Fast, fun, profitable – THE GOLDEN PADDLE Raffle

A top question I’m asked is, “How can we raise more money?” This is often followed by, “What about adding some revenue games at our fundraising auction?” Extra revenue generators can become a profitable and cherished part of your fundraising auction event. The best part is, they exponentially increase the fun factor too.

At many fundraising events, there’s often a wide socioeconomic mix. Many guests who attend don’t want, don’t need, or can’t afford to bid on a big-ticket auction item. But they do want to contribute and participate, and to have fun, too. By strategically placing a few carefully selected additional revenue activities into the event, an organization can engage everyone at a all levels.

That’s why I love The Golden Paddle. Here’s how it works.


The Golden Paddle energizes your audience, is a lot of fun, and gives a winning guest an immediate cash allowance that inspires lots of excitement, fun and increased bidding.

The winner has up to $10,000 in credit that must be used during the live auction and/or fund-a-need. The organization keeps the cash.

It’s a raffle. For Golden Paddle, a limited number of tickets are sold. Most commonly, 100 tickets are sold at $100 apiece, for a total of $10,000. The winner is drawn immediately before the Live Auction with great golden excitement and a drum roll of course.

Create a special big “golden paddle” that golden volunteers bring to the winner. Each time your winner waves that golden paddle, your room erupts with excited increased bidding! Coach your auctioneer to have fun too.

Volunteers sell Golden Paddle tickets during the cocktail hour. The key to success if recruiting and training the RIGHT volunteers who are gregarious, love to sell and love your mission. The goal is to promote and sell all 100 tickets during this very short period of the cocktail reception so that you achieve the $10,000 mark before the live auction. (If you don’t sell all 100 tickets, you offer a credit of what amount you raised. There is some magic to offering $10,000.)

The benefit of the Golden Paddle is that your winning ticket holder is given a credit for the amount sold in Golden Paddle, which to be used in the live auction, fund-a-need, or both. That way you as the organization keep the cash and the winner has the credit to use in the live auction and fund a need.

Important note: The Golden Paddle is a raffle. Be sure to check your state raffle laws and always secure a raffle or gaming permit.

The Kathy Kingston Disclaimer: Less is More!

Be strategic and preserve your guests’ energy and generosity for your main fundraising—your live auction and fund-a-need. As you think about additional income producing activities, pick just one or two for your next event. After you use them, let them rest and try a few new ones. By rotating revenue-generating activities each year, you can keep things fresh. Then these interactive activities will continue to grab your guests’ attention and produce significant additional revenue year after year.

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Make Your Auctioneer Your Coach

Benefit Auction Consultant Playbook for Success!

How will you catapult your fundraising auction to the next level?

Learn from the pros. Hire a coach.

Hire a Benefit Auctioneer Consultant.

Pre-auction consulting may make the difference between having a nominally successful event and triumphantly setting a new fundraising record. Pre-auction planning helps nonprofits increase their revenues by ensuring time efficiency and saving volunteers and development staff from burnout.

The most valuable thing a professional benefit auctioneer can bring to an organization is expertise and ability as a consultant. A pro will give you fresh, profitable ways to take your auction to the next level.

A benefit auction consultant is an invaluable advisor who helps you design an exciting memorable fundraising event to boost your bottom line and to drive donor engagement. As early as possible, months prior to the event, a skilled and savvy auction consultant can provide expert advice on powerful revenue ideas, capitalizing on new trends, leveraging donor and bidding psychology, energizing your program, communicating the impact of your mission and adding fun and pizazz.

Consulting is a game changer for success. That’s why I’m teaching a new workshop” Consulting for Benefit Auctioneers to bring greater value to their nonprofit and school clients.

Hire a seasoned fundraising auctioneer who can also serve in a consulting role, you’ll be surprised by what a difference his or her counsel can make. Fundraising auction consulting topics can range from basic auction logistics to advanced donor cultivation strategies. If you’d like to find a fundraising auction consultant, feel free to contact me.

One of the most important aspects of consulting is the positive long-term relationship between a nonprofit organization and a benefit auctioneer. Year after year, you can work together as a team to continue to create great signature events and break fundraising records.

Professional benefit auctioneers can consult on goal-setting, budgeting, branding the mission, creating master calendars, procuring high-yield items, knowing what sells best, and creating the optimal selling sequence.

A professional benefit auctioneer can also guide your audience development and cultivation, lighting and sound, silent auction displays, stage layout, catalog ideas, marketing, fund-a-needs, show flow, and motivating and training volunteers. He or she can help you coordinate the spotters and organize professional auction bid assistants, as well as design and lead interactive revenue activities.

Your auctioneer is your fundraiser event’s quarterback, but an auctioneer who offers consulting can also be your strategic coach, year-round. He or she can be by your side between seasons to keep you motivated, refine your skills, point out weak spots in your strategy, and help you overcome every obstacle. A benefit auction consultant can strengthen your organization’s team and take your fundraising and organization to the next level.

Learn from the pros. Retain a benefit auction consultant. That’s the playbook for success.

Professional Development for Benefit Auctioneers: As a Benefit Auction Consultant, you will empower non-profits to raise more far more funds, increase awareness and goodwill plus those turn auction bidders into loyal long-term donors  –  and that’s your unique power and expertise you bring to your nonprofit clients!

Consulting Workshop for Benefit Auctioneers  December 3 and 4, 2018
Registration and details:
Early bird rates end September 17, 2018.

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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:  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

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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

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