Monthly Archives: May 2012

What does “Charity First” mean?


Why does BWU believe in “Charity First”?  We get asked this question all the time.  When you answer, people seem to look back at you in amazement.  Each and every day, I have the pleasure of speaking with Charities all over North America.  I hear their mission, I hear the passion in their voices and how they are positively affecting people’s lives.  My heart goes out to each and every one prompting me to help them.

Each and every day, I get letters and phone calls of thanks, expressing their gratitude for what we did for them.  Routinely, BW Unlimited ships items to charities ranging from Alaska to Puerto Rico and all across the U.S.

When we are contacted, we often tell people our belief in “Charity First.”  Just today, I had a conversation with someone who was amazed at how we can help them.  Yesterday, a phone call came in telling me we helped with an event which profited $661,000.00 – just from our items. 

But to answer the question, why does BWU believe in Charity First and how do we make that happen in real life…the answer is simply this – we provide the best items to charities at the absolute LOWEST prices guaranteed. 

What good would it do to overprice an item for a charity only to have one or two bids at their fundraising event?  The only good it would do is to fill our pockets with the money or profits which should have gone to the Charities.  We truly believe that we can do more good, help more charities with our items such as Autographed Sports-Music-Celebrity Memorabilia, Charity Travel Packages, Men’s and Women’s Jewelry by keeping the pricing as low as possible then to overprice it – which it either sells a little above our asking price or not at all.

BW Unlimited is absolutely, 100% committed to offering the best, absolutely authentic autographed items and Charity Travel Packages at the LOWEST PRICES.   No other company has a similar belief – in fact, we prompt charities to check and see for yourself.  We carry the EXACT same items …but why are ours so much less?  Charity First.

Furthermore, we utilize a third party authenticator – what does this mean to you…it means that we pay another authentication company to verify the items we are providing to you are 100% authentic.  If we authenticate our own items, that’s like a fox guarding the hen house.  How can you possibly authenticate your own items?  Think about it…

This belief protects charities, provides you our charity partners, with the best items for your fundraising events.  We want to help you, we want you to succeed and if that means we won’t be driving a Rolls Royce like other providers, then so be it…we want to be a part of your success.

To learn more, contact us today at

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


Her Nightmare – “I told you so”


    A few years ago, BW Unlimited was asked to assist a Charity in South Carolina.  Now this story is 100% true but I am not going to use the name of the Charity (which now doesn’t exist because of the story I am going to tell you) nor the name of their President.   To make it easier and to protect her, let’s call her Sally.

    So…Sally was planning a Charity Fundraiser which included a Sporting Clays Tournament being held on a well-known South Carolina Plantation.  Now, you should know this was just not some run of the mill Sporting Clays range – it is the absolute best.  The grounds were impeccable, appealing to a higher echelon of shooter.   Then, as you can imagine, the Plantation House was incredible with an awesome restaurant and event hall.  As “Sally” told me about the venue, she described the meal choice that went along with the ticket price which seemed moderately priced.  She told me that she knew the owner and they gave her an incredible price for the entire package.  And…the owner was going to help her advertise.

    As the day of the event drew close, I called to check in to see how her ticket sales were going – which was her only responsibility since we were doing the rest.  “So Sally, how are you ticket sales going?”  I asked.   “We are nearly sold out but we still have a two weeks left” she replied.  “How much do you owe the venue for the entire package?” I asked, “$30,000.00 but it should have been somewhere around $38,000.00.”  “When do you need to pay them?”  I inquired.  “The night before but the ticket money will cover it, since it will be in the Bank on Monday morning.”  Wait a minute, did I hear what I thought I heard?  So I asked “Sally, how many tickets do you have sold right now?”  “None but they are going to pay at the door.” 

    As my brain slammed to a stop with my blood pressure shooting through the roof, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Did I just hear what I thought I did?  Now, I told Sally the importance of pre-selling tickets, giving her an online ticket application as well as ticket applications etc.  I clearly remembered the conversation on why pre-selling tickets are important, to protect the organization from a financial disaster.  But I had to wade in just to clear it up and this is how it went:

    “Sally, please tell me you have pre-sold tickets?”  I asked with my eyes closed.  “George, this is South Carolina, you don’t know how things happen here and how people are.  If they say they are coming, believe me, they are coming – you can bank on it.”  I was shocked, I couldn’t believe she ignored what I told her and proceeded on with her plans, despite of the fact that she hired my firm.  “For the record, you are 100% wrong.  They are not going to show up.  You need to get off the phone with me right now and call all of them and get their credit card numbers so that you are covered” I detailed to her.  “Didn’t you hear me, these people are the best of the best.   I see and talk to them nearly every day, they wouldn’t lie to me” she replied in an irritated voice.  “Sally, I am telling you that if you don’t do what I say, you are going to be extremely sorry.  People are people, the same in South Carolina as they are in Maryland, in California and in Texas.   They are blowing you off, they are not going to show and then what are you going to do.”   Sally then began to berate me, telling me how wrong I am and that she is sorry that she ever hired me and that she was not going to call anyone…that I would see at her event. 

    I said you’re not going to have the chance to say “I told you so” because you’re wrong and you’re not going have the chance.  I then told her that I am not coming to the event because I know it’s disaster waiting to happen.  She slammed the phone down in my face.

    Several weeks later, my phone rang with a South Carolina exchange but I didn’t recognize it.  I answered the phone and found it to be Sally’s former (former) boyfriend.  He said “George, I know you haven’t heard from Sally but we split up right after the nightmare.”  I asked him “What do you mean the nightmare?”  He said “You already know, you told what would happen and you were right…only 15 showed up and they were her family and people who help her.  Nobody showed up.”  I sat back in my chair and had to ask “How many people did she think was coming and signed the contract for?”  “380” he quietly replied.   She had to get a loan to pay the Plantation and now she’s claiming Bankruptcy, closed her Charity.” 

    Now, I could have said “I told you so” but I didn’t have to.  The penalty said it all.  Part of what BW Unlimited does is to protect our client, the Charity.  Unless you are holding a fundraiser in someone’s backyard or the charity is only hoping to raise a couple thousand dollars, then sell tickets at the door.

    But, if a charity is hoping to grow their awareness, raise the maximum amount of dollars it can and host a well-planned and managed charity fundraiser – they must have an awesome venue to make them look at the top of their game – like Sally did.  But, with any fantastic venue, they wish to be paid just before the event…why?  To protect them.   In order to do this, Charities MUST pre-sell their event tickets.  MUST pre-sell their event tickets.

    Why is this the case?  When a charity committee is approaching possible guests, people will often say “I’ll pay at the door” in order to get rid of you.  However, as Sally did, do not count these people as tickets sold.  You can’t pay your bills with promises.  In order to protect yourself and your charity, you absolutely positively MUST pre-sell tickets.  Recently, I heard “Well how do you do that?”  Get their credit card information, a check, cash or whatever but ensure your costs are covered first and foremost. 

    And another issue, if you pre-sell your tickets, your charity enters into the charity fundraiser in the “Black.”  If you don’t know how to pre-sell tickets or you do not think anyone pre-sells tickets, go to any of the online ticket applications and see just how many events across the country are.

    If you would like to know more ways of protecting your organization or charity from failure, contact us today at   We would love to help your charity go from the little league to the Pro’s at your next event.

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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


Donated items vs. BWU “No Risk Auction Items”


The other day, a friend of mine told me about a fundraiser which was occurring nearby and said that he was positive the planners could use our help, especially with Sports Memorabilia.  He told me he would call them and let them know about BW Unlimited and how we could help.  A day or so went by and I called because the event was getting close but he sounded not that happy.   He said that he told them how we could help and they said they only accepted 100% donated items and not an item which they had to pay for. 

I asked “How much are they trying to raise?”  he said, I’m not sure George but I think $60,000.00.  I told him my theory and he said sadly “I know, I know, you’re right but they don’t want to listen…I tried to tell them.” 

A few days went by and he called and asked if I wanted to go with him to the event because he had an extra ticket.  Just for my own education, I wanted to go so that I could see the if in fact my intuitions were wrong.  Needless to say…I wasn’t wrong, their fundraiser looked more like a Flea Market or a Yard Sale from the items they had gotten fully donated.  With nearly 550 people attending, they raised $17,300.00 – well short of their goal.


The Reality – Donated vs. BW No Risk Auction Items

Inexperienced Charity planners believe that they have to have 100% fully donated items as part of their events in order to make the maximum amount of money.  The theory sounds responsible but with experience comes knowledge.  In fact, one of the terms I live by is “The older I get, the smarter my father becomes.”

They also believe that their guests walk into their events with a pocket full of money and will blindly spend it on whatever they have in their Auctions or raffles.  Almost as if people walk in with a blindfold on and just spread money around.  However, the opposite is true – guests walk around and see if there are any items which appeal to them.  If there isn’t, they leave with the money still in their pocket.  Who loses?  The Charity.

Just so that everyone is aware, many organizations purchase items from companies for their fundraising events – at wholesale prices.  One of these charities made 97 Million dollars in 2010. 

Ask yourself this – what would people get more excited over?  A donated dinner for two or a hand signed Football Helmet by a famous player?  Keep in mind the donated dinner has a known or realized retail value.  Furthermore, the football helmet is offered at the signing company level which is nearly 1/6th to 1/10th the retail value.

What you should know is, I have a lot of experience as a Charity Fundraiser with 18 years of experience.  I have worked with HUGE committees who have gone crazy getting donations.  I have seen every type of donated item, trip or service.  While out seeking donations, businesses will normally part with or donate items which they can afford to giveaway – they do not donate the items which they feel have the highest value.  However, if someone has a relationship with a donor, they may be lucky to get an item of high quality, but this rarely occurs.

Charity Fundraising event guests need to be treated to items which are high quality and hard to find.  This excites bidding, always provokes competitive bids and will give your organization’s fundraising event a much higher appeal.  When people who are thinking about attending know that you have Autographed items from the teams in your area – the urge to be there will go up tenfold.

Furthermore, have you ever examined Signed Sports Memorabilia prices?  These items are investments and with age, the price goes up and up. 

Another thought, charity fundraisers should set the minimum bids above our low asking prices and NOT at our asking price…BW was founded on “Charity First.”

To learn more about how we can help your Charity – contact me today at

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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Uncategorized