Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"The Reality of the Reality of Donated Items"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fundraising Magazine: Do you want to know how to attract Large Financial Sponsors?

Before we begin – ask yourself, how many of your donors or sponsors ask to remain anonymous?  Not many or none?  Why is that?

First, understand that very few large financial sponsors will be attracted to your event based solely on the mission of the charity.  If they are, they will still want the same thing that other sponsors ask for.  Rarely will anyone make a donation and want to remain anonymous. 

Large Sponsors, normally companies, are attracted to events which have a large or affluent guest list.  The attractant is what is called “Drivers.”  They will be very interested in knowing how many people will see their logo and company name.   For instance, Workmen’s Compensation Attorney’s will be attracted to be sponsors for events which have a large attendance of a sector which they market to heavily. 

As an example, recently I introduced a well-known restaurant a charity who was hosting an event.  As they sat and spoke for 42 minutes, I noticed the one thing that wasn’t being discussed.  I stopped the conversation and asked the charity representative what wasn’t even being discussed.  He didn’t know or even realize until I said “She hasn’t asked once what your mission is or what you’re going to do with the sponsorship money.” 

A large attendance is a major reason for sponsors.  When they find out that you will have over 600 people at your event, they will definitely start thinking about sponsoring.  They will know that the guests will see they are supporting their charity and want to support them. 

When setting sponsor levels, remember, large numbers are scary to the normal business owner.   Providing lower levels of sponsorship is key to your ultimate success – Volume is better than few.  The reality is – charity fundraising is business.  Sponsors will invest their advertisement dollars to sponsor your event in exchange for advertisement.  The same is true with donated items. 

Businesses and affluent individuals are looking for advertisement which will “Drive” people into their businesses.  Prior to engaging possible sponsors, ensure that you lay out a plan or a sponsor package which will provide sponsors with advertisement to all your guests as well as those thinking about coming to your event or supporting your charity.

There are various ways to ensure that your sponsors get more than their fair share of advertisement as well as receive an overwhelming response from their sponsorship or donation.  The sponsorship advertisement can extend farther than just your event which is yet another attractant.

Just remember businesses are owned by people who also need to pay their bills to keep their lights on.  Simply by saying “It’s tax deductible” is not enough anymore.   This is the era of “What can you do for me?” – Keep that in mind prior to even beginning.  You can turn their advertisement in your event to add Glitz, Pizzazz or Eye Candy to it which will help the appeal of the overall experience.

If you would like to learn what possible sponsors find appealing and how to provide them an overwhelming amount of advertisement at your event, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com – we would love to help you.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  BWUCF will help you build a sponsorship package which will attract all levels of sponsors.  Contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com for more information.