The Power of A Thank YOU!

Did you know that A PROMPT MEANINGFUL THANK YOU inspires donors for increased and continued contributions to your great cause?

At our recent National Auctioneers Association Benefit Auctioneer Summit, Penelope Burk, international donor research and philanthropy expert shared her compelling results for donor loyalty and increased generosity over time.

Her research shows that donors who were thanked personally within 48 hours of their gift, with a phone call or left on voice mail much much much much more likely to give again and increase their gift! And, donors who did not receive this phone call were far less likely to give again. *

How can YOU do it too? It’s actually quite easy and profitable. Burk suggests that nonprofits simply ask your board members to call each donor (regardless of gift value) to say thank you. Here’s her script: Hi, this is Mary Smith, a volunteer board member. I’m calling you say thank you sincerely for your generous gift at our benefit auction fundraiser. It means so much because your contribution funded … (be very specific of where the money raised will go and what is accomplished) Thank you so much again!

Are you ready to take event to the next level? s I hope you join me at my NEW seminar for nonprofits and schools: Beyond Fundraising! Donor-Focused High-Profit Benefits, Auctions and Galas. Two locations: Tuesday, October 15 in Boston, MA and Thursday, October 17 in Providence, RI from 1pm to 4:30pm.  Only $59. $39 for each attendee from the same organization. Register now.

* Burk, P. 2019, August. Session presented at National Auctioneers Association Benefit Auctioneer Summit, Palm Springs, CA.

What about YOU?

If you have more great ideas about raising the bar for your benefits, galas and auctions, drop me a note or call me 603-235-1196.

If I can ever help you or a colleague or friend, I’d love to hear from you. I always offer a complimentary consultation. Referrals are the greatest compliment.

Contact:   603-235-1196   Thank you!

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Profitable Summer Homework for Fundraising Auction Committees

Create a Post Fundraising Auction Gala Donor Engagement Plan

Just as your development staff, volunteers and gala committee members have planned and executed countless plans and details before your fundraising gala, designing and enacting a detailed follow up donor engagement plan after your event is even more crucial – and lucrative.

Summer is a great time to commit to writing your POST event donor engagement plan.

This takes fresh strategies, commitment and outreach year round. The ultimate goal is to inspire your guests and donors to choose YOU as a top charity of choice and to stay with your great cause now and into the future.

Create a new culture of philanthropy with your benefit auction as a catalyst.

Fundraising galas, auctions and charity benefit events, when strategically designed, are a superior way not only to identify new donors, but to engage your supporters and continue working with them after your event, showing them what an incredible difference their gifts make to your great cause.

Why is a post event donor engagement plan vital?

Research shows that seven out of ten donors don’t give a second gift. Keeping your your donors is a vital and relatively low cost strategy to increase fundraising and inspire year round support for nonprofit, school or NGO. Strengthening your vital relationship-building program that is less costly than donor acquisition and engages your leaders, board members and key stakeholders in meaningful ways.

There is huge value to creating and executing Post Fundraising Auction Gala Donor Engagement Plan.

Here are some top ideas to you can raise more fund and engage more donors.

  1. Create a Post Fundraising Gala Donor Engagement Plan
  2. Show your sincere gratitude immediately and continually
  3. Design and time effective communication with your donors year round
  4. Focus on communicating the impact and outcome of your donor’s gifts
  5. Personally reach out to invite guests to be further involved with you
  6. Empower and educate your board, staff, sponsors and volunteers on ways they can actively participate in donor engagement and retention.
  7. Leverage and integrate your donor management, fundraising event software and donor analytics and metrics into your Post Gala Donor Engagement Plan

Investing the time and energy now is an investment that will pay interest long into your future. When you create a Post Gala Donor Engagement Plan you will attract and retain your donors year round and transform event guests into loyal long term donors.

What about YOU?

If you have more great ideas about raising the bar for your benefits, galas and auctions, drop me a note or call me 603-235-1196.

If I can ever help you or a colleague or friend, I’d love to hear from you. I always offer a complimentary consultation. Referrals are the greatest compliment.

Contact:   603-235-1196   Thank you!

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Happy 4th!

Happy Independence Day!

All best wishes as you enjoy the festivities of the Fourth with your family, friends and loved ones.







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BYOB Bring Your Own Buyers!

Kathy’s Hot Tips to Procure High Profit Benefit Auction Items

After three decades as a benefit auctioneer and fundraising consultant, the #1 question I’m still asked is: “Kathy, what are THE BEST SELLING live auction items that will raise the most money?”

But you know, that’s actually the wrong question. Before you can forecast the most lucrative auction items, ask these two questions first.

  1. Who are your benefit auction guests?
  2. “WHO will actually BUY each live auction item over the value?”

I’ve noticed a bit of a troubling trend this past spring auction season. In numerous benefit auctions, I’ve observed one or two live auction items in that have not performed financially as well as the auction committee had hoped. Why? The answer might surprise you – it’s a commonly overlooked mistake.

The reason is failure to BYOB: Bring Your Own Buyers.

In order to procure high profit live auction items every time, it’s imperative to absolutely know who will actually buy each auction item before you include it in your live auction line up.

Here’s the key factor. Don’t be satisfied to accept items without forecasting who will actually be THE high bidder. Too often auction committees, boards and volunteers cross your fingers and hope someone bids on an auction item. To be truly profitable, you must hand select and curate the RIGHT BUYERS for each of your live auction items.

Match Your Guests to Each Live Auction Item.

Steal this lesson for item procurement. Know who attends your fundraiser and what they want, then match unique auction items with the wants of your audience. With this highly strategic approach to item solicitation, you won’t end up with low selling or unwanted auction items that will fail to bring full or over value.

Build More Donor Relationships.

From a strategic perspective, what drives a fundraising event is the opportunity to better know and build relationships with your guests, so they become more engaged, more passionate about your cause, and more willing to contribute.

Before you begin procuring items, it’s imperative to understand the buying behaviors of the guests and donors. The goal is to offer exciting auction items people actually want and will BUY OVER THE VALUE, so they can freely and eagerly support a cause they love – yours!

Benefit auction guest behaviors have changed.

Auction guests are bidding much more intentionally. Let’s face it: Not everyone really wants or needs another silent or live auction item. So it’s vital for you and your benefit auction team to be quite strategic, and to make sure you exclusively procure and offer items that will keep the auction exciting and lucrative.

Know your guests and curate your auction items.

This is the most lucrative way to boost bidding and make more money. What’s the very best way to know what your donors, past bidders, guests, and sponsors want? Ask them what they would love to bid on at your next auction. Then ask for their advice. Ask them what’s missing at the auction. Study past auction data, list the top items, and note who bought them. Then focus on procuring those high-performing auction items.

Plus, DOUBLE your money.

Always, always ask the donor if you can offer two packages on auction night. Be sure to let your auctioneer know when they can sell two!

What about YOU?

If you have more great ideas about high profit live auction items, drop me a note or call.

If I can ever help you or a colleague or friend, I’d love to hear from you. I always offer a complimentary consultation. Referrals are the greatest compliment.

Contact:   603-235-1196   Thank you!


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It’s Auction Night! Now What?

Kathy’s 8 New Strategies to Skyrocket In-room Revenue by Empowering Your Board, Staff and Volunteers

You’ve spent months planning your benefit auction gala fundraiser. Don’t just cross your fingers and hope. Adopt my simple yet powerful strategies to get those bid cards waving and to inspire greater generosity.

What your nonprofit leaders do during your event is vital to raising more money and retaining donors.

Does this sound familiar? Do your committee members and board members congregate together during the cocktail hour and silent auction and talk among themselves. Then during dinner and fundraising program, it’s the same, they continue to sit together and continue talk among themselves. Creating a warm welcoming environment, building relationships with donor and sharing meaningful gratitude are essential to transform event guests into loyal year round donors.

So, who are your leaders? Consider each person: board members, Head of School, staff, faculty, auction and gala committee members, table hosts, sponsors and key donors and even students and alumni.

Create a donor engagement plan for your event night.

Write specific responsibilities for each of your leaders. Hold a training and remind each person before your event. Use my 8 new strategies to guide your new plan.

  1. First, treat every guest as a donor

Your fundraising gala and auction is a golden catalyst for donor engagement. So let’s change the paradigm to a “donor-focused approach” to benefit auction bidding and giving!  In the room or under the tent, here are my strategies that you can use right now.

  1. During Cocktail Hour and Silent Auction

Create the expectation that your board, staff, committee members and volunteers will actively participate. Ask your nonprofit leaders to adopt a personal approach. Go to at least three people you do not know, introduce your self, ask how the guest is connected to the nonprofit and share your passion about the impact of your organization. Thank them for coming and supporting the cause. Bring guests to your “Mission Stations” and staff to learn more about your great cause. Showcase the Silent & Super Silent Auctions & Live Auction display. Talk about what your guests might like to buy. Encourage guests to sign up for any additional revenue activities such as Party Board Experiences, Raffles, Wine Pulls etc. Introduce your guests to other board members and sponsors and donors.

  1. Speed Into the Ballroom or Tent

Be the FIRST to take your seats and guide your guests to do the same. Help invite other guests into the tent along the way. Guests will wait to do what your leaders do. The quicker you move into the main room for fundraising, the more funds you will raise. Set the pace.

  1. Prepare Your Guests to Be Generous

During dinner and the live auction and fund a need, guide conversations to focus on your nonprofit or school impact. (This is not a social catch up time to talk about shoes, chit chat etc…) Invite everyone at your table to get out and view the auction program catalog and peak interest in the live auction items. Ask each person what they would like to buy. For Fund a Need, explain how it works and that everyone can give at a level meaningful to them. Also it’s great to suggest that it’s easy that your entire table, 100% of at your table can give to your cause.

  1. During the Live Auction

Actively encourage bidding. Talk to your table guests. Say YES, thank you for bidding again. Cheer, clap and nod your head. Get up out of your chair, walk around show your gratitude for winning bidders and back up bidders too. Keep smiling and encourage “Philanthropic Bidding” I’ve named that bidding OVER the value of the live auction item! Show heartfelt gratitude

  1. During Fund a Need

Exude gratitude. Consider your own personal gift and raise your bid card proudly. Explain how the funds will be used to impact your great cause. Keep up the energy and clap and cheer as more and more gifts are made. Thank each donor at your table and surrounding tables personally. It’s okay to get up from your table and thank people. Explain how every single gift is meaningful.

  1. Be the Last to Leave

The end of your fundraising event is a very important time for your leaders to be visible and active. This is a critical time to show your gratitude. Ask your leaders to be available to listen to guests and donors. Ask: what was your most memorable moment? Be available to receive: some donors wish to give anonymously or personally to a board member, gala chair or executive director.

  1. Show Heartfelt Thanks Immediately

Walk around, say thank you to each person. Consider stopping at each table to show your gratitude. Invite guests to come back next year and to bring their friends. Use “donor-focused language” YOUR gift make it possible to ______ (fill in how their gift will be used to impact your organization.) YOU did it! We couldn’t do it without YOU!

What about you?

If you have more great ideas to empower your leaders, drop me a note or call

If I can ever help you or a colleague or friend, I’d love to hear from you. I always offer a complimentary consultation. Referrals are the greatest compliment.   603-235-1196   Thank you!


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