March 17, 2017; International Business Times
Most everyone envies the number ($3.5 million), but even close readers of nonprofit news have a difficult time naming the charity that benefits from the world’s most famous annual charity auction experience: lunch with Warren Buffett.
Just 30 minutes with Tim Cook in his office at Apple raised $610,000 at Charity Buzz for the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. Spending the day with Bill Clinton brought $255,000. The list goes on.
Last Wednesday, Asma Al Fahim, the founder of Dubai lifestyle magazine Villa 88, gave the winning bid of $10,000 for a glorious hamburger made by chef Russell Impiazzi and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, a member of Qatar’s royal family. Impiazzi is the culinary director at Le Gourmet in the Dubai Mall’s Galeries Lafayette, where the charity auction called “Pink Bite” took place. The auction for United Arab Emirates–based nonprofit Pink Caravan raised nearly $30,000.
Whatever your cause or primary means of revenue may be, charity auctions provide unrestricted funds with no onerous reports required six months later by the highest bidder. All business, political, entertainment, and sports celebrities and luminaries spend their days doing what they do. Working with an industry leader like Charity Buzz, you need only win a sliver of their time and Charity Buzz will offer that experience to its more than 200,000 global subscribers for a modest percentage of the final bid. Charity Buzz has raised more than $200 million for more than 3,200 nonprofits.
Research shows that auctioning experiences is especially effective for appealing to millennials.
More than three in four millennials (78 percent) would choose to spend money on an experience or event over buying something desirable (Harris study). Millennials want to spend their money being with others. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they believe attending live experiences helps them connect better with their friends, their community and people around the world. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they participated in a “live event” in the past year and 72 percent said they’d like to improve their expenditures on experiences in the coming year.
If, like Pink Caravan, you can fill a room with donors who have the capacity and willingness to spend $10,000 for a “Burgerstack,” by all means, carry on. But if you only have access to a priceless experience, there are ways to offer that opportunity to a world of bidders. Fundraising is almost always about relationships. Sometimes, just 30 minutes of a luminary’s day can make all the difference for your cause.—James Schaffer