5 Trends That Will Impact Fundraising

It isn’t always about what happens the night of your event.  It is how  you are cultivating life-long donors.  And how you are using social media, technology and other things to retain donors and get them interested in your cause.

I found this article online about the trends of 2018… and even though there are just a few months left of the year, I think the information is pretty relevant.

It was written by Tina Jepson of CauseVox.  She talks about the 5 things that impact fundraising in 2018.




HERE ARE THE BIG 5 Tina mentions, and one of the tips.

  1. Changes In How We Use Social Media… tip: ask supporters to share their versions of your nonprofit story on their personal pages.
  2. Focus On Email… tip: follow fundraising email best practices.
  3. The Internet of Things… tip: ramp up data tracking with CSM software.
  4. Digital Payments… tip: ensure the donor page on your website is user friendly.
  5. Realize Your Donor Base Is Shifting… tip: ensure you are catering to your average donor.


Things like you see in this article are what we are telling clients everyday.  Make sure you have a Professional Benefit Auctioneer doing your auction.  Make sure it is someone who understands your audience, and can not only make the most money out them, but can also help you create life-long donors.

We are here to help: 206-963-7148 / stephen@yourbenefitauction.com


2018 – Big Year In Fundraising

I am always amazed at the generosity of people who attend fundraisers.  Every auction we conducted in the Spring and Summer of 2018 saw increased revenue …. EVERY ONE!  According to Giving USA Americans gave $410.02 Billion to charity in 2017, crossing the $400 Billion mark for the first time.


It doesn’t seem like it is slowing down at all for the fall auction season.  The other night our auction for Evergreen Health Foundation saw a huge increase, and they had their biggest night ever, with fewer people, and fewer items.  We can talk about that strategy too.  Less is actually more.  More people and more items – does not mean MORE MONEY!


This Tom Petty signed guitar sold for 700% of value.  WOW!  The item just took off, earning thousands for the Foundation.


We would love to help you increase revenue at your next benefit auction.  We are ready to make a strategic plan to get more out of your guests.  Let’s chat and get those bid cards HIGH IN THE AIR!  206-963-7148 … stephen@yourbenefitauction.com

Vacation Packages with Mitch-Stuart

We have recently been working with our clients and Mitch-Stuart for a lot of vacation and experience packages – that are at no-risk to the clients.  Our clients have had great customer service experiences and their packages are top notch!

If you would like to learn more about the great packages and experiences they have to offer give Stephen a call 206-963-7148 or email stephen@yourbenefitauction.com.



Why Mitch-Stuart?

  • * Risk-Free Travel Packages for Non Profits
  • * Incentive Travel Rewards for Business
  • * Business Programs to Benefit Charities
  • * Hundreds of Dream Destinations
  • * One-Stop Shopping
  • * Expert Planning Advice
  • * Free Concierge Service
  • * Easy to Manage
  • * Prestigious Partners
  • * Measurable Results



With over 20 years’ experience in non profit fund raising and business promotion, Mitch-Stuart makes it easy for you to tap the power of travel to achieve your goals. Our extensive knowledge, fanatical attention to detail, and passionate commitment to customer service set us apart.

Risk-Free Travel Packages for Non Profits. There’s no better or easier way to stimulate your donors to support your organization. You don’t pay a cent until the package is sold and the donation is in your hands.

Incentive Travel Rewards for Business. When you need a spectacular and proven way to attract new customers, reward existing ones, or inspire and motivate employees, look to Mitch-Stuart. We make it easy to do all this and more.

Hundreds of Dream Destinations. Our online catalog is packed with a world of travel possibilities—from the electrifying to the exotic. Have something special in mind? We can custom design a trip just for you.

One-Stop Shopping. How easy is this? One call or email to Mitch Stuart and your non profit travel auction or business awards program is off and running. We’re ready to guide you every step of the way.

Expert Planning Advice. Need help planning or running your travel auction or incentive program? We can help. The principles of Mitch-Stuart have a proven track record in strategic planning, direct marketing (both print and digital), program management, and creative development. We can help you establish budgets, create effective direct marketing packages, analyze results and minimize costs.

Free Concierge Service. We handle all the details—from arranging flights to booking hotels and more—at no extra charge.

Easy To Manage. Our Travel Experts know the ins and outs of running non profit auctions and orchestrating incentive awards programs. They’re always available to provide the know-how and support you need. We make it easy to run a successful auction or incentive program.

Prestigious Providers. With associates like American Airlines and other major carriers, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Swissôtels, Disney, Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Mario Andretti Racing, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and more, we can deliver luxurious, revenue-generating travel packages that are sure to please.

Measurable Results. Mitch-Stuart clients get results. As you browse our site, be sure to read the firsthand accounts of non profit and business clients who have reaped the rewards of travel auctions and incentive programs created and managed by Mitch-Stuart.

Mastering Auction Challenges – SEMINAR

I am excited to be speaking at a seminar in Spokane on September 20th.  I am working with my friends at Greater Giving to share some great ideas, and help you master your auction challenges!  Here are the details:

Mastering Auction Challenges Seminar – Spokane, WA

SEPTEMBER 20 @ 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM


Making Everything Count

How can you reduce your fundraising stress while maximizing auction returns? This seminar will teach you how to enhance what you are already doing for your auction, avoid operational pitfalls, and streamline processes for maximum results. You’ll also learn how to make your event night and program run smoothly through best-practice technology planning. In this seminar, we will share the tips, tricks, and strategies learned at hundreds of benefit auctions. You’ll get the best practices compiled from the experience of thousands of Greater Giving Clients. You’ll also get some new strategies to help your paddle raise excel.

At this seminar, you will learn how to stand out with tips on:

  • How to improve your silent auction performance
  • Procurement
  • Revenue generating ideas
  • Best practice technology
  • Streamline check-in/out
  • Mobile Bidding

Thursday, September 20th – Spokane, WA
8:30 am-12:30 pm

Spokane Convention Center
334 W Spokane Falls Blvd
Spokane, WA 99201

Registration Fee: $19.95

*Includes lunch


Stephen Kilbreath, BAS, Stephen Kilbreath Auctions & Events

Stephen has been a fundraising auctioneer since the early 90s, calling hundreds of auctions. Auction work has taken him across the country – with most of the auctions in the Northwest.  Not only is Stephen a top benefit auctioneer – his name may be familiar because of his long broadcasting career.  Stephen’s sincerity, authenticity and a terrific understanding of benefit auctions makes him stand out.  His style is entertaining and conversational – making it an enjoyable and memorable evening for your guests. Stephen excels at connecting and reading his audiences, all resulting in generating the most revenue possible for his auction clients.

Kim Bauman, Area Marketing Manager, Greater Giving

Kim started using the company’s solutions as a parent volunteer for her children’s school auction in 2002. She was so impressed with the software and the company that she joined the team in 2005. Due to her commitment to area schools and nonprofits, Kim continues to volunteer to assist at a variety of fundraising events, honing her skills in using Greater Giving software to streamline event planning and execution and night-of-event check-in and checkout processes.





Benefit Auction Summit 2018

I had a great time sharing, and learning with the best Benefit Auctioneers in the country at the annual National Auctioneers Association Benefit Auction Summit in Florida last month. So inspiring, and rewarding. I am proud to be a part of this select group – dubbed the best benefit auctioneers in the country!

When you hire an auctioneer make sure they are an NAA member and that they have Benefit Auction Specialist (BAS) training, and credentials.


Profile #5 – The Friendship Circle

As fundraising auctioneers, we get to work with some amazing non-profit organizations.  From time to time we are going to highlight some of those organizations and the amazing work they do.  The best part of our job is raising much needed funds for great organizations like: Friendship Circle of Washington


The Mission of the Friendship Circle is to bridge the gap between special needs and typical youth through shared experience, empower special needs youth with the skills they need to live a productive and independent adult life, give parents and families much-needed respite, and nurture a sense of awareness and communal responsibility in our teens.


We envision a world in which people with special needs and their families experience acceptance and friendship as contributing members of society. We foresee a future where they never again have to experience social isolation or unequal treatment.

The Friendship Circle’s unique brand of social integration therapy simultaneously provides special needs families with the therapeutic and social support they need and promotes equal recognition for special needs individuals within our community. Our teens learn the importance of community involvement, the inherent value in individuals of all abilities, and develop the sensitivity and social skills necessary to be tomorrow’s leaders. This interaction also instills in our teens a responsibility for embracing special needs individuals on a personal level, and advocating for them on a societal level.

The Amazing Programs offered at Friendship CircleSunday Circles

How Can You Complete the Circle?

The true beauty of the Friendship Circle is how we all link together to form a seamless circle of friendship. The Friendship Circle is made up of five components: volunteers, children, parents, staff, and supporters. Together, we can perform miracles

  • Do you know a teenager who would like to be a volunteer?
  • Are you willing to drive a volunteer to his or her destination?
  • Do you know a Jewish or non-Jewish family that can use extra help in their home with children who have special needs?
  • Would you like to support our programs and help us continue the work of the Friendship Circle?



Camp Rosenbaum

Growing Veterans


Center for Human Services

Auction Theme Ideas

Theme auctions can be a lot of fun, and you can raise more money – because people are a little looser when the are dressed up and having MORE fun!

We have seen so many different themes, and they aren’t just for schools anymore.  Plenty of other organizations are using themes to make their events more enjoyable for their guests.  You certainly don’t need a theme – but if you are looking for a little boost to get the crowd energized – this might be the perfect idea.



HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS…. To get you going!  Call us if you want ideas on how to make any of these great theme ideas work for you!  206-963-7148…. Stephen@YourBenefitAuction.com

Some Standard Theme Ideas:

  • Under The Big Top / Carnival
  • 80’s Night / 80’s Movie Night / 80’s Music Night
  • Disco Night / 70’s Night
  • Tailgate / Sports / Golf / Your Favorite Jersey
  • Rock N’ Roll
  • Monopoly
  • Havana Nights / Cuban Theme
  • Great Gatsby / Roaring 20’s / Speakeasy
  • Black & White
  • Masquerade / Mardi Gras
  • Country Night / Blue Jeans & Boots
  • Oscar Night / Red Carpet / Lights, Camera, Auction!
  • Hawaiian / Luau
  • Poker Night
  • Wine & Cheese

Some non-traditional THEME IDEAS:

  • Safari
  • It’s A Wonderful Life
  • Superhero / Heroes & Villains
  • Willy Wonka
  • Hogwarts / Narnia
  • James Bond / Casino Royale
  • Rio / Paris / Arabian Nights / Venice / Italian / India
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Wizard Of Oz
  • Around The World In 80 Days
  • Medieval Feast / Game Of Thrones
  • Under The Sea
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Broadway
  • Disney / Pirates Of The Caribbean
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Storybook
  • Fashion Show

The most important part of your auction?

At your auction you want to raise money, and you want people to have a good time, but it is also your time to showcase the mission of your organization.  Your guests need to know what their money is going to spent on.  You have a captive audience, so inform and teach them what you do.  You need to give them an understanding of what you are raising money for.

This video explains the importance of messaging your mission at your event.

Profiles #4 – Camp Rosenbaum

As fundraising auctioneers, we get to work with some amazing non-profit organizations.  From time to time we are going to highlight some of those organizations and the amazing work they do.  The best part of our job is raising much needed funds for great organizations like: CAMP ROSENBAUM


Camp Rosenbaum was inspired by their late founder, Brigadier General (Ret) Fred M. Rosenbaum.  He realized that many children, especially those living in low-income housing, would benefit from a citizenship camp. His vision to help youth has grown into an annual event for over 45 years. Camp Rosenbaum has volunteer hours exceeding 230,000, and has provided a free camp to over 6,500 youth.

Fred’s passion to help children stems from his own childhood. Fred survived the Holocaust in Austria, fleeing to England as a child. He was there as a foster child for two years before he was finally reunited with his parents, and together they moved to the United States in 1941. Fred found opportunity in America through education and hard work, going on to become a brigadier general of the Oregon National Guard, chairman of the Housing Authority of Portland, and an established businessman in the Portland community. With his experiences, he instilled campers the importance of staying in school, often telling them “you can go as high as you want to go.”

Camp Rosenbaum has given more than 6,500 children a memorable overnight camp experience many of us take for granted. This is no ordinary camp.


The Camp Rosenbaum Fund is a community-building nonprofit whose mission is to provide life enhancing opportunities for low-income young people through mentoring, camp and athletic programs. Our programs are designed to instill good citizenship, hope, and a sense that anything is possible with education, hard work and good choices.




Growing Veterans


Center for Human Services

Meet Auctioneer Austin Sheely

HeadshotAustin emceed his fist event in 2008, combining a lifelong history of volunteer work and fundraising with training in acting and commercial speaking.  As an auctioneer he has a voice and presence that will command your audiences attention, and a relentlessly positive energy that will keep them entertained and bidding.  Austin’s dedication to the organization he is working for, and his night-of auctioneer skills make him a favorite among many organizations.

Austin is a popular auctioneer with many return clients.  He is also available as an Emcee, or can tag team an auction with another auctioneer.  Check out his video below.  To book Jerry at your next auction, call 206-963-7148, or just fill out the CONTACT information.  Let’s get those bid cards high in the air!