Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Myths of Fundraising – MYTH vs. REALITY


The “Tooth Fairy”, “Santa Claus”, the “Easter Bunny”, the Fountain of Youth, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and a few others.  There are myths everywhere that people want to believe without proof that they actually exist.  Even without “Hard” Evidence, they still want to believe them.

Over the years, I have had the privilege to meet thousands of great people involved in some way with Charity Fundraising.  I have also had the pleasure to have millions of conversations with people about Charity Fundraising.  Some of these conversations have revealed many what I would call “Myths of Fundraising.”  These “Myths” are propelled over the years and cause charities hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars missed.

Here are just a few of them with an explanation of each, with the Reality of what happens:

  1. Taking money out of the room:

THE MYTH:  If charities use items which they have to pay for, it takes money out of the room and will hurt the proceeds.  People will spend their money on the items that have a cost and not on the items that are donated.  Charity guests come to the fundraising event and make their donation by purchasing items available. 

THE REALITY:  The reality of this is – it’s the exact opposite.  Charity guests attend a fundraising event for many reasons; however, when it comes to spending their hard earned money, they will bid on or purchase items that excite them.  You must remember that these events are local, with local people attending with items donated by local businesses.  If the guests wanted those items, they would or could go directly to the business and purchase them.  It is a constant that people attend these events and if they do not see items available that excite them, they will leave without spending a dime with their money still in their pockets.  Charities MUST have items available that have massive appeal to the crowd.  Across the United States, donated items are bringing 1/8 to 1/4 of the Retail Value at Auction.  However, BW Unlimited’s items are bringing in record setting bid amounts.  Ask yourself this?  Do donated items excite you?

Items which BW Unlimited has available will attract people year after year, they will buy tickets just to get a chance to take the items home. 

2.  People attend our Charity Fundraiser to support our Charity:

THE MYTH:  People purchase tickets to Charity events because of the incredible work of the charity.  Everyone is very familiar with the charity and its work and that is the only reason they attend and spend money.

THE REALITY:  Yes, many people attend charity events based on their support of the charity, however, 80% of the attendees don’t even know who the charity is.  On most occasions, someone purchases a table and fills it in with their friends.  People routinely attend the charity fundraiser based on the “Event.”  For instance, if a charity hosts a FREE seminar, how many people attend to listen?  Very few.  But, host a party with great food, drinks and a bunch of great items to bid on, watch how many buy tickets.  People want to go to great, fun, exciting events.  It is a certain. 

3.  Our Supporters will bid above the Retail Value for donated items:

THE MYTH:  The people who attend our fundraising event always bid above the retail value of the items that are available.

THE REALITY:  This NEVER happens.  Everyone is looking for deal.  They want to go home or leave the charity fundraising event and think or say “Wow, I got an incredible deal on….”  People never pay above the retail value, in fact, far less on “Known” items.  It does not happen.

4.  We have to have a “Party” Atmosphere or our people won’t come:

THE MYTH:  People who come to our Charity Fundraiser have to be able to dance.  They come to our event to dance and won’t come if they can’t.

THE REALITY:  Yes dancing is fantastic, but ask yourself, what is your event about?  Is it a party or a fundraiser?  The reality is…it’s about guest training.  You must train your guests and supporters that the event is about “Fundraising.”  The more time you spend allowing your guests to dance and party, the less money you will raise.  Training for your guests must start at your first or follow up event.  Here is a question, if people don’t want to come to your event because dancing and partying is not the primary focus, are they there to support you?  No.  They are there to party!!!  To answer your question, do you need them there anyway?  Ask yourself this…do these people come to your charity office during the year and donate money or time?  How does dancing benefit you or your charity?  Background music is fantastic, allowing your guests to mingle and have a good time…but also financially support your charity.

5.  We need to have a Celebrity or Pro Athlete at our Event:

THE MYTH:  We need to have a Celebrity or Pro Athlete at our event in order to get people to buy tickets.  It will definitely help us sell tickets and get more support.

THE REALITY:  Most Charities do not have the ability to have a celebrity or pro athlete as a spokesmen or women.  However, you must remember that these individuals will attend your event for an appearance fee.  These fees are very expensive which will force your charity to begin your event in the negative.  Plus, if people do attend your event, they will be more wrapped up in meeting the Celebrity and getting their autograph and picture taken, then supporting your Charity.

Charities need to look at the Reality of what their supporters are interested in.  Step outside of the role as the charity and look at their Charity Fundraising Event as if they were attending it as a guest.  Then perhaps they will understand it.

Take care of your guests and they will take great care of you through high bids time and time again.  To learn more about our Full Line of “No Risk Auction Items” and how they can greatly benefit your charity at your next event, contact us at




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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Uncategorized