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Five Reasons Why: Miami and the Florida Keys

December 12, 2018
When it comes to warm winter destinations, California can soak up a lot of the attention. Between the desert of Palm Springs, the stars of Hollywood and the beaches of San Diego, there are a lot of attractions to distract the eye.

But the east coast can go toe-to-toe with Southern California when it comes to winter getaways, particularly one area: Miami and the Florida Keys. The dynamic duo has its most hospitable weather in months like December and January, and the beaches (and beachside restaurants) are open and calling to residents of cold-weather cities at this time of year.

Why should your donors go to Miami and/or the Florida Keys? Here are five reasons.

The Nightlife – South Beach is one of the most famous streets in the world when it comes to nightlife. Younger travelers can dance their nights away at clubs like LIV or Nikki Beach, while everyone can wander and do some of the best people watching in the city. Key Largo combines nightlife with beachlife in unique ways; the Caribbean Club, where Humphrey Bogart once shot the movie “Key Largo,” is a special link to the area’s history.

The Beaches – The aforementioned South Beach, as the name would indicate, has a stunning sandy view of the Atlantic Ocean amidst its beautiful people, but there’s hardly a bad oceanfront or gulf view to be found in Miami or the Keys. Smathers Beach in Key West is a favorite, with crowds to match, while Calusa and Sandspur Beaches are both great for the entire family. Even dogs get some sand, at Key West Dog Beach.

The Dining –
Whether it’s a Cuban restaurant on a random street corner or a flashy, upscale hotel restaurant, Miami and the Florida Keys have your dining options covered. It’s also the home of several restaurants developed by celebrity chefs, including French cooking master Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Matador Room and at The Bazaar by Jose Andres and Bazaar Mar (the latter coming with an emphasis on seafood), both outposts of the Andres empire.

The Art – One of the world’s three Art Basel markets takes place in Miami each year, making the city a temporary capital of the art world during those weeks. But there’s a great art scene in Miami throughout the year. Galleries like Fredric Snitzer, Avant and David Castillo give South Florida a year-round relevance to artists and collectors. And late in 2019, the Rubell Family Collection, one of the largest privately-owned modern art collections in the world, gets its own 100,000-square foot museum.

The Key Lime Pie! –
Every year, Key West hosts the Key Lime Festival, with pie eating contests, a rum sampling and distillery tour, and the right to tell the story of going to Key West every time you or a donor eat Key Lime Pie with someone for the rest of your (or your donor’s) life. What could be better than those kinds of bragging rights?


Mythbusters 5!

December 05, 2018
Do you feel lost when someone says “fundraising auction”? Are you a veteran planner with that nagging feeling that you could be raising more money at your galas?

On December 18th, our own Senior Vice President Michael Upp will again partner with Kathy Kingston of Kingston Auction Company for the fifth installment of their seminar series, Mythbusters. It’s a free tele-conference where the dynamic fundraising duo lays out some of the “conventional wisdom” of the billion-dollar industry and tells the real story.

Need some examples? Here are a couple of myths they’ve busted in the past.

More is More: Your donors will remember a well-curated auction better than one with a longer list of items. This requires a little more work, in a way; you have to know your audience well enough to know what it’s looking for, you have to expand your horizons in terms of what’s possible, you have to mix up the cost of each item, to make sure to reach everyone, and you have to offer at least one “once in a lifetime” lot, one that will build excitement throughout the evening. But the rewards will be more funds raised and a more memorable night.

Free Auctioneers Save Money: It seems so easy to grab your fastest-talking board member and have them act as auctioneer. It’ll save money too, right? But an auctioneer is so much more than someone to take bids. There’s only one line on your gala budget that, on its own, raises more funds than it costs, and that’s the professional auctioneer. They know when to try and goose the audience for bigger bids, and when to hang back. They know how to present your items in the most appealing way, to get the most money. And they’ve got the kind of public speaking skill to make sure your organization’s story is front and center.

Our Donors Can’t Afford It: A lot of money walks out of the room when you limit your items to only what you think your audience can afford. Give them a chance to surprise you; if you offer them the chance at a once-in-a-lifetime vacation package, for instance, they might be so moved both by the cause and the amazing trip that they’ll dig a little deeper. (And if you use a Mitch-Stuart trip, for instance, then you’re offering it on consignment anyway, meaning you don’t pay for it until a bidder buys it!)

How many of these did you believe? And what else may you be able to improve at your auction? Sign up for Mythbusters 5 and then call in to find out!