Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Philosophy and the “Art of the Ask”: How to increase financial donations

The old days of placing an envelope on the table at your charity fundraising event or passing around a basket, called “Passing the Hat” are long gone.  In fact, if you did that today, you would find 98% of the envelopes empty.

So how do you get people to donate money and more importantly, large sums of money?  This is a two-pronged strategy and approach.  But first we must understand that society today has changed to a “What will you do for me?” mentality.

In order to get more sponsors and to entice more people to donate, we first must understand this:

#1 - Companies will donate or invest in exchange for advertisement.  The more advertisement they receive, the more they will donate or sponsor.

#2 – Donors, that is people who will or could make large donations, they too want something for their donations.  What do these people want you ask?  To be noticed or have their few seconds in the spotlight.

Understanding the philosophy above is half the battle or the way to uncover the “Secret” to get more sponsors and entice more people to donate.  Here is the other half – the “Art of the Ask.”

Before I tell you or describe the “Art of the Ask”, you have to recall the “Old Ways” of getting financial donations.  Sending out hundreds of mailers or by getting on the phone and cold calling a long list of possible supporters.  Then getting into a lengthy conversation with them about why you need their hard-earned money which inevitably ends up as a “Telemarketer” approach.

Recently, I saw that a friend who is very affluent attended a charity fundraiser.  Knowing he is wealthy, I asked him how much he donated to the cause, he responded was “Nothing.”  When I asked why, he said “Because no one asked us to donate.”  He further went on to say that after looking at everything they had to offer in the silent and live auction, nothing appealed to him so he didn’t bid on anything either.

The fact that no one asked to donate is a simplistic and ironic with the argument being “He should have donated on his own without being asked.”  Today, everyone wants to be appreciated and to be thanked.  When you place yourself at a higher importance than your donors, that is a sure sign you are simply out of touch.

“The Art of the Ask” – Wouldn’t you agree that this is a “What are you going to do for me” society?  Absolutely it is.  Both donors and sponsors need to know there is value in their donations.  What does value mean?  Simply put – what do they get for their donation.  That’s not a question, it’s a statement.  We have already addressed why sponsors donate funds, however we briefly touched on why people donate.

Before you burn me at the stake…yes absolutely, people donate to help the mission of your charity, you’re right.  However, from my 25 years of experience raising 100’s of millions of dollars for charities – we now know and understand the power of simply asking them for a donation.  You cannot, let me say that again…you can not just expect it, you have to work for it.

To answer your question “What should we do?” or “How do we do it?”  First you must hire a professional.  Having “Bob the Weatherman” or “Sam the local politician” who does a great job acting like an auctioneer simply won’t cut it.  If you’re getting surgery, would you ask the same people to cut into your skin?  Absolutely not.  Isn’t raising the maximum amount of funds the goal of the fundraiser? You need a professional to get this done.

Whether you hire us, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, or you hire one of the many professional charity auctioneers across the United States, make sure you have a professional do this.  That in and of itself is the most important aspect here and the reason is, they understand the mechanics of how to ask, when to ask and how to do it successfully.

People at your fundraising event will absolutely donate – BUT – they want to be asked and they want to be placed in the spotlight when they do.  It’s called “Pea Cocking” or “Show Boating.”  You may not like that or agree, but it's reality.  They want others to see them donating and love her applause when they do.  Plus, they may want to donate to impress someone else in the crowd.  As an example, one of your board members is someone of importance in your community.  Another guest in the crowd wants to do business with them so they will make a healthy donation simply to attract the attention of your board member.

This “Ask” is also referred to as the “Fund a Need” or “Paddle Raise.”  You would be amazed at how incredibly successful this is.  We have raised as much as 1.8 million dollars at one event simply by asking.  But if you do not know what to do or how to do it, consult the advice of a professional.

The “Art of the Ask” is an art because it has to appeal to your guests and not be a “Beg” instead of an “Ask.”  Your guests can’t feel like you are putting them on the spot, they won’t react.

If we can help you understand and successfully accomplish the “Art of the Ask”, contact us at  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is the Premier charity fundraising company in North America in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  What does a charity fundraising “One Stop Shop” mean?  We have everything you could possibly need and want all in one location, staffed by the nation’s foremost experts in charity fundraising.  Give us a call, we would love to help you.  You can reach us at 443.206.6121.  Call anytime, we are here to help you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Explanation: What is the commission percentage or “Cut” BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising receives from a charity fundraising event?

This question is often asked by charities who are asking for our help.  Also, people who attend the large, highly successful fundraising events we host wonder.  They ask other people or just assume that we take a “Cut” of the funds raised.  This assumption comes out of anger they have based on the size and scope of the event as well as how financially successful the event appears to be especially when so many of the guests are making large scale donations.

To answer this question bluntly – We DO NOT take a commission or a “Cut” of any kind.  We charge a very nominal flat rate such as the venue where the event is being held.  No matter how much the charity raises, our service fee NEVER changes.  It does not matter if our client raises a million dollars, we are not compensated any more – just the flat rate.

People often ask “This makes no sense and is too good to be true.”  The reason it makes no sense is due to unscrupulous people who require a “Cut” or a commission for helping a charity.  Our company was founded on one simple rule “Charity First” plus we believe that our integrity means more than our profit.  We do not believe that if someone makes a large donation for our client at a charity fundraising event, that we deserve a “Cut” of that donation.  If I were the person making the donation and found out that the company or the auctioneer received a “Cut” of my donation, I would be absolutely furious and not make any donations whatsoever.

In regard to our company and services, the statement that “100% of the proceeds goes directly to the charity” is 100% true.

In the end, it’s all about ethics and morals.  The right thing to do is always the right thing to do.  If our clients make $50,000.00, $100,000.00 or $1,000,000.00 – our fee does not change regardless and guaranteed in writing.

Are we “Too good to be true”?   We are good and what we say is true, but we are definitely not too good to be true.  Just ask our 1,000’s of happy clients across the country.

In summary – No we do not charge a commission or take a “Cut” of the proceeds raised at our clients fundraising events.

If you would like to learn more about BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising and how we can help you exceed your fundraising goals, contact us at, we would love to help you.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

How not to ensure your "Fundraising Well" does not run dry.

On a daily basis, I see charities especially on Facebook constantly running “GoFundMe” or Facebook fundraisers.  They also run fundraising event after fundraising event.  But what they don’t even realize is this:

Today, Jack comes to you and asks “Hey, can I borrow $20.00?”  Jack is a good guy so you hand him $20.00 to help him out while feeling pretty good about yourself.  A week later, Jack comes back to you and asks “Hey, can you help me out with $20.00?”  You ask him what it’s for and he tells you his car broke down or his Mother is sick etc.  You’re thinking you just gave him $20.00 and now he’s asking again, he must be really desperate.  So, you dig in your wallet, pull out another $20.00 but this time you’re a bit annoyed and don’t have that feeling you did before.  Now, a couple weeks go by and you see Jack coming with the same look on his face.  You can feel what he’s going to ask so you get prepared.  Sure enough “Hey, can I borrow $20.00?”  Immediately, you get angry and ask “What do you need another $20.00 for?”  He provides another reason why he needs money but this time, you say “I’m sorry, I’m broke.”  He turns around and walks away.  What you did not know, is Jack has been asking everyone he knows for the same $20.00.  Eventually everyone turns their back on him.  Jack went to the well far too many times and now it’s gone dry.

I understand that many won't agree or believe what I am reporting here but if you continue to do what you're doing, you are definitely going to wish you would have heeded my warning.  There is an old saying that says “Less is more.”  Charities don’t seem to understand this simple idea.  The more you ask for money or donations, the less you will receive.  It’s simple honestly, if you are continually asking for money, you will “Tap Out” your donors.  I understand that you need money but you are going to have to find another way of raising the funds.  

The more you ask, the less and less you will inevitably receive.  A good guide that you’re asking too much is this – Look at your online or Facebook fundraiser, how quickly are you raising the money that is your target?  Is it quick or is it slowly working or is it stalled?  Do you or have you gone in and posted something urging people to donate? 

Instead of doing 100 small fundraisers, you should do (1) large one.  Please listen, if you are constantly fundraising, you are going to push people away from you.  People do not want to be constantly begged and badgered to donate money to you. 

Remember, you are not the only charity out there fundraising.  If a charity continually is posting fundraiser after fundraiser, begging for money, you will see the amount of funds raised slowly going down and down, finally the well will run dry.  You will lose money and most especially, supporters.

Another crucial part of this, especially in a “What will you do for me” society is that you aren’t doing something for the person you are asking to donate.  Donors and sponsors need to be taken care of.

Remember, the more times you go to the well, inevitably, you won’t find anything there.

If you would like to know what large scale, highly profitable fundraising event looks like or what it can do for you financially?  Contact BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising at or by phone at 443.206.6121 – we would love to help.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The “FREE TICKET” Charity Myth – “BUSTED”

A common myth with charities across North America is in regard to either "Comping" people or giving guests "FREE TICKETS." 

Many believe that "Comping" people a ticket, they will attend your event and spend the money they would have paid for the ticket and more.  It’s also believed that by “Comping” them tickets, they will have the understanding that they need to spend or donate money because they know they were provided the ticket for free.

Many times, charities will give influential or affluent people “FREE TICKETS” thinking they will make large donations.

The next part of the charity myth is that it’s a great practice when a company, group or individual purchases tickets to give away to others, most likely to those who can not afford to attend or purchase the event ticket.

Another part of the myth is called an “In Kind” donation.  Now my definition may be different than yours but what I believe it is, is when someone donates an item in exchange for event tickets of the same value.

MYTH “BUSTED”:  Why is this a bad practice?

First, when you give away “Free Tickets”, you must understand that you are still paying for the cost of their meal and drinks.  In reality, the ticket is not free, you are paying their way ultimately.

Second, when you give someone a “Free Ticket”, there is no clear expectation to spend or donate money.  In fact, over 12 years of professional fundraising, I have never seen this to be true. 

Part (2) of the above is even worse, when people are provided “Free Tickets”, they made no investment and may decide not to attend.  They may want to stay at home, do yardwork or whatever – they spent nothing, so not attending is a clear option.  Think about this point – is it sufficient to have someone buy a table and the seats are empty at your event?  No, it’s not at all.

Third, if someone needs a “Free Ticket” to attend, most likely they can not afford to come.  Do you want someone to attend your “Fundraising” event who can not even afford your event ticket?  No, because they also will not be able to afford to donate or bid on anything at your event.  A mid to high priced ticket is what I refer to as a “Financial” hurdle – if they can afford to buy the ticket, they can afford to donate.  It’s a fundraiser, right?

Fourth, it sounds like a really nice thing to do when an individual or company purchases a ticket to give away to people.  At it’s face, that sounds like such a nice thing to do.  But, if those same people could not afford to come – Refer back to #1, #2 and #3.  You need people to jump over your financial hurdle. 

Fifth, if someone ever says “I’ll donate this item to you that retails for $150.00 if you give me the same amount back in tickets (you are selling tickets for $75.00 a piece.”  The one aspect of fundraising is that donated items historically across North America bring 1/8 to 1/4 of retail in any Live or Silent Auction.  You take the offer and place the item on your Silent or Live Auction and it only sells for $30.00 or less, possibly no one bids.  Let’s say your paying $50.00 a person to the Caterer, you just lost either $120.00 retail in your ticket prices or $70.00 in the true cost.  Do not ever do this.

In closing, remember, you are hosting a fundraiser.  By giving away tickets, you are literally taking money out of your own pocket to pay for that “FREE TICKET” which truly does not exist.  Someone has to pay for it.  Where are you going to take the money from to pay for the “FREE TICKET”?  Are you going to take it away from the mission of the charity?  There is no such thing as a “FREE TICKET” and it is a horrible practice to give anyone free tickets.

Secondarily, even though it sounds nice when someone buys a table or tickets to give them away to the less fortunate, but then the same rules apply.  They may not even come, leaving you with empty seats.  Then, they could not afford to come and won’t be able to donate to your charity.  They will come eat, drink and have fun and that’s it.  Before you give away tickets or “Comp” anyone, think about what we just discussed first prior to agreeing to it.  If you decide to do it, remember I warned you!!!

These strategies and many others are a part of fully understanding successful charity fundraising.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is the #1 source of incredibly successful fundraising in a “One Stop Shop” setting.  There are a myriad of mistakes and pitfalls inexperienced fundraisers make, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising will steer your charity around them to a successful result.  Contact us today at

Friday, June 28, 2019

Think of your Charity as a Business: Charity vs. "For Profit" companies

Recently, I had been thinking about a better way to explain to charities and those fundraising on how to understand who Sponsors are and why they sponsor, who the guests are and how to attract them and last but not least, who their volunteers are and their role.

Suddenly, I realized (based on a book and video by Dan Pallotta) that the best way would be in terms of a business but more importantly a store.  As soon as I could, I used this at a meeting with a client planning their fundraising event and it’s as if everyone there exactly understood much better.  In order to be successful, as Dan says, charities must think like a business in order to be competitive. 

In reality, a charity is a business and in fact, many of the tasks it does as a whole is business related.  So with that, here we go.

First, we are going to use these terms as if you were opening a business or a store:
  • -         Event Planners are now known as “Business Consultants
  • -         Sponsors and Donors are now known as “Investors and Vendors.”
  • -         Guests are now known as “Customers.”
  • -         Volunteers and the charity staff are now known as “Salesmen.”

In order to open a business and in this instance, we will think of it as a Store, let’s call it the “Charity Store.”  We first must understand our store opens only once a year (we only host one major fundraiser each year) and is only open (4) hours (the length of your event).  We only have (4) hours to make enough money to maintain our business throughout an entire year.

Many businesses owners understand that they must spend money to make money – however, in the charity sector, charities think exactly opposite to their detriment.  Do you understand and agree with this?  Or do you think getting everything for free is the successful way to operate?  Do you think the highly successful businesses in your area do the same as a charity?  Many Businesses owners understand that even though they want to open a business and be successful, they don’t understand as much as they should.  Retailers and Restaurant Owners often hire professional consultants who will come to their store and design it, train their staff on how to be successful sales people as well as develop a business plan.  They stay with the business as it ages to continue to improve it.  

Have you ever seen TV Shows such as “The Profit” or “Restaurant Takeover” or “Bar Takeover”?  The stars are consultants helping the businesses improve and often thrive.  Do you know how to properly plan a fundraiser?  Are you a highly successful fundraiser and are highly educated on the current trends of fundraising?  Do you know what makes Sponsors…sponsor at high levels?  Do you know how to entice your guests to make large donations and what makes them place high bids?  Do you understand all the aspects that go into a highly successful fundraiser?  Do you think you should higher an expert charity fundraiser or a Charity Fundraising Event Planner who is also an expert Charity Fundraiser?

If we are just starting our business or taking it to the next level, you will need Investors and Vendors.  In order to attract Investors, we first have to learn what the investor wants out of their investment.  What’s the best way to learn this?  By simply asking them.  Your “Investors (Sponsors)” will want Marketing as their primary concern.  Come up with a Marketing Plan for your Sponsors before you even approach them.  If you are already a well-established charity, your potential “Investors” is already right in front of you – your Vendor list.  What’s a Vendor you ask?  Open your business checkbook and see who you pay on a monthly basis.  Those vendors have been reaping the benefits of doing business with you for as long as you have been in business, approach them while reminding them how long you have been paying them and then tell them about your event and you would like them be a sponsor. 

In regard to your “Investors” being Donors, businesses which donate items, present them with your Marketing Plan for your Sponsors and Donors.  As with most charities, they simply take the items and whatever they make on selling them, that’s enough.  However, what will set you apart from the rest is that you truly “Care” about their business. 

If both your “Investors (Sponsors) & Vendors (Donated Items)” voice their opinion about when they donated to another charity and how it did not help them, ask them why?  What were they not happy with when they did?  Then ask them how you can best drive business to them and even further, how you can get them closer to purchasing items from their businesses.

Let’s talk about your business “Customers.”  Whenever a new business opens up in town, people automatically flock to it to check it out.  But we first must understand how they found out about the “Grand Opening.”  They found out through Marketing and Advertisement.  Do you think the business owner who wants to truly be financially successful only does a small amount of Marketing or Advertisement?  Absolutely not.  They hire top rated marketing companies who develop and advertising strategy.  They then develop commercials as well as beautifully designed signs, print ads and billboards.  They run their ads over and over and over again, nearly bombarding you their potential customers with the advertisement.  They feature all the great items they will have in their store and tell you how there are limited quantities available.  They spare no expense when it comes to advertisement and they don’t just advertise every once in a while, they repeat it over and over and over again until their store opens. 

As a charity planning a fundraiser, you must do exactly the same as a business hosting a Grand Opening.  You must develop a marketing strategy along with planning on how to best gain the attention of everyone in the area in which you reside or are located.  If done correctly, you will gather the attention of everyone in the entire country…but do you know how?  You also must have the correct marketing materials as well as made the correct decisions on what you need to have at your event in regard to the venue, menu and the items there for sale (to bid on).
Then, lets talk about your “Sales People” in your business – your volunteers.  If you sales people are not trained properly on how to be friendly and the art of the “Up Sell”, then your business will most likely flounder.  You have to find “Sales People” who are Rockstar’s !!!  The better sales people you have, the better you will ultimately perform.  They must be trained and also involved in your marketing strategy.  Switching over, are you volunteers Rockstar’s?  Are they trained Salesmen and Saleswomen?  Many times, charities just go after “People” without ever interviewing them about their sales skills.  You must have vibrant, friendly volunteers who are not afraid to talk, joke around and Sell Sell Sell. 
If you do it correctly, your business will thrive and you will make an enormous amount of profit.  However, if you do it incorrectly, doing things that contradict successful business practices, you will be closing your doors quickly. 

Charities MUST, absolutely MUST, adopt the same business practices as the “For Profit” sector in order to survive, be relevant and prosper.  They will never be able to fund their missions without successful fundraising.

If you would like help from the most well known charity fundraising Experts in North America, contact BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising at or by calling 443.206.6121.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is the only full scale charity fundraising event planning company in North America with a proven, successful track record and in business with 12 years.  Call us today.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The "WOW" Factor - How to “BRAND” your fundraising event

First do you understand what a “Brand” is?  Let’s take for instance Coca Cola, Nike, John Deere or McDonalds – each of these companies developed a logo or a “Brand” which allows just the logo without words, to clearly and quickly identify the company.  They pay marketing companies millions to not only develop their brand but to also invent their “Brand Strategy.” 

Why should a charity who is fundraising use branding or develop a brand strategy?  Because it will differentiate you and your fundraiser from all others in your area. 

Here are a few tips which will help you truly brand your event and set you head and shoulders above the crowd:

#1 – Developing a Brand:  Many people believe this is called a “Theme.”  That’s true but in order for you and your charity to develop a brand, there is more to it.  You first have to have a very “Eye Catching” event flyer that grabs people attention.  There is a proven scientific concept that says that someone needs to see something (7) times before they act upon it.  However, if your flyer is “Eye Catching” by being highly designed, you have a much higher chance of catching someone’s attention than the normal homemade flyers.  Plus a very “Eye Catching” Event flyer will impress possible guests and sponsors, showing them your event is of a much higher scale and not like the “Norm.”

#2 – Brand Consistency:  Once you have developed your charity event brand, everything surrounding it should remain consistent.  That goes from your Facebook Event Header, to your tickets and to your sponsorship flyer.  Everything should mirror the other to keep the brand consistent. 

#3 – Keeping the “Fun” in “Fundraising”:  Remember no one likes “Boring.”  By developing a high profile brand through your flyers, as discussed above, your guests will get excited because your brands high appeal factor.  They will immediately get excited, creating a “Buzz” surrounding your event.  Then they will weigh it against the others in your area.  Creating a “Buzz” will create “Fun” – people outside of your circle will also see your well branded marketing materials and also take notice.  Businesses will then be drawn in based on the appeal of your branding and also be drawn in because of the “High Appeal” and not like the normal every day, homemade fundraising flyers we all see everywhere.  You will be a “Cut above the Rest” and they will want in via a financial sponsorship.

As an example, our client The Unbridled Heroes Project – they work with adopt wild Mustangs from outwest who are being sold for meat and pair them with Veterans who are battling with PTSD.  Understanding that they work with horses but are holding a Gala, we utilized “Denim.”  From that, we developed the “2019 All American Heroes Diamonds & Denim Gala.”  The branding delivers the charity but also creates a fashion statement along with the high appeal via the diamonds and the consistent branding/marketing to draw attention to the event but also to create a “Buzz.”  As you can see, everything is consistent from the main event flyer, to the sponsor flyer, event ticket and Facebook Event Page Header:

Remember, creating a brand is much more than just a theme.  It’s creating marketing materials that set your event a part of all others in such a highly competitive charity fundraising marketplace when everyone is fighting to get people’s attention.  Be different, be unique, be a “Cut above the Rest.”

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising has its own Graphic Design Department which specializes in brand consistency for our clients.  We begin with the charity, then develop a title or name of the event then create a graphic design to all aspects of our clients marketing materials – creating a branding strategy for our charity clients across the United States.  If you would like to learn more about how BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can help you create the “WOW” affect, contact us at or email George at – we would love to help you.

Monday, May 20, 2019

TOP Themed Gift Basket Ideas for your next charity fundraiser

As we all know, gift baskets are always a big hit at charity fundraising events across the country.  With this blog, I hope to share some excellent ideas that will get your guests excited about your offering.  Remember have a plan for each while also thinking about your guests.

Instead of just throwing together baskets, always set out with a plan.  A basket with a theme is always very enticing and exciting.  When planning to build these baskets, give several out to your volunteers or team members for them to go after.  Remember – Size Matters.  The bigger the basket, the more it will attract attention.  Here is a list of great themed baskets which everyone loves:

  1. Chocolate Lovers Basket – filled with various chocolates as well as chocolate drinks.
  2. Grilling Basket – Filled with Sauces, Spices, Grill Gloves, utensils etc.
  3. Italian Dinner Basket – Pastas, Sauces, Kitchen Utensils for pasta, Bottle of Wine
  4. Wine & Cheese Basket – A Bottle of Wine, wine glasses, various cheeses, a cork screw, cheese knife etc.
  5. Car Care Basket – Bucket, Car Wash items, Car Wax, Windex etc.
  6. Kids Beach Basket – Beach Toys, Squirt Guns etc.
  7. Dog Bowl Basket – Fill a large Dog Bowl with Dog Treats and toys.
  8. Movie Night – Empty Pizza Box, Gift Certificate for Pizzas, 2 cheap DVD’s from Walmart, Liter of Coke, Liter of Sprite, Pop corn
  9. Make Up Basket – Make Up, Make Up bag, etc.
  10. Picnic Basket – Picnic items
  11. Craft Basket – Crafting items
  12. Spa Basket – Soaps, Candles, Bubble Bath etc.
  13. Candy Basket – Very fun, fill it with every kind of candy you can find, vintage candy is always a hit.
  14. Junk Food Basket – Potato Chips, Pretzels, Doritos, Dips etc.
  15. Coffee Basket – Coffees, cups, cookies etc.
  16. Sports Fan Basket – Calendars, Shirts, Coozies etc.
  17. Lottery Tree – a Bunch of Scratch Off Lottery Tickets
  18. Christmas Basket – Christmas items
  19. Tea & Cookies Basket – Various Teas, cups, spoons etc.
  20. Tailgate Basket – Fill a Cooler with Tailgate items, junk food etc.
  21. Disney Basket – Disney items
  22. Spices Basket – Different Spices, sauces etc.
  23. Baking Basket 
  24. Gardening Basket
  25. Pet Lovers Basket
  26. Kids Toys Basket
  27. Sports Baskets – One Basket filled with items for each Team

If you know anyone who sells Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Tupperware, or anyone like that, they will ALWAYS donate a basket.

Many of these items can be found in your local grocery store or Dollar Store.  Remember, build them big so that they attract attention.

For more tips and successful ideas, check out our website at  We would love to help you.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Missing the Mark - Alternative Fundraising methods

Over the years, I have spoken to, observed or advised charities across North America.  The numbers are in the 10’s of 1,000’s and continue to grow each year.  I’ve spoken to and helped charities in every state and most of the Canadian provinces.  One single issue comes up all the time, charities or nonprofit organizations trying to find an alternative method of raising funds outside of a Gala or Dinner.
I recently spoke with (2) individuals from charities or groups that desperately needed to raise money.  One of these groups was actually deeply in debt and needed to fundraise to get themselves out of the financial hole they were in.  They were calling me asking for help but when I told them what we would do, both decided not to move forward because they feel that there are other ways to raise the funds they need other than hosting a social gathering. 

These charities represent many across North America who believe that “Gala’s” or events like that are over done.  They believe that there are other ways to raise a major amount of money like these events do.  Sadly, they are mistaken and inevitably work harder to raise less.  They will aim all over the target but the bullseye and miss the mark they so desperately need to.

These events are social, people get to purchase a table and be with their family or friends for a fun night out.  They can enjoy great music, great food, drinks and bid/win amazing items.  They also get to support a charity which they feel close to all at the same time. 

Creating an event causes everyone to come and attend and these are normally held on a Friday or Saturday evening.  Guests get dressed up, are relaxed and enjoy the evening out.  Sponsors on the other hand are attracted to such an event for marketing reasons and therefore will make large financial donations just so that the guests see that they support the charity hosting the event. 

When people are relaxed, enjoying themselves they are quicker to open their wallets and hearts to help the cause.  Furthermore, there is no better time to educate the guests on the mission of your charity/nonprofit.

Think about it, who doesn’t enjoy a great dinner and an evening out?  The bigger the event, the larger the attendance will be which equals larger donations and a successful fundraiser.

Give people what they want!!!  Have you seen Facebook lately?  On people’s birthday, they are asking for their family and friends to donate to the favorite charity.  There are GoFundMe pages posted every single day all over the country.  People get overwhelmed and "Numb" to charities because everywhere they turn, they are being approached "Cold" and being asked to donate.

But if you give people a great night out at a very nice place, who wouldn’t want to go to that?  If done correctly, your guests won’t even realize they are donating so much or donated at all.  These types of events are entertaining and that is why they are successful if planned and managed correctly.

If you would like to host an incredibly successful fundraising event, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising would love to help you.  BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North America Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  Contact us at, we would love to help you and your organization exceed your fundraising goals.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Fundraising Secret: Successful fundraising is “Common Sense.”

Every single day, I am astounded at some of the things I hear when it comes to charities or groups fundraising locally or across our great country.  For some unknown reason, the people planning the fundraising events turn off their brain when it comes to planning one of the most important aspects of their organization – Fundraising.
See folks, successful fundraising is honestly “Common Sense.”  However, the charity planners shut it off when planning their events.  Why?  Because “Common Sense” goes against what the old school mentality is about successful fundraising. 

Here are some examples:

Example #1 – Charity Entitlement:  Each charity across our country believes people should donate simply because.  That’s correct – simply because.  Whether it’s simply because they asked people or simply because they are great etc.  What they fail to realize (Common Sense) is that there are millions of charities across the country acting the same way.  They fail to realize (Common Sense) that the same people they are asking have also been asked 1,000 times to donate to their causes.

Example #2 – Fundraising Event Planning – Charities believe that everything should be donated.  From the place where they are going to host their event, to the catering and the bar and that the band or DJ should play for free.  However, (Common Sense) if everyone donated to everyone who either tried to hold an event there, who wants them to cater their event or a DJ/Band to play the event, those places or businesses would quickly go under (Common Sense).  Charity Fundraising is Business folks.  Charities should also understand (Common Sense) that if a business is donating, it’s not going to be the best for their guests (Common Sense).  The business will donate what they can afford to donate.  A Venue (place) is in the business of renting out their facility to people and organizations like the charity (Common Sense).  Charities will often host their fundraising events as “Less than” venues thinking that it’s better to go cheap so they can profit more.  Also, charities often will go very cheap when planning the meal their guests will receive and will have a “Cash Bar.”  Then the charity will sell their tickets for an astronomical amount.  But…(Common Sense) affluent people and even middle income people will not go to an event at a “Less than” venue and when they get there, (Common Sense) see the small or cheap meal they are receiving but paid much for (Common Sense) and realize they have to purchase their drinks – They financially shut down (Common Sense).  They think to themselves (like we all would and do) “Well, if I paid “X” amount of dollars for my ticket, that’s enough since I’m not receiving much” (Common Sense).  Then the cash bar (Common Sense) – If people are spending money to buy drinks, where are they not spending it?  With you and your charity !!!  (COMMON SENSE).

Example #3 – Donated Items – For some reason, charity fundraising groups really shut off their brain here but it’s “Common Sense” if you just think about it.  Charities believe that since they are entitled and that every single business should donate an item or items to them, that everything they have in their event should be 100% free.  The problem is again (Common Sense) – there are 104 Million Charities in the United States and businesses in your area are “BOMBARDED” with charities and groups asking for donations.  Business owners can not possible donate to everyone who asks (Common Sense).  So they will often donate items that are not selling in the stores.  Plus it’s local people, attending a local event with items donated by local businesses right?  If your guests wanted to those items, they would go to that business and buy it themselves (Common Sense).  So, they attend your event and you display items they don’t want but will purchase them for a “Deal” (Common Sense).  The charity puts Gift Certificates and Gift Baskets on their Silent Auction and expect people to bid high at retail or above – but they NEVER EVER do !!!  (Common Sense).  Have you ever bought yourself a Gift Certificate?  How many Gift Baskets did you give away to your family or friends over the holidays?  The answer is NO or NONE (Common Sense).  But the Fundraising event planners forget this very important aspect and shut off their “Common Sense.”

Here is another secret – When planning your event, think as if you are a guest there.  What type of venue would you like to go to and what would you like to eat and drink, what would you bid on….than plan your event accordingly.  Simply use “Common Sense”!!!

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a charity fundraising leader in North America in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  If you are planning a fundraising event and want to be ridiculously successful as all of our clients are, contact us at – we would love to help you.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The “Reality” of Donated Items: What is the true value of donated items?

Before I give you the answer, just imagine these facts:

#1 – Today there are 104 million registered U.S. Non Profits – many have charities which could be considered sub-charities for which there are at least 50 million.  Adding those into the 104 Million, we are now up to 154 million, and then consider the “Benefit” events.  A “Benefit” Event is when a group of people organize a fundraiser for a specific cause which is NOT a charity such as storm damage, illness of a child etc.  Adding these “Benefit” events, we are now nearly 200 million charities or organizations across North America holding fundraisers.

#2 – The U.S. Census reports that there are 27.9 million small businesses in the U.S. with a total of a little over 65 million total businesses.

These are facts reported by the Small Business Administration, a part of the U.S. Government – you can find these facts by simply running “How many businesses are in the U.S.” on Google. 

Comprehending and fully understanding what this means is that for every business – there are a total of (3) more charities. 

Each one of these businesses are owned and operated – 27.9 million are small businesses. 

Let’s pause for a minute – as you can already agree, the number of charities compared to the number of businesses (especially small businesses) are staggering, don’t you agree?

However, here is the reality – most charities across the United States still believe that fully donated items are the only way to hold a successful event.  They believe that businesses should fully donate items because they are deserving – which they are.

Here is the myth – Charities believe that fully donated items are 100% free and that they will either raise 100% of the value of the item and again, that this is the only successful method fundraising and that utilizing items they have to “Pay” for is unsuccessful.

Hold on – here is where you won’t want to hear the “Reality of donated items and their true value.”

The Reality:

This video is a client in Twin Falls Idaho speaking about the "Reality of Donated Items" - This is not us saying it, it's a charity!!!

The reality is, businesses across the country are BOMBARDED by charities requesting they donate items for their charity fundraiser. 

***BW Unlimited LLC. did a comprehensive 3 year study comparing the success rate of donated items while also interviewing well over 500 business owners about this topic.

The reality is this – business owners cannot possibly donate to every single charity, organization or group who asks for a donation.  Many companies have put “Stop Gaps” in place to deter or defer these requests.  They use the method of telling these groups to go to their website, fill out a form or provide them a form and it will be sent to their corporate office who will determine if they will donate.  They know that 80% of people will not complete the task and it also allows an entity away from their business to say “No.”  It’s simply a “Brush Off.”

Next, we must understand that business owners (especially small business owners) must pay their bills to keep their lights on.  They cannot possibly donate to everyone because they have to keep their doors open.  Business owners report that they will commonly donate items which are not selling in their stores – basically items no one wants.

Charities are still repeating the very old but untrue statement of “It’s tax deductible” when the reality is that businesses can only claim 30% of their donations and after that…they are losing money.  That statement is simply FALSE.  This changed when President Obama changed the tax laws.

Consider this as well – A local charity is hosting a fundraiser in a local place with local people attending the event.  If the guests wanted those items, they would have gone and purchased them themselves.

Common items you see in every charity fundraiser are – Gift Certificates/Gift Cards and Gift Baskets.  However, ask yourself these questions and answer truthfully:

#1 – Have you ever bought a Gift Certificate – for yourself?  No.

#2 – How many Gift Baskets did you give to your family or friends for the Holidays?  No.

The 3 year study proved this to be true.  The reason these items are not successful in charity events is based on the very first word in their description “Gift.”  People purchase these items to give as “Gifts” but not for themselves.

Donated items, across North America, are only bringing 1/8th to 1/4  of their retail value.  At the very most, very uncommon, will bring 50% of their value. 

If you are the charity, deduct the time and fuel costs to get these items.  If you are being true to yourself and being open minded, are these items “Exciting” or do they appear to be like a “Yard Sale” without a theme?

Simply put ladies and gentlemen, if you still believe donated items are the best way to raise money, you are unequivocally mistaken. 

Then add in this – Rarely do business owners donate anything of great value.  If they do, they are most likely a part of the charity.  However, (This is a very real scenario and we have witnessed it first hand), imagine when the item that they donate does not raise 50% of its value, what does that say about the business who donated it?  It actually “De-Values” their store and their items.  We have witnessed donors get up in anger and leave the fundraisers.

I know you’re asking me this question now “So are you saying donated items are bad?”  No, not at all – but there is a way to ensure they are successful and still bring 100% of their value if not more – Raffles.  Raffling donated items ensures full value since everyone will purchase a raffle ticket.

Another common mistake that charities continue to do is to use the same donations year after year.  The very first year, the item will bring it’s maximum bid, the next year the audience gets smaller and smaller which means less and less money is raised using the item or items.

To summarize – please understand the facts surrounding the “True Value of Donated Items” and the reality of charity fundraising before you make an assumption or a mistake with your next charity fundraiser.

If you would like our help maximizing your next charity fundraiser, raising above and beyond your goals – contact us, we would love to help you.  Understanding the “Reality of Charity Fundraising” is part of the road to your success.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising Leader in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting.  Contact us at