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Guest Post: Take a Chance on a Raffle!

June 29, 2016
(NOTE: On occasion, we love reaching out to our friends and partners in the non-profit fundraising world to find out what they’re thinking about when it comes to helping charities raise the most money possible. This week, Kelly Russell tells us about a recent experience running a raffle using a Mitch-Stuart travel package as the prize. Enjoy!)

A client of mine wanted to offer a Golden Ticket Raffle at their event without losing one of their live auction items. They tried something unique that worked well. They chose eight consignment packages from Mitch-Stuart, Inc. as options, and allowed the winner to select any one of the eight amazing vacations. We had a few great outcomes to our evening.

It expedited our timeline at the top of the auction.

Once we declared the winner of the Golden Ticket Raffle, we did not have to wait for the winner to rifle through the catalog to determine what they wanted to take out of the live auction line-up. They had the entire night to think about which location would make for their dream vacation.

The variety added interest.

With all the options, many people were interested in taking their chance in the raffle. If you won, you were going somewhere great. MSI has a wonderful selection of packages and many include airfare so you get a complete experience. This adds to the interest factor.

Dedicated packages allow for pre-sales on raffle tickets to guests.

Nothing is worse than not being able to attend your child’s school auction when you go EVERY year. With a set raffle selection, you are at least offering the opportunity to participate in absentia. Bonus: If you have a limited number of tickets to sell in your raffle, as well as a limited number of attendees at your event, pre-sales broaden your donor base.

Gamble with a new idea and see how it works at your next fundraiser!

Need a great consignment package for your next event? Let the folks at Mitch-Stuart, Inc. know that Kelly Russell at Artisan Auctions sent you!

(Big thanks to Kelly Russell and Artisan Auctions for sharing this with us! For more information about Artisan, go to artisanauctions.com.)


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Giving Tuesday: How We Can Help

November 04, 2015
First, it was Black Friday, the traditional first day of the Christmas holiday season, taking place the day after (and, increasingly, the day of) Thanksgiving. Then, Cyber Monday became a way for people returning to work to procrastinate on the following Monday by looking at deep discounts from online retailers. Soon after, to counteract the marketing power of major chain stores, there was Small Business Saturday, to promote local concerns.

And now, to help Americans remember the thousands of worthy and important non-profits that rely on donations, there’s Giving Tuesday, which falls on December 1 in 2015. After the first days of holiday spending are finished, a day is reserved for lending a hand to those who help in local communities and across the nation. It’s both a celebration and, if used properly, a chance to kick-start the end-of-year fundraising drives. More than $50 million was raised on the day in 2014, according to several of the major non-profit sector donation processors.

At Mitch-Stuart, we’re best known for our non-profit fundraising auction travel packages, which charities can offer on a consignment basis during galas and other events. But there are ways to utilize these money-raising tools on Giving Tuesday, as well, that will both make a donor’s once-in-a-lifetime travel dreams come true and bring in a chunk of change to be used to fund good works.

One of our most recent programs can make Giving Tuesday fundraising a breeze. By setting up a Mitch-Stuart Travel Raffle, you can give your donors a chance to buy tickets, in many cases online (where permitted by local laws), for a chance to win a fantastic trip package. Organizations can make it a one-day frenzy, where tickets are only available on Giving Tuesday itself, or they can sell tickets for weeks in advance and do the drawing on December 1. Either way, using the extra publicity of Giving Tuesday to help promote the raffle can lead to more tickets sold and more funds raised, all without planning and executing a gala or event.

Of course, with Giving Tuesday in such close proximity to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many potential donors may still be in purchase mode. If you’ve got a list of big supporters that you think may be interested in buying individual trips, we can work with your organization to offer a Mitch-Stuart travel package at a “buy it now” price. It allows the donors to take the guesswork out of how much they’ll have to pay for that weekend trip to the beach or once-in-a-lifetime adventure, while also allowing you to piggyback on the season with a more “traditional” shopping experience.

A Giving Tuesday promotion doesn’t have to end on that specific day, either. If your organization has an upcoming gala or major fundraising event, you can make December 1 the official first day of ticket sales, too, getting an extra signal boost from the pseudo-holiday. And if you’re planning on offering Mitch-Stuart travel packages at that future event, you can also utilize some of our promotional collateral available for each individual trip.

Want to pump up your Giving Tuesday fundraising? Reach out to a Mitch-Stuart travel expert today!
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Get Creative! Fundraiser Locations You Haven’t Thought Of

June 04, 2013
“Been there, done that”.

The last thing you want your guests to say when you are hosting a non profit auction! And it all starts with the location. Here are some outside-of-the-hotel-ballroom options you might want to consider when hosting your next charity event.

That trendy place you’ve been meaning to go Why not raise money in a fun and low-key, “natural” atmosphere? If your donors and attendees are comfortable they may be inclined to spend a little more money than they planned, which isn’t a bad thing! Consider a hot club, restaurant or bar. Be sure to factor in the following:
  • Serve any “signature dishes” the restaurant might be famous for
  • If a bar has been around for a significant amount of time jump on its rich history, or if it’s known for serving a particular drink, it could be fun to let your attendees know about it
  • For a club, see if there’s a famous DJ or if this venue hosts a special jazz night or other genre of music-themed night
This can be a win-win situation for your fundraiser and the owner of any of these establishments. Explain to the owner that this could be a great PR opportunity for their business and the possibility of returning patrons is too good to pass up.

Lights! Camera! Action! Similar to hosting your fundraiser at a restaurant/bar/club, a local movie or legitimate theater will also benefit from a great PR opportunity. However, the additional benefit of holding something at a theater is the venue’s ability to advertise the event and sell tickets. Let your guests explore a stage where great plays have unfolded -- it never hurts to be in a place of grandeur.

Go “Old School” No, you’re not having your donors relive their senior year of college. Contact a local campus group that supports your organization’s cause. Coordinate with them to seek out an interesting on-campus location and give them a chance to also support the cause. This also encourages the next generation of philanthropists.

Where’s the most creative place you’ve ever been for a charity auction?


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A Different Take on Appealing to Alumni Associations

March 19, 2013
Has your annual donation drive failed to drive donations? Has your donor base “checked out” when it comes to writing checks? Soliciting hard earned dollars from anyone for anything takes a lot of hard work and finesse especially in this economy. Sometimes it’s timing, sometimes it’s the approach, or sometimes it’s a combination. If the end result is low end donations, you might want to consider offering something new to your base.

When you analyze it, even if people care deeply for a cause, if the pitch is “been there, done that,” it may not resonate. So your job as a development director/fundraiser then becomes figuring out a way to excite and energize alumni beyond “Hey we’re your school, please write us a check.”
 
The answer may be as simple as making more money for your association and less work for you. As we have reported in this blog before, people today crave experiences, particularly customized experiences that represent a check-mark on a list of “things I’ve always wanted to do.”
 
Why not offer your alumni risk-free custom-designed travel packages that are in fact a reward for being an alumni? This offer should be presented to your audience as an opportunity for a great vacation that will also result in some funding for your alma mater. It can be viewed as the ultimate win-win!

Specialized travel companies offer exciting creative packages at steep discounts, through a website created especially for the association. There is no cash layout or cold-calling every store in town. The association pockets a percentage from each sale of a trip. Some examples of these extraordinary experiences include sojourns to Sonoma’s wine country including a private tour, a magnificent trip to Paris which features a cooking class at L’Atelier Des Sens or a shopping excusion to New York. There are so many options.

An experienced company will work with you to:
  • Design trips your members would want
  • Come up with creative ways to make the trips available such as raffles; offers on your website etc.
  • Create a “wow” factor for your organization and better yet, the target audience
  • Help you to market the travel program to get the highest possible participation

Travel is such an exciting option for associations and their members and distinctly different. Have you had success working with custom-designed travel packages and your association? We would love to know about your experience!


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2013 Crystal Ball: Travel Trends and Fundraisers

January 16, 2013
Even though we only just barely escaped the fiscal cliff and the Mayan calendar and we still have the debt ceiling to worry about, top travel prognosticators are forecasting upturns all around the industry. This is good news if you are planning a charity fundraiser and worrying about donations.
 
Take a look at some of the trends we are tracking as you plan your winter/spring events.
 
“Modern Family” Vacation
You, your kids, your parents, the in-laws — everyone’s invited on these multi-generational, often money-saving family getaways.  With people looking for economical ways to travel and keep their family close (“we never see the grandchildren”) group bookings are more popular than ever. Some cities we like for the “family that plays together” include Telluride, Colorado, Maui, Hawaii and of course Disney resorts. (Mitch-Stuart Hot Trips)
 
Friend, Share, Like, BOOK!
Just saw your FB friend’s fabulous photos from Down Under? Your college roommate tweeting his jaunt to Jakarta? Someone you don’t know at all pin some “food porn” from Paris on Pinterest? You may be suffering from a case of “vacation envy” that can only be cured by booking a similar trip. Social sharing may be the best advertising going right now. Smart planners will scan social sites and see who’s wandering where as a guide to planning some 2013 excursions.
 
Unwind, Unplug
Digital detox is predicted to be high on travelers’ to-do lists this year. Savvy planners will look for destinations without WIFI for this crowd. Locales offering deluxe loafing like Nevis, West Indies or St. Kitts, should be included in auction items you are considering (know your crowd of course before you offer) 
 
Travel & the Big Game (er Games)
Once-in-a-lifetime events and sporting spectacles occupy a spot on many a bucket list, but if the 2012 Olympics in London are any indicator, people want to check that item off pronto! And there are so many opportunities all over the world from serious soccer matches to Formula 1 and the NFL to the Masters Tournament in Augusta, GA or the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.
 
Death of the Staycation
There’s a lot of pent-up demand to see the world!  Many who lost jobs, were downsized or just felt the need to be thrifty are seeing some financial light at the end of their tunnels and are itching to explore! Experienced auction planners know that means, adding some “dream trips” such as private tours of Rome or Florence complete with top-notch cooking lessons, Napa Valley Wine Trips, New Orleans, New York or even the Primetime Emmy Awards and Governor’s Ball in Los Angeles.
 
All in all, we at Mitch-Stuart are looking forward to a spectacular travel year and we would love to hear your opinions on some “hot spots” for 2013. For more information on any of the trips listed above click here.

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