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March 2019
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The Spirit(s) of Traveling

March 13, 2019
St. Patrick’s Day is our chance to celebrate all things Ireland, and to do that many will lift a pint of beer over the course of March 17th (our “Dublin is Eclectic and Delightful” travel package caters to that, too, with the Guinness Storefront represented). But for those who don’t care for beer, there are plenty of other “spirited” options for destinations, spiritual homes for certain types of drinks, that can make for a bucket-list experience for an aficionado.

Our non-profit fundraising auction travel packages can take your donors around the world in search of their favorite tipple. If your supporters are interested in any of the following spirits, give them the chance to bid on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with one of these trips.

There are versions of whiskey made all over the world, but only the spirit coming out of Kentucky gets to call itself bourbon. With our “Tour the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Then Batter Up!” package, your donors will get to help design their own seven-hour tasting tour, based on their preferences. Some of the country’s most well-known distilleries are a part of the trail, including names like Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark. (And don’t worry – the tour comes with a chauffeur, so that your supporters can drink responsibly.)

Like bourbon can only be produced in Kentucky, scotch can only be made in Scotland.  And our “Explore Scotland’s Heroes, Castles and Historical Highlights” trip is both educational (learning about the different types of whiskey created, based on the region of Scotland) and fun (tasting the scotch!). Your donors will test their sensory perception as they “nose” (or smell) a brand-new batch of the “water of life,” and they’ll even get a three-course meal at the end of the class.

Wine is technically not a “spirit,” but it too often gets overlooked on March 17. The good news: It certainly isn’t overlooked in our Destinations of Excellence catalog. Whether it’s champagne or pinot noir, Italian or Californian, if your supporters have a specific wine region they love, we can likely send them there. That’s true for the go-to destinations for wine and some lesser-known (New Zealand? Ston?) oenophile spots, too.

Planning the Perfect Spring Gala

March 06, 2019
Maybe it’s the sun, peeking out from behind winter’s curtains of white clouds. Or maybe it’s wildflower blooms, or even baseball scores showing up in the paper. The signs are starting to show that spring is on its way. For some of you, that might mean that planning for a springtime gala is heating up.

We enjoy helping non-profits reach their fundraising potential with our auction travel packages at any time of year, but we’ve also picked up an idea or two over the course of 25 years of working on galas with organizations. If your big yearly event happens in the spring and you’d like to infuse it with the spirit of the season, here are some ways to bring that freshness, that sense of renewal, to your night.

Spring can be a choice for any decision at a gala. American diets get lighter as the seasons get warmer, so maybe your food options include fish and aren’t as steak-heavy. Or maybe it’s as simple as getting good seasonal, blooming flowers for the tables. Spring, thanks in part to Easter, is also often associated with pastel colors, rather than those shades that may be a bit more “dramatic.” The season can touch so many different small decisions (down to the garnish of a cocktail) that it’s worth keeping in front of mind throughout the planning process.

The rising temperatures can make it tempting to hold your springtime gala outside. After all, there are so many cute themes that are best created under the stars. But that beautiful weather can turn on a dime, especially in those early months of the season. Any outdoor event should always have a weather plan, in case of rain (or snow, depending on where you are), but one in spring is essential. As much as we love the season, its downsides must be taken into account.

As far as what fundraising auction travel packages to offer at your auction, the data and responses you get from your biggest donors should still be guiding your choices. But, if there aren’t clear preferences, consider that most winners might not be able to drop everything at a moment’s notice to leave on vacation. For spring galas, that might mean offering destinations that are popular during the summer – ones that don’t get too hot, or are best navigable during June and July, rather than November and December.