Wednesday, December 16, 2020

“Certificates of Authenticity” ARE MEANINGLESS for Charity Fundraisers!


Too many charities across the country believe this myth “Well, it has a Certificate of Authenticity so we know it’s real.” 

Now that I have your attention, let me both educate you and hopefully save you time, energy, money and your charities reputation.

First – can you imagine finding out that you sold counterfeit autographed items at your charities fundraiser?  The damage would be horrendous. 

A Certificate of Authenticity is absolutely, unequivocally meaningless!!!  Anybody could create a certificate of Authenticity that looks really impressive, using big words that are meant to impress you such as “Forensic Authenticator” – what does that mean?

If you look up what the term “Forensic” means, it says:  “Relating to or denoting the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime.”  So basically, a “Forensic Authenticator is a fancy way of saying they use scientific methods to authenticate autographed items.”  So why not just say “Autograph Authenticator”? 

Don’t be fooled – a fancy card with a bunch of technical sounding terms means absolutely NOTHING!!!  Plus when someone really checks the autograph for authenticity and they take it too someone who is a reputable authenticator, the card is meaningless. 

Don’t you think if the autograph is fake or counterfeit, the awesome “Certificate of Authenticity” that came with it is counterfeit too? 

They commonly use fancy seals and graphically designed cards along with big terms.  They will also put a sticker on the item with a number.  All of this is an attempt to make you feel comfortable. 

But again, the Certificate of Authenticity is absolutely 100% MEANINGLESS.  Why do I say that?

Think about this – anyone can say they are a Doctor correct?  But when you look, they have a diploma from “Johnny’s Doctor School” in Cuba.  Would you let them treat you?  Oh no way. 

What matter is – WHO THE AUTHENTICATOR IS !!!  Are they reputable?  Are they accepted by Ebay or other outlets.  Do they have a long outstanding reputation. 

Here is another issue – Does that company authenticate more than just one autograph companies items?

Do your homework.  Check out the company you are getting autographed items from and then, ask “Who authenticated the autograph?”  If they “Self Authenticate” – RUN.  If they use a company who is relatively unknown – RUN.  If no other company in the world carries the same autographed items, RUN. 

Here is the most important – If the autographs are not authenticated by JSA, PSA/DNA, Beckett or Radtke – RUN. 

DON’T BE FOOLED – A Certificate of Authenticity is MEANINGLESS – Who authenticated the autograph is worth it’s weight in gold or just simply toilet paper.


If you would like to learn more about how to tell if an autograph is real or counterfeit, or you would like to ensure that you have 100% authentic autographed auction items, contact us at, we would love to help you and your charity.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Fundraising "MAGIC BULLET" Scam


As with everything in life, people are always looking for a “Magic Bullet” that will get them where they want to go quick or faster.  The “Get Rich Quick” schemes scam millions of people into attending seminars selling just about everything.  Diet fads come and go along with new “In Home” workout gear that will get rid of your belly and give you 6 pack abs nearly overnight. 

People looking for a “Magic Bullet” often fall prey to those selling them. 

In the charity and non-profit world, I see this all the time.  Between software that allegedly will make your life easier, to counterfeit autographed items from Musicians and Celebrities that no one else in the world has and also to direct mail campaigns. 

Then there are charities who ignore the “tried and true methods” of fundraising because they are convinced that those are wore out.  They often spend an enormous amount of work and lose hundreds of thousands of hours wasting their time to profit very little. 

Just like “Get Rich Quick” schemes never pay off, neither do the fundraising fads that
will make you more money and your life easier. 

The real charity fundraising “Magic Bullet” is hard work, determination and more importantly – TIME!!!  No one, not even me, can show up to a first-time fundraising event and somehow make your charity millions.  Charities and Non-Profits will often compare themselves to well established, centuries old charities who have been in existence for a very long time.  They will believe that if done correctly, they will fundraise the same amount as those non-profits do – WON’T HAPPEN!!!  Then when they do not raise a very large amount of money, will drop anything they are currently doing and begin again with some other plan.  When along they should know they have to stand in the fundraising trenches and build on what they have. 

Yet another method is, they will easily fall for a company promising that a direct mail campaign will raise them millions.  Then the hammer hits, the direct mail company wants an enormous fee and then wants you to provide the names for them to mail too. 

Recently, I sat through a sales pitch by a fundraising software company with one of my clients.  Because I’ve been around the block about 1,000 times in 12 years, their “Magic Bullet” tactics stood out like a sore thumb.  With my client being the President of a 2 year old charity, he had no experience and they knew it.  They showed him an “Example” of their software along with “Examples” of Sponsors such as Coca Cola, Google, McDonald’s etc.  They showed insanely successful auctions raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.  He fell for it hook, line and sinker and bit hard.  I could hear the salesperson slobbering over the phone at the monster commission she was about to get.  But then, there was me, a fundraising wolf in sheep's clothing standing beside him.

But what they failed to tell him, which I did was simply this.  We will call him “Bob” – I said “Bob, you know all that incredible stuff there shown in this presentation?”  He said “Yes and we want them too.”  I said “Well Bob, those are only examples and not real at all.  This company is using those brands and logo’s just to dress it up.  In fact Bob, you have to look at this software like going to a restaurant for dinner and you have to buy your own food, cook it and then the restaurant sells you the plate.  You or we have to do all the work.  This software is just that, an empty slate.”  “Oh” in a down voice he said “So they don’t give us these people at all?”  I said “No not at all, in fact, they don’t help us advertise it or get anyone to bid – OR – provide all those beautiful auction items – we must do everything.”  Well, that ended quickly with the salesperson wondering who in creation I was.

In closing, the charity or non-profit fundraising “Magic Bullet” is simply “hard work, determination and time.”  Plus educating you and your charity on the current fundraising trends that seem to change day to day.  Don’t fall for “Magic Bullets”…the only thing that will make you rich takes years of dedication and commitment.

Just put in the work.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  BW is known all over the country for expert guidance and assistance in the planning and management of highly profitable fundraising events as well as a leading provider of auction items for both Silent and Live Auctions.  Contact BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising today at 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The “Secret” to successfully utilizing consignment items for your next Virtual or Live Event

With the new era of charities changing their fundraising strategies from live gala’s to virtual events, their fun
draising strategies must evolve as well.  With small businesses taking the brunt of the financial crisis, it now has become much harder for these businesses to donate items. 

However, there are businesses or individuals who never get asked to donate anything simply because they have nothing to give.  These businesses are the professionals in your areas such as Real Estate Agents, Accountants, Doctors, Consultants etc.  They are never approached and asked unlike the local jewelry store.

We must acknowledge that a charity’s supporters are local people, attending or being a part of a local fundraiser (whether it is live or virtual) with items donated by local businesses. 

During a virtual fundraising event, charities have items which have mass appeal while also drawing bids from many bidders across the country.  They key to this is simply “Consigned Auction Items” such as 100% authentic autographed items, charity travel packages, décor and jewelry. 

A year ago, we started teaching charities across North America about the “Secret” to utilizing consignment items and to remove the associated stigma in reference to the use of donated items versus consignment items.  The “Secret” is having the consigned items sponsored.  The word quickly spread throughout the industry and other companies began addressing this too.  It’s a “Win Win” strategy.

Here are the reasons they are much more successful than donated items and the “Secret” to making them incredibly successful:

#1 – High profile items bring much more attention than “Run of the Mill” donated items.  Many more people will be drawn to your Silent or Live Auction because of these high-profile items.

#2 – 90% of supporters can not sponsor at high levels such as $1,000.00 and above.  However, they can sponsor for much lower levels which equals to the cost to non profit of the consigned items.

#3 – If an item or items are sponsored and they are consigned, the sponsorship payment is given directly to your charity.  We recommend starting the bid or setting the “Reserve Bid” at 20% above the cost to nonprofit.  If the item receives a bid and no matter how high it goes, the charity profits 100% since the item is sponsored.  However, in reverse, if the same sponsored item or items are sponsored and they do not receive bids, the item either is removed from the online auction or if it is a live event, they are returned to the provider and your charity keeps the sponsorship funds. 

#4 – Remember that many businesses sponsor for advertising or marketing which you provide by listing their name and business in the listing.

After you choose the items which you would like to utilize, simply create a catalog to show to potential sponsors.  This will open up an entirely new fundraising stream and attract many more sponsors while you are able to provide high profile, eye catching items in your next fundraising live or silent auction.

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American charity fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  For more information about our auction items or how we can help you exceed your fundraising goals, contact us at


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Donated items vs. Consigned Items: Myth or Fact

As with anything, there are myths that are passed down from year to year, from person to person that inadvertently can turn into a “Tall Tale.”  But in the charity world, these myths are like walking through the woods and following a wrong path toward the edge of a cliff.  However, even though there may be people along the way telling them to turn around, they believe the path they are on is the right way regardless of the facts.

What myth am I referring too?  The myth that donated items are far better than utilizing consignment items.  I too believed that a very long time ago until I opened my eyes and saw the reality based solidly on the facts.

I began my fundraising career as a volunteer assisting several outdoor charities which send out catalogs of items to their respective chapters around the world.  These catalogs are full of incredible items which in the end, the chapter has to pay for.  Uneducated, I thought that if I could get items fully donated, that would raise much much more money because, inevitably, we had to pay for those items.  Boy was I wrong. 

Now understand, I was the “King of Donations.”  Now, looking back, I realize that the hundreds of donated items I was able to get, truly didn’t have any theme nor were they exciting.  When we used the donations, they would do horrible up against or compared to the items which we had to pay for.  I was a volunteer and thinking “How could this be true?”  But the fact is, the charities knew it and understood they needed high quality items for people to bid on. 

If you don’t believe me, go to the website that charities report directly to in order to be rated – and see for yourself how successful the above is for them.  These charities were the first and only to adopt a program which their fundraising chapters were to “BUY” items to auction.  Here are their numbers:

Ducks Unlimited - Net Revenue:  $233,638,780.00

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation - Net Revenue:  $84,644,739.00

National Wild Turkey Federation - Net Revenue:  $23,122,179.00


I met personally met with one of the largest charities which the world is very familiar with (who shall remain nameless) and their Director of Development said “George, we don’t want our chapters getting donations because it’s nothing but junk.”  Now, if they understand this fact, why doesn’t the rest of the charity world grasp it?  The answer is:  Education.  Furthermore, there are people who work in the charity industry (not the charities themselves) who fight against using consignment items.

If you notice, I’ve said “Consignment Items” unlike the charities above who force their chapters to buy items, our items are “Consigned” which means if the charity does not profit, the items DO NOT SELL. 

I’m going to tell you the reality of donated items but you have to be open enough to read and understand this.  Here are the facts:

#1 – Charities rarely look back to see or analyze what the donated items sold for.  If they did, they would be shocked.

#2 – Charities routinely use the same donated items year after year with the audience for that or those items dropping each year.  As an example, each year someone may donate the use of their vacation home.  However, many of the guests know they can go directly to that person and get it cheaper or Free.  Even if it’s auctioned off year after year, the audience for it drops drastically.

#3 – Charities do not comprehend the fact that IF the item does not sell high or sell at all, how that will hurt the donating businesses reputation.  I have seen this for myself, an item that was worth $1,200.00 sold for $40.00.  The donor was so upset, he stood up and yelled that it would have been better for him to write a check.

#4 – Across North America, donated items are only selling for 1/8th to 1/4 of their retail value in any Silent or Live Auction.

#5 – Donated Items come from local businesses, donating to local people attending a local event – if the guests of that event wanted the item or items, they would go them themselves.

#6 – Common donated items at charity events are Gift Certificates and Gift Baskets

which is also commonly advertised by fundraising companies as a means to say “Look, I’m trying to help you by giving you ideas” however, the truth is – everyone is looking for a deal.  No one EVER buys themselves a gift certificate to a restaurant, it doesn’t make sense.  Why would you buy a $50.00 Gift Certificate for yourself when you can just go there anytime and spend $50.00 on a meal.  In regard to Gift Baskets, these are overwhelmingly the most common item at events.  However, if you either truly answer this question or ask others this, you will be dismayed at the answer:  How many gift baskets did you give away to your family or friends for the holidays?  The answer is always NONE.  So why do charities continue to think these items will be profitable?  Someone would never give you full value of a Gift Certificate – it goes against human nature.  No one wants gift baskets and that’s why they are given away for gifts.

#7 – Businesses can not donate really profitable items which they sell in their stores, they must be able to continue to keep their business open.  They commonly will donate something that isn’t selling in order to at least get a write off or because someone is standing there, from their community asking.

#8 – Charities are misguided when they think they are the only people to ask that business for a donation.  Unfortunately, that week alone, they were asked 20 times.  Ask them for yourself about this?

#9 – EVERYONE IS LOOKING FOR A DEAL.  People spend with their wallets and NOT with their hearts – this is fact.

When using consigned items, such as the ones that we provide, you must understand “HOW” to use them and why they are successful. 

When charities are asked if they would like to use our consignment items, we commonly hear the same excuses such as “Our guests don’t have that kind of money” which is the single most phrase we hear.  However, the reality is, how would you know what your guests can afford if you are only offering them items such as a $50.00 gift certificate or John’s Vacation Home?  You have no idea how they will spend their money.  They want great items and will always bid high in order to win them.

Here are the facts for consignment items:

#1 – You must start the “Reserve” or “Starting Bid” at least 20% above the Cost to Non Profit. 

#2 – Prior to your event, you and your charity should get the consignment items sponsored.  More people can afford to sponsor items at a lesser price than Sponsorships ranging in the thousands.  By getting the items sponsored, you are guaranteed to make 100% of the selling price.  If the item does not sell, the item is simply returned and your charity keeps the sponsorship money. 

#3 – Guests are looking for exciting items and Vacation Packages to bid on, not local arts & crafts.

#4 – Charity events in a local community compete against each other.  Depending on the event, which one do you think more people would like to attend?  The one that has a silent auction filled with Gift Baskets and Gift certificates or the one filled with one of kind items and vacation packages? 

#5 – You are guaranteed to profit.

#6 – Guests routinely bid low on donated items but bid high on consignment items – what does this prove?  That they indeed have the money to spend but they will only spend higher amounts on items which are worth it.  Plus if you use donated items in the silent auction, having consigned items mixed in will raise the bid amounts on the donated items.

In summary, by continuing to do what you and your charity has always done, step out of the box and try new things and new approaches.  We strongly suggest you follow the lead of some of the most successful charities in the country and use high quality items which you can get from us, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, for your next Live and Silent Auction.

If we can help you or answer questions about this or other myths, contact us at

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is the nations leading charity fundraising company in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  BWUCF offers a wide array of auction items and is known as the only trusted provider in the charity industry for truly 100% authentic autographed items.  BWUCF also offers a full suite of event planning and staffing.  For more information, check out our website at

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Charity Spotlight on Cliff Richards Jr., President of the Hale Foundation: The true example of how to care and support your supporters.

Over the nearly 13 years we, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, have been helping guide charities and non-profits across North America on how to plan and host a large scale highly profitable fundraising event, one of the areas which we heavily believe in and attempt to teach our charity clients is how to attract and support their Sponsors and Donors.

Over the 27 years we have been involved in fundraising, we have seen time and time again how various charities receive either major financial donations or large-scale financial sponsorship's, yet they do either very little or nothing to support or promote their donors and sponsors.  Often, when someone donates, they don’t even go back and look to see if their use of the item was successful – they just accept whatever monies come in and move forward never looking back.  Also, they routinely don’t think of the when it comes to use of the items even when the donor is in attendance.  They must always protect the donors above and beyond all things. 

So, when I see someone do something that goes against what 99.9% of our clients do as well as other charities, I am both blown away and incredibly impressed.

Over a year ago, I met Cliff Richards who is the President of the Hale Foundation located in Augusta, Georgia.  He along with Patrick Cullinan, asked for our help to host a fundraising Gala in North Augusta, South Carolina this coming fall which is now known as the “Sunset on the Savannah Gala” on September 26th at the Crowne Plaza. 

To know Cliff, he is a funny, friendly good ole Georgia boy.  It’s easy to like and get close to him right from the start because of his personality.  He is warm and inviting and can’t do enough for his friends and clients with the Hale Foundation.  He is an immediate friend to all who have met and know him.

Cliff recruited a “Rock Star” team of highly motivated volunteers and after being provided direction, they took off like a rocket.  They sold more financial sponsorship's in such a short amount of time than I have ever seen before.  They also had many of the auction items sponsored and were closing in on a very early sell out based on the number of sponsors they had.

Then COVID-19 hit like a meteor.  Everything stopped suddenly, the entire country went into lock-down.  Small businesses were shut completely down, people were losing their jobs and businesses and families began to struggle.

One morning, I received a call from Cliff.  He asked how I was doing and was worried about my family and I since we were also shut down completely.  He then started off the conversation by saying “I know you’re not going to like this but…”  What Cliff told me honestly, sat me back in my chair speechless. 

In a world of “what will you or are you doing for me?” or charity scams in a greed filled society, community, Cliff was thinking about all those who graciously became major financial sponsors.  Understand the it takes an enormous amount of money to do what the Hale Foundation does and is planning in regard to Valor Station, Cliff was not thinking of his own needs or the foundations.  I still remember his Georgia southern draw saying “I’m returning the money given to us from our sponsors since most are small businesses and they are going to struggle during this.  I know you’ll think I’m crazy for giving them their money back but it’s the right thing to do.”  I asked myself “Am I hearing this right?  Is Cliff actually taking money he needs and giving it back to his donors because he cares about them and their livelihoods?”  I was astonished and replied “No Cliff, I think it’s amazing that you would do that and in fact, you’re the first person I have ever heard even go that far taking care of those who were taking care of you.”

Many can learn a lot from Cliff Richards.  He thought beyond himself and the needs of his own charity, but thought of his supporters first.  That is the mark of a true leader and the definition of integrity and giving.  He knew that they gave when times were good but now that they are worried, he knew that the money they gave easily should be given back to help them.  

You couldn't find two better men than Cliff Richards and Patrick Cullinan who live their lives to serve and help First Responders nationwide.

Cliff, I applaud you sir, you are a remarkable man and I am proud to know you.  I am humbled by your selfless act of giving and supporting your supporters.  I appreciate you more than you know and speaking on behalf of our entire team from BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, thank you for all you have done and continue to do.

To learn more about the Hale Foundation's upcoming event "Sunset on the Savannah Gala" on September 26th - go to Facebook at this link:

Or contact them directly on how to sponsor or to purchase tickets via the contact information on the flyer.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us at  

Friday, April 24, 2020

Fundraising Myth Exposed: Using consignment items are bad and will hurt your fundraising efforts

There are many myths surrounding charity fundraising which originate back to the 1980’s or possibly earlier.  However, here is just one of the myths both described and the truth exposed:

MYTH:  Using items which you have to pay for is a bad idea and fundraising business practice.

#1 – Charities keep 100% of the profit from fully donated items.

#2 – Fundraising items that have a price or are consigned, draw bids away from donated items.

#3 – Charity guests prefer to bid on donated items vs. consigned items.

To properly address this myth, we first have to address the costs which charities easily incur during the planning of their fundraising events which are not donated.  By understanding and agreeing that this is true, it will truly show you how “opposite thinking” it is when it comes to the use of the items which actually raise the funds needed.

When planning a Gala or other fundraising event, the very first expense you incur is the rental of the venue along with catering and drinks which comes at an expense.  However, guests pay for tickets which in turn pays these expenses.  Keep in mind, that there is always “Margin/Profit” placed on each ticket price.  Then there is printing of tickets, programs etc.  Then entertainment, both bands and DJ’s charge for their services.  Add in decorations – all these line items come at a cost.  Rarely will you find any of this donated, especially the venue of your event.  The only item in the above list that creates profit is the actual tickets that sell.

With that in mind, after making these decisions, this is where charities turn off their thinking and this is when the myth kicks in that donated items are the best method to raise money.  However, they incurred costs easily as described above. 

Here is the “Reality of Donated Items”:

#1 – With over 1.5 million charities in the United States, businesses are bombarded with donation requests.  They can not possibly donate to everyone and if they do, routinely it’s something that is not selling in their stores.

#2 – Remember, you are hosting a local event with items donated by local businesses with your guests also living locally.  If your guests wanted those items, they would have gone and bought them themselves.

#3 – Our guests don’t spend or bid that high on the items we have.

#4 – Donated items are only bringing 1/8th to 1/2 of their retail value at the very most across the United States in any Silent or Live Auction (study performed by BW Unlimited LLC. over a 3 year period). 

#5 – Donated items do not have a high appeal and routinely have no theme. 

#6 – Everyone is looking for a deal – Common donated items are Gift Certificates and Gift Baskets. 

a.     If someone reports that Gift Certificates are selling at full retail or above, they are lying or have not looked.  QUESTION:  Have you ever bought yourself a Gift Certificate?  No, that is why they are called “Gift” certificates – we give them away to someone else as a gift.  Routinely, these sell for 1/4 of their retail value.

b.     How many “Gift Baskets” did you give away to your family or friends for the Holidays?  None.  The reason is, no one truly wants them.   Again, routinely these sell for 1/4 of their perceived value.

#7 – Charities commonly utilize the same donated items year after year such as someone’s Vacation Home.  However, they fail to understand (2) most important derogatory aspects about this:

a.     People know they can go directly to the donor and get the Vacation Rental either for free or at a very reduced rate.

b.     Each year these items are auctioned, the appeal and audience goes down and down.

#8 – If an item that is donated has a significant cost and it sells for 1/4 of it’s retail and the donor either is a guest at your event or hears about the low selling price, do you think it will have a negative impact on them donating again?  Yes.

#9 – Are the items actually free?  Considering the time it took to get someone to donate an item, the time it took and the cost of the gas that it took to drive there and back.  Then the item sells for 1/4 of the retail – ask yourself, was it worth it?

The argument against using consigned items normally is based on charities not being fully educated on the importance or how to properly use them to ensure they are highly successful. 

(Only with BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, we advise our clients to increase the cost of our items by 20% so that on the very first bid, they are profiting – guaranteed.)

Here is the how and why this myth is dispelled:

#1 – Consigned items such as autographed memorabilia, vacation packages, jewelry etc. are very enticing and will set your event apart from all other local events.  If the items available are advertised on Social Media, they will draw many more eyes and possible guest attention.

#2 – Consigned Items that have high minimum bids will actually raise the bids on donated items.

#3 – Guests will not bid high on low value items if that is all that is there to bid on, however, they will bid extremely high on items which they have never seen before or are only available through BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising or another company.

#4 – Guests routinely place extremely high bids and get into bidding wars over consigned items which can also be sold multiple times – guaranteeing the charity much more profit.

#5 – Consigned items do not cost the Charity anything, the buyer pays for the items, not the charity.  The charity just keeps 100% of the profit.  If the items do not sell, they go back to the provider without a fee of any type.  This is exactly like the venue and ticket prices – however, the profit is not fixed as it is with ticket prices.

#7 – Charities can have the items “Sponsored” or “Underwritten.” 

a.     Charities can select as many items as they would like to utilize and put them in a catalog format along with the cost of each item. 

b.     Many more people and businesses can sponsor at a lower rate than at the normal high-level sponsorships. 

c.      If “ABC Realty” sponsors an item for $250.00, they pay the charity for the sponsorship and a “Tent Card” is simply placed in front of the item saying “Sponsored by ABC Realty.” 

d.     The bid is started 20% above the cost – as an example, the winning bid is $500.00 – The charity just profited $500.00 because the sponsor actually paid for the item.

e.     If the sponsored item does NOT receive a bid, the item is returned and the charity keeps the $250.00 sponsorship.

In summary, I have a question:  What is the difference between paying for the venue, the food and drinks – OR – having high quality items that have a cost?  Shouldn’t you have great items for people to bid on instead of free items?

In closing, if someone is against the use of consignment items from either BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising or some other provider, educate them on the above.  Just ask our 1,000’s of clients across the United States if what I say above is not true.  If you have used consignment items and were unsuccessful, it’s possible you did not use them correctly.

If you would like more information on how to be successful using consigned items or would like to comment differently, please contact us at, we would love to help you. 

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  We provide a host of consignment auction items such as 100% authentic autographed memorabilia, worldwide vacation packages, beautiful jewelry and incredible décor.  We also assist our charity clients with a host of charity fundraising event services.   Please contact us to learn more.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

It's time to support the Small Businesses who supported your charity.

Do you remember asking the small businesses in your area to donate something for your charity event? 

For instance, about 15 years ago, I went into a small business called Subworks Pizzeria in my local town of Perryville, Maryland.  You see, I was once a volunteer for a charity and hit the area hard looking for donations. 

The owner of Subworks, Carl Jarusek, didn’t even blink an eye and donated what he could.  I remember him doing that to this day and I am still very grateful.  Carl is just that kind of guy, very friendly, caring and giving.  So now, my family orders from him when we want to order out because he helped me when I asked, now its my turn to help him, his family and his business.

There are millions of small business owners like Carl and his family across our country who are now struggling to keep their doors open and paying their employees.  It kills them to have to lay off people but they must in order to stay afloat.

They are real people whose faces and friendly "hello's" greet you as you walk through their doors and say thank you.  They donate to your local sports teams, allow you to set up a table outside selling girl scout cookies and hang your flyer's in their windows.  Like the Jarusek family.

Earlier, I was speaking to a friend and client about all of this.  You see, I had been advising my clients to keep advertising their postponed events and he opened my eyes.  That’s when it hit me, even our businesses have been drastically struck by the current events.  I’ve heard of at least (3) businesses closing their doors as well as many of my friends being laid off or even worse, losing their jobs.

Again, do you remember the small businesses in your area that donated to your charity when you asked?  It’s now your turn to show them your support and that you care for them.  Help them by going to their businesses especially those who are restaurants doing curbside sales.  Help them advertise by asking your friends to visit and support their businesses.

They are the charities now.  They make up the backbone of our country.  They are the smiling faces who remember your names.  Show them you support them now more than ever.   

Friday, March 6, 2020

How to attract large Financial Sponsors

When explaining the “Reality of Charity Fundraising”, I try to use an image that most can imagine.  One of the most frequent questions I get from our clients is this:  “How do we get major Financial Sponsors?” 

As with most things involved in charity fundraising, we first have to get around sediment and understand reality since there are many “Charity Myths.”  The charity myth involved here is that major financial sponsors do so because they love the charity’s mission.  That’s partially true because some may love your charity or it’s mission but the vast majority are attracted by what I am about to explain here.

To begin explaining, I like to provide something “Visual” which most people are familiar with.  Imagine a ball of small fishing out in the ocean.  You may have seen one on TV, when the school of fish feel like they are going to be attacked by predators, they begin to swim in a tight ball.  That “Tight Ball” of fish represents the guests at your event.

The ball attracts large, predatory fish such as barracuda’s, Tuna, Dolphin and then Sharks which feed on them all.  The predatory fish ranging in all sizes from smallest to largest (sharks) all feed on the ball.  They quickly dart through it with their mouths open gobbling up as many as they can.  These “Predator Fish” represent Financial Sponsors of all sizes ($1,000.00 Sponsors , $2,500.00 Sponsors, $5,000.00 and finally the $10,000.00 plus Sponsor – The GREAT WHITE Shark). 

With your guest’s numbers being high, the sponsors are attracted to them in hopes to advertise to them.  Remember, all your guests are in one place at one time, what better way to advertise to a businesses target market.  Like ball of fish being fed on by the larger fish, the one thing that will and does attract larger financial sponsors is simply “Advertisement capabilities.” 

Ask yourself this – does it matter that the Financial Sponsor loves your charity if they are writing you a check for $5,000.00 check?  I would hope you would say absolutely not.  The donated $5,000.00 can be used to fulfill your charities mission.

As a real life example, I told one of our many clients that potential major financial sponsors will not care about where their money is going to or what it will be used for.  He later said and I quote "George, when you told me that I felt so angry I wanted to punch you in the nose.  But after we landed over $100,000.00 in sponsorships, do you know how many asked me where the money was going?  Not one.  You are right and I would have never believed it."  This same client one evening received a $5,000.00 sponsor and posted a their logo on Facebook announcing it.  The very next morning, the sponsors competition called asking about what they gave to our client and in response, said "Come over and pick up a check for $5,000.00" all based on competition and advertisement.

Just this morning, I was speaking with Tony Lebron, our client from the New York Law Enforcement Assistance Program.  Tony said he is living proof that it works.  He posted a photo of him picking up a Sponsor's check on Facebook and in the comments, another person asked to sponsor too.  It just works!!!  Tony is living proof.    

So with that in mind, prior to beginning to seek large financial Sponsors, you must prepare a “Sponsorship Package” which includes advertisement/marketing of the sponsor.  The higher they sponsor, the more advertisement/ marketing they receive.  Think of the many different ways you can provide marketing of the Sponsor both outside of your event and inside then put it together in package at different levels.

If you would like to learn more about how to attract major financial sponsors or how to build sponsorship packages, contact us at, we would love to help you.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The #1 WORST Enemy of a Charity Fundraising Committee

The worst enemy of a charity planning a fundraiser is “Negativity.”  Negativity has a tendency to spread like a disease if not cured quickly.

There are many causes for negativity in a fundraising committee, however this is what I have seen on many occasions:

#1 – Control – A member of your committee or team may want to be in charge. 

#2 – Destruction – A member of your committee may not like the person in charge and they will do whatever they can to ensure that the event is not a success.  They do this in hopes that the person in charge will fail and look awful, further making them look better.

#3 – Persistent Negativity – Some people are always negative and live a pessimistic life.

#4 – Hidden Agenda – A member of your committee may have been in charge or a friend of theirs was in charge in the past but was replaced by someone new.  If the new person in charge is successful, their failure or their friend’s failure will be revealed even more.  They will also want to see that person removed so that they or their friend can return to that role.

There are many reasons for negativity, however the best prescription for negativity is:

#1 – Recruiting – Look for positive, energetic people who want the event to be a success.

#2 – Tone – Set the tone with the committee right from the beginning. 

#3 – Prevention – If someone on your committee is constantly negative, remove them immediately before it spreads to the other members.

You will waste more energy and time trying to either change their behavior or simply dealing with them in order to keep them happy.  Remember, if they are negative, they will not do anything to help you and your charity be a success.  They will cause arguments and make life miserable for both you and your committee.

Look for people who will support your efforts, not people who will detract from it.  Building a strong team/committee is the most important aspect and the foundation of a successful fundraiser.  Do not just recruit everyone, carefully select an All Star Team.

If you would like to learn more helpful tips on how to plan a highly successful fundraising event from the beginning, check out our website at

Sunday, February 2, 2020

CHARITIES BEWARE !!! Here are several simple tips to protect yourself from charity scams.

Why am I writing this blog today?  Yesterday my friend and client Patrick Cullinan send me several links to a charity who was hosting an event.  While looking both at the video of the autographed auction items displayed and then further investigating the provider of the items, it was clearly obvious that the autographed items were 100% counterfeit autographs.  Patrick is very familiar with the autograph industry and after showing him the obvious clues, he said and I quote “Now I see why you are so irritated with the charity fundraising counterfeiters out there who scam charities.”  How could I tell they were counterfeit (aka Fake)?
When I see charities across the United States being scammed or stolen from, it irritates me to the highest degree mainly due to my background after spending (20) years as a Maryland State Trooper.  However, I must say, after spending (12) years trying to educate charities on the “Reality of the Authentic Autograph World”, charities absolutely must educate themselves before they partner with an charity autograph provider.

Ask yourself this question – Would you or your charity like to be featured on your local or national news about being scammed or stolen from by a Charity Fundraising autograph counterfeiter?  Would you like your guest to take the item to an authenticator and after finding out the autographs are FAKE, they demand their money back?  If you don’t mind this, stop reading.  But if you do care, read on and share this to all of your friends.

Here are some easy tips for the uneducated eye to use:

#1 – “Who Authenticated the items” - Are the autographed items authenticated by an “Authentic Authenticator” or accepted autograph authenticator?  (FACT:  There are only a hand full of accepted authenticators in the world.  These authenticators are – JSA James Spence Authentication (   PSA/DNA ( Beckett (

#2 – “Availability” – Are the items available in the real world and if they are not, why not?  The autograph industry is available to anyone, in fact, when someone is conducting an autograph signing, the entire autograph memorabilia industry is notified.  Also, how easy is it to get in contact with Musicians or Celebrities?  Most “A” Celebrities and Musicians (mainly the iconic or well know musicians) must be “chased.”  What does “chased” mean?  Someone must find out where they are or going to be and go there and wait till they come outside then ask for their autograph.  Iconic Musicians such as the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Buffet, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Eric Clapton etc. live all around the world.  It is nearly impossible to get them all at once – then to get them to sign a large amount of autographs.

#3 – “Price” – Plain and Simple, authentic autographs are EXPENSIVE.  As an example, a well known Charity Fundraising autograph provider provides Rolling Stones full band signed items to charities for under $3,000.00.  However, I know of only several authentic band signed Rolling Stones autographed items which are proven to be 100% authentic that are slightly under $10,000.00 and a guitar, well that’s nearly $17,000.00.  These items are authentic.  Bruce Springsteen rarely autographs anything, when you find an autographed item from him and it’s authentic, it’s going to be very expensive.

#4 – “Certificate of Authenticity” – I hear this from many different charities “Well it has a Certificate of Authenticity”, which means absolutely nothing!!!  Anyone can make their own Certificate of Authenticity.  Think about it, if the autograph is fake, won’t the Certificate of Authenticity be fake as well?  They must realize that the Thief or Charity Fundraising counterfeiter is going to provide a Certificate of Authenticity just to make the item or items appear legitimate.  Again, going back to #1, it’s all about WHO AUTHENTICATED the autograph.

#5 – “All that Glitters isn’t gold” – Charities get caught up in the “Glitz & Glamour” and don’t look passed it.  Like a large mouth bass who are routinely caught by a shiny object flowing through the water, charities see an “autographed Cowboy Hat” or a “Band Signed Guitar” and think “Wow, that’s really cool” and just move forward.  Do you want to be the charity who is responsible for selling a counterfeit item to your supporters?  One provider is actually showing on their website a Robert Plant & Jimmy Page autographed photo which is as real as the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus rolled into one.  These items just simply DO NOT EXIST.

#6 – “Proof Positive” – This is really easy?  Before accepting anything for your Live or Silent Auctions, ask them who authenticated the items.  But then, there is a well known term in the auction industry called “Provenance.”  The definition of this is “Provenance - This term refers to the history of ownership of the item being sold. An interesting or unusual provenance can add to the value of a piece, such as when an item was previously owned by a famous (or notorious) person, a popular celebrity, or an important historical figure. Proof of provenance is critically important. Hearsay, or family legend does not meet the criteria for provenance.”  The provider should know where it was autographed, when it was autographed and if they are REAL authentic autograph item provider, they will have either a photo or a video showing it being autographed.  Anyone real will have this to verify that they are not thieves or counterfeiters.

Charities, please for your own protection – learn what an authentic item looks like and the simple methods any layman can use to ensure the items are real.  Remember, the #1 way to protect yourself and your charity is – Who authenticated it?

Just ask these simple questions?

Are the autographed items authenticated by JSA, PSA/DNA or Beckett?  If they say no – RUN

     What are the prices of these fantastic items?  If they aren’t very expensive – RUN

     What date and where were the items autographed?  If they don’t know – RUN

     Do you have exact proof such as a photo or video of the items being autographed?  If they don’t – RUN!!!

If you follow this simple advice, your guests will be protected and so will your charity.

Whether you get items from BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising or someone else, first and foremost, we want you to be protected 100% of the time.  If you have questions or concerns about your items or if you would like to learn more about the “Reality of the Autograph World” – call us at 443.206.6121 or email us through our website at – we would love to help you.