Do you consider summer the start of the charity fundraising “slow season”?
It doesn’t have to be! Whether your next event is in a few days or a few months, the prep work you do now will directly translate to results. The relative down time of summer is the perfect opportunity for nonprofits to lay the groundwork for more effective fundraising year-round.
In our next series of articles, we’ll discuss some efficient ways to use this time, such as catching up with donors, securing gala logistics, procuring auction items and trying out creative fundraising ideas. We’ll also look at strategies to revamp popular outdoor events like golf tournaments, Fun Runs, 5Ks and wine tastings with new sponsors, press releases, raffles and more. Sound good?
To kick off this important series, let’s talk travel. As the weather warms, summer travel is on the forefront of every donor’s mind. So we compiled a list of 6 top-rated, “bucket list” travel destinations that are making headlines in 2016. Why not quickly and easily reserve these trips through Winspire, then use the following information to promote the items before your next auction?
Top destinations, according to travel critics nationwide
No 2016 travel list would be complete without a mention of Havana, Cuba, thanks to a lifting of a 54-year trade embargo and the U.S. Embassy reopening in August 2015.In February, the United States and Cuba agreed to restore commercial flights for the first time since 1960, leading to every major airline clamoring for routes to the Caribbean isle. Indeed, the softening of long-standing icy relations between the U.S. and Cuba has made headlines all year, including nationally televised presidential debates.
The result? Virtually every list of travel recommendations this year (like Conde Nast Traveller’s “Top 10 Destinations to Watch in 2016“) has Havana at or near the the top of this year’s most unique and alluring travel destinations.
Imagine sun-faded neighborhoods, sandy beaches, colonial architecture, sprawling plantations and a dreamlike vibe frozen in time. It’s essentially guaranteed your donors haven’t been here before, much less offered the chance to support a cause they care about while visiting.
Best of all, there’s no need to spend countless hours trying to coordinate a trip yourself. We are proud to announce a brand-new Winspire Experience to Cuba is here! Click to learn more about this trip that is sure to be a first for your fundraiser. Then, remind donors to act fast, as tourism to the once-off-limits nation is expected to skyrocket this year.
2. New York City
The Big Apple has been the top U.S. travel destination for decades, but there’s plenty of reasons New York still warrants a spot on National Geographic’s “Best Trips of 2016.”
For one thing, the skyline as we knew it has changed. Chances are most of your donors haven’t been back since the unveiling of One World Observatory, the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere at a poignant 1,776 feet, a year ago on May 29, 2015.
The world’s tallest residential building, 432 Park Avenue, is another late December 2015 reveal that’s a true feat of engineering and architectural must-see (from the outside, at least – the incredible views in these rooms will set you back about $40 million!).
Another recent addition that will delight city explorers is a revamping of public spaces. Nat Geo reports that popular urban greenspaces like the Bridge Park waterfronts of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn and Chelsea’s High Line strip have been renovated within the last year.
Finally, the lights on Broadway are shining brighter than ever. First and most prominently is Hamilton: An American Musical. The unprecedented demand for tickets has allowed newer Winspire Experiences like Hamilton on Broadway and Ultimate Hamilton Experience (with cast meet and greet!) to sell for high bids and multiple times at events across the country.
Thanks partially to the huge success of Hamilton, longer-running shows like Book of Mormon, Aladdin and Wicked continue to sell out day after day, making 2016 the most lucrative year for Broadway on record. In fact, the New York Times recently reported that the highest-grossing show of 2016 was 18-year Broadway-veteran, Lion King. Imagine giving your donors the chance to see the hottest shows and get the VIP treatment, all while supporting your cause!
With so many new offerings and events year-round, New York demands a repeat visit. Plus, you’ll be surprised how many of your donors will be thrilled to check a New York trip off their bucket list for the first time.
This summer may be the perfect time to invite donors to take a trip to the tropical paradise of Fiji: the country has landed on travel site Lonely Planet’s “Top 16 Countries of 2016“.
First, a $105 million summer 2016 upgrade to Fiji’s Nadi International Airport is set to wrap up in a few weeks. Spruced-up terminals boast 7 times more space, brighter natural light and upgraded check-in areas, meaning your winning bidders’ luxurious experience will begin right from the airport.
They’ll also have a much smoother time flying into and getting around the picturesque archipelago than they would have in 2015: The dust from a political coup and constitutional crisis in 2013, plus a major cyclone, has finally settled.
Tempt supporters with Fiji’s perfect blue skies, upscale resorts, coral reefs, warm waters and some of the most superb snorkeling and diving on the planet.
4. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Made famous by Darwin’s observations in 1835, exploring the Galápagos Islands is the quintessential bucket list item. So, why should your donors go now? The same reason Travel + Leisure included the Galápagos Islands in their “Best Places to Travel in 2016” list: the amazing biodiversity of the island chain is more impressive than ever this year.
In fact, thanks to careful preservation efforts of Galápagos penguins—the rarest in the world—there are more to view today than there have been in decades.
Of course, penguins are just one of many animals your bidders won’t see anywhere else. Sea lions, blue-footed boobies, whales, iguanas, giant tortoises and more await. Transport your donors to a land teeming with life and adventure, worlds apart from the routine, all while enjoying deluxe accomodations with our trusted hotel and cruise partners.
The land down under is an amazing travel spot still unchecked on most bucket lists. To help remedy that, US News & Travel includes Sydney near the top of its “World’s Best Places to Visit in 2015 and 2016“.
One compelling reason to make the trip sooner rather than later? After years of steady growth, the strength of the Aussie dollar has been declining this year – meaning your supporters’ travel budgets will go even further. And as oil prices flag at home and abroad, renting a car and exploring different parts of the island, like cultural hubs Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, is a much more wallet-friendly proposition.
Finally, natural sights like the Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania’s pristine wilderness must be seen in person to be believed, but growing threats to the environment, like climate change and pollution, make its longevity uncertain. So interested travelers may want to head over before these environments are closed off to the public, or worse, destroyed.
With so many unique, new and improved travel destinations, forget the “slow season” of fundraising. Spark your donors’ imaginations by reserving and promoting top-notch Winspire Experiences to boost your next event’s bottom line.