make money.”  Ask yourself this:

#1 – If you were having legal problems – would you want the best attorney or some guy up the street to represent you?

#2 – If you had medical issues – would you want your mechanic neighbor giving you medical advise?

If not, why then do charities place people in charge of planning their fundraisers who have absolutely no experience?

If we can help you plan an event that will attract many more supporters and give your guests the event they will love, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  While helping over 1,400 charities a year, we are only charity fundraisers and don’t do anything else such as real estate auctions, plan weddings or bar mitzvah’s…we are only charity fundaisers and are the absolute experts in the field across the country.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

"You gotta spend money to make money"

As I begin to write this, I have to remind myself to stay as respectful as possible.  However, as my blood begins to boil and my head hits my hands, I asked myself “Why do charities think and do business the way they do?”  Or “Why don’t the people who work for charities and are planning fundraisers think like normal business men and women?”  You would think by now, that charities or fundraisers would already understand this important fact but obviously they still think opposite of what is true.  As it seems, charity fundraising is the only place where people believe that uneducated people, non-professionals are adequate for this endeavor.

The reason I am saying this is something that I deal with on a constant basis.  Nearly every single day, I am confronted with someone who works with or for a charity who believes they know how to effectively and successfully raise money.  Then, when I hear just how much money they raised, I only sit back and shake my head. 

“Why don’t they ask for help?”  “Why don’t they want to hire someone who understands what is needed?”  “Why don’t they use common sense?” 

Just this morning, I received a call from a charity looking for help with items for their event.  Obviously, I told them that would be easy and we could help them with everything they could possibly want and more.  But then I asked if they were having a Live Auction.  The person on the other side of the phone said “Yes and we are having Bid-Pal.”  So, of course I asked “Do you have an auctioneer?” 

This is where I nearly fell out of my chair – the answer was “No, we can’t afford it.”  So, hold on, you can afford Bid Pal which will not make you a dime, it just makes bidding easier but when it comes to having someone, a professional who is incredibly crucial in your fundraising success, you can’t afford that.  I attempted to explain but she just wouldn’t listen. 

Ladies & Gentlemen – it’s now 2018.  Fundraising has changed drastically.  Are you an educated fundraiser?  Do you know what the difference between success and failure?  Do you know how much money you should raise and how to raise it?  If you don’t, you need to consult with a professional. 

Successful fundraising is crucial to your survival.  Having someone stand up in front of everyone and “Act” like an auctioneer is like asking your mechanic to take out your Appendix.  You would never let someone perform something very important for you if they weren’t a professional!!! 

Why in the charity fundraising world is this simple thought completely backward to how charities plan and conduct their fundraising business?

Anyone planning a charity fundraiser should understand that there are 104 Million charities in the United States.  The beginning – the absolute beginning of successful fundraising is $100.00 Net per guest.  That means if you have 300 people, you should at the very least profit $30,000.00.  Do you or have you even hit that mark?  Don’t lie to yourself….did you hit it or at the very least get within a few hundred dollars of it?  The last place you should scrimp is in the planning and execution of your fundraising event. 

As with most charities, people are asked once a year to plan a fundraiser.  Normally, they just repeat what happened last year without knowing last year’s result.  Or they copy one they attended previously without knowing their result either.

Please heed my advice – whether it be BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising or one of the many incredible Charity Auctioneers across our great nation such as Renee Jones, Jeff Manning or Shelly St. John,  etc. - please hire a professional please.

As professional fundraisers, we want your event to be incredibly successful for you and your charity.  Plus we also want to have the ability to help you make it successful. 

We, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, study successful fundraising 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  What you may think is successful or might be successful maybe exactly opposite of what is successful. 

Have you ever heard the term “You gotta spend money to make money”?  Well, that statement is so true – it’s the difference between a windfall of fundraising dollars raised and a yard sale.

We would love to help you plan, manage and host an incredibly successful, highly profitable fundraiser.  Go to our website and contact us, we would love to meet with you and discuss how we can help.  Go to www.BWUnlimited.com.