Monthly Archives: July 2013

How to Maximize your Donated Items

imagesCAIG0YCDEvery Charity across North America seeks donations from local businesses in their area.  The Charity organizers then use these donations in their Silent or Live Auctions.  Each year, the organizers go back to the same businesses and donors and ask again.  Furthermore, if a Charity happens to have a supporter or member who can donate a vacation stay, that is also utilized, most commonly on a live auction.  Almost every time, the same types of items and vacations are donated each and every year.  Local businesses remove items from their inventory to provide to your guests who are also local.

The facts surrounding donated items are this – across the United States, donated items and experiences such as donated vacations are bringing 1/8th to 1/4th of the Retail Price on Live and Silent Auctions.  That is the facts, in black and white.

But the question is, why is such a positive thing turned into something negative?  Well, let me explain why:


  1. LET’S MAKE A DEAL:  Everyone is looking for the deal of the century.  People love knowing they purchased something for well below what it is worth.  Your guests will commonly know the retail value of the items you have donated which will negatively affect their bidding.  For instance, Gift Certificates bring pennies on the dollar on a Silent Auction.
  2. LISTED RETAIL VALUES:  When the retail value is listed on an item, Bidders will not bid anywhere near the retail.  Again refer to #1.
  3. LITTLE APPEAL:  Without knowing, your guests will know what items are donated.  Furthermore, if your guests attend other charity events in your area, they see the same items time and time again.  Donated items have little appeal unless the item is spectacular.
  4. LOCAL DONATED ITEMS:  Remember you have local people, attending your local event with items donated by local businesses.  If your guests wanted those items, they would have gone to that store or business and purchased it themselves.  Furthermore, many businesses will donate the same exact item to every charity who asks.  So, every single local charity will have the exact same item – watering down the bid amounts.
  5. WHO DONATED IT:  Most commonly, the donors are in the room when the item comes up for sale.  The guests know these people so the appeal goes down.  That isn’t negative, it’s just familiar.
  6. QUALITY OF DONATIONS:  When an organizer or someone from their staff goes to a local business and seeks a donation, the requestor of the donation must understand that business must pay to keep their business afloat.  Commonly, unwanted items are donated – OR – items which are not high quality.  Commonly, the businesses will donate Gift Certificates which are meant to draw people into their business to shop more.  Restaurants often donate Gift Certificates for $25 or $50 in order to bring people there – which their food bill will always be higher.
  7. DONOR LET DOWN:  After your event, donor’s will commonly ask how much their item brought in the Auction.  If it only brings in 1/8th to 1/4th of Retail, do you want to be the person to tell them?  When they learn this, do you think they will donate again?  Look at it like an investment on their part.  Would you invest a $100 if the return was only $20?  Doubt it.
  8. GIFT BASKETS:  Gift Baskets are fantastic; however, too many gift baskets are a train wreck.  Commonly, Representatives of home based businesses (Amway, Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Tastefully Simple etc.) will donate baskets in the hope that they get follow up business from them.   However, if there are too many baskets on the Silent Auction, they lose their appeal.  Furthermore, if there are similar baskets from similar business, it splits the bid amounts to half.   Approach this as “Too much of a good thing.”

So what is the answer?  Raffles are.  There are various ways of running a raffle or a giveaway.  Everyone attending will purchase a raffle ticket for donated items.  Routinely, these types of raffles or games will bring in four (4) to five (5) times the Retail Value – believe it or not.

Why are raffles the answer?

  1. raffleFUN:  Everyone likes to win no matter what the prize is.  It’s exciting!!!  People love the surprise of hearing their name or ticket called.  Plus it lends in to the excitement of your fundraising event – allowing you to give away prize after prize.  These raffles or games will make your event a lot of fun which will excite your crowd.
  2. PRICE:  The price of the raffle ticket is cheap compared to a bid amount.  Everyone can part with a $10 bill.  But your charity will sell 100 or more raffle tickets for $10.00.  Your gift baskets which would sell for $20 to $50 each will bring an incredible profit.  When we, our staff (BW Unlimited) is planning and managing an event, five (5) gift baskets will bring in at least $1,000.00!!!
  3. FUNDRAISING PLATFORMS:  If you are fan of my blogs, you are familiar with Fundraising Platforms.  In every event, there should be a Live and Silent Auction plus raffles or games.  This allows for everyone to take part in the fundraising at your event.  Remember, there are people in your crowd who cannot afford anything in your live or silent auction, however, they can spend $20.00 on a raffle ticket.

During your next event, absolutely consider hosting Raffles or Games to increase your fundraising potential.  BW Unlimited has many fun and different, very effective fundraising Raffles and Games which we utilize time and time again due to their success.  If you would like our assistance, contact us at

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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Uncategorized