Monthly Archives: November 2013

Fundraising Reality Check


Every single day, while talking with Charity Clients as well as our Representatives all over the country, I hear things that make me wonder what world people are living in.  The problem is, generally charities do not truly understand fundraising but they will just take a stab at it and hope for the best.  I certainly hope my next surgery does not end up like this.

I used to use the statement “When you have medical problems, who do you consult?  A Doctor.  When you have legal issues, who do you consult?  A Lawyer.  When you want to build a house, who do you consult?  A Contractor.  When you need to raise money to financially support your Charities Mission Statement, who should you consult?  A Professional Charity Fundraiser.

What most people fail to realize is, we do this seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year and have been doing it for many years – successfully.  Furthermore, understanding fundraising is not knowing everything about Charity or the Charity hosting the fundraiser, it’s not that at all – It’s understanding PEOPLE and how they think generally.

For instance, here are some common Falsehoods charities often believe:

No Risk Auction Items take money out of the room:  Many charities falsely believe that having items which Businessman Throwing Money into the Aircost them will divert money away from their donations.  These charities believe that people blindly walk into their fundraising event and just blanket the place with their hard earned money in order to support the charity.  That is 110% False.  People do not spend their money like that, if they did, there would be no need to even host a charity fundraising event, they would just donate the money.  However, the truth is, people attend these events and hardly ever bid anywhere near retail on donations.  Remember, these are local people attending the event for a local charity with items donated by local businesses – if they wanted those items, they would go to the business and buy it themselves.  Everyone is looking for a deal.  Who loses?  The Charity does not lose BUT they are not maximizing their profit.  To answer the “Who loses” question….the donor does.  The donor expects to get some type of advertisement from the event and for their donated item or items to sell high.  When it only brings 1/8th  to a 1/4 of retail…are you going to tell them if they ask?

What charities need to focus on is the “Margin of Profit.”  Furthermore, by having these “No Risk Auction Items”, the profit margin is 100% guaranteed.  We can guarantee that if an item sells at their auction, it will bring much more money than their donations in the exact same setting.

2009 Event 058People come to our event and bid on items to support our Charity:  This is very common, however, it’s a “Half Truth.”  The sad reality of it this – people most commonly purchase tickets to a charity event to support the charity but do not bid on items for the same reason.  Routinely, if a Table of ten (10) (offering a full table of ten tickets) sells at your event, 8 of the people sitting at the table do not even know who the charity is.  The buyer of the table filled it with friends and family.  People attending charity events to have a great time, eat good food, have a few drinks and have fun.  Here is how you qualify this – how many times have you heard “Well, I bought tickets to support the charity” NOT “I bid on items to support you” – NEVER.

Understand this – it’s a give and take.  How so?  When someone purchases tickets, they get food, drinks, a good time….they get something from it.  But, have these same people ever just sent you a check as a donation?  Did they pay for their tickets and then say “Go ahead and give my tickets away…it’s my donation” – NEVER.  Those people are there, eating the food, dancing, hanging out with their friends and having a great time.

When it comes to bidding on items, they will only bid on items that excite them.  They never bid on items just for the sake of bidding to support the charity.  With nearly 1,000 charity events each and every year, this simple fact never changes.  Charity MUST have items which have mass appeal in order to garner high bids.  Gift Baskets, Gift Certificates etc. never get high bids.

“Our crowd does not have that kind of money to bid on high priced items” – I personally hear this all the time and every single time, they are 100% wrong.  My reply to this is this “How do you know?”  The reality of it that people do not spend a lot of money on low end items.  However, they do a lot of money on items or experiences that have a high return.

As an example:  Recently, one of our Representatives assisted a local charity which had low attendance at their san-gimignano-bestevent.  The event was not held at a high end resort or catering facility, but in a Fire Department.  The charity chose several items which were not very expensive because they did not believe their crowd would pay much.  However, our Representative mistakenly placed our “Tuscany for 8” Package on their Silent Auction which he had the auction placard from.  Understand that this package has a Cost to Non Profit of $5,995.00.  During the evening, one of the guests walked over to the Silent Auction and bid $10,000.00 on the trip.  Our Representative was shocked and immediately called me to let me know about the bid.  Of course I laughed because I have seen this time and time again.  Our Representative walked over to the bidder and told her how great the package was and she said this:

“I have been coming to this fundraiser for three (3) years and for the very first time, I saw something that was worth me bidding on”

That’s a very powerful statement.  Do not under estimate your crowd and their financial status.  Present items or experiences that have the “WOW” factor and watch what happens – you will be shocked.

These are just a few common tall tales….remember, Reality is an eye opener.  Most people like to believe certain things however, think like the person in the seat and you too will be crossing the finish line successfully.

If you would like our help, please visit us at, we would love to help guide you to a successful result.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized