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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Outdoor Charity Dinners & Banquets – where you are going wrong…

As I began to type, a good friend (Lou Compton) called the office to order a host of items for his Upcoming “Maryland Bowhunter Society” Banquet.  So it was the perfect chance for me to ask him about his opinion of what all the volunteers from the outdoor charities think about our items in their charity events.

The background of the company began a long time ago while working with the various Outdoor Charities.  I am proud of the fact that we planned, managed and hosted two of the largest, most successful charity fundraisers in North America for two separate Outdoor Charities.  Against all odds, these events were incredibly profitable – in fact, based on their successes, their CEO’s and Senior Vice President came and stayed with me in my house in order to determine why our events had the impact they did.

One of these Charities raises money to protect habitat for an animal that doesn’t even exist here.   The secret to the success of both of these events was – Uniqueness.   How were they unique you ask?  Because there were items there which appealed to a wide range of people.  Basically, they saw and were exposed to items that they did not ever see at other events across the DelMarVa region (Delaware, Maryland and Virginia).  Because these items were unique, they would prompt high bids making the charity the maximum amount of money.  Plus, because these items were so unique and everyone knew we would have them, ticket sales were through the roof.  It got so crazy, people showed up hours earlier and would “Tailgate” in the parking lot.  Volunteers would sell their seats because tickets were as sought after as the “Superbowl.”  We sold out these events year after year, in fact, began to increase the price of the ticket just to make it harder to attend.  What was really odd was, we increased the ticket price, the attendance would go down but we would have a higher profit then the previous year with more people there!!!  It’s a documented fact.

So going back, every day, it seems we come across the same problem – volunteers in the outdoor charities seem scared of what we are offering.  So I asked Lou why…and this is his response.  “George, honestly we (volunteers) seem to not think “Out of the Box.”  We don’t think that our crowd doesn’t have other interests in their life.  We only think that hunting items are the only thing they are looking for but it’s not and that is why we are ordering a bunch of items from you.”

VOLUNTEERS THIS IS FOR YOU:  The reality of it is this…Each outdoor charity uses the chapter system.  You have to think about the fact that there are other chapters and organizations you are competing against.  For your organization, think about this…how many chapters from your organization are in your state?  Plus add on other organizations chapters there plus in-state organizations like Bowhunter or other hunting organizations?  There are tons that you are competing against.

Think about this…one of the Outdoor Charities has 1,500 chapters across the U.S.  Are you understanding yet?  Do you know that the people who buy tickets and come to your events also like other things…such as Sports?  In fact, I would bet that your crowd is filled with Sports Fans and people who love to go on Vacations.  Another thing, do you know the saying “If Momma isn’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”?  You must have the wives there and have items that will make them happy…Vacations & Jewelry…plus SPORTS!!! 

Here is another aspect you need to understand – the NATIONAL PACKAGE

    Do you realize that when you receive the NATIONAL PACKAGE from your organization and you tell your RD that you want items from there…that you are PAYING FOR THEM???  YES…you are paying for those items REGARDLESS if they make your chapter money OR NOT!!!  You still have to pay. 

Understand this – if you order a PRINT from the PACKAGE and its $100.00 and it only brings $75.00 in the Auction – the $25.00 must come from somewhere – another item that sells for higher.  But regardless, if you lose money…you have to PAY.

NEXT – Every single Chapter orders the same exact items.  Those same items are seen at every single Chapter fundraiser across the Country.  Now, let’s take this a step further, the same companies provide the same or similar items to all the charities – what does this mean?  It’s the same items or very similar items at all the Outdoor Charity Events.  It’s COOKIE CUTTER!!! 

RESOLUTION:   The items which you are being offered only mean “PROFIT.”  What does that mean….you chose which items you want for your event, you place a reserve about our cost to nonprofit, let’s say 20% above and if the items sell for $100, $1,000 or even $1,000,000 above our cost…our price never changes – you keep 100% above that.  If the items DO NOT SELL or receive even the minimum bid, we will ship them back at our cost – you don’t owe us anything.

Here is the question – can you do that with the items you get in the National Package???  No.  If you lose money, you lose money.  That’s it.  We guarantee you will profit from our items and Travel Packages!!! 

A COMMON STATEMENT:  “We don’t have the people at our event that can spend that kind of money”

No….your wrong!!!  You do, in fact, we guarantee it!!!  You are just not providing them items which they will spend that kind of money for!!!  In fact, I have a close friend who always calls me to tell me about other charity events he goes too.  So that you know, to look at him, you would never know he is VERY wealthy but he drives a pickup truck, wears blue jeans and boots and a baseball hat with a “Ratty” T-Shirt or Hoody.  But he owns his own Engineering Firm which is extremely successful. 

He tells me “Day in and Day Out” that he takes $20,000.00 dollars in cash with him and would buy stuff but they always have (in his terms) “Trash” to bid on!!!  Now, you do have people who come to your event with A LOT of money to spend…but if you DO NOT PROVIDE THEM WITH HIGH QUALITY ITEMS to bid on, they will walk out without spending a dime!!!

If you take the time to read through my Blogs, you will read story after story about just this…people want hard to find items…not the normal “Hum Drum” stuff often found at charity events.  Plus, knowing that Outdoor Charity Events are similar, you must do something to create “Excitement.”  Whether it be adding Vacation Packages, Hand Signed Sports Memorabilia or a Hunt/Fishing Package from somewhere in the world – UNIQUENESS is what causes that excitement!!!

If you would like our help to make your next Dinner or Banquet UNIQUE and EXCITING, please contact us at http://www.BWUnlimited.com.

 

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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Looking for Bigfoot

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I don’t know about you, but when I’m relaxing at night watching TV, I sit with the remote control in my hand and scan through the channels.  Every once in a while, I pause to watch a show that just have to laugh at “Finding Bigfoot.” 

Between the main characters in the documentary and the fact that these people believe that an eight (8) foot tall Ape is walking around the North American woods just blows my mind.  I sit and think to myself “Why in the world is this even a TV show???”  To think that people want to believe this just leaves me wondering why.  I just want to yell at the screen “Please!!!  Come on, wake up!!!”  but then that would be followed up with a hospital visit lol.

Across history, no one has ever found, trapped or killed one but nevertheless…here we are.  They will believe what they are doing and the fact that it’s out there, will drive them to look and search and continue to write books and produce TV shows about the subject.  Basically believing in a myth even though there is absolutely zero proof of its existence.

But, as always it reminds me of a topic that we, Team BWU, has been hearing a lot lately.  There are many charities out there who still believe that they have to have 100% donated items in their fundraising events.  But they are refusing to see the truth of what is really going on with their fundraising events and their guests.

I have written other Blogs about this exact topic – namely “How much is the chicken” but I feel like I should expound on it a bit to hopefully educate them, our Representatives and maybe just to vent my frustrations with this subject.

Now, here we go…understanding that we are still in a Recession despite what the President says plus adding that there are 104 registered U.S. Non Profits (Charities) in the United States – lets do some math:

  • 104 Million Charities – Very low because just one of these charities has 1,500 chapters plus this does not include the smaller charities.  Furthermore, there are 1,000’s of Benefit events conducting fundraising events.
  • 104 Million Charities divided by 52 states = 2,000,000 charities in each state
  • 10 people involved in each Charity – this is an extremely low number because many have 100’s if not 1,000’s of supporters involved.
  • 1,040,000,000 people totally involved!!!

So, the 1 Billion, 40 Million people are trying to host successful fundraising events.  The main question is…how many businesses are in the U.S.? – I don’t have the numbers for that.

With the recession, an immense amount of businesses went under – while BW Unlimited is growing!!!  With all of the people out there searching for donations, businesses can only give what they can afford to – while keeping their own businesses afloat.  Businesses get bombarded by people looking for donations.  Each person truly believes that their charity deserves the donation – but what they don’t understand is how many charities are out there looking for and asking for the same thing.  In fact, as one person looking for a donation walks out, another one walks in. 

A good friend, Decoy Carver David Walker, recently told me he gets about 50 requests a week.  If he were to donate a hand carved decoy to every person asking, he would only be making ducks for this purpose and would lose everything he owns.

So, going back to the topic, the business who do donate something, donate items that they can afford to get rid of or will bring people into their business – namely gift certificates.  The reality is – they are always items which aren’t worth a lot. 

The person getting the donation leaves the business and adds it to the donations pile of similar items and they keep on looking for more.  This is great but…let’s look at the reality:

  • People from the community attend Charity Events
  • Donated items come from local businesses
  • The businesses donate similar items to those who ask for a donation – basically the same item to the local charities
  • The same items are seen by local people, these people are asked to bid on items from local businesses and these items are seen at all the local events.
  • The items are normally not high quality
  • Donated items are donated year after year, boring event attendees
  • Charity Event guests are always looking for a “Deal”
  • Restaurant gift certificates normally only bring in a maximum high bid of ¼ to ½ of the Retail
  • If people wanted to purchase a gift certificate to that place of business, they would go there and purchase it.
  • Items which are donated always bring in low bids
  • If hand signed sports memorabilia is donated, it MUST have a Certificate of Authenticity accompanying it.  Normally they do not.
  • Gift Baskets are great, but if there are too many, they blend together.

Now…is this adding up yet?  Let’s take it a step further and talk about human nature:

John and Jane attended the ABC Charity Fundraising Event several weeks ago held by another local Charity Event.  While at that event, they plan their fundraiser accordingly.  They also gather ideas of who to ask for donations.  They leave that event, go to those businesses and ask for a donation, receiving the same donation as they saw before. 

While planning their fundraiser, because they are not experienced fundraisers, they repeat what the “Other” charity did while adding a few from other events.

But the problem is, guess what?  The organizers from those “Other” events did the exact same thing – gathered donations and ideas from “Other” Events they have seen or attended.  So basically, all of these people and charities are repeating the same Event Over and Over and Over and Over and Over….again.  But what all of them don’t know is….if those events were successful.  I can bet…no they were not.  Plus by repeating it, the level of success went down and down and down again.

So what is the solution?  Change – Unique!!!   A charity must plan events that are unique or different than the others ones around them.  From their “Unique” Event – word will travel Fast!!!  It will pay off year after year.

Finding my way back on the reason why I first began writing this…by going out in the local community and finding “100% donated items”, a charity is greatly handy capping themselves.   It’s not their fault, they just don’t see or understand how important having quality, hard to find items at their events.  They prepare for a fantastic event, having them at a fantastic venue with great food…but then they place 100% donated items on their fundraising platforms (Live and Silent Auctions plus raffles) expecting different results – which is the definition of “Insanity.”

Why do they do this?  Education.  Why do they not understand how having quality items available for their supporters means the absolute importance?  Education.  What will convince them that even though they are paying a small price for an item if the item in fact sells, Experience and Education.  Plus…now here is the “Kicker”….they don’t understand what the impact, other then financial, will do for their events presently and in the future – it will separate them from the other 1,000’s of hum drum events which are repeating the same thing over and over again.

Today, I was having a conversation with one of our many BW Unlimited Representatives and was told this – “a person who purchased a BW Unlimited Travel Package said that in the three (3) years they have been attending the event, they have only purchased a table to attend and consider that their donation.  But for the first time, they were excited about the Travel Package so they bid on and won it.”  The Rep went onto say that how that will positively influence next year’s attendance.

So…by adding our “No Risk Auction Items” to a Charities Fundraising event, not only will they greatly influence their financial outcome guaranteed, but they will also greatly enhance the appeal to attend the event – which means more ticket sales.

Or we could go out tonight and look for the big Ape like animal wandering around the Maryland woods…it’s your choice…what do you say????

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Lets Party!!!!

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Everybody loves a Party!!!  T.G.I.F!!!  From birthday parties to Game Day Parties to just a good ole’ House party – we all love them!!!  Get the food and drinks ready, turn on the music, let down your hair and let’s have some fun!!!

From a Band or just a great DJ, to a magician…let’s take it a step further, how about circus clowns, a fire breather, live animals roaming around – it’s a real party now!!!  Turning out to be a Circus!!!  Everybody is drinking, dancing, talking and having a great time…does it get any better???  I doubt it.

But a party is just that….a Party!!!  But wait, we are charity fundraisers here with BW Unlimited, why in the world am I talking about a Party?  Let me check, did we start planning parties or weddings…No.  Did we start hiring magicians and hypnotists as part of our staff….No.  Did we start interviewing DJ’s and Live Bands….No.  So why then am I even taking the time to write this Blog?  As always, because I have something to say about just this topic – a Charity Fundraiser turning into a party…getting away from what it is intended to be – a Fundraiser.

Far too often, Charity Fundraising Event organizers get off track.  They start to think that they will need some type of entertainment at their events.  First, it begins with a DJ, then moves to a Live Band but then it starts to steer way off track.  But what is important is, if a Charity wants to hold a Party or Celebration – plan it as that.  Plan a celebration of your Charity, invite everyone with no expectations of fundraising whatsoever.  Live music, mingling, dancing and anything else you can get there.  But what is important is, part of the Money being raised at the Party, is going to the entertainment.

But, if you are hosting a Charity Fundraiser – it should be just that – a Fundraiser.  Also, if it is a Charity Fundraiser, ensure, absolutely ensure that you are maximizing the amount of money you could possibly raise.

Today, there are all kinds of fundraising events which I hear about constantly – from Casino Nights, to Cash Wheels, to Car Washes…it just keeps going and going.  But the question remains, can you mix a Party with a Charity Fundraiser?  My answer is you can create a lively atmosphere, entertaining to your guests but the straight forward answer is and always will be….No.

Now, lets all concentrate on what the event is for – Fundraising.  Now ask yourself, if your charity were to acquire a large amount of money quickly, what would you do with it?  I am assuming, fulfill your mission statement and possibly expand.  You would do more right?  Of course.  So, with that in my mind…why not plan a solid Charity Fundraiser?  Think of it like this – in your event, is everything there to maximize the dollars you are trying to raise?  Does everything revolve around your fundraising capabilities?

Well, you can easily say…”George, you’re wrong.  Our guests enjoy a party atmosphere and they will love a magician and dancing.”  True, it does sound fun…but at the end of the day, don’t complain that you are having problems raising money.  You have no idea what you are saying about your charity when you plan something like this.  If people are not treated to a fantastic event that isn’t cluttered with all kinds of different things, they will walk away from it not truly remembering who your charity is and what you are trying to do.

In the end, it is only going to hurt your pocketbook.  Do you know what kind of event that offers a Charity the best possible place for expansion?   A Charity Fundraiser!!!  People get involved at Charity Fundraisers, they want to contribute, help more and possibly expand your mission statement into other areas.

In order to ensure that you are maximizing your event, look around you.  Study what others are doing that are successful.  In fact, ask yourself, how much did your last event raise?  If it was under $100 a head (Net Profit – the National Norm), then your event was not successful.  Time for a change.  Remember, your fundraiser should not be about entertaining your crowd – it should be about having a great Charity Fundraising event and that’s it.

If you would like to plan a “Total Charity Fundraising Event”, please contact us today at www.BWUnlimited.com.  We would love to help.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Uncategorized