Over the past several months, we have broken records for our business, helping more charities than ever. We are helping more charities plan, manage & host events than we ever have.
But with this, especially as we transgress our great country, we are faced with several issues which plague charities. Most of the problems arise from not being educated and still believing in the various myths that still exist.
Charities, or I should say the people who make up the charity and actually planning their next fundraiser, tend to live in a “Fantasy Land.” It’s not their fault, you must understand but trying to educate them so that they not only better understand the “Reality of Charity Fundraising” is harder than trying climb Mount Everest backward in a “Speedo and flip flops.”
Charities don’t want to believe that the items donated to them are not going to bring full value (aka Retail Value). The refuse to believe it – in fact, while I am often am talking to them about their fundraising, they stare blankly back at me with a dazed look on their face. The reality is that they never go back and look to track what the items they had at their event, actually did or how they performed.
Sadly, charities (I am truly talking about the people) don’t think when seeking donated items, what kind of items they should be going after. And, here is where you want to rip my head off, don’t truly care about the business who donated the item, they only care about how much money they could possibly make from the sale of it. How do I know? Because I use to be the “Donation King.” I had it down to a science. But then when I really figured it out…that is when I became a Donation God!!!
Are you ready for a dose of reality? Are you sure? Before I go into it, let me tell you a little story. I was helping a charity at an event which they had donated some very high end art. In fact, they brought in the artist from out of the country – six (6) in total – all from South America. The artists insisted that it had to be displayed in a very high trafficked area with amazing visibility of the artwork. Understand that the event was very high end and the place, high end as well. But…I know the reality of the reality. I asked the artist if there were “Reserves” on the art which they said there were none. I explained to the Artist what may happen and they obviously disagreed with me. The pieces ranged (retail mind you) from $7,000.00 to $15,000.00 Retail – original art. Because they wanted the art to be prominent, I ensured that everyone could see it and it was the centerpoint. This same art took up the majority of the Live Auction. Again, I asked them if they would be upset if it did not receive high bids, they laughed and shook their heads as if I was telling a joke. Well during the live auction as I began to sell the art, the room fell silent (can you hear the crickets?). The highest bid for the art was $350.00 for a $15,000.00 piece of art. Then at the end of the evening, one of the buyers tried to back out of the bid so that he could buy items from us (our No Risk Auction Items – Mike Tyson autographed Boxing Trunks and a Sugar Ray Leonard/Roberto Duran dual signed Boxing Glove). The artists were devastated but came over to me after the event and thanked me for educating them while asking if they should ever do it again – I told them no.
I could provide you with example such as when a donor was present at an event and the item which his business (which he was the owner of) donated an item worth $900.00 and it sold for $45.00 – he walked out immediately after seeing it sell for that amount furious.
Ladies & Gentlemen, I am sorry if you think differently, but Auctioneers are not Magicians. We auctioneers cannot turn water into wine or make money fly magically out of people’s pockets. Not one auctioneer in the world can. You have to provide people with items or experiences that they would want. Unfortunately, in the example above with the Artists, our Decor items sold higher than their original art – I find that sad.
Furthermore, charities must market the items which they have and will be available to bid on. Facebook and email newsletters are perfect for this. But putting people in a room and expecting them to bid on stuff just because…doesn’t happen.
Another myth – this one will probably sting so gear up – people do not bid on items at your charity fundraiser because they are helping your charity. This is 100% false. What is true is this – they bid on items that are attractive, that they want. The items that get the most bids are Hard to find items, things they have never seen before or Travel Experiences. If this weren’t true, why do people get buyers remorse and try to return the items the following day? Charities tend to think people walk in the door blind folded with a stack of $100 bills in their pockets and just throw it up in the air…wherever it lands is what they are going to buy and say “Well it’s for charity” – That is totally false and those days are over.
Be smart about what you are doing, be strategic when seeking donations and then market your donations as much as humanly possible. Use Facebook religiously to market your event and the items available.
Something else very important – why is it acceptable to pay a venue for food & drinks, a florist for floral arrangements but not to use consigned items and travel on your live and silent auction? I’ll leave you with that thought.
If you would like to learn how seek and get incredible donated items while ensuring the donors are happy by the result and how to also absolutely ensure that those items bring an amazing amount of money – or if you would like to learn more about how to host a successful charity fundraising event and how to plan your fundraising platforms such as the Live & Silent Auction effectively, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com, we would love to help you exceed your fundraising goals.
It’s fantastic to see the pieces we designed do very well and make people smile for our charity friends and family all over the country. This one is in Texas for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. If we can help you, contact us at http://www.BWUnlimited.com
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What an honor to be helping our Real American Heroes with another Gala Charity Auction. If we can help you, contact us at http://www.BWUnlimited.com
#veterans #veteran #army #navy #airforce #marines
#forcharity #fundraising #liveauction #silentauction #benefitauctioneer #eventplanning #charityauction #nonprofit #auctionswork #nonprofit #nonprofitfundraising #instagood #instagram #bwunlimited #georgewooden #military #militaryfundraising
Watch “Testimonial from Chief Marc Bashoor of the Prince George’s County Fire Department” on YouTube
If you are a fan of mine or read my blogs, you repeatedly have heard me say repeatedly the same things over and over again. As with most things I say, the lessons I am trying to teach come from real “Honest to Goodness” mistakes I’ve made or have seen made over the vast amount of years I’ve been involved in fundraising.
I am always incredibly inquisitive about why charities have the beliefs they have and why they do what they do. What do I mean by “Do what they do”? Well, what I mean is simply this – charities believe that donated items will bring close to if not higher bids than what they are worth. Or, why they continually put items in a fundraising event which will not have the return they believe.
Ok – so the best examples are real life stories or real life examples right? Well, I hate to admit but over the weekend, I saw most of what I preach against happen at an event which we were a part of.
What most charities do not know is this – the larger, more profitable charities don’t even deal with small donated items. They know these items are not profitable and only go after Sponsors and large items which are always on their live auctions. They educate themselves because in the end, they are evaluated on their fundraising successes on a continuing basis.
So at this event we were a part of – prior to, we had begun to help their founder but our tactics seemed extremely counterintuitive. But because she believed in what we were saying, she allowed us to do what we are known to do. In her many donations, we found a basket which was better than most. Because of the quality of items and that we also believe that a smaller scale fundraising event should not be all of our items – we placed this basket in the Silent Auction. If I were to guess, the retail value would have been well over $200.00. But as you hear me say over and over and over again, donated items only bring 1/8th to 1/4 of retail in any Silent or Live Auction. Well, it brought only $65.00 – exactly what I say day in and day out. Proof positive.
Then, another issue which I address all the time is donated Vacation homes as well as locally donated items. I tell our clients continually how if someone can get a vacation home either given to them free or less, they will not bid on those items. Same with locally donated items, if you live closeby to a store which donated items in the fundraising event you are attending, you’re not going to bid to the retail value – you and everyone else is looking for deal 100% of the time. This is always correct at every single event we do.
So, after the event was over and we were packing up to leave, I overheard a friend of our client say to her “I wasn’t going to bid on that because I can use it for free” about a Vacation Home which was in the Live Auction.
I literally fell out of my seat yelling “Oh my God”….in fact, I said to my client “Remember that, we will talk about it tomorrow.”
Folks – people do not want donated items. If you are solely relying on donated items, you will see the inevitable result – that everyone is looking for a deal. People are NOT and will NOT bid on items anywhere near what they are worth despite the fact that they are attending a charity event. This NEVER EVER happens!!!
People bid with their wallets, not with their hearts. It’s sad, gotcha, but it’s the truth. Wake up to the reality of fundraising. Fundraising is a treacherous place to be. There are monsters under the bed if you go looking.
If you understand the reality of the reality, you will make the right decisions which will always prove to be profitable.
On another note, smaller charities believe that consigned items (like ours) pull money away from their donated ones. This cannot be farther from the truth, in fact, they pull money out of the crowd that would not have been spent otherwise. This is the same belief as previously stated above – that people pay full retail for donated items (Fantasy and Myth). In fact, the profit they make on our items at the starting bid far exceeds the highest bids on the donated items. I challenge anyone reading this to see how people will win items at very low levels for the donated items but will bid on our items which the starting bids are much much higher.
Your guests DO NOT walk into your charity fundraiser with blinders on and a pocket full of cash, throw the money up in the air and spend it blindly. This ideal or thought process can’t be further from the truth but for some reason, charities think this way. Your guests bid on items they want and will bid heavily on them. However, if the items have a known retail, they are looking for a deal and will not bid anywhere near the retail. However, on items such as ours or another provider, these items have no known retail causing your guests to make incredibly high bids over and over and over again.
This my friends is the “Reality of the Reality of donated items.” I am not saying do not go after donations and only use consigned items, I am saying if you are going after donations, to use them in a way that they have a certain high profit return.
If you would like help with understanding the reality of charity fundraising and how to use your donations in such a way that they have a very high return, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com, we would love to help you.
The hottest topic in the Autograph Memorabilia world today is “Hot to Spot a Fake Autograph.” Well, its an unfortunate fact that there are counterfeiters out there but what makes matters worse is that there are a few in the Charity Market Place. The reason these companies exist in the charity market is based solely on the fact that those who are trying to fundraise. They are easily caught up in the “Glitz & Glitter” of the items they offer such as band signed Guitars, Cast Signed Movie Posters, Autographed photos from deceased Presidents, Musicians, Celebrities and Athletes. Signed Music Sheets and autographed Boxing Gloves including all the Boxing Legends including Mohammed Ali. Honestly, I’m just astounded people will even believe that these types of items are real. They are so badly counterfeited, that it astounds me that people fall for it.
Ok here are a few tips anyone can use to check to see if those items are real:
#1 – Don’t get caught up in the Glitz & Glitter – it’s all plastic. Seriously, think about it, do you think that the Rolling Stones are all in the same place at one place? No.
#2 – Here is an easy one, check Google, does any other company out there carry those items outside of the charity industry? In the real autograph world, no one has those items. Real autographed items can be found everywhere – not just those companies.
#3 – Another easy indicator – Who is the Authenticator? A lot of novice collectors or charities will say “It has a Certificate of Authenticity” – That means absolutely nothing. What matters is who is the authenticator? Are they accepted in the Sports Industry? Does the company have pictures of these people actually signing the items? Do they use an unknown authentication company? There are only two “Authentic Authenticators” – JSA and/or PSA/DNA.
#4 – Common Sense – Seriously, just use common sense about these items. We had a charity use these items and took them to an “Authentic Authenticator” and they found they were counterfeit.
#5 – Lifetime Guarantee – We don’t offer a Lifetime Guarantee for our items – that if they are found to be counterfeit, you can return them. Ours are authentic, no guarantees because they are real.
#6 – Do you know who you are dealing with – With these companies, why aren’t there pictures of the people who work there or their names? A little mysterious.
#7 – Ask them where the items were autographed? If they say outside of a show or an appearance, an authenticator can’t be there to ensure the autographs are real.
Charities or whoever is reading this, please just use common sense. Don’t be fooled – we are here to protect you.
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising does not carry these items because they are not authentic. We have been approached by several companies selling these types of items – we will not use them. It’s all about integrity in the end, not about the almighty dollar bill $$$$. If you want to ensure your guests receive real items, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting. BWUCF only offers 100% authentic items authenticated by the most reputable companies in the world. You can rest assured that our items are 100% authentic. In fact, we don’t offer a life time guarantee that you can return them if they are found to be counterfeit.