Is it too much to ask? If you are a fan of our Facebook Fan Page, you often see us posting photos from the autograph signings we do with athletes all across North America. The photos are of the athletes actually signing the actual items we provide. We also show photos of the item we are providing with a photo of the athlete signing it, plus the autographs are then authenticated by a 3rd Party Authenticator – JSA or PSA/DNA.
What charities should know is the simple fact that in the autograph industry, these authenticators are the Standard. The only accepted means of authentication. All of the major memorabilia providers and even any legitimate companies will ensure that they have one of the two companies present during an autograph signing. When these authenticators are present, they apply a self-destructing (if anyone tried to remove it, it breaks apart) sticker or hologram on the autographed item with a number sequence. The number sequence will start with a “W” which means “Witnessed.” The sticker is actually the Certificate of Authenticity, the card is the supporting material which also has the same number sequence. You can then go on the authenticators website, enter the number sequence and it will show where it was signed and when.
However, if this is the autograph standard across North America for authentic autographs, why don’t all charity auction item providers conduct the same level of authentication?
No company, especially charity auction item providers, should “Self-Authenticate.” “Self-Authentication” means the same company selling or providing the item says it’s real. And another issue is a charity auction item provider suddenly, out of nowhere, using an unknown authenticator. Why would they do that? If that company was providing authentic autographed items, why wouldn’t they provide charity auction items that have been authenticated by the two companies described above? Hmmm suspicious huh?
I’m not trying to drop names but last year I was having lunch with none other then Gene Simmons. We met at a unnamed hotel in Philadelphia after a Kiss concert in New Jersey (check the dates of their previous tour and you will see when this happened). During lunch, I told Gene about the problems with charity auction item providers and pulled up a photo of a “Body signed Guitar” that was being provided. I showed it to him and asked if he signed it. He laughed and said “Nope.”
Charities, don’t be fooled by “Flashy” autographed items. Protect yourself only by asking the provider who the authenticator is. If they do not say JSA or PSA/DNA, ask them if they have items provided by them.
On another note, here are some facts about authentic autographed items:
#1 – We cannot show you our inventory on line and ask that everyone contact us and we will email them our current catalogs.
#2 – The reason we cannot show the autographed items we have is because the items we have are 100% authentic and we only have so many in our inventory. When they are gone, they are gone until we can conduct or be a part of another autograph signing (which most likely will be in 6 months). We cannot, CAN NOT, show inventory due to this issue.
NOTE: When a Charity Provider shows their inventory on line, especially on their website, isn’t that suspicious? Celebrity and Musician autographed items are extremely rare, rarer then rare. So, showing these types of items on their websites is not something we can do.
#3 – Celebrities and Musicians do not do “Sit Down” autograph signings like Athletes do. Rarely will you be able to convince a celebrity to do this. Recently, we did an autograph signing with Chevy Chase – but PSA/DNA was on site and witnessed it (with all the items coming complete with the Certificates of Authenticity).
#4 – Deceased Celebrities and Musicians – When an athlete passes away, the cost of the authentic autographed items goes up dramatically due to the rarity of the item. When a celebrity or musician passes away, the cost of their autographed items goes into space. Again, these items are already rare so when they pass away…their autographs are priced so high, that they are almost unaffordable. They become extremely rare. So how can anyone show items autographed by celebrities or musicians who have passed away years ago? Seem suspicious?
#5 – Cast or Band Signed anything – Very Rare due to the fact that these people are not always in the same place and also that they do not conduct “Sit Down” autograph signings. We have been involved in the autograph industry for years and are partnered with the largest autograph providers in North America and we have never heard about these opportunities. When companies conduct autograph signings, they put the word out to companies like ours, yet we have never heard of these signings. That is the reason why we don’t have them. Make sense? We only carry 100% authentic autographed items.
#6 – Body signed Guitars – When you see a Guitar that is signed on the body, it’s really cool. But, ask yourself this – just how many guitars did the person conducting the signing bring with him/her when the signing was conducted? I could only carry four (4) guitars, 2 in each hand. Then add in, that all the musicians are never together at once…and if they rarely tour, who would have access to them when they are all together? Then why wouldn’t the provider take photos of the musician signing them? Seem suspicious? It does to me. If we have autographed guitars, they are signed on the Pick Guard and then the pick guard (which was the only thing the musician saw) is authenticated by JSA or PSA/DNA.
#7 – Photo’s with Celebrities – If a Charity Auction Item provider has an incredible array of Celebrity Autographed items, why don’t they have photos of themselves with the celebrities or musicians? Come on, everybody likes to get their pictures taken with well-known people and celebrities. Or why do they show celebrities signing items outside of a show or restaurant signing different items then the ones they provide? Suspicious, I say so.
#8 – Other companies – Unfortunately, because we are here to help charities, I have to admit something. The items we have are also provided by many, many autograph providing companies. However, they are provided at far less cost and also provided at “No Risk” to our clients. Charity Auction item providers that are providing a wide array of Celebrity & Musician autographed items seem to be the only company in the world that has them. Why is that? Are they so fortunate that they have special access to the celebrities and musicians…or do you find that suspicious as well? I do.
Add all of the above up and ask yourself…is it suspicious? I give you a resounding “YES ABSOLUTELY.”
In summary, protect yourself. You can stick your head in the sand all you want but if you are not protected while also protecting your charities guests and supporters, aren’t you then a part of the crime? Don’t be fooled, be sure that the company you are using is providing you with 100% authentic items. Whether you are working with BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising or another company, absolutely positively ensure that the autographed items you are getting are 100% Authentic and are authenticated by a reputable 3rd Party.
One last thing – all you should do is run a simple “Google” search on either the name of the company or the name of the owner of the company – you will be surprised what you find.
If you would like to learn more about how to absolutely ensure that your charity is receiving authentic autographed memorabilia, contact the expert fundraisers at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising today at www.BWUnlimited.com.
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising Leader in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting. BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising provides 100% authentic, 3rd party authenticated items from Athletes, Celebrities and Musicians which have been authenticated only by JSA or PSA/DNA – the two (2) most respected autograph authenticators in North America. BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is the charity auction item “One Stop Shop” providing Autographed Items, Charity Travel Packages, Jewelry and incredible Décor at absolutely “No Risk” to our charity clients across North America. If you would like to receive all of our current Charity Auction Item No Risk Charity Auction Item catalogs, contact us today at www.BWUnlimited.com
This is a question which we get asked 100’s of times and to be perfectly honest, the answer is very distinct. Understanding that we, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, is either a part of or helps over 1,400 charities each year, our experience level in regard to event timelines is vast. With over 40 years of combined Charity Fundraising experience, this is all we do – Fundraise for Charities. Unlike many fundraisers (employee & volunteer) who host an event once a year, we spend each either consulting, planning or assisting charities all across North America. Over the years we have been involved in fundraising, we have tried every single way there is over and over and over again determining what is the most successful way to set up, manage and eventually, close a Silent Auction.
The main issue that I want to convey to our charity clients is – Time Management is the absolute key to your ultimate success. Time can be good to you or bad, it’s totally up to you. Use a an event time line along with an overall plan, your guests will appreciate and definitely noticed your professionalism. As part of our Event Services assistance, here is what we have learned:
Lesson #1 – A Silent Auction must be diverse in the items that are present there. However, it cannot appear “Junky” with items that have little to no value.
Lesson #2 – Silent Auction items must be intermingled with high quality items in order to support higher bidding on the lesser items.
Lesson #3 – Sectioning off the Silent Auction (i.e. Sports items in one section, jewelry in a section, trips in a section etc.) hurts the bidding of individual items in those sections. All items should be intermingled in order to force your guests to review every single item there instead of splitting the crowd (ie. Sports fans go here, jewelry lovers go there, those interested in travel go there etc.)
Lesson #4 – When the event opens, the Silent Auction should be open.
Lesson #5 – The starting bids should not be high even if the items are of “No Risk” to your charity, here is the rule of thumb:
- Donated Items – the starting bid should be high enough to be worth it, but low enough to get the bidding started (BW Items should be started at 20% above the cost to non profit, Donated items should be 1/4 of the retail value.)
- High Starting Bids – if the starting bids are too high, the first time someone reviews the Silent Auction, the high starting bids will scare them away and they will not return to bid later. Plus they will tell other guests the same. Start the bids low to inspire bidding and start a bidding war.
Lesson #6 – When should the Silent Auction close?
- The answer to this “Age Old” question is based on many years of experience and investigation. Whether a charity follows our direction is up to them, however, here is the answer:
- Whether a Silent Auction runs for 2 hours or 4 hours, the items are only going to receive the same amount of bids, despite the time it’s opened.
- When people first arrive at your charity fundraising event, they do not go to the Silent Auction. When they do, they browse and rarely place a bid. They check out what’s, identify what they like and then sit back down.
- A smart bidder will “Stalk” the items they like and wait to see if anyone bid. Uneducated bidders will immediately place bids.
- A smart bidder will then ask the organizers when the Silent Auction is closing. When that time draws near, they will begin to “Snipe” the items, watching if there are any bids and placing higher competitive bids. They will stand near the item or items waiting for the Silent Auction to close and for other bidders.
Lesson #7 – How to inspire high bids on the Silent Auction:
- When the allotted Silent Auction closing time draws near, around 20 to 15 minutes prior, someone should start announcing “The Silent Auction is closing in 15 minutes”…that is the ALARM CLOCK. At this point, you will see many of your guests going to the Silent Auction to begin the bidding process.
- At 10 minutes, 5 minutes and 1 minute, announcements should be made alerting your crowd that it is closing.
- When the time comes to close it, announce it’s closed.
Lesson #8 – When to close the Silent Auction:
Ask yourself this, was your last Check Out process a “Mess”? Do you think your guests noticed it? Don’t you think that tells them something about the professionalism of your staff and ultimately your charity?
- Whether you leave the Silent Auction running for 2 hours or 4, the items there are not going to get any more bids. The bidding starts in the first hour then ends abruptly a few minutes prior or exactly when the Silent Auction is closing.
- We will commonly close the Silent Auction 15 to 20 minutes prior to the Live Auction for three (3) reasons:
- It allows for our Clerk to tabulate the winning bids in preparation for the Bids in the Live Auction.
It forces full attention by your guests to be placed toward the next phase of the Fundraising Event which is normally one of the financially successful fundraising platforms, the Live Auction and if there is a Donation Plea commonly referred to as the “Fund a Need.”
- It does not place any undo pressure on the clerk or anyone involved in the check out process, providing enough time to tabulate the Silent Auction, the Live Auction and the Direct Plea. With the bulk of the work already being completed with the Silent Auction.
NOTE: Commonly, after the Live Auction, guests will begin to go to check out. However, if you follow the advice provided herein, you will experience a fluid, stress free Check Out process at the end of your event. Remember, allowing your guests to leave your event with a “Bad Taste” in their mouths due to a poorly ran out check out process, will ensure much less success with tickets sales the following year. Remember, you still have Raffles & Game prizes to give away…it’s about time to complete everything so that your guests aren’t inconvenienced.
- How to close the Silent Auction:
- Most important about this topic is that people are still bidding or watching the items they bid on. Commonly, active bidders are standing there near their items waiting for the bid sheet to be picked up to ensure their victory.
- Prior to your event, one (1) person should be tasked with closing the Silent Auction and one (1) person (commonly the Master of Ceremonies or the Auctioneer) should make the announcements.
- When the time is announced that the Silent Auction is closed, that appointed person should be noticed by the announcer and pointed out (Ask them to waive their hands so that everyone can see her/him).
- The “Closer” should be standing at Silent Auction Bid sheet #1 then begin to walk down the Silent Auction picking up the bid sheets.
- If there are 2 or more people actively bidding, the “Closer” should allow them to “Bid it out” in their bidding war. Once the last place is bid, the “Closer” should confirm it with both bidders then pick up the bid sheet and continue through the remaining bid sheets.
NOTE: Since announcements are made (5 total at – 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute, Closed), everyone in the room was informed of the Silent Auction closing. They also see your guests going to it to bid. If, you do not allow everyone to place their last bids, you may have to deal with angry bidders – we commonly hear “I didn’t know it was closing, I wasn’t able to bid.”) Rushing over to the Silent Auction and quickly removing the bid sheets will stop people in their tracks, especially if they have been waiting for the last few minutes to bid. Inspire a bidding war, because in the end, you are hosting a Charity Fundraising event and high bids are vitally important to you.
By following the steps above, you will see a marked change in the success of your Silent Auction. Give everyone a chance to get engaged into your Silent Auction. Create excitement around it and you will be highly successful at the end. Or not follow the steps above and continue to see the same result.
If you would like to learn more about how to plan, set up, manage and especially how to have a highly successful Silent Auction, contact BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising today at http://www.BWUnlimited.com.
BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising Leader in a “One Stop Shop” convenient setting. With over 40 years of combined expert fundraising experience, the expert fundraisers study highly successful fundraising trends across North America on a day to day basis. This allows BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising the unique ability to provide expert advice to charities on the way and means to greatly enhance their fundraising goals. If you would like to learn more about BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising or how to host a Highly Successful, Highly Profitable charity fundraising event, contact BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising today at http://www.BWUnlimited.com.
Everyone wants their Charity Event Gala to be a success and one of the keys is for it to be SOLD OUT. However, do you have the “Keys” to its success? Here are a few topics & tips which will lead you there:
1. Advertisement – Everyone today believes that merely advertising your Charity Event will sell it out. However, Advertisement today does not guarantee anything. The “Old School” advertisement methods are unsuccessful. Bill boards, Magazines, Newspapers, Mailers and Radio Adds have gone away. Today, in regard to Charity Event Ticket Sales, there are two methods that are key to your Success:
a. The Charity or the Event: This is perhaps the hardest Key to understand and accept. Talk about the Event and not the Charity. Why? Because again, there are 104 Million registered Charities in the U.S. People are constantly being approached by charities for the same purposes. Talk about the event, what will be there, what the food is…talk about the Event and not the charity. Your supporters will be easily purchase tickets but it’s the others who will be much harder to get to attend.
b. Social Networks: Facebook is an incredible way to get the word out since everyone is there. Understanding how to “Share” or “Comment” and how it impacts everyone is vitally important. Furthermore, the ability to “Tag” people in your Flyer is as important as picking the right Venue to host it. Plus these methods are “FREE.”
c. Email: You have the ability to email your flyer and the information to everyone across the country in seconds. If you were to quantify or “Monetize” this in comparison to the U.S. Mail, it would cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars, however, it’s free. The method is placing all the information in the body of the email and send it to your entire address book regardless if those in your address book will attend. The next step is to attach your Event Flyer. Then the last and most important key is….place everyone in your “BCC” line (Blind Carbon Copy) so that no one sees who you emailed. Write the content or body of the email General but as if you are talking to them, like this as an example: “How have you been? I saw this and thought about you. It’s really going to be fantastic, it’s a Charity Event at ….etc. (Fill in the blanks)”.
d. Word of Mouth: Nothing sells out a fundraiser like “Word of Mouth.” It takes people talking to people, selling your event. People generally do not respond to advertisement anymore as discussed above. Talk to everyone but understanding how to talk about your event is also key. Remember, no one likes “Boring.” Plus understanding that there are Charity Events going on all around yours, you must “Oversell” it. Here is an example of the WRONG WAY – OR – the RIGHT WAY, you be the judge:
WRONG WAY – “Hey, do you want to come to charity dinner on (Date)?”
RIGHT WAY – “Hey, WOW did you hear about that event on (Date)….it’s going to be incredible. The tickets are cheap plus there is going to be a lot of great items on the Live and Silent Auction like (describe the items). As soon as I saw it, I thought about you…are you getting a table?”
e. Ticket Sales Supervision: Someone must be appointed as the Ticket Chairman or the person in charge of handling all of the ticket sales. This person, perhaps it may even be the Director of Development or the person in charge of Fundraising. Understanding that people must be supervised, constantly reminded about ticket sales and directed on what to do plus how to do it. Place your team in charge, have your team each accept the responsibility of selling at least one (1) table of ten. Several will sell many more than one (1) table.
f. Tables are more important: An entire venue or event can be quickly sold out in “Blocks.” For instance, if you are hoping for 500 people to attend your event, sell “TABLES” instead of individual tickets. Most tables have ten (10) people at a table which equates to only fifty (50) tables. You only need to have 50 people buy tables, find 50 to purchase tables and it’s sold out. But trying to sell 500 tickets is a much higher goal to fulfill.
g. Identify Table purchasers: All of a Charity Vendors or Sponsors should be identified before ticket sales begin. Understanding the businesses that a charity purchase items from should be approached about table purchases. Many Charities have many vendors or businesses which they purchase items or services from including Lawyers, Accountants, Land Lords, Suppliers etc.
Use these methods in your ticket sales and soon your event will be SOLD OUT!!! If you would like more information on how to plan and host your Charity Event Fundraiser, contact BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising at www.BWUnlimited.com.
While attending 100’s of Charity Events each year, there is a common theme at each – the donated items which are used on Silent and Live Auctions. Charity Fundraising Event organizers are often confused on what to do and if they should utilize items which are not donated. If you are a fan of my blogs, you can find others addressing the same topic – all answering why we are so essential for a Charity’s success.
Donated item procurement is always the main topic of every Charity when planning their event. However, the common mistake that everyone makes when seeking donations is the thought behind the procurement.
Here are several helpful hints to influence the outcome and greatly influence the overall profit of the items donated:
1. Know your guests – As you start to plan your event and the topic of seeking donations comes up, think of yourselves as guests and what you would like to bid on. What excites you and then go after those items as your main focus. Create of list of “Hot” items. Also, if you still have your previous years bid sheets, see what items brought the highest bids as well as what items were unsuccessful. Don’t repeat the same mistake.
2. Local Donations – Remember, your charity event attracts people from the local area. Then add in the fact that the donations come from local businesses. Your guests are already familiar with the businesses and the products which they have for sale. Since your guests are already familiar with items that they can find in the local area, the items will not be exciting whatsoever. The items will have little appeal.
3. Why do businesses donate – When approaching local businesses for donations, understand why these businesses donate. Furthermore, understand what level of donations they can provide to your charity. However, this has multiple issues which you should understand:
a. North American Charities – Currently, there are 104 Million charities in the United States. With only 50 states in the nation, there are millions in each state. Each of these charities seek donations, each business owner is subjected to thousands of donation requests each year.
b. “Out of Business” – In order to keep their doors open and the lights on, business owners can not possibly donate to everyone. They must pick and chose who they donate to and WHAT they donate. Commonly, businesses will donate items which are not selling in their retail or wholesale outlets. Remember, these business owners have bills to pay like you. They can only donate what they can afford to donate. The business will donate items which are not selling, then you will take the item which is not selling and utilize it on your Silent or Live Auction while expecting maximum results.
c. The Myth of the Tax Deduction for Donors – Each year, businesses are only allowed to claim a certain amount of Tax Deductions based on donations. After that amount, everything is a loss. With all the charities in the area requesting donations, the myth of the Tax Deduction is no longer an effective tool while asking for an item for your event.
d. Marketing – If a business owner is part of your charity or has a personal reason why they support your charity, they will donate simply to help. However, with all of the businesses which are approached and asked to donate, the main reason why they donate is simply for “Marketing” or “Advertisement” to your guests. However, understanding that this is the main reason why they will donate, ask yourself the following questions prior to asking or accepting it for effectiveness:
(1) Event Marketing – Are you providing a means for businesses to be advertised or marketed at your event? Examples: Event printed program, PowerPoint presentation, announcements, Charity Website Sponsors Page etc.
(2) Will the item receive a high bid? If an item receives a low bid, how will this affect the business? If the business owner knows his/her item received a low bid, will they donate again? As an example: If an item retails for $500 but sells for $50, was this an effective way for the business to market themselves? No.
4. Profit Margin – Recently, while assisting a charity, we reviewed the donated items they had collected. While reviewing them, I took a poll of the highest they would bid on the items. There were eight (8) items (all gift baskets) and totaled their highest bids – $355.00. Each item had a maximum bid of $40 to $55 at the highest. In order to use these items for their profit effectiveness, I placed these same items in a Raffle setting. Remember if used on a silent auction, they would have brought the maximum of $355.00, however in the Raffle setting, those same items brought $2,100.00. The donors were extremely happy because of the amount of money and exposure their items brought – answering all of the concerns.
5. The “WOW” Factor – Using the topic addressed above (#4 – Profit Margin), the use of BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising “No Risk Auction Items” rectifies all of the concerns and this is how:
a. The “WOW” Factor – Using the first topic, “Local Donations with Local people” analogy, your guests will get excited by the items which BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can assist you with. The question is this simply – Will your guests get more excited over a Gift Basket or an Autographed Sports Item, Charity Travel Package, Jewelry?
b. Profit Margin – Using #4 as a guide, the top bid for a donated item is $50, however, our Charity Fundraising Experts will advise that our clients start the bid (or set the reserve) at 20% above our Cost to Non Profit – which equals the highest bid. The 20% above reserve commonly equals $50 profit already built in at one bid. Furthermore, this is only the starting bid, these items do not have a Top or Ceiling bid. The bids on these items routinely award our charity clients $100’s of dollars in profit.
c. Ease – Instead of seeking donations for months only to profit little, it is much easier to use the items which we provide.
d. The “WOW” Factor II – While understanding that there are 104 Million charities in the United States and that most use the “Fully donated” item approach, how will utilizing high quality, exciting items affect the attraction to your event? At charity event, people routinely take photos with the items or send photo’s to their friends. These items get people excited and routinely bring incredibly high bids. Your charity event will become highly attractive to everyone who attends and “Word of Mouth” will be your best advertising.
I hope the topics discussed above will help guide you in the future. Everyone at BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising wants your next Charity Event to be highly profitable. We would love to help you by guiding you through the thousands of wrong street signs and get you to your financial success destination.
For more information, go to our website at http://www.BWUnlimited.com.
Several weeks ago, I was assisting a client with their charity fundraising event which was about to occur in an hour or so. Prior to the event, I was giving a guided tour around the venue to the volunteers when we came upon a raffle which we were doing. While explaining the raffle, that is when it “Hit” me, why using our items makes so much more sense.
See, I have always known why but could not see it in these terms, which made so much more sense to uneducated perspective clients. On the raffle were eight (8) Gift Baskets (one of the most common donated items found at any Charity Event across the country) and while standing there, I asked all twelve (12) of the volunteers to tell me what their “MAXIMUM” bid would be on any of the items available. The maximum bids for all eight (8) baskets was about $45 to $50.00 each. But a total of approximately $345 to $350.00 for all of the items combined. The cool part of the raffle was, using these items in that raffle profited the charity $2,100.00 with only the possibility of $355 on a Silent Auction. That is when I saw it clearly….”Profit Margin.”
Every day, while speaking with perspective clients, we get the same questions on a constant basis – OR – the same response to what we are offering charities all across North America. We have found, however, it’s the smaller Charities and Benefit Organizers who do not understand the ability we are giving them by providing such an incredible service.
Without ever thinking it through, these organizers respond negatively, while the larger charities, who commonly host large events, don’t even hesitate. If these great people were to stop and ask “Why should we do this”…the question would be answered in two words – PROFIT MARGIN.
Let me explain it to you this way, most everyone will understand this.
From the next two items, which has more appeal?
- Gift Basket from a local Business
- Autographed Helmet from an Iconic Athlete
Do you even need to think about it? First, let’s talk about the appeal. Think about it like this – if you were to walk up to these two items, which would draw more of your attention?
Let’s use two more items:
- A $25.00 Gift Certificate from a Local Restaurant
- A highly decorative Collage from an Iconic Band
Still not sure, how about this:
- A Time Share from one of your friends at a local beach
- A Vacation Package to Disney including Airfare and a Gift Certificate
The answer to all of these questions is “B.”
I always say to perspective clients prior to beginning business is this and any of our Representatives can vouch that I warn people about is “There are two things people love and hate about me. They love that I am blunt & honest. They hate that I am blunt & honest.” If you chose “A” on any of the options above, you are lying to yourself. The truth of the matter is – across North America people only pay 1/8 to 1/4 of Retail on donated items – period. You may get lucky and get 1/2 but that is it.
Smaller Charities look at the LARGE blockbuster Charity events and wish to be raising that kind of money, but they can’t see the forest for the trees. The reality of how those BIG BLOCKBUSTER charities get the items they do is, they work with us. They understand what people want and they don’t even “Bulk” at the idea.
The reason our items are much more valuable to charity event guests is simply this – PROFIT MARGIN. If you are not aware, the profit margin is how much potentially you will make (or profit) when an item sells.
We always recommend to our clients that they start the bid 20% above our Cost to Non Profit. Using the Raffle items as an example with this idea in place, a Gift Basket’s maximum bid would be $45 to $50 but a $250.00 cost to nonprofit has a starting bid of “$50.00.” So at the very first bid, a charity will profit $50.00 on only one (1) bid!!!
Now remember I asked you what has more appeal? Let’s talk about maximum profit. The items we carry are offered at or below Wholesale with no true Retail Value. That means there is no known retail price – most of our items are priceless.
Let me ask you a crazy question – how much do you think someone would bid at the maximum for a fantastic gift basket OR a $50.00 Gift Certificate? The answer is – Not anywhere near the retail!!! People don’t go absolutely “Bonkers” over Gift Baskets. And – come on, the retail on a $50.00 Gift Certificate is….$50.00!!!
Remember what I said about what people love and hate about me!!! People DO NOT, WILL NOT, WILL NEVER EVER, EVER NEVER pay anywhere near retail on a Gift Certificate!!! They don’t…and if you are thinking I don’t know what I’m talking about because at your event they pay over and above the face value (which I have heard on several occasions from a multitude of Charities, only to find out the person saying did not know what they sold for – and they only sold for 1/2).
So (taking a deep breath), a signed Guitar is up for bid. At the minimum or “Reserve Bid”, the charity stands to make at least $300.00. Remember, a signed Guitar has no “Suggested Retail.” The Guitar sells for $5,000.00. The charity profits $3,500.00.
Ok, you want me to chose an item which is not as big as a Guitar, how about one of our incredible decorative pieces – Beatles 1st American Tour ticket Collage. Cost to Non Profit is $225.00 and it routinely sells for $800.00 to $1,000.00 in a Silent Auction. Make Sense?
On another note, recently, a autographed Bruce Springsteen Guitar was at the same event that I described above (with the gift basket raffle that made $2,100.00). During the Live Auction, no one bid on it and it went “Unsold.” But the following day, one of the event guests called and asked if was still available – which it was and the guest purchased it from the charity for the minimum bid. On the same Live Auction, there was a Gift Basket filled with Household Paint items with a Gift Certificate worth “$800.00” for a professional painter to come to your house and paint for eight (8) hours – which was fully donated – guess what it sold for? $300.00.
So the profit margin on the guitar and the profit for the gift basket was $300.00.
But what was most amazing was what the buyer of the Guitar told me “I wasn’t ready to see a signed Guitar from Bruce Springsteen. We go to a lot of Charity Events and we always see the normal stuff…nothing like what was available there. If I would have known, I would have been ready and spent a lot more money.”
A common falsehood charities also believe is that “No Risk Auction Items” pull profit away from their donated items – 100% false. You have to give people a reason to spend their money. Let me ask you this – are there stores in your favorite mall that only sell gift baskets? No. Remember that donated items are local items donated by local businesses, at a local event with local people attending – if they want those items or Gift Certificates, they would have gone and buy them themselves. Now, you are asking people to spend “Top Dollar” on these same items.
I hope this helps you understand how you can go from a mediocre Fundraiser to a BLOCKBUSTER!!! BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising can help you take the donated items you have and raise 5 to 6 times what you would normally profit. Just ask us how.
We would love to help, contact us today at http://www.BWUnlimited.com.
Every single day, while talking with Charity Clients as well as our Representatives all over the country, I hear things that make me wonder what world people are living in. The problem is, generally charities do not truly understand fundraising but they will just take a stab at it and hope for the best. I certainly hope my next surgery does not end up like this.
I used to use the statement “When you have medical problems, who do you consult? A Doctor. When you have legal issues, who do you consult? A Lawyer. When you want to build a house, who do you consult? A Contractor. When you need to raise money to financially support your Charities Mission Statement, who should you consult? A Professional Charity Fundraiser.
What most people fail to realize is, we do this seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year and have been doing it for many years – successfully. Furthermore, understanding fundraising is not knowing everything about Charity or the Charity hosting the fundraiser, it’s not that at all – It’s understanding PEOPLE and how they think generally.
For instance, here are some common Falsehoods charities often believe:
No Risk Auction Items take money out of the room: Many charities falsely believe that having items which cost them will divert money away from their donations. These charities believe that people blindly walk into their fundraising event and just blanket the place with their hard earned money in order to support the charity. That is 110% False. People do not spend their money like that, if they did, there would be no need to even host a charity fundraising event, they would just donate the money. However, the truth is, people attend these events and hardly ever bid anywhere near retail on donations. Remember, these are local people attending the event for a local charity with items donated by local businesses – if they wanted those items, they would go to the business and buy it themselves. Everyone is looking for a deal. Who loses? The Charity does not lose BUT they are not maximizing their profit. To answer the “Who loses” question….the donor does. The donor expects to get some type of advertisement from the event and for their donated item or items to sell high. When it only brings 1/8th to a 1/4 of retail…are you going to tell them if they ask?
What charities need to focus on is the “Margin of Profit.” Furthermore, by having these “No Risk Auction Items”, the profit margin is 100% guaranteed. We can guarantee that if an item sells at their auction, it will bring much more money than their donations in the exact same setting.
People come to our event and bid on items to support our Charity: This is very common, however, it’s a “Half Truth.” The sad reality of it this – people most commonly purchase tickets to a charity event to support the charity but do not bid on items for the same reason. Routinely, if a Table of ten (10) (offering a full table of ten tickets) sells at your event, 8 of the people sitting at the table do not even know who the charity is. The buyer of the table filled it with friends and family. People attending charity events to have a great time, eat good food, have a few drinks and have fun. Here is how you qualify this – how many times have you heard “Well, I bought tickets to support the charity” NOT “I bid on items to support you” – NEVER.
Understand this – it’s a give and take. How so? When someone purchases tickets, they get food, drinks, a good time….they get something from it. But, have these same people ever just sent you a check as a donation? Did they pay for their tickets and then say “Go ahead and give my tickets away…it’s my donation” – NEVER. Those people are there, eating the food, dancing, hanging out with their friends and having a great time.
When it comes to bidding on items, they will only bid on items that excite them. They never bid on items just for the sake of bidding to support the charity. With nearly 1,000 charity events each and every year, this simple fact never changes. Charity MUST have items which have mass appeal in order to garner high bids. Gift Baskets, Gift Certificates etc. never get high bids.
“Our crowd does not have that kind of money to bid on high priced items” – I personally hear this all the time and every single time, they are 100% wrong. My reply to this is this “How do you know?” The reality of it that people do not spend a lot of money on low end items. However, they do a lot of money on items or experiences that have a high return.
As an example: Recently, one of our Representatives assisted a local charity which had low attendance at their event. The event was not held at a high end resort or catering facility, but in a Fire Department. The charity chose several items which were not very expensive because they did not believe their crowd would pay much. However, our Representative mistakenly placed our “Tuscany for 8” Package on their Silent Auction which he had the auction placard from. Understand that this package has a Cost to Non Profit of $5,995.00. During the evening, one of the guests walked over to the Silent Auction and bid $10,000.00 on the trip. Our Representative was shocked and immediately called me to let me know about the bid. Of course I laughed because I have seen this time and time again. Our Representative walked over to the bidder and told her how great the package was and she said this:
“I have been coming to this fundraiser for three (3) years and for the very first time, I saw something that was worth me bidding on”
That’s a very powerful statement. Do not under estimate your crowd and their financial status. Present items or experiences that have the “WOW” factor and watch what happens – you will be shocked.
These are just a few common tall tales….remember, Reality is an eye opener. Most people like to believe certain things however, think like the person in the seat and you too will be crossing the finish line successfully.
If you would like our help, please visit us at www.BWUnlimited.com, we would love to help guide you to a successful result.