A couple of years ago, I wrote an e-book called the School Carnival Money Making Guide. It’s 186 pages long and gives all sort of practical advice on how to earn more money for your school at your school carnival.

Here is an excerpt from the book about how to run a basket auction. If you enjoy it, check out the entire book at www.everybodyhatesfundraising.com.

Basket Auction

Another great way to make a significant sum of money at your carnival is to add in the element of a basket auction. This strategy of bundling together a group of related items into a beautifully wrapped package has become very popular at silent auctions. So, it’s easy to transfer the idea over to your carnival without too much difficulty.

Here are some very important things to consider when deciding to add a basket auction to your carnival:

You must let the people who will be attending the carnival know, well ahead of time, that you will be having a basket auction in addition to your carnival, since bidding on these items can easily stretch beyond what most people would plan on spending at the carnival alone. You want to make sure that people bring their check books or credit cards to access larger amounts than they might have in their purses or wallets.

You can do this by prominently proclaiming this on the fliers and other printed notifications that go home about the carnival. You could even go as far as to name your event “The ____________ School Carnival & Basket Auction”. It’s kind of hard to miss it then!

Since you will have to solicit the items that you place in the baskets, you will need to put a team together to do this. This is an involved process that requires the right amount of confidence, congeniality, tact, gumption, creativity, and drive from the people in charge. If the average basket has six items in it, and you decide you want to auction off 20 baskets, that’s 120 items your team will have to procure. That can take significant time and effort, but the reward could be well worth it.

Do not forget to properly record each item that is donated, as well as send a thank-you/recognition letter to the donor.

Click here to enroll in Jim Berigan’s FREE year-long school fundraising e-Course!

If your school has a separate auction at a different time of year, I don’t think it would hurt to have a small basket auction add-on to your carnival. However, you want to be careful not to over-burden your business supporters by going to them too many times per year. You may decide to use certain businesses for the carnival basket auction and different businesses for your regular silent/live auction event and not cross the two lists.

Overall, a basket auction will add to the excitement of the event and raise some extra dollars. If your school doesn’t have an auction though, this is a chance to really dip into that “auction” revenue pool.

You will have to make a decision as to whether the baskets will be sold in a silent auction, a live auction, or a combination of both. Since there will be so much else going on however, I’d recommend going with a silent auction format.

Other things to consider with a basket auction:

• To generate excitement for your Basket Auction, take attractive photos of the baskets once they are put together and put them on your school’s website and/or Facebook page. This is the best way for parent to find out what will be available.

• As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, the basket auction will benefit greatly from the use of an emcee. He/she can also serve as the auctioneer and really stir up the interest and the bidding in the baskets.

• You should have a goal in mind for what each basket will sell for. If you see that prices are not going in that direction, use the emcee to fire up the bidders.

Here are some suggestions for basket themes and contents.

1. New York Times Best-seller Basket

A selection of two or three top selling books from the NYT bestseller list, gift certificate to book store, reading lamp…

2. Arts & Crafts Basket
Paint, markers, crayons, scissors, easel, construction paper, craft kits…

3. Baking Basket
Cookie cutters, cookie sheets, pot holders, cookbooks, rolling pin, measuring cups…

4. Barbecue Basket
Selection of BBQ sauces, BBQ tools, a BBQ cookbook like Ted Nugent’s “Kill It & Grill It” and a gift certificate to a local butcher shop…

5. Barbie Basket
A selection of Barbie dolls, clothes, accessories, Barbie DVDs, Barbie sticker books…

6. Candle Basket
Various scented candles, lighter, candle holders…

7. Car Care Basket
Coupon for oil change, tire rotation, small car first aid kit, vehicle emergency kit, GPS unit…

8. Children’s Book Basket
Any kind of children’s books, book markers, gift card to book store…

9. Chocolate Lover’s Basket
Any kind of chocolate candy, hot chocolate, gift certificates to candy shop…

10. Christmas Ornaments Basket
Christmas ornaments, cards, wrapping paper, decorations…

11. Class Projects Baskets
Anything that a classroom decides to make, but it must incorporate personal touches from the students to make it sentimental, such as a toy chest painted with handprints from all the students in the class…

12. Coffee Break Basket
Coffee, nice travel mugs, coffee grinder , coffee cups, and a gift certificate to a coffee shop, mug mats, mug warmer…

13. Comfort Basket
Handmade quilt and a gift certificate to a local family restaurant…

14. Day at the Pool Basket
Floats, sunscreen, flip flops, pool toys, beach towels…

15. Dog Care Basket
Dog biscuits, bones, dog bed, dog toys, leash, collar, gift card to pet store…

16. Entertainment Basket
Buckets of popcorn, a selection of popular DVD’s, a few oversized pillows, a gift card to a local movie rental place, soda pop, and candy…

17. Games Basket
Family fun board games and maybe some tickets to a local amusement park…

18. Gardening Basket
Shovel, wheelbarrow, seeds, bulbs, watering can, kneeling pad, hat, garden book, pots, gift certificate to a garden center…

19. Golf Basket
Golf balls, tees, golf shirt, hat, funny golf books, a biography of Tiger Woods, a new putter, free golf pass…

20. Ice Cream Basket
Ice cream toppings, bowls, scoopers, gift card to ice cream parlor…

21. Lego Basket
Selection of small Lego sets, Lego adventure books, a subscription to “Brickmaster” magazine…

22. Lottery Basket
Lottery scratch cards, bingo daubers, bingo chips, Casino Tour bus tickets, cards, poker chips, How To Win manual…

23. Pamper Me Basket
Bath products, tub pillow, relaxing music, gift certificate to nail manicure or message…

24. Pasta Basket
Various pastas, large pasta bowl, colander, pasta sauces, gift card to Italian restaurant…

25. School Supplies Basket
Paper, pencils, notebooks, crayons, markers, scissors, colored pencils…

26. Scrapbooking Basket
Scrapbook paper, blank album, specialty scissors, stickers, glue, scrapbooking pens and markers, gift certificate to local scrapbooking shop…

27. Snack Attack Basket
Chips, nuts, bowls, gift certificates for pizza, candy, popcorn…

28. Spa Basket
Makeup donated from local Avon or Mary Kay reps, a gift card to a spa for a manicure and/or pedicure …

29. Spirit Wear Basket
School sweatshirt, T-shirt, sweatpants, hats, car decals…

30. Sports Basket
Sports tickets, water bottles, bat, ball, hats, golf balls, tees, folding chair…

31. Stationary Basket
Stamps, journal, note cards, greeting cards, pens, markers, pencils, paper, stickers, envelopes,…

32. Tools Basket
Hammer, screws, drill, safety goggles, wrench, socket set, tool belt, tool box, how to books…

33. Wrapping Basket
Tape, scissors, wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, creative wrapping idea book, cards, bows, ribbon…

34. Movie Night Basket
Family DVD selection, popcorn, candy, bowls, movie tickets, movie theater candy, soda, juice, 3-D glasses…

Photo by: mothernaturebeauty