As we kick off 2017, spring fundraising season inches closer and closer. For many event organizers, this can be a stressful time. Check out this recent graphic from USA Today:

How No-risk Auction Items Take the Bite Out of Procurement

Indeed, for the fifth year in a row, “Event Coordinators” made the list of the 10 most stressful jobs of 2016 – a trend not likely to change in 2017.

For fundraising events, a huge part of the problem is procuring quality auction items.

The Scenario: You and your auction planning committee hold a successful wish list party and your procurement team leaves pumped, with a long list of ideas for unique auction items to retrieve. Fast forward a couple months. There’s just a few weeks before your event. Your committee meets up one last time…and you realize the list of ‘wins’ from your wish list is a lot shorter than you thought.

Our latest Winspire News survey confirms this is a common struggle, with 1 in 3 readers ranking item procurement as their biggest fundraising challenge.

Thankfully, there’s a better way.

If your auction catalog has gaps or lacks the “wow” factor that garners high bids, reserving consignment items for your auction can be a winning solution.

“Consignment” literally translates to the act of placing an item in the hand of another, but retaining ownership until the goods are sold. In the auction world, this means a company will lend you an item to include in your auction with no upfront cost. Then, if the item is actually sold, you buy the item from that company using a portion of the proceeds, and the remaining difference is your profit.

Why offer no-risk items if you don’t get to keep all of the money?

Read on for a few ways consignment items can make your life a whole lot easier and still generate a lot of money for your cause.

Make Life Easier

Save countless hours in the procurement process

No Risk Auction Items make life easier!Studies show the #1 best seller at charity auctions is travel. Your donors are budgeting thousands each year for trips and they’re passionate about your cause – making travel items the perfect way to fulfill two needs with one deed.

Unfortunately, putting these big-ticket items together can take countless hours for a committee member or nonprofit staffer to try and do on their own.

Partnering with a reputable no-risk travel provider like Winspire is the easiest way to offer premium travel. Simply browse our catalog of 140 unique trips around the world, then reserve in your online Suitcase. You’ll be equipped with display materials and have access to your regional Fundraising Specialist for consultation at any time, all with no upfront cost.


Reserve last minute

The golden rule of procurement: It’s never too early to start! Nonprofits typically begin procuring items anywhere from 90 days to one full year out from an event. This gives you more time to promote the items, find out what your audience wants to bid on, and use the “WOW” factor of big-ticket items to sell more tickets.

That said, we all know donations can be hard to come by or fall through at the last minute.

To the rescue: No-risk items. Our “shelves” are always stocked with high-caliber Experiences. Check out this quick video from benefit auctioneer Danny Hooper as he explains the benefit of consignment in the eleventh hour:

Hand off your winning bidders

Finally, partnering with a travel provider saves you countless hours, cost and headache in not only in putting together a high caliber trip, but fulfilling it.

Our professional travel agents reserve every detail of your winning bidders’ trips, treating donors with the white glove service they deserve from start to finish. This ensures a positive experience, reflects well on your organization and leaves donors eager to bid at the next event.

Raise More Money

No Risk Auction Items raise more money!Guaranteed profit

We’ve mentioned that consignment items are no risk: No payment or transaction occurs unless an item sells. To guarantee a profit, simply set a profitable minimum bid. It’s that easy! Your Fundraising Specialist can help determine the best minimum bids that best meet your organization’s fundraising strategy and goals.

Sell multiples

Another huge benefit of no-risk auction items is the ability to sell items multiple times.

Think of red-hot items like tickets to Broadway’s Hamilton (plus cast meet-and-greet!), or a guided excursion through Havana, Cuba – one of 2017’s most talked-about destinations.

Guided excursion through Cuba - no risk auction travel package

More than one donor is likely to be interested in these items, and virtually every Winspire Experience can be sold to as many bidders as you have interested.

For more on selling trips multiple times, see:


Secure underwriters

Finally, travel packages provide a perfect opportunity to secure sponsorships that may otherwise not have been interested in participating. Local businesses and individuals love how easy it is to write a check to cover all or a portion of the trip, plus the onstage recognition in your live auction or prominent mention in the auction catalog.

Fact is, underwriting a 4-night trip to Bermuda sounds a whole lot sexier and draws more attention than most any other sponsorship opportunity. So underwritten travel can make a big difference not only in the night’s total revenue, but also spark relationships with new sponsors for years to come.