Donated items vs. BWU “No Risk Auction Items”

08 May


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


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