Monday, December 28, 2015

BEHIND THE SCENES: How the Autograph Industry really works

Do you remember when you were a kid and you went to watch your favorite professional player while hoping to get his autograph?  You got as close as you could to the dugout, hoping he would pop his head out and possibly give you an autograph. 

That’s what most people think how companies like BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising gets items autographed, it’s the direct opposite.  Around the world, autographs of professional athletes are highly sought after.  In North America, there are millions of Sports Collectible stores which mainly specialize in the local teams. 

How it truly works may make you mad, but the athletes maximize their earning by conducting autograph signings.  In reality, the normal NFL career only spans 3 years.  Plus the athletes have to pay their agents, publicists, trainers etc.  So in order to earn more money, they respond to what the fans want – paid autograph signings.

The reality of how these are conducted honestly is mechanical.  The Athlete is paid a certain amount to sign a certain amount of items.  Routinely, it’s 1,000 total pieces or more.  The items range from Helmets, Pictures, Jerseys, balls, bats etc.  At some autograph signings, the national shows, there could be as many as 50 well known athletes.  These "Bulk Item" autograph signings for wholesalers are referred to as "the Back Room."

At the signings, autograph authenticators such as JSA & PSA/DNA are asked to be present to actually witness the items being autographed.  It’s truly amazing, there will be stacks of pictures & jersey’s for each athlete.  Rows and rows of helmets, cases of baseballs.  How do you think businesses like ours actually get the items autographed?

However, celebrities and musicians rarely sit down to do an autograph signing.  The main stream or ultra famous stars do not do autograph signings at all, they truly don’t need to.  In order to get their autographs, companies like ours employ “Chasers.”  The people watch to see what celebrity is in town and wait outside a venue that they are appearing and ask for their autograph.  They are normally 8x10 photos.  The celebrities or musicians will sign the items in passing with their autographs looking more like “Chicken Scratch.”  The “Chased” autographs are hard to authenticate.  Furthermore, they NEVER EVER sign more than a few 8x10’s.  Chasers cannot carry stacks of guitars or stacks of 16x20 large photos. 

However, it is incredibly rare to get an entire cast of a certain movie or even harder, the entire band to sign one item.  You can find autographed guitar pick guards that one of the band members signed, but you will NEVER find a “Body” signed guitar (which means signed around the large part of the guitar) signed by the entire band.  You will find them true, but you will also find Big Foot autographs and Loch Ness Monster being ridden by Elvis autographed photos too.

Another important fact, when a celebrity or athlete dies, their autographs become extremely rare for obvious reasons.  The prices skyrocket!!!  As time passes by, the autographs are harder and harder to find.  But then this is easy to understand right?

So, I hope this gives you a “Behind the Scenes” explanation of how Authentic Autographs are actually acquired.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Auction Item leader, providing everything a charity could want and be successful with including 100% authentic, 3rd party authenticated auction items from athletes and celebrities.  BW Unlimited also carries a wide array of D├ęcor and Jewelry.  In order to better serve charities across North America, BW Unlimited formed its own Travel Package company –  Offering a wide array of Charity Travel Packages ranging from “Once in a Lifetime,” Concerts, Vacations, VIP Experiences and much more.   

If we can help you, contact us at  Check out our Charity Travel Package website at

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The “Grinch” who stole your Success

The Grinch who stole Christmas is probably one of the most popular Christmas movies of all time.  Then after Jim Carrey brought the cartoon into reality, the popularity of the movie skyrocketed.  But as in the movie, the Grinch’s job was to ruin a merry Christmas for everyone.  And with fundraising event planning committee, we all have a Grinch.

If you’re reading this, I bet you already are thinking of your very own Grinch.  You know the Negative person who is the wet blanket.  “That won’t work”, “I don’t like that idea”, “We shouldn’t do that”, “I disagree”, “What happens if we don’t sell tickets” and on and on and on.  I see them all the time; in fact, sometimes it’s even the person in charge of the event or the charity.

When I’m initially meeting with a charity, I try to shake the trees to find the hidden “Grinch” because there will always be one or several.  Here are several reason why there is always a “Grinch”:

#1 – They were in charge in previous years of planning and hosting your fundraiser.

#2 – If your NEW ideas are successful, that means they were not.  No one wants to look bad.

#3 – Fear of change.

#4 – Fear of the unknown.

#5 – Fear of Failure.

All of the above are viable reasons why “Fundraising Grinch’s” exist.  But, you shouldn’t let them deter you.  Build a committee around positive, supportive people.  Building a happy committee is the key to your overall success. 

Your “Fundraising Grinch” will be the “wet blanket” and their negativity will take over your committee.  The best way to change them, is don’t even try.  Recruit the people you need to be successful and will support the mission you are on.


BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising Leader in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can and will assist you by helping you build a positive, educated, supportive committee who will carry out the mission of the event toward its ultimate success.  To learn more, contact us at

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Why were they successful – a True Success Story

This is the true story of success in regard to charity fundraising.  I will tell you exactly why it was successful but here is the back story:

Several months ago, I was asked by Frances Straka (who is my part of my family) if I would help her and a few of her friends hold a fundraiser for a young boy battling cancer – Austin Harrison.  Of course, I agreed and scheduled to meet with them.

When I went to meet them, I was a little taken aback because they were all much older and didn’t understand the importance of Social Networking or Marketing.  The “Them” were only four people in total – Only FOUR (4) (NOTE THAT).  However, after talking for nearly an hour, the planning began.

The committee quickly rose to well over 20 active committee members.  Everyone did their fair share of the work, but a couple quickly rose to the top – Phil & Angela Dicke.  Angela became the Ticket Chair person and was my main point of contact, she handled everything.  Phil himself sold well over 30 tables of 10.  Those two were Rockstars!!!  But the committee became a fundraising “Dream Team.” 

At their event, they had over 640 people in attendance with more donated items than you can imagine.  Everyone did exactly what they were supposed to do and more.  With that many people in attendance, Check In was extremely smooth.  The raffles were incredible because the committee made them happen.  The Live & Silent Auction did absolutely fantastic!!!  Check out went just as smooth, truly everyone did absolutely fantastic.

They had twice the amount of people they thought they would have, raised more money than they could dream of and the event ran as smooth as silk.  In fact, many of the guests asked when was the next one. 

Why was it so successful from beginning to end?  The answer is very simple – the committee members were not experienced fundraisers and started out with zero negativity.  Here is the straight answer why they were successful – Because they listened to me.  They followed the exact direction I gave them, no more no less. 

Novice fundraisers (those that only one or even a handful of charity events) have no preconceived notion or ideas of what they should do.  However, the truly novice fundraiser has no experience and zero preconceived idea notions.  They merely follow direction.  What happens is, a Novice Fundraiser begins to plan their event, despite having professional assistance, the same way they have planned the few others.

If you are an experienced fundraiser and your previous attempts have been not as successful as you wanted them to be, perhaps you should open yourself to new ideas and think like you have never done one at all.  Do exactly like the Rockstars did above, ask for help and follow the direction given to you to the “T.” 

If you would like the same assistance as they did above, contact us today, we would love to help at

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting.  The charity fundraising experts as BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising will guide you through the myriad of fundraising pitfalls, lessen the amount of stress by providing a fundraising plan and a detailed, easy to follow strategy.  If you would like assistance, contact us at

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

“One Bad Apple Spoils the whole Bunch” - Infestation of Negative thinking

Lately, I have seen major differences in both Positive and Negative Thinking, especially when it comes to charity fundraising. 

When I initially begin consulting or speaking to a charity about assisting them plan and host a fundraising event, the very first thing I look for is NEGATIVITY.  If there is any negativity either with the person or people I am talking to and not shear positivity and motivation, it sends us a huge “Red Flag” of Disaster.

Negativity can and will infest a fundraising committee like roaches, soon taking over the entire thought process of everyone involved.  There is no point to negativity when it comes to fundraising, in fact, negative thinking is what separates the large, more profitable charities from the small unsuccessful non profits.

Case in Point – We are going to use a “Real Life” Scenerio of three (3) Fundraising Committees (this is real):

Committee A – Committee “A” is actually comprised of two (2) women only.  Committee “A” is 100% positive and more importantly, is hosting their very first charity fundraising event.  Their cause is based on local government.

Committee B – Committee “B” Is a very well established, large group of people.  These people meet on a regular basis and their group is based around a well-established “Lifestyle.”  They have held many fundraising events, however, those events were not as successful as they should have been.

Committee C – Committee “C” started out as three (3) 70 yr. old women.  They wanted to host a “Benefit” fundraiser with no background, no experience in Charity Fundraising and were a little hesitant at first but wanted to follow successful direction.   


Committee “A” & “C” are and were 100% positive with “ZERO” negativity.  However, Committee “B” is quite honestly, infested with Negativity. 

Committee “A’s” event is scheduled for Feb of 2016 – they already have over 400 tickets sold and an enormous amount of donations.  “Negative” thinkers would say “Oh it’s because of the cause” or find some other reason why they are successful – the cause ladies and gentlemen is constantly attacked in the Press. 

Committee “C” event already occurred.  There were well over 600 people in attendance and raised more money than even they dreamt of.  Their event was an overwhelming success.


Committee “B’s” event has not occurred and the fundraising committee has not even engaged yet.  Their large committee is racked with negativity around every turn.  Their event is before Committee “A’s” but to date, they have barely sold tickets.


Why is this the case?  Committee “A” & “C” were and are 100% positive and filled with motivation to be successful.  Committee “A” & “C” listened and did exactly what they were instructed.  Their positive demeanor and the ability to follow direction is what is making them as successful as they truly deserve to be.

Even more importantly, Committee “C” started out small but followed direction and built a large positive thinking committee simply by asking others to help them and furthermore, not allowing negative thinking to take over their committee.

The moral to the story – When a committee focuses on the negative possibilities, negative results are what they will find.  Negative thinking, especially at the start of the planning stages will absolutely ruin your chances to be successful – I’ve seen it time and time again. 
Negative thinkers will always point out reasons why others are successful and they are not.  They will point out the "What If's" and put fear in the hearts and minds of others involved.  They will focus on the minimum expectations and not have a "Shoot for the Stars" mentality.  Negative thinkers will pull others into them to support their negative rationale.

Build a committee of positive, motivated thinkers.  Squash negative thinking by focusing solely on the positives.  Remember the old saying “One Bad Apple Spoils the whole Bunch.”  Seek out fun loving, helpful people who love to get involved no matter what the cause.  Build a committee that supports each other instead of tearing you and your success down.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising Leader in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting.   BWU assists charities by guiding committee’s around the myriad of negatives and pitfalls toward hosting a highly successful fundraising event.  To learn more, contact us at


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ravens Auction items

A bunch of great Ravens autographed items heading to a charity auction in Annapolis MD.
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