Giving Back is Good Business

Giving back can be a differentiator.

In today’s world, people care that you care about something. While boosting your business brand, your strategic charitable giving drives life changing impact for causes you love. Greater still, when you engage your family and employees as leaders in your giving strategy, you enhance life-long family learning and solidify employee loyalty. Plus, you’ll feel great too.

The Kingston Fund Gives Back

The Kingston FundTen years ago I created The Kingston Fund as a memorial tribute to my parents Winifred and William Kingston. When my nephew and seven nieces were ages 6-20 years old, I wanted to provide a unique opportunity for my nephew Arley and seven nieces, Megan, Alysha, Molly, Brianna, Erin, Lexi, and Lindsey, to give back and to learn how philanthropy works from the inside. All eight comprise our Board of Advisors who discuss the needs of various charities and allocate our annual grant funding to areas that are important to them: helping abused and sick kids, supporting hospice, and strengthening families in need. In addition to learning about philanthropy from the inside, we also focus on important life skills like decision making, financial literacy, leadership, negotiation and collaboration and the impact of giving back to causes we love. The Kingston Fund is a donor-advised fund of the Cape Cod Foundation. A huge thank you to Kristin O’Malley, CEO and her staff for supplying us with incredible knowledge of the community and who is needing funding for their impactful work.

During my two presentations at the Million Dollar Consulting Convention, I shared with entrepreneurs and business owners that regardless of your net worth, discover how easily you can establish and use your own donor-advised fund to benefit from this low maintenance, tremendously flexible charity vehicle.

Would it surprise you to know that THE top question from the audience of entrepreneurs and business owners was: “How can we find nonprofits to fund?”

And what about YOU?

Find New Loyal Donors

Are you looking for a new donors and innovative revenue sources for your organization? Look at donor advised funds from your local community foundation. If you are a nonprofit or school, get to know your Community Foundation for additional grant opportunities. The professional staff know their donors and are familiar with advisors and philanthropic wishes of those who have donor advised funds. Your community foundation can advise you on funding available for your specific causes.

For example, for our family fund, the terrific staff at Cape Cod Foundation is excellent in introducing us to new nonprofits and special projects in the areas that are near and dear to our hearts, such as helping abused and sick kids, supporting hospice, and strengthening families in need. Our board of advisors at The Kingston Fund love receiving personalized grant requests for special causes we fund.

Consider communicating with your Community Foundation to let their leadership know more about YOU and that you are seeking new donors at any level. You’ll be glad you did.
Consider Starting a Giving Back Program for your Business

Discover how you can easily establish and use your own Donor-Advised Fund to benefit from this low maintenance, tremendously flexible charitable giving vehicle. You can check with your local Community Foundation. Here is the link for the Council on Foundations Community Foundation locator:

Inspire Others and Yourself

How can you give back to your community for something you deeply love? It’s really not that difficult. Select a cause that impassions you. Research the cause on the web, call them, and talk to staff and volunteers. Get involved in a way that’s meaningful for you. Best of all, you’ll feel really good, too.

(Hint: When you feel confident and positive, you’ll attract more positivity and greatness into your life too!)

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From the Top: What are the pros and cons of Consignment items?


Are consignment auction items right for you for your next fundraising auction? Kathy Kingston, benefit auction expert discusses the pros and cons of using consignment items to raise money at charity auctions.

Are you ready for more fresh ideas for more high-profit auction items?
Check out Chapter 6 of A Higher Bid: Procure Incredible Auction Items

Enjoy my video quick tip: (Hint, click on the arrow to watch)

What are the pros and cons of consignment items?

Raise more funds. Engage more donors. Break all records!

PS: Sign up for your complimentary Fundraising Auction Assessment Call with Kathy.

Kathy Kingston 603-926-1919

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Make Your Show Flow at Your Benefit Auction

There’s a hidden contest happening inside your fundraiser event. The contestants are time, money, and the attention spans of your guests. We want money to win every time—but you must be strategic!

Make Every Minute a Revenue Minute

When you design a benefit auction event, one of the most commonly overlooked mistakes by auction and event planners is creating the wrong timeline. Instead, make every minute a revenue minute by strategically sequencing and pacing the silent auction, the live auction, and the fund-a-need special appeal. Benefit auctions have myriad event details, and getting this “show flow” right is critical to maximizing every single dollar and creating an environment that will build audience engagement for future events.

Say “Sold” During Salad

To optimize the most profitable time for fundraising, don’t wait! Conduct your fundraising early in your event.  A top trend is to conduct your Live Auction and Fund A Need special appeal right away during salad. Remember, less is more, and your guests are tending to leave earlier than ever. Position your fundraising activities as early as possible. Never conduct your Live Auction and Fund a Need at the end of your event.

Run Your Auction Like a Track Meet

My experience as a college athletic director and coach for volleyball and track for blind runners has helped me tremendously as a consultant and fundraising auctioneer. Think about organizing and running your benefit auction like a track meet. The first thing a track coach needs is a stopwatch, and you need one too! It’s very important to time out every single element of the event.

In a track competition, the next runner is “on deck” and the one behind her is “in the hole.” The same lineup works for benefit auctions. At the beginning of your event, the chairperson, board president, or executive director makes the welcome and thank you remarks. Immediately following those remarks, go right into the montage about the transformational aspects of your nonprofit organization. Set this up so that you have speakers “on deck” and “in the hole.” Put six or seven chairs on the side of the stage and insist that everyone who is making any kind of remarks is seated in chairs 10 minutes in advance of when they are speaking and line up in order of stage appearance.

Add a Stage Manager and Speaker Handlers

One of the best ways to maintain control of your strategically designed show flow is to engage a dedicated stage manager. In a track meet, that person is called the clerk of the course. She oversees the timeline, queues up the competitors, and ensures that everything happens on time.

At your event, have volunteers to bring speakers right to their tables and escort them to the stage before it’s time to make remarks. These people are beloved to your organization, and your guests want to visit with them. But that slows down your timeline. You may want to have one handler for each speaker to escort the speaker to the side of the stage, wait with him until it’s time to speak, and then escort the speaker from the stage back to his table following the remarks. It’s also a good idea to have backup people who stay with the speakers in the queue so that they don’t scoot away. Sometimes speakers request to stay at their tables until it’s their turns to speak. Unless there is a really compelling reason why they cannot sit with the rest of the speakers in the queue (for example, they experience a disability) it’s critical that all of the speakers are on the side of the stage ready to go. It helps the momentum and the physical flow of the event to have everyone who is making remarks lined up and ready to go with your stage manager right there.

Make your Show Flow! Focus on what matters. Design your benefit auction, gala, soiree and fundraising event to engage more donors and to maximize fundraising.

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From the Top: Top 5 areas you must cover to start your auction event


Learn the top 5 areas you must cover to start your fundraising auction event to raise more money. Cure auction attendee boredom and inattentiveness now.  Kathy Kingston teaches how to write compelling opening remarks and fire up your charity auction guest to skyrocket giving.

For more profit-making and innovative Live Auction strategies, check out A Higher Bid, Chapter 12: Maximize the True Worth of Your Live Auction

Enjoy my video quick tip: (Hint, click on the arrow to watch)

How to Start Your Live Auction Program

Raise more funds. Engage more donors. Break all records!

PS: Sign up for your complimentary Fundraising Auction Assessment Call with Kathy.

Kathy Kingston 603-926-1919

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6 Secrets for Spectacular Anniversary Fundraising Auctions

1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 83 — Do I hear 100 years? Absolutely!

“Kathy, Get ready for year 10!!! This is a big one and a big deal. We made it this far! What ideas do you have to make this auction extra special” exclaimed Rachel the Executive Director of Amy’s Treat last week.

Wow! I love anniversary fundraising events. And you should too.

This special article is dedicated to Amy who was my neighbor and friend. Ten years ago her partner Lenore knocked on my back door and said, we’d love to have auction to start a nonprofit in Amy’s memory — Kathy can you help? I am honored to be a donor and their auctioneer. (Amy’s Treat is dedicated to providing solutions to the day-to-day difficulties of living with cancer and offers unexpected “treats” to renew the spirit.)

For over 30 years, I’ve been honored to serve as auctioneer and consultant for countless anniversary events and even four centennials. However, did you know that your anniversary fundraising auction is a premier donor cultivation opportunity?

Here are my six secret strategies to gather and keep all of your supporters who love you, raise more money and get those bid cards waving.

  1. First and foremost, obsess on audience development. Reach out personally to your founders and all past board members and invite them personally. Then reach out and invite every single donor – personally. Make sure that you include everyone who every came to ANY of your events.Be sure to include any and all auction item donors and invite them personally Gather every one. Your supporters will want to be with you as you celebrate your special anniversary of your incredible impact!
  1. Form a diverse active host committee. Invite supporters from founders, volunteers, to present-day donors. There will be many people who are not able to attend and wish to offer their support by sending a contribution.
  1. Pick the most lucrative anniversary theme. YOUR IMPACT! In your all of your outreach, promotion and marketing and social media, keep your mission and impact front and center. From your save the date card to your inspiring speaking program – showcase the impact what your generous donors contributions have done for your organization. This is the time to go all out so that everyone falls in love with your great cause all over again!Start early – even several years before your anniversary event. Your signature event is also an opportunity for a year round celebration with numerous events.
  1. Avoid costly mistakes. Many groups spend valuable funds, resources, and time on what I call the 3 Deadly D’s: decor, dessert and dancing. (Hint: no one will recall your theme, colors, decorations or tablecloths – however they will be inspired by true first-person stories that showcase your amazing impact on the lives of whom you serve.)
  1. Invest in what matters. Focus on your purpose – not the party. And your purpose is three-fold.
  1. Communicate the impact of your donor’s gift
  1. Obsess on strategic audience development
  1. Express profound gratitude again and again
  1. Leverage your anniversary event as a launching pad to skyrocket fundraising too. Whatever the year – your fundraising auction is an unparalleled opportunity to invite and engage new supporters and to engage current donors in an exciting, profitable and inspiring way! Stand out as a signature, inspirational, fun, profitable event where generous donors are thrilled to bring friends, family and colleagues every year!

“Celebrate your success, treasure the past and continue to create a legacy for your great cause and your donors for the future.” Kathy Kingston

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