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Charity Auction Lessons from a Princess

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

The most talked about hat at the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton sold at a charity auction for $132,000! While thousands balked at the hat, worn by Princess Beatrice, apparently the princess had a philanthropic plan up her sleeve. As an ambassador for Children in Crisis, the princess auctioned the hat, created by Phillip Treacy, on EBay and watched as the bids continued to rise over the ten-day bidding period. The proceeds will be split between Unicef and Children in Crisis, an organization her mother, Sarah Ferguson, helped found.

Princess Beatrice's Famous Hat (right)

Do you have a charity auction in mind for your organization? Are you planning the traditional and familiar, or will you add an unusual element to your event? Well, if we take the lessons learned from Princess Beatrice, here’s how to hold a successful auction:

1. Offer something unique,

2. Strike while the fire’s hot,

3. Get fabulous publicity

How did the princess respond to the winning bid? “I cannot believe the amazing response to the hat, it has its own personality, and I am so happy that we have raised the most incredible amount of money and can make an even bigger change for the lives of some of the most vulnerable children across the world. I am so lucky to be nearly finishing my university life and I know that this money will help make it possible for others to do the same,” Princess Beatrice said.

Royal Fundraising Advice from Sarah Duchess of York

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

In honor of the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, I thought I’d add a bit of royal flavor to this blog by sharing fundraising lessons I learned from a former princess.

I had the pleasure of hearing Sarah Duchess of York speak at the Association of Fundraising Professionals international conference in Seattle.  In case you didn’t know, the duchess has been involved with several charities in Britain and internationally.

Sarah Ferguson Foundation

The Duchess really had that charisma and regal quality about her. She started her talk off with humor telling us that she married the Queen’s handsomest son. 🙂  Sarah, Duchess of York, said to the audience, “you can make a difference if you have passion and understanding.”  She told us to speak from the heart for our cause. (How real is that? Doesn’t the Grant Whisperer frequently advise you the same?)  She urged the room of fundraisers to follow-up with donors and to be sincere.  You don’t have to be royalty to recognize sound advice when you hear it.