Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gift Baskets & Gift Certificates – How to profit 10 times the retail value

We are lucky and extremely fortunate due to the fact that we are asked to assist charities all over North America, assisting well over 1200 charities each year.  With that amount of exposure to charity events, our collective knowledge has grown dramatically.  I am a student and a “Big Time” fan of charity fundraising.  I love to see successful fundraising while also interested in what fails to rise to the same level.  Honestly, I look for the failures and spend hours, days and weeks determining how to improve the outcome but using a different method.

Probably the best example of the above is two of the most prolific items, donated items found at nearly every single charity fundraising event across North America – Gift Baskets & Gift Certificates.

Charities spend days putting gift baskets together while investing in the supplies to build them.  However, commonly, gift baskets receive very low bids in Silent Auctions.  When I meet with (either in person or via a conference call), I ask them this simple question “How many gift baskets did you give away during the holiday season to your family or friends?”  99.9% of the time, I only hear laughter because the answer is “None.”  However, charities invest a lot of time getting these donated while also spending time for the materials to make them.

Along those same lines, Gift Certificates are next.  In order to better understand the success of gift certificates, we have to step outside of our role as the charity and look at it in the role of the guest potentially bidding on the certificate.

Understanding that your charity is attended by local people with the certificate donated by a local business, if your guest truly wanted it, they would have gone to the business and purchased it themselves.  Furthermore, truly everyone is looking for a “Deal.”  Charity guests regularly bid only 1/2 of the Retail value.

Ponder this – when your donor donated the above two items, do you think they would like to hear it only brought in half the retail value?  No. 

So how does a charity get the retail value or much more for these two highly popular items?  By placing them in a raffle or game.  Remember, people love to win….and also enjoy even having the chance to win something.  By placing these items in a Raffle or Game Setting such as a Stretch or Balloon Raffle, charities will make 10 times the retail value while providing a fun atmosphere for your guests.  Plus, your donor will enjoy learning the items they provided brought you an incredible profit. 

At your next event, try our suggestion above and watch how it will greatly impact your fundraising events success.  If you would like to learn some great raffle or game ideas, contact BW Unlimited CharityFundraising today at

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Secret of Mass Ticket Sales – SOLD OUT!!!

One of the negative issues that Charities have when hosting a fundraising event is Ticket Sales.  The issue comes from several issues but in order to sell the maximum amount of tickets or even selling a venue out, I am going to share the secret with you.

“How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  If I came to you and said “You need to sell 500 tickets”, most people would be crushed with stress and would not even try because of such a massive task.  In fact, it would probably be over even before it started.  However, it’s much easier then you know to sell it out.

Charities should use this same thought process when tackling their ticket sales.  Prior to starting this plan, you first have to find the venue (place where you are hosting your fundraising event).  The important questions you have to determine are the following:

#1 – Venue Price Per Person

#2 – How many people can sit at a table?  - Most are either 8 to a table (referred to as “8 tops”) or 10 to a table (“10 Tops”).

Later, we will discuss facts you should know about how you can negotiate with a Venue in reference to price per person and the Sales Tactics they use (yet another Blog). 

Once the above two questions are answered, you should establish your Ticket Costs.  A successful method of pricing your tickets is to give a “Price Break” for Couples and Tables sold.  Understand that no one will want to come alone, charities can use that to their benefit and your guests.  After establishing the “Price per Head” from the venue, the first ticket cost should be the “Table of?” (Of either 8 or 10 people to a table).  This ticket charge is the #1 key to your success.  The next price, which should be a bit higher is, Couples (2) ticket and then a Single Ticket – with the Single Ticket being the highest price.

After you have these answers and your have your tickets printed, this is when you put your plan into action and begin “Eating the Elephant.”  This is the “Secret to Selling out your event.”  Here is how it works:

#1 – Board of Directors:  Most likely, you are already planning a meeting surrounding your event.  At your event, you should task each of your board members to sell or purchase one (1) to two (2) tables.  Understand that the role of a Board member is to support the Charity financially and by assisting with tasks such as this.  Several of your board members will be able to sell more than one (1) table.  Give each one of your board members a book of tickets (either 8 to a book – or – 10 to a book depending on the size of the tables) and ask them to sell them.

#2 – Sub Contractors / Vendors:  As a business, there are companies and professionals that you rely on such as Lawyers, Accountants, Suppliers, Marketing Companies etc.  When speaking about suppliers, I am referring to the companies which you purchase office supplies and other items from.  A good method is go through your “Charity Checkbook” and see who profits from you – you will be amazed how many companies there are.  Think about all the companies you buy from and speak to them about purchasing a table.  A good business will immediately purchase a table in order to both show their support and keep the relationship going.

#3 – Committee:  These great people are your “Soldiers.”  First you should gather everyone to a meeting and include all of the charity employees and all your volunteers.  These great people are the heart and soul of your charity and will work overtime to help.  Task each of them to sell a table.

NOTE:  The first issue you should understand is, not every one of these people will be able to sell a table and you should ask up front who can and cannot sell them.

In summary, if your venue can host 500 people, then all you will need to do is sell 50

tables – that means only 50 people are needed to “Sell out” your event.  Just as a matter of note, a “Sold Out” event alone will help your charity grow year after year.
If you would like to learn more “Secrets to Fundraising Success” – contact BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising today at

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a Leader in Charity Fundraising in North America in a “One Stop Shop” setting.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is family owned and operated while offering Charities everything they need to successfully host their charity fundraisers year after year.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is known for our incredible array of “No Risk Auction Items” such as Charity Travel Packages, 100% Autographed Collectibles authenticated by JSA & PSA/DNA, Beautiful Decorative items and Jewelry.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising also offers a wide array of services to charities such as the best Charity/Benefit Auctioneers in the business, Live & Silent Auction services and much more.   Learn more at 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Charities Beware!!! Counterfeit Autographs are out there!!!

Charities beware!!!  Why?  Did you hear what they said?  What items are routinely counterfeited?  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising has been reporting for some time about "What's real & What's not" but its important for you, our Charity Clients, to hear from one of the most reputable Authentication companies that exists - PSA/DNA.
The facts are:
The counterfeiter's are out there and in fact, they have been a part of the Charity Fundraising world for some time. 
Do you want to know why they are in the charity fundraising world?  Because they know that charities and their employees as well as their supporters are not autograph collectors.  They can get away passing fake autographed items without any of the expectations that exist in the Autograph Industry.
You see, in the "Autograph Collector" industry, there are standards which reputable autograph providers live by.   In the Autograph Industry, the standard authenticators are JSA & PSA/DNA.  In fact, Ebay only accepts these two companies authentications to protect their buyers.
I have been blogging for several years about the need for 3rd Party Authentication but an even bigger RED FLAG is when one of these companies suddenly partners with an unknown authentication company instead of the STANDARD authentication company mentioned above.  Ask yourself, why wouldn't they use the standard in the autograph industry?
To many times, charities don't look past the "Fluffy" autographed items and concern themselves with the fact that it may or is a counterfeit. 
Do you want your guests and supporters bidding on "Fake" items?
On another note, a Certificate of Authenticity means absolutely nothing!!!  You read that's meaningless, in fact, the counterfeiters know that.  Anyone can give an opinion that an autograph is real...and especially for the right price.
What is important is....who is the company providing the Certificate of Authenticity?  Do you check out who your doctors and contractors are?   
This is a VERY important video to watch....please take a few moments and educate yourself.
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising provides only 100% authentic autographed items, authenticated by the absolute most reputable Authentication companies - PSA/DNA & JSA.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spotlight on the Loudoun Youth Football Experience

Over the years, I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting some amazing people.  I am always asked about the Celebrities and Athlete’s I’ve met but my response is always the same “I would rather share a minute with some of the incredible people behind the scenes of the charities I work with than an hour with a Celebrity or well known Athlete.” And with that in mind, I am going to start writing short introductions and "Spot Light" some of these great people.

One such incredible person is Mark Whitehurst of the Loudoun Youth Football Experience also known as “LYFE”.  I had the great chance to meet Mark several years ago when he called and asking for our help.  As he began to tell me about his charity, I could hear his passion over the phone.  However, when I met him and his wife Melissa and family, that is when I truly could see the depth of his commitment. 

His charity, Loudoun Youth Football Experience is a nonprofit which hosts a totally free football camp where they are surrounded by a highly professional staff of coaches who are there merely to help the kids of Loudoun County, Virginia.  As Mark tells me, there are several other camps in the area but the minimum charge can be from $130.00 to well over $300.00.   “How does a child attend a camp if his or her parents can’t afford it?” 

As a child growing up, Mark didn’t have the luxury of attending a football camp such as the ones described above.  As a father today, a business owner and citizen of Loudoun County, Mark sees the need to give young Athlete’s the mentoring that could someday help them into adulthood.  “Our kids learn so much more than football” said Mark.  “We are there for the kids and the kids only.”

No one at the camp gets a salary with every single dollar they raise going directly back into the community.  Between equipment and field rental, insurance and all the expenses it takes to host such a wonderful outing, LYFE is hosting the “Hall of Fame Dinner & Charity Auction” on August 9th.

Marks dream is to grow LYFE outside of Loudoun County and move toward and into Washington D.C. and its children.

For more on Mark and the Loudoun Youth Football Experience, go to  If you would like to support LYFE, you can contact Mark at

Training and Educating your guests on how you want them to perform

How many years did you spend in School with College included?  How many training sessions for your work have you attended?  Unbelievably, most charity event planners are unaware of the fact that their guests need to be trained and educated on how your event is different from the other charity events they have attended.

When you are planning your next event, take into account that you and your charity is actually planning the following fundraiser.  With each event, your guests will get familiar with your fundraising strategy as well as the quality of the event itself. 

An example of this is when your guests see that you have Charity Travel Packages available but were unprepared to bid on them.  Commonly, if you ask your guests, they will tell you that they will be ready the next time.  Your guests will learn just how great your event is from attending the last one. 

However, you still have to keep them guessing.  You have to “Step it Up” each and every time with a better venue, different meal plans and definitely different and better items and experiences for your guests to bid on.

With this in mind, your event will become the “Standard” for all other events around you to follow.  By improving the event, year after year, and the other events will always one step behind you.  What this takes in commitment and time as well as a plan.

The first year is the foundation of what is to come.  The venue, the food and the items should be your focus at the beginning.  At this initial event, you will attract guests who will see just how fantastic it is.  This will allow you to introduce Sponsorship opportunities at your 2nd year event as well as give you the opportunity to sell more tickets and get higher quality donated items.  While following your plan, the 3rd year is when you will see the fruit of your labor.

Begin today with forming a plan for success.  If you would need assistance to form this plan and put it into action, contact BW Unlimited today at  We would love to help.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Top Secrets to Long Term Successful Fundraising

WARNING:  If you can't handle the truth, stop reading now.  Here is how several charities have capitalized on fundraising to raise $Millions$ each and every year.  I warn you, if you are not prepared to make the changes they did and do everyday and you are happy with very little, STOP READING NOW!!!  I am going to share with you their TOP SECRETS to success.

When I am thinking about writing a blog, I picture having a conversation instead of sitting here typing like I am. 
The inspiration for this Blog comes from our continual experience with our charity partners.  Charities must look in the long term.  In order to build a wall, you have to the lay the first row of bricks, first.  Many charities host an event without understanding the long term commitment it takes.  Educating and training of your guests is crucial.  We will address “Guest and Support Training” in yet another Blog to come.
Success comes in the long term because a one-time windfall is great but being successful over the long term is truly what success is all about and the Conservation organizations figured out when 99% of the other charities in the U.S. have not.  Why?
First, let me tell you how I got my start.  A very long time ago, I was a volunteer involved in two different Conservation charities.  Through those charities, I learned the basis of the company I represent today – BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising. 
The outdoor charities are honestly the “Kings of Fundraising” and should be applauded for their understanding of what it takes.  Their successful methods are TOP SECRET, or at least it seems it is because outside of their charities, no other charities are utilizing their successful methods.  Whether you support them or not, everyone should learn from these charities.  I have to hand it to the people involved in these charities because they figured out how to be highly successful over a very long time and importantly, they also learned how to grow their charities while hosting a fundraising event.  Let’s discuss what they know, and most importantly, what everyone does not and nearly refuses to believe - it’s a “Quiet Secret.”
But before I tell you how successful they are, I believe looking at their numbers will put you in perspective.  If you are not as impressed as I am, you should be (These are just SIX (6) out of all of them that use this same model):
Charity                                                                      Total Revenue
Ducks Unlimited                                                      $185,148,845
NRA                                                                            $272,950,038
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation                         $79,251,317
Pheasants Forever                                                  $43,041,536
National Wild Turkey Federation                        $35,391,581
Trout Unlimited                                                      $34,011,522
                                                                  TOTAL = $649,794,839
Their Successful Approach to Long Term Fundraising:
More than just a fundraising opportunity – The Conservation/Habitat charities host fundraising events which are not solely based around the charity in question.  Their events are fun and very relaxed, they are more like a party instead of a seminar.  Routinely, other “like” charities will attend to support them.
1.  Auction Items available – The conservation and habitat charities reach out to companies who provide items that they believe their guests will like.  These charities then provide a catalog (called a “National Package”) of the items to their chapters with a price for each.  The chapters then PURCHASE the items for their events Live & Silent Auctions.  The chapters then sell the items at their events.  Of course, the chapters do go after donated items but the events are centered on the items which they purchased.  They understand that in order for them to benefit financially, they MUST have high quality items.
Recently, I met with a Regional Director from one of the above charities.  While talking about helping him, he said:  “George we know that we can’t rely on donations, they are generally junk and we rarely profit from them.  We have to have great items at our events because they guarantee us profit.”
By providing high quality items, these charities know the appeal to their current and future guests.  They have accepted and utilized the fact that people attend their events just to get a chance at bidding on items that are available.  It is what “SELLS” their events and helps people coming back each year to follow. 
NOTE:   The most important word above is “PURCHASE.”  They must pay for the items regardless if they take a loss or not.  The charities can’t provide them at NO RISK to their chapters because of the carrying costs if the items do not sell.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising provide items and travel at ZERO RISK to our charity partners.  BWU assumes all the risk, this only guarantees profit for charities.  If the items sell at their events, they keep 100% of the profit.  Each item has 20% profit at the very first bid and even more as the bid amounts go higher.
2.  Growing Long Term Support – Through their fundraising events, they sell an amazing amount of memberships and differing levels of support.  When you attend their events, ticket buyers also purchase a membership as part of their ticket.  These events are so highly sought after because of the items available, the membership purchase is a part of the deal in order to attend.  They understand that a fantastic fundraising event is the best way to grow their support.
AN EXAMPLE:  When I was a part of one of the above charities, which by the way had no direct tie to the area, we used the events momentum to sell more Life Memberships ($1,000.00) than any other chapter in the North America – we sold 20 ($20,000.00). 
3.  Long Term Charity Growth – What is most important, at these events, other people want to be a part of the charity by volunteering to host another fundraising event somewhere else by opening up other chapters. 
The quiet secret that they are holding back is the key to their success over the long term.  They know that having a fantastic fundraising event with great items helps them grow and grow and grow.  They take advantage of this incredible situation which most of the 104 million charities in the U.S. are not.  Why?
Some of the charities outside of this group resist what they know to have a proven successful track record…why?  Because it goes against what most people believe – but unbelievably, that is what BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising offers our clients.
If you would like to know their secrets and begin to do what they are doing while enjoying their success…shhhhhhhh….BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising will tell you.  Contact us today at

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fundraising Platforms – A Complete Fundraising Event

In every charity event, your guests represent a multitude of yearly incomes and giving potential.  Let’s take a look at a pie chart which represents these facts:

25% - Guests who have a high income/giving potential

50% - Guests with a moderate income/giving potential

25% - Guests with a low income/giving potential

Acknowledging and understanding the above facts will help you to target various event platforms in your next charity fundraising event that will reach its potential and not missing anything.

A common issue we see all across North America is fundraising events which truly are not fundraising events.  Charities will host an event that is more about honoring their volunteers or sponsors with fundraising being a sidebar.  If you are hosting that type of event and you are not concerned about fundraising, then this may not apply to you. 

WARNING:  If you do not plan your event to effectively use all of the methods described herein, your event will not reach your fundraising goals.  Don’t complain after that you did not raise the money you needed or wanted to raise.

A common problem today is that charities will plan an event, getting direction from someone who doesn’t understand successful fundraising or don’t know how to fundraise whatsoever.  At their events, they will only have one of the Fundraising Platforms.  Or plans to have more than one of the platforms but does not plan their use effectively.  To be 100% effective, you must know the trends in fundraising across North America.  Event planners should consult with Professional Event Fundraisers to ensure that you are providing your clients with the best. 

Anyone can have these platforms, but understanding their effectiveness is key to it’s and their success.  For instance, anyone can build a house, but when it falls down because you didn’t know how to build it correctly, don’t complain.

Fundraising Platforms

There are four (4) potential fundraising platforms in a charity fundraising event.  But their total, correct use in your event will make it highly successful.  But, if you chose not to use any one or more of them, your event will not reach its potential.

We are going to explain the platforms in reverse so that you can understand the “Why” – use the above Pie Chart for this explanation:

1.      25% High income/High Giving Potential – LIVE AUCTION:  In your event, there is a section of your crowd who can afford to bid on items which have a very high bid potential.  The Live Auction is meant for two reasons – entertainment and competition.  The Auction brings out the competitive nature in the guests who have the same personality.  The items available here should be higher profile then what is found in your Silent Auction or Raffles/Games. 

NOTE:  75% of the people attending of the people present will not be able to bid on these items.  The Live Auction should not be very long, but long enough to have momentum (that’s another Blog idea).

2.      50% Moderate Income/Moderate Giving Potential – SILENT AUCTION:  In your event, 50% of your crowd can not bid on the items in your Live Auction due to their high bid potential, basically they cannot afford to bid.  This is where the Silent Auction say’s its grand “Hello.”  The Silent Auction must have a range of items with both low and moderate bid potentials.  It should also have enough items to the attention of your guests.  The number of items should be 1/3 of the amount of guests you have present.

NOTE:  Oddly enough, the same guests who can afford to bid on the Live Auction, can also bid on the Silent Auction.

3.      25% Low Income/Low Giving Potential – Raffles/Games:   At your event, the remaining 25% of guests attending your event cannot afford to bid on the items in your Live or Silent Auction.  In fact, they
      only supporting your event by attending.  This Fundraising Platform is perhaps the most important due to its potential.  Furthermore, this platform is the absolute best place to use the DONATED ITEMS that your charity has received (Another Blog
      to focus on this).  The 25% of people who only purchased tickets to support your charity and cannot afford to bid on your Live or Silent Auction, can afford to buy Raffle or Game Tickets.  This platform also plays on the thought that everyone there loves to “Win” something.  This platform also brings the “Fun” in your “FUNdraising event.” 

100% Extra Credit – Now that you understand all of the platforms above because you are a great “Fundraising Student” and you have planned them effectively in your fundraising event, let’s go for some “Extra Credit” and bump up your events fundraising potential!!!

Obviously, you are hosting your Charity Fundraising event to…FUNDRAISE.  Charities would not need to fundraise if they received checks in the mail all year long.  Commonly, charities will place an envelope on the tables at their event and ask people to place a donation in it – RARELY happens and if it does, the donations are low.

This platform is effective due to its potential and non-implied donation “Pressure.”  It is called “FUND A NEED.”

4.      “Fund A Need” – Direct Plea:  During your event, people are meeting your staff and learning about your charity and your great work.  This is the time to capitalize on it.  Happy people willing to donate money to your cause.  The wrong approach to this fundraising tactic it to either not ask for donations or to place an envelope on the table and hope people donate. 

    This fundraising tactic comes at the end
of your Live Auction and is successfully accomplished due to the momentum of the Live Auction.  This is when you still have your guest’s attention and they are in a “Giving Mood.” 

    The reason it is successful is due to its “Non Implied” financial pressure and also allows your guests to see who is donating to your cause.  This fundraising tool is HIGHLY EFFECTIVE.  For more information on how this works or how to effectively to perform this, contact BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising today.

In summary, if you are hosting a fundraising event, you should ensure that it as successful as possible.  All of the above are like chain links – if you use all four (4) Fundraising Platforms in your event, you will come out of the event extremely happy with its results.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is the Leading Charity Fundraising firm in North America.  Unlike other businesses, we only specialize in assisting Charities with hosting highly successful, highly profitable events.  If you would like our assistance, contact us at











Tuesday, July 8, 2014

ROI - How much is the Chicken?

This morning, I had the pleasure to speak with Jeff Sellers.  Jeff recently joined our team and already
has already experienced the “Reality of Charity Fundraising.” 

When I first met Jeff, we spoke about the reality of fundraising in 2014.  Initially, I could tell he didn’t agree with what I was speaking to him about but if you ask him now what he thinks, he will just laugh while repeating what I told him on the very first day.

Recently Jeff was speaking with a Charity about their event last year.  The charity was very happy with their performance last year and sent over their event breakdown.  After analyzing it, he was surprised to see that the actual event was in the “Negative” – they actually lost money by holding it.  All of their profit came before the event and not during it.  This is referred to as “Net Net.” 

Jeff did his duty by showing the charity the error of their ways, but the charity surprised both of us by deciding to not host the event again instead of following our advice and assistance.  They decided the ROI (Return on Investment) was not high enough – it was ZERO.

Some time ago, I wrote a Blog called “How much is the Chicken.”  It was probably one of my most popular so I am going to write it again while adding just a few extra points:

When planning an event, charities begin to review and select everything for their event, here are some of the topics which they commonly analyze:

1.        The “Right” Venue – Their event has to be in a great place.  It has to look good, be   
         decorated beautifully with an excellent staff.  Their guests deserve it.
       2.       The “Menu” – Charities begin to plan what the dinner will 
                consist of based on the ticket price which they want to
                charge.  “How much is the Chicken Dinner?”…”How much
                is the Beef Dinner?”…”How much is the bar, the hore
                d’ouevres?”…”What desserts are we going to have?” –
                Obviously, the cost is essential but the guests deserve the
3.       The “Printed Program” – Charities must have a program that is beautifully designed.  This 
         means they must have a Graphic Designer lay it out.  It must be printed on great paper as
         well, showing color and the print quality must be fantastic.

4.       The Event “Decorations” – The room must be decorated beautifully.  They will need large
        screens to show video or what is going on, on the stage.  They will need a beautiful flower
        center piece for the tables, a wonderful table cloth, Signs around the room etc.

       5.       What they are going to wear – Everyone must be dressed beautifully, new dresses and suits
               are a must.  Everyone needs to look fantastic.
Now – everything above comes at a Cost.  “There is no such thing as a free lunch” someone said many years ago.  If you want great, you have to pay for it.  The “Right” Venue will cost, the “Food” will cost, a “Printed Program” will cost, a Graphic Designer will cost, Decorations will cost and most certainly…a beautiful dress or great suit will definitely cost.

So, with everything above coming at a cost…why then does the Charity forget everything and utilize items on their Live & Silent Auctions that are “Less than”?  Many charities today will only accept items that are 100% donated, despite the fact that the return or profit is low? 

Charities forget that they are paying for all of the above but then forget their strategy when it comes to the items they have available to raise the dollars they need.

I high “ROI” is vitally important – having items available on a Silent or Live Auction which do
not have a high return is not a successful strategy. 
We must understand the ROI on perhaps one of the most popular donated item that there is across North America – the Gift Basket:

This is based on fact – Gift Baskets do not bring high returns:

1.       The retail value of the Gift Basket is $60.00
       2.       The highest bid or what the Gift Basket is $40.00
       3.       In order to get the Gift Basket donated, it took the following time:
               a.       30 minutes to speak to the donor in order to get them to donate the item
               b.      2 hours to pick up the Gift Basket
               c.       $10.00 in Gas to drive to the Donor
This is called the “Cost of the Donation”

If you are going to utilize donated products at your Charity Fundraising Event, use them in a place and in a way for the highest “ROI.”  Commonly, the best place to utilize donated items is in a raffle or game setting.  The ROI will then be 10 times retail.

If you utilize No Risk Auction Items, understand that the return is much higher than if an item is donated. 

We suggest that our clients start the bidding at 20% above the Cost to Non Profit.  So with an item that has a Cost to Non Profit of $200.00, the starting bid or “Reserve” is $240.00.  That means, at the starting bid, the charity will profit $40.00 with the very first bid which matches the “TOP” or “Selling” bid of the donated item.  The reserve bid is just the starting line for much higher bidding.  With higher end or high profile items, your guests will compete to take that item home – which means your ROI will be very high. 

Plus – the investment is nothing if the item does not sell.

Again, if you want your event to be the best it can possibly be; don’t forget that fact when planning your Live & Silent Auction – the items available must match the event.  Higher profile or High End items always, 100% of the time, will always have a very high ROI.  Where are you going to invest your a loser or winner?

If we can help you match your event with the right items for your guests, garnering you a high ROI “Return on Investment”, contact us today at or email Jeff Sellers at  We will help guide you down a successful path.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

I'm Sick

I want to warn you, this may be a lengthy Blog because I have a lot to say about this subject.  Fair warning!!!

This morning, I woke up earlier than usual.  After getting my coffee and sitting down in my chair, I pulled my laptop onto my lap and began browsing the web for new articles on Counterfeit Autographs and the criminals providing them.  And here is what I found that is prompting me to write this “Rant” Blog.    Please take the time to watch this video:


It makes me sick that Charities are being scammed everyday by companies “Pushing” counterfeit/fake autographed items.  The reason they do it is due to the charities and their guests not being educated collectors.  It happens all the time and has been happening for years.  They are outright stealing from the charities, taking away money for their missions without a thought…all over the almighty dollar bill. I have been screaming this fact from the highest mountain since the start of BW Unlimited but I simply do not know if anyone is listening.  I am trying to protect charities and ensure that no one is taking advantage of them.

If you read the article or watched the video, you know that Steve Cyrkin from Autograph Magazine was interviewed.  Steve is one of the foremost authorities on the world of Autographs.  If you have any questions about an autograph provider, go to their website and search the name of the company you are thinking about working with – believe me, you will be AMAZED!!!
Now, you should know something about me.  I am a retired Maryland State Trooper.  During  my career, I worked with various Task Forces would enforced the counterfeit industry for Music, Sports, clothing etc.  After 20 years as a police officer, I do not care whatsoever for people who take advantage of others through theft scheme’s etc. and believe there should be harsh punishment for the same. 

So the fact that I am now on the national screen assisting charities across North America, I have educated myself on what is real and what is “Counterfeit.”  For years, I have been standing on my soapbox screaming for charities not to fall for the “Glitz & Glitter” of unbelievable autographed items and to focus on reputable 3rd Party Authentication. 

The definition and explanation of 3rd Party Authentication:

If you were feeling sick, would you go to your employer and ask for him/her to examine you to ensure it was okay for you to work?  Or would you go to a Doctor?  This is a very serious question.  How about this one – if you were having legal issues, would you ask your boss if he could represent you (assuming he/she is not a defense attorney) in court?  Or seek the advice and assistance of a Lawyer?

Using the example above, that is what charities are doing by accepting these counterfeit items.  The company from which the charity is getting the item or items, also authenticate them.   Without training, court approved expertize or education, these companies say “Yup…it’s real.”  3rd Party Authentication occurs when someone autographs an item, the company seeking the item asks for another authority, other then themselves, to review the item to ensure it's authenticity.  This way, everyone is protected and verifies that the item is authentic.  Professional Autograph providers will always use this method and will only use reputable companies to authenticate them such as JSA or PSA/DNA.

Of course…they are going to say it’s real, because if it sells, they are going to profit!!!  Just like your employer…of course he/she is going to say you’re fine and aren’t sick, because he is going to profit if you go back to work!!!

Believe it or not, when charities accept autographed items from companies which either authenticate the autographs themselves – OR – use an authenticator who has a track record of authenticating counterfeits.  This is all a part of “Theft Scheme.”  The counterfeiter partners with someone who will put their name on an autograph saying its real….for a price.

I am going to get a lot of people hating me for telling you this, but here is a test and you don’t have to be educated to do it – PLEASE USE THIS PRACTICE:

#1 – Ask the company who the Authenticators are for their Autographed items.  Any reputable company will quickly tell you who that company is and will also tell you about the importance of 3rd party authentication. 

FACT:  In the autographed sports industry, the standard or Golden Rule Authenticators are James Spence Authentication (JSA) or Paul Spence Authentication (PSA/DNA). 

RED FLAG:  If the company says they authenticate the items and they provide a Certificate of Authentication (COA) as the Authenticators…RUN RUN RUN!!!

#2 – See what the items they are offering and then search the internet for Retailers or other companies offering the same items. 

FACT:  When athletes conduct autograph signings, companies from all across North America will want to be a part of that signing.  With more companies involved, the price of the individual autograph goes down, making it more affordable for the companies involved. 

RED FLAG:  If you cannot find another company offering that same item or items…RUN RUN RUN!!!   

#3 – Ask the company where and when was the autographed item signed and await their response.

FACT:  Celebrities and Musicians rarely or never do paid autograph signings.  Furthermore, when they do, the entire cast is not present.  Also, on many occasions, someone from the band or cast may have died.   Celebrities and Musicians are often caught walking through an airport or out of a restaurant, it’s called “Chasing.”  The “Chaser” will always only have 8x10 photo’s because anything larger is hard to carry. 

RED FLAG:  If the company says “Outside of a movie premier” or “Outside of a show (Letterman, Tonight Show) and the item is larger than an 8x10 photo, RUN RUN RUN!!! 

#5 - Does the company have photo's of the Celebrity or Musician actually signing the item which they are providing?  Does the company have photo's of the Celebrity with a known employee of the company which is providing the item?

FACT:  Legitimate companies will always take photo's of the Celebrity or Musician signing the item which they are trying to sell.  It helps them prove that it's real.  Furthermore, the employees of the company that are there with the Celebrity or Musician, will always want to get their picture taken with them. 

RED FLAG:  Anyone can go onto Google or Bing (like I did above with the photo of Justin Beiber) and get photo's of Celebrities or Musicians just signing autographs - Which I know for a fact that one company does on their own website.  They post the same photo on their website to try to say that they are signing for them.  Formerly, some of these companies posted that these celebrities were signing for them - FALSE!!!  They were just taken off the internet.  If a company does not have photo's of their employees with Celebrities and Musicians - OR - photos of the Celebrities actually signing the items...RUN RUN RUN!!!! 

#4 – Is the autograph from someone who is deceased? 

FACT:  If someone dies, the cost of the autograph sky rockets due to its rareness.  Plus the people who own the autograph, will hold onto it.  If they sell it, the price will be VERY HIGH.   If anyone is holding onto an inventory of an item with the deceased persons autograph, those items will be quickly purchased.

RED FLAG:  Honestly, if anyone says they have items autographed by a deceased person with a very low price, RUN RUN RUN!!!  This one should be a “No Brainer.”  For instance, above you see a photo of Clarence Clemons.  Unfortunately, Clarence passed away on June 18th, 2011. 

#5 – Are the items autographed all common?  The same item autographed with different bands signing each one?  Are all the autographs signed with the same pen (often a paint pen)?

FACT:  When autographs are sought after, the items will always be different based on inventory levels of that item and where “Like” items can be purchased.  Always, the different signers will use different pens with different colors and thicknesses.  I’m not even an expert and I can pick this one out of a crowd. 

RED FLAG:  If you are looking at an autograph memorabilia providers pictures of the items they have available and you see that the items are ALL THE SAME, RUN RUN RUN!!!  Then look at the pens used, is it the same?  RUN RUN RUN!!!

#6 – Is the Autograph Provider showing the autograph items on line constantly? 

FACT:  When Celebrities and Musicians are giving autographs, they quickly walk through the crowd, often only signing once for each person, and even then, the autographs are rushed and sloppy and rarely perfect.  Because these individuals are “Chased”, no one will have more than a few in their inventory.

RED FLAG:  See the above, when a provider shows their autographed items on line, start suspecting something.  Even BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising cannot show a constant inventory because our inventory changes constantly. 

SUMMARY:  Please be smart or just not “Stupid.”  Don’t believe the hype!!!  Do you want your guests to find out the items you have in your event are fake?  Do you want to be the charity in the News Broadcast?  Doubt it.

Whether it’s BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising or some other company, please ALWAYS ensure the autograph items you are looking for are 3RD PARTY AUTHENTICATED by a reputable company.

However, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising always, 100% of the time, provides 3rd Party Authenticated Autographed items to charity events all across North America.  If you would like to learn more about the “The Reality of Autographed items” in the charity fundraising world, contact us today at