I’m up. It is 5:15am on a Saturday and in a few hours I’ll be on a flight to Dallas. This is how things go when you’re on the road and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I roll out of bed and start making coffee to help kick-start my morning. With my bags packed and coffee in hand I drive to the airport to catch my flight. Wendy, one of our stellar Auction Experts, joins me and we hop on our plane. Once we are settled on the plane, we review the final details to help Fox Sports SouthWest crush their fundraising goal. They are doing this fundraising auction on September 11th on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Fund . Our goal is lofty, last year they raised over $150,000 and this year we’re hoping to raise over $200,000.
Preparation starts weeks before we cross the Texas border with check-in calls, checklists, analysis with trained Auction Experts and of course our game plan. When working with BiddingForGood we stick by our claim that we help at every stage of the fundraising process.
Fortunately for us, Fox Sports SouthWest is eager to put the plan in place and what happens next is what we hope all our clients experience- coordinated chaos.
We touch down at 10am local time and it is straight to the Ranger’s stadium. We’ve done large events but a packed stadium is clearly on another level and isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s only a few hours before the fans start to fill the stands. I’m excited to meet bidders and help them experience our fundraising software. Setting up a fundraiser is different at each venue and today we’re parked inside the Captain Morgan Club, which is an easily accessible public area. This will be our home base for the next few hours. Having a central location is extremely important for a number of reasons;
- You want volunteers and staff to point curious bidders to one place
- Providing computers for those not familiar with mobile devices will allow bidding from the less tech savvy audience
- Learning our platform is easy but having one location where we can train the volunteers allows us to provide training that is uniform
It’s now 5pm and things are in full swing. Batter up! Bidding is announced on the radio, TV, and across the stadium on giant screens. People are excited and ready to place their bids. This registration rush is normal and exciting. Everyone wants to get in on the action and with trained volunteers we are able to get bids in and start raising funds. Things are moving faster than last year, a good sign for things to come.
Now in extra innings the Rangers pull a win which seems quite fitting for the event as a whole. Not only have we surpassed this year’s goal and last year’s number but we are now sitting on a new record for Fox Sports SouthWest. Everyone is elated and we are jumping around the Captain Morgan Club. Luckily a camera isn’t snapping our silliness. All in all a great event and as we pack up our gear we receive compliments and congratulatory remarks from everyone on staff and even the General Manager. This is why we do this. A great cause, a great event and over $200,000 to help those in need. Not a bad days work.
Stay tuned for my next “On the road with Rissler” post!
Starting this Friday, February 10th, Client Services will be starting their new webinar series called “Basic Training Auction Boot Camp with Jenny!” This webinar will be conducted by our very own Jenny Fox, who joined the Client Services team in September 2011. As another new member of the team and the unofficial Webinar Drill Sergeant, I thought it would be fun to interview Jenny so we could all learn a little more about her and, of course, the webinar!
Valeria (VA): Tell us a little bit yourself and what you do at BiddingForGood.
Jenny (JF): I work in the Client Services department, helping clients with their technical questions and general bidder inquiries. I’ve also been helping out with our mobile launch partners, creating presentations and printable catalogs for their live events.
I went to Simmons College and majored in Communications with a concentration in PR and Marketing. I like the concept of BiddingForGood and it’s a fun environment to be a part of. It’s a lot different from other places I worked at before!
VA: Outside of work, what do you like to do for fun?
JF: I like to go out with friends. I shop a lot… and that might be a problem. I live in the North End in Boston and I love it there! But, I’m pretty boring.
VA: Any North End recommendations?
JF: Bova’s bakery! It’s open 24 hours a day and it is AMAZING! Lisa B. says I should be their official spokesperson. And for food that’s not pastry, I like Hot Tomatoes.
VA: You mentioned earlier that you’re working on our upcoming webinar series for current clients. What are these webinars about?
JF: These webinars are for new and returning clients looking to learn the basics of our Auction Manager platform. It’s an overview to help them get started, learn about the tools and resources, and build their auction. There will also be some time at the end to ask questions.
VA: I know it will be after the Super Bowl when this gets posted, but who are you rooting for?
JF: The Patriots!
VA: Boo! (I’m a Giants fan, folks!). Well, thanks so much for your time Jenny! I’m sure our clients are looking forward to the webinars!
If you are a current client and would like to learn the basics of our Auction Manager platform, please join Jenny starting this Friday, February 10th at 2pm Eastern/11am Pacific for “Basic Training Auction Boot Camp with Jenny!”. If you can’t make it on the 10th, you can also register for future webinars by clicking on the link.
As a non-profit, you’re presented with various challenges… how to get people involved, how to extract every dime out of anyone whose attention you have, how to get the most out of limited resources, time, budget, people, iron ore, etc. Old news, right? Here’s where I’m going... these challenges are begging to be solved with some creativity!
To set the stage, there are literally over 1.5 million non-profits in the United States (and that number is constantly growing). According to the 2011 World Giving Index, 65% of Americans are giving money to non-profits and 43% are volunteering their time… don’t you feel like you should have a larger slice of those pies? While your mission is likely compelling in its own right, you are in a heated competition. Competition… that doesn’t sound very non-profity? Embrace it. You’re competing for those dollars, for those volunteers, and the important first piece of the puzzle… for attention.
The first step in selling someone anything is getting people to listen to you long enough to understand what you’re talking about in the first place. That’s right; grab their attention - and it doesn’t need to be something wacky and over the top (but it can be). You can roll some creative, attention grabbing techniques into what you’re doing right now. Are you sending a newsletter? Are you making presentations? Are you hosting events? Doing an annual mailing?
If you’re thinking, “there are only so many ways we can send out this newsletter,” I’m going to present you with my challenge: be creative. It would be great if you had a fantastic marketing department like we do at BiddingForGood (the people that are responsible for this work of art), but not everyone has that luxury. If you take a stab at thinking outside the box for an e-mail, or one of your blog posts, or at a presentation, you may be surprised at how you can engage and reengage your supporters.
Here are some tips that we employ over here to keep our minds working, our message fresh, and our audience engaged:
- Use an analogy that seems like a stretch, and then bring it home
- Create some content that breaks the ice and is a talking point
- Have a company-wide brainstorm session to tackle problems (you could be pleasantly surprised where the ideas come from)
There are probably 300 other entries that can be added to this; please share any other ideas you have in the comments section. You’re likely taking at least a few days off in the coming weeks to recharge the batteries… spend some time thinking about how to revamp the same old same old, and come back to that 2012 kick-off meeting with some new, fresh, creative energy!
And Happy Holidays.