3 Secret Summer Fundraising Auction Tips

It’s August – your magic time for fundraising.

NOW is the perfect time to turbo charge your live auction and find new donors. Summer is chock full of vacations, special trips, unique experiences, get-togethers and back-to-school activities. So while you, your board, committee members, volunteers and staff are enjoying the rest of summer, be sure to ask for live auction items and invite friends old and new to your fundraiser.

Here are your 3 August Fundraising Action Items

  1. Procure high profit live auction items now

Think about it, you’re enjoying fantastic summer trips, unique experiences and get-togethers. Ask yourself: would this experience match our auction guests and donors? So, activate your auction procurement team and board now. Now is the perfect time to go to the owner and ask them to donate to your auction where you just spent money!

  1. Personally invite generous guests now

This is the time of year where we spend a lot of time with our friends and families and meet new people. It’s a wonderful opportunity to talk about how much you care and support your great cause with others. Be sure to activate your gala committee and your Board of Directors and staff to invite guests who are passionate about your cars/mission and who can be generous in your live auction and Fund a need.

  1. Share your passion for your cause now

In these wonderful late summer days, where you meet so many new people, share your favorite inspiring story that showcases impact of your organization. Remember the first rule of fundraising: “People give to people for things they care about.” Your enthusiasm is contagious, so capitalize on this special summer time to engage more people around your cause and to invite them to your fundraising auction gala.

I would enthusiastically like to hear from you with your ideas and questions.

If you’d like to take your benefit auction, gala and fundraising events to the next level and while attracting new loyal donors, feel free to contact me: kathy@kingstonauction.com  603-235-1196.

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Why does Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leadership matter?

Do you want to take your organization to a dynamic new level?

We see a trend among leaders, just like you, taking a bolder, more courageous path. They are removing constraints, such as those of the government funding system along with their anemic results, and taking a customer-focused approach to health and socio-economic issues.

These leaders are experimenting with new revenue sources. They’re approaching each of their organizational assets, like events and marketing platforms, with strategy, efficiency, and agility.

For the first time ever, three leading nonprofit experts, Kathy Kingston, Gail Bower and Karen Eber Davis joined forces. During the expert panel, we shared our experiences with innovative leaders so that you can take a more enterprising approach to your nonprofit leadership.

If you’re like many executive directors, board members and CEO’s you may have an urge to implode what no longer works in the nonprofit sector.

Organizations can no longer count on traditional revenue sources, yet the sector is still boxed in with antiquated approaches and guidelines. As a society we’re tackling the same intractable problems we faced 50 years ago, from poverty and behavioral health, the environment and civil rights issues, to finding reliable funding streams for the arts, education, and other important areas.

Are we addressing the systems or just the symptoms? From time and technology, talent attraction and time off, your bandwidth is on overload, and with your board, you weigh the risks and potential for a better way.

A new way is out there.

We call it Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leadership.

If you’d like to watch the online expert panel discussion, sign up here. It will be available for 2 weeks, so be sure to watch it now.

Plus, you’ll also receive a new complimentary Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leadership Assessment plus a bundle of special gifts for you so that you can take bold new steps along your own entrepreneurial journey. Sign up here

Here’s what you’ll learn: WATCH the Expert Panel now

• The top five behaviors of entrepreneurial nonprofit leaders.
• Insights from the field: case studies of proven practices where nonprofit leaders get change right.
• How entrepreneurial leaders overcome the big challenges and reduce risks.
• The steps that need to be on your priority list so you, too, can move in a bolder direction and create an entrepreneurial culture around you.
• Plus find out if you’re ready to take on the entrepreneurial evolution with our new quick Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leadership Assessment.

Sign up to watch the online Expert Panel here. It’s available for a short time, so be sure to watch it now.

Feel free to contact Kathy Kingston: 603-235-1196 kathy@kingstonauction.com

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Which end of the telescope do you use?

Guest Post by: Gail Bower

Twenty-first century business life moves at a faster pace than ever before. Staying on top of information that guides your business decisions is harder than ever.

In some ways, you practically have to be clairvoyant to stay ahead.

And at the same time, you have to manage the day-to-day activities and results of your organizations.

So which end of the telescope are you using? The one that allows you to look farther into the future? Or the one that zooms in on the microscopic?

Your board depends on your leadership to envision a clear future ahead. If you are only looking at the microscopic— what’s on your immediate agenda—the world is whizzing by without you.

Habits and Goals of Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leaders

Today’s entrepreneurial nonprofit leader, the subject of an upcoming event with the same name, is operating way above the day-to-day. In fact along with their telescopes aimed out far, they’re supplementing with drone camera imagery, filling in the details of the landscape to make bold—and sometimes uncomfortable decisions—for the organization.

During just the last three months, I’ve spoken with nonprofit CEOs with plans to:

Convene partners representing all points of a system to tackle hunger, both costly and unconscionable in the U.S.
Smash racial barriers that impede an organization’s constituents of color from fully participating in the workplace.
Re-orient the organization’s systems and funding to take a customer-centric approach—even though this change will likely wreak havoc on its government relationships—to drive real results.
Explore all revenue possibilities to boldly expand earned and unrestricted dollars.
Keep the telescope focused ahead, but look microscopically at the very specific trauma experienced by an organization’s clientele and design programs and services for dramatic impact.

These leaders are clear about their visions; focused on the total system, not just the tips of their icebergs; and ready to generate the resources, participation, and change.

Ingredients of Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leadership

Vision and future orientation are but two aspects of entrepreneurial nonprofit leadership.

My two colleagues, Karen Eber Davis and Kathy Kingston, see similar patterns in their work with nonprofit leaders.

“You also can use your telescope,” Karen says, “to see what others are doing regarding revenue growth. ‘Where,’ entrepreneurial nonprofit leaders ask, ‘are others making income leaps?’”

“They look at their neighbors,” she continues, “and they scan the distance. When they discover break-through growth, they ask, ‘How can we benefit from what others have discovered—not by copying, but boosting these actions up to their next level.’

To generate income, of course, you need to develop your community.

“Strong entrepreneurial nonprofit leaders,” says Kathy, “have a laser focus on continually inspiring and retaining supporters. To build a community of generous supporters leaders must inspire a culture of philanthropy for the organization by obsessing on two key strategies.

“First understand what specifically impassions each donor about your great cause. Second, keep your supporters engaged by designing innovative strategies to communicate the impact of their donors’ gifts year round.”

The telescope, metaphorically, is an invaluable tool for entrepreneurial leaders. Use it to see opportunities before others; to create a dramatic vision and strategy; support that vision with a community of impassioned donors and clients; and generate the resources you need to sustain and expand.

Are you an entrepreneurial nonprofit leader? Learn more in an online expert panel on June 27, 2018, at 1 p.m. EST for nonprofit board members, executive directors, and CEOs. To learn more and to register, click here.

Gail Bower Nonprofit organizations hire Gail Bower as their revenue strategist. She works with clients to become self-sufficient by uncovering and developing reliable sources of earned revenue. Her clients have doubled, tripled, and quadrupled revenue within a year. And that’s just the first year. Trained as a futurist, Gail studies where society is headed and what trends may impact her clients’ businesses. She is the author of How to Jump-start Your Sponsorship Strategy in Tough Times, a frequent speaker, and media source. To learn more, visit GailBower.com.

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Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leaders: Building a Community of Supporters

Would it also surprise you to know that your fundraising auctions and benefit events are an untapped, golden opportunity?

Strategically designed and conducted, you can powerfully connect your supporters to what they love and care about most about your great cause.

However, attracting and retaining a generous donors requires a shift in thinking.

Qualities and Goals of Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leaders

Today’s, entrepreneurial nonprofit leaders, the subject of an upcoming event with the same name, understand the unique power of strategic fundraising auctions, galas and benefit events to deeply activate their community of supporters and to inspire a new culture of giving.

With an entrepreneurial mindset, nonprofit leaders can powerfully show supporters how their gifts will positively impact the cause that impassions them.

As nonprofits and educational organizations are challenged for greater income and resources to support their missions, entrepreneurial leadership and innovative strategies are vital.

Keeping Your Donors

Did you know that a top problem for many nonprofit and educational organizations is that they are not retaining their donors? Donor attrition may be as high as 40 to 70 percent for a typical nonprofit.* If you were running a business and lost 60 percent of your customers every year, you’d be out of business. It is as critical for a nonprofit to develop a pool of donors who upgrade their gifts as it is for a business to build steady customers.

“Your events are important assets for your organization,” says Gail Bower, “but only if you leverage them with purpose and strategy. Generating revenue, engaging donors, building relationships with your funders and sponsors, and connecting your community emotionally with your cause are the ideal outcomes of your overarching strategy and long-term vision.

Strategically designed donor engagement and fundraising brings people into your organization and ensures that you retain those donors, many of whom will upgrade their gifts over time until they consider giving their ultimate gift.

For example, as the consultant recently working with the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction, my innovative audience and donor engagement strategies helped their innovative executive director Maureen Cottingham increase revenue from $700,000 to $4.7 million in just four years.

Year round community of supporters

You get this type of result by creating a community of generous supporters to sustain lasting impact for your entire organization, clients, and community. A strategic approach means that your auction fundraiser has a greater purpose. It goes beyond raising money that night at your event. It has the power to unite people to generate enthusiasm and action—not only to raise money, but also to deepen their relationships to you and your great cause. With this approach, you unite people with fun and energy and purpose

“Money is a tool. It’s a means to obtain value.” Karen Eber Davis, the Income Growth Catalyst writes, “Your auction invites your supporters to raise their hands and say “yes” this mission’s worth doing. Yes, I’m excited to be part of it. Yes, we do better together. Great auctions leave your attendees with a high (not from any alcohol they consumed) but from the knowledge that they help to achieve something important worth moving forward.

Entrepreneurial Paradigm Shift 

Simply said, if you want to raise a lot more money and keep your donors, shift from the old tired friend-raiser mind-set to a strategic philanthropic giving mindset. Change your one-time event mind-set to one in which you leverage your auction as a gateway to long-term donor development. And instead of simply “doing” an auction and crossing your fingers, adapt a strategic philanthropy model mind-set. That means leveraging your benefit fundraising auction to build long-term relationships and engage your wonderful supporters year-round, before, during, and after your benefit auction event.

My most successful clients maximize their proceeds (double, triple, even quintuple revenue) but more importantly create a dynamic climate for giving that transcends the benefit auction event. In other words, you create a culture of giving that begins with strategic design, that is highly visible at the auction event and continues long after your event ends. In this culture, you can actually make the most money after the event.

In conclusion, with an entrepreneurial leadership mindset, strategic fundraising auctions, when strategically designed and properly conducted, can be a highly effective solution for donor retention, audience engagement, board empowerment, supporter cultivation, mission-focused marketing, and maximum fundraising. To generate income, of course, leaders need to develop and engage your community of supporters in new ways.

Learn more about our upcoming complimentary online expert panel on June 27, 2018, at 1 p.m. EST and register before the session is sold out.

*Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Urban Institute, “2013 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report”, Fundrai- sing Effectiveness Project, 2013. 412906-2013-fundraising-effectiveness-survey-report.pdf

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Are You an Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leader?

Guest post by Karen Eber Davis

Less than you think.

But, still a lot.

Money is a tool. You need money to buy resources to support and further your entrepreneurial efforts.

Creating change is not free. If you’re an entrepreneurial leader, you need more resources than leaders satisfied with the status quo.

Money is Also an Outcome of Nonprofit Entrepreneurial Leadership

Revenue growth results from entrepreneurial leadership. Sometimes your income improvement is direct: you sell a new product or service. Sometimes it’s indirect: your initiative makes you more significant to donors, foundations, and corporations.

However, here’s where money is less important than you think to entrepreneurial leadership: Money is a means to an end. And, what is that end? Mission results.

The entrepreneurial nonprofit leader recognizes that all growth involves money. It’s a necessary part of the calculation, like the multiplication and addition sign in an equation.

More Than Money. What Else Do Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leaders Need?

While money is never not part of the equation, money’s never enough for the entrepreneurial leader. Besides the cash, entrepreneurial leaders recognize that they need a vision and a community of supporters.

“Attracting and retaining a generous community of supporters requires an innovative strategy and most of all, it requires a shift in thinking,” said Kathy Kingston, another co-presenter on June 27. “Would it surprise you to know that your fundraising auctions and benefit events are an untapped, golden opportunity to connect your supporters meaningfully and deeply to what they love and care about most-by showing them how their gifts will positively impact the cause that impassions them?”

On vision, fellow consultant, and co-presenter on Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leadership on June 27, Gail Bower writes, “Your vision generates the passion that fuels you and your team. When you have a clear vision of your preferred future, you are also clear about uncertainty, your mission impact and the value your organization delivers. Vision becomes the cornerstone for your programs and initiatives, the nature of your business model, which brings money and growth.”

Yes. Sign me up for Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leadership 

Three Recommendations on What to Buy to Support Your Entrepreneurial Leadership

We’ve been flying in high orbit. Now, let’s switch to the nitty-gritty ground level. With the money you invest and the money you grow, what are three critical services to buy to improve your entrepreneurial leadership? Here are my recommendations:

  1. Help to Get Stuff Done. Buy help with tasks you don’t like, don’t know how to do, and jobs you’re not good at–but still must be done.
  2. Time to Think. Transform time getting stuff done into thinking time and serious conversations. For example, hire someone to take the phones for 90-minutes to allow your staff time to engage in a meaningful discussion about what blocks your growth initiatives.
  3. Expertise. Now as an expert in sustainable growth initiatives, you may think this recommendation is self-serving. What you don’t see is the experts like Kathy, Gail and I, foundation heads, and other nonprofit experts banging their heads against walls when they look at CEOs doing things the hard way. This is especially painful when recognizing for a modest investment you’d be above the hurdle and onward and upward. Kathy, Gail and I drink this “getting expert help Kool-Aid.” We invest in expertise regularly—it’s how we met—at a convention of the world’s best consultants.

We think this is so important that participants in the June 27 webinar will get an opportunity to… Stop! I can’t tell you about our special offer. It would spoil the surprise.

Are You an Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leader? Find out.

Sign up now to attend the complimentary online expert panel Entrepreneurial Nonprofit Leadership on June 27.

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