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Case Study – Robert F. Thomas Foundation

April 30, 2014
Robert F. Thomas, a doctor in Sevier County, Tennessee, is said to have made as many as 1,000 house calls in a single year. He was a doctor, a minister and, maybe most crucially, a member of his community, one concerned with making sure that everyone, rich and poor, had access to healthcare.

Since his passing in 1980, the Robert F. Thomas Foundation has continued to build on Thomas’ concern, raising money to help provide health services to everyone. The organization has had help from, among others, Thomas’ most famous patient; he was the doctor who helped deliver one Dolly Parton into the world, and she has repaid him for the service by helping to raise funds and keep his dream alive.

But not even Dolly can do it alone.

“Dolly Parton is a huge part of what we do, but she’s not the sole person who funds us,” said Amy Woods of the Thomas Foundation. “We have a lot to bring in, a lot to do. Our biggest fundraiser that we do is the ‘Evening of Elegance,’ and that’s where I started using [Mitch-Stuart].”

Mitch-Stuart has provided auction-ready travel experiences for the Thomas Foundation’s major and smaller fundraising events. Donors have gone to Canada and the Caribbean, New York and Napa Valley, and everywhere in between. While the experiences have varied wildly, Woods said that the experience working with Mitch-Stuart has remained the same.

“I love the fact that I call and can ask, ‘what should I be looking at this year?’” she said. “They’ve never let me down.”

After a few times working with Mitch-Stuart, providing trips to vacations spots nearby and far-flung, Woods has started to see donors even requesting the availability of certain destination packages for upcoming auctions; trips involving culinary tours are popular, as are excursions to New York City.

“I’ll have people call and say, ‘Do you have any trips this year? Because I would like to go to...and if I’m going to go there anyway, I’d rather buy it from you and help the foundation,’” she said.

Those trip packages, which have attracted a fan base that includes a local mayor, have combined with other auction items like cars and, at one special event, even an Egyptian Arabian stallion to make the “Evening of Elegance” the county’s must-attend social event, meaning big funds for an incredibly important cause.


“It’s really nice to know that every year, no matter what our other items are, we’re always able to go and pick out whatever I want from anywhere in the world out of Mitch-Stuart’s catalog,” Woods said.

Thanks to Amy Woods of the Robert F. Thomas Foundation for taking the time to speak with us! For more information on the organization and its important work, visit it on the web and on Facebook.


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More Ways to Delight your Donors

November 19, 2013
Last month we shared with you some of the different and delightful travel experiences offered by the latest Mitch-Stuart Inc. Destinations of Excellence® Catalogue. The catalogue is so well-stocked with excellent adventures, it required a second look.

As you begin planning for your most successful 2014 auction, raffles and other fundraising event using travel packages and experiences, look no further than the catalogue but start right here to get some great ideas.

For the Family The experts at Mitch-Stuart, Inc. have combed the globe for family-friendly experiences which include fun-packed trips to the original Disneyland as well as Disney World; or if your tastes wander to the sunniest climes – consider Hawaii and the Fairmont Kea Lani, Cancun’s Palace Resorts or a water park package from one of 50 participating parks in North America! Still haven’t found your perfect trip? Your family can enjoy a historical and cultural vacation in a unique American city such as Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Boston or New Orleans. Make your kids’ (and your own) dreams come true with any one of the above or more listed in the catalogue.

For the Cold-Weather Athlete If skiing is the way to a donor’s heart, consider all the superb ski packages Mitch-Stuart has to offer - winter wonderlands Whistler, Aspen, Vail or Telluride await with luxury accommodations, often ski-in, ski-out and the most luxurious locations. There is virtually no ski resort unexplored by our experts with other fabulous packages including visits to Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Vermont or Wyoming and international destinations like Mont Tremblant in Quebec. Each trip is tailored to skiers at any level. Mitch-Stuart ensures incomparable experiences on and off the slopes.

For the Warm-Weather Athlete Golf or tennis? Scuba or swimming? YES, please. When you work with Mitch-Stuart you can have it all. Resort packages to the best golf in the world include the links your donors are longing for: Pinehurst on your choice of 8 championship courses, Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Club & Lodge, AAA Five-Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess with two 18-hole championship courses, finally a stay at the Fairmont, and play at Old St. Andrews the most sought-after golf experience of them all!

For the World Traveler Mitch-Stuart, Inc. can send your donors to far-flung corners of the world with every detail catered to perfectly. International experiences include an exotic Indonesian escape in Bali, the exquisite beaches and cruises to the Caribbean, or fabulous jaunts to the exciting cities of Europe including a gourmet adventure in the heart of Italy and sophisticated artsy Amsterdam. In addition to these charming cities, Mitch-Stuart offers packages to London, Monte Carlo, Paris, Montreux and a safari to Africa. Your donors will want to bid on them all – and isn’t that the goal?

For the Gastronome According to social media experts, the most shared content today is FOOD! Photos of food and discussions of deliciousness fill Facebook feeds and occupy Instagram in huge volume. Your donors want to go gourmet and Mitch-Stuart, Inc. has the offerings! Gastronomic delights include South Beach Wine & Food Festival Southwestern and Mexican fare on trips to the gorgeous Sonoran desert, the epitome of nouvelle cuisine with your wine in Napa as well as epicurean excursions to restaurant towns like Chicago and New York. Get your passports ready for international culinary experiences such as cooking classes and wine tastings in Tuscany or Sorrento and days of dining in Paris.

With the ability to customize trips as well, the Mitch-Stuart Destinations of Excellence® trips and experiences may be the only source of auction and fundraising ideas you need to plan.



Disneyland World of Color
Water Park
Skiers
Scuba Diving
London Eye
Rachael Ray South Beach Food & Wine Festival


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400 Ways (and Counting!) to Delight your Auction Audience

October 22, 2013
When it comes to donating to a favorite cause at a charity fundraiser, people spend with their hearts or palates or adrenalin in mind. Which is a good thing if you are in receipt of the latest Mitch-Stuart Inc. Destinations of Excellence Catalogue. The newest catalogue is a round-the-world compendium of classically fabulous cities and properties combined with once-in-a-lifetime experiences that evoke responses like, “The trip of a lifetime!”

MetLife Stadium
Ferrari F430 F1
Safari Lions
Sea World Killer Wales and Kids
Emmys
Bloomingdales New York
The savvy event planner can take a look at their crowd and know which exclusive packages to offer in order to achieve the highest “WOW” factor. To get your paddles up and at ‘em at your next event, here is just a sampling. Read on and get some good ideas.

For the Armchair Athlete and Fervent Fan Would you like to offer your crowd trips to any major sporting event in the U.S.? Mitch-Stuart Inc. offers that. As well, pick and choose some amazing one-time events such as the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, Masters at Augusta, the Ryder Cup in Scotland, the Indy 500 in Indianapolis or the 2014 Super Bowl – the first one at MetLife stadium played outdoors as real football should be! If your sports fan tends toward a less visceral appreciation of athleticism, there’s a package to attend the ESPYS – ESPN’s annual celebration of all things sport.

For the Walter Mitty in us all On sea, on land and in the air, there is something for those in search of a pulse-racing experience. Whether its spending a hands-on day on the America’s Cup yacht as part of a trip to San Diego, a thrilling and beautiful driving experience in Europe in your very own Porsche, exotic car-racing in Las Vegas (including a heilicoptor tour of the city) or an exhilirating motorcycle tour throughout Arizona and Nevada aboard a Harley Davidson or Triumph Thunderbird, Mitch-Stuart has excellent experiences for the thrill-seeker. Not high energy enough? Try a “Top Gun Experience” as a fighter pilot for a day in a military aircraft.

For the Fan of the Four-legged a few exciting Destinations of Excellence! There is a breathtaking safari to Kenya that features endless wildlife viewing from the Serengeti to Kenya's Masai Mara. The Westminster Dog Show offers a backstage pass to this wonderful world of purebred dogs and all the grace, pomp and circumstance that goes with it – plus it’s in New York. If your taste runs more to the aquatic, visit San Diego with a package dedicated to Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. For equine enthusiasts, two great options – come to the Kentucky Derby for a mint julep-filled visit to storied Louisville and the annual heart-pounding race or visit Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo Championship.

For the Celebrity-Struck Awards shows know no bounds in the Mitch-Stuart Destinations of Excellence catalogue. Your devotee can see the Emmys, the Grammys, The VMAs, the People’s Choice Awards and more – all in either Los Angeles or New York offered in addition to exclusive fun-filled packages with lots of extras. Country music enthusiasts can also visit Nashville for the Country Music Awards.

For the Fashionable Those with a PhD in the “Shopping Arts” will be over the moon with one of Mitch-Stuart Inc.’s famed shopping packages. The new catalogue features destinations such as Palm Springs for a few days of the
 finest outlet shopping or the always popular New York “Shop til You Drop” excursion. There is a featured Nordstrom experience that one can obtain in San Francisco, Newport Beach or Chicago. Finally, the shopping is pretty good in Paris and several Italian cities Mitch-Stuart packages as well!

If you aren’t too overwhelmed by all the fantastic finds in the new catalogue, visit it yourself! This is just a taste.



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Round of Applause: Mitch-Stuart, Inc. Wins the 2013 SCORE Award!

September 10, 2013
Recognition for a job well done isn’t something we take lightly. So, while we are overjoyed to have been named the winner of the 2013 SCORE Award for The "Outstanding Small Business Launched by Individuals Aged 50+" at the SCORE Foundation's award ceremony last month in Dallas, we also want to use the opportunity to share some “success strategies” that others can employ when contemplating awards and other recognition.

First, a bit about the SCORE Award.

The SCORE Foundation is the globally-recognized organization of retired business executives who "mentor" small businesses and Mitch-Stuart was selected out of hundreds of entries from across the country for this prestigious award. Mitch-Stuart, Inc. was founded by Stuart Paskow and Michelle Cohen at an age when many might be looking at lessening their workload, but their extensive experience in the corporate and non-profit sectors and long-standing entrepreneurial spirit allowed them to innovate and become trailblazers for a new industry. Over the past twenty years Michelle and Stuart created and shaped the concept of travel in non-profit fundraising, specializing in unique travel programs that assist nonprofit organizations and provide incentives for businesses.

Mitch-Stuart has proudly raised more than $1 billion for more than 10,000 charities throughout the nation and serves thousands of clients annually. Telling the company story in a meaningful way helped lead to the SCORE Award recognition. Here are some ways your organization can help tell its story and gain valuable industry recognition.
  • Research, research, research Identify award categories into which your organization or founders might fit and really do the homework to make sure you qualify. Factors such as geography, number of volunteers and employees, target market, successful fundraising efforts, diversity, etc., may all make up key criteria.
  • Hire a professional If you or someone in your organization doesn’t have the time to research and prepare the often in-depth award entries and applications, retain a writer or public relations professional to do the heavy lifting, with the organization’s leadership weighing in and editing content of course.
  • Make a plan Work backwards from the competition deadline to ensure that you make critical due dates and have ample time to retrieve important data, visuals or other components necessary to present a complete entry.
Finally, our mantra of “client service is king” really resonated with the SCORE Awards judges. More about the importance of service in our upcoming Mitch-Stuart Inc. fall newsletter.




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