A Fundraising Success Story
January 22, 2013
empowers people with disabilities, age 16 and over, to reach their full potential. They offer job training and a life skills program to help these adults become self-sufficient.
This organization, with the help of Allison McElroy, Foundation Director, would like to share some of their secrets to fundraising success.
Open Avenues has worked with Mitch-Stuart Inc. for the past six years on their Spring Fling event. Prior to partnering with Mitch-Stuart, Open Avenues relied mainly on local merchants to donate auction items. Since working with Mitch-Stuart, this reliance on local merchants (and the inherent “donor burnout”) has disappeared producing more successful and lucrative auction events.
“Deluxe vacation packages provided by Mitch-Stuart are the most popular items at our auction,” says McElroy. “The Mitch Stuart model works so well for us since we don’t have to pay for anything that is not sold.”
She goes on to say that the company helps her plan each year by recommending “hot” and popular destinations. McElroy then reviews what her audience has selected in the past and what she knows about their likes and dislikes to create a potent and popular mix of experiences.
The best news? Open Avenues credits the addition of Mitch-Stuart trips
with a consistent increase in donations year over year.
Want to emulate Open Avenues’ auction success? McElroy offers some tips:
Tap fundraiser guests who have taken a particular trip to act as roaming ambassadors, or “PR people” to talk about their positive experiences and help influence others to bid on them.
Creatively package trips at live auction — McElroy offered a “Bros on the Go” trip using Mitch-Stuart’s attractive offer of tickets to any major pro sporting event. By combining two of these trips, the organization made a great way for four friends to go. She then followed that up with a “Girl’s Weekend” version as well, packaging two trips to New York City for an expansive girlfriend weekend.
Tantalize your guests in advance with sneak peeks at the Mitch-Stuart catalogue to whet appetites and get people pre-planning what they want to bid on.
Keep up with your audience’s changing taste, adjust which packages you offer accordingly.
Time your event previews and vacation package “sneak peeks” to when people receive tax refunds or bonuses to help them fantasize about how they might spend such funds.
May this advice help you with your next auction!