July 2016 Giveaway Winner AnnouncedWe are thrilled to announce the winner of our third Donation Give-Away drawing of 2016!

Congratulations goes to Doug Tiede, Special Events Manager for the Minnesota Zoo Foundation in Apple Valley, Minn. The Foundation secures gifts, hosts special events and advocates on behalf of the Minnesota Zoo. Its mission: to connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife. Since 1978, the Zoo has become a state, national, and international leader in wildlife conservation and environmental education.

It’s our honor to be able to donate $1,000 in Hyatt stays for their use in an upcoming fundraiser. Read on to see how Doug plans to use the prize to generate more revenue at the 29th annual “Beastly Ball,” plus learn more about their mission and biggest fundraising challenges.


How will your organization use the Hyatt gift certificates?

Our goal is to use the certificates to round out a unique auction package for use in either our premiere silent auction category or the live auction of our largest fundraiser of the year, the 29th annual Beastly Ball. This is the Zoo’s signature black-tie event, attracting more than 500 guests and raising over $500,000 each year.

In 1988 the Zoo hosted its first Beastly Ball, raising just over $40,000 to support the Zoo’s operations. Every year this event has grown and evolved, turning into the large-scale fundraiser it is today.

Unlike many other galas, this event does not take place in a ballroom or event center. Instead, the Ball is held each year at the Minnesota Zoo, which creates a unique experience and setting. Plus, every year we incorporate a different theme that highlights an animal or conservation project led by the Zoo.


The Beastly Ball features several revenue opportunities: a Live and Silent Auction, fundraising games, and a fund-a-need appeal. Money raised at the Beastly Ball supports general conservation efforts of the Zoo and our education and outreach programs.

For more information on the event, visit mnzoo.org/beastlyball.

What is your biggest fundraising challenge and why?

It’s always a challenge to come up with new, exciting and appealing packages for our live and silent auctions. Each year we try to get packages that align with the theme of the event, plus travel and experiences that can only be found at our auction. We work all year on securing donations and special access to different experiences so we can provide truly unique auction items.


How has Winspire improved your fundraising results?

Winspire packages helped us exceed our Live Auction goals and provided the “wow” factor we wanted for the event.

I have enjoyed reading articles and viewing webinars posted by Winspire News. It is a great place to explore new ideas and find ways to help improve fundraising events.

We used some Winspire packages in our 2016 Beastly Ball, and it was a huge success! The unique and exclusive packages we reserved would be hard to create on our own. All of the packages we offered in our Live Auction sold for more than the value, which helped us exceed our live auction goals and provided the “wow” factor we wanted for the event. Plus, the Winspire travel concierge service provided to our donors who won the packages was a great benefit, minimizing follow-up needed on my part to fulfill the vacation packages.

We will continue to look to Winspire to help round out our auction package offerings.

(Considering Winspire packages for your upcoming event? Click to browse our catalog of over 200 unique Experiences, then easily reserve trips at no upfront cost to you.)

What else would you like people to know about the Minnesota Zoo?


The Minnesota Zoo is the state’s largest environmental learning center and a top cultural institution. It sits on a 485-acre site in Apple Valley and is home to 4,781 animals, representing 523 species, many of which are considered endangered or threatened. Over 1.2 million people visit the Zoo each year, enjoying its exhibits, attending classes, and connecting with our world’s wildlife and wild places.

Cutting-edge exhibits provide exciting experiences with animals and their habitats, introducing guests to species from around the globe. Educational programs engage audiences at the Zoo, throughout the region, and around world. Conservation programs protect endangered species and preserve critical ecosystems.


You could be our next lucky Winspire News subscriber to WIN over $1,000 in donated items for your upcoming fundraiser! For more information and to find out what we’re giving away this quarter, click below.


Then, improve your nonprofit’s odds by inviting friends and colleagues to do the same!


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