Archive for the 'Auctions' Category

34 Basket Auction Ideas

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

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… continue reading

Should You Serve Alcohol to Parents at Your School Fundraiser?

I just read an article about a California elementary school auction that was ruined by three men who had too much alcohol to drink and started to argue and fight with each other. Here’s an excerpt from the post:

This is one of the most important fundraisers of the year for the cash strapped school and several mothers worked very hard to organize a fun and hopefully successful event. In the middle of the live auction portion of the evening, three fathers, rather than bidding on front row seating privileges for the upcoming 5th grade graduation, disrupted the auction by nearly coming to blows in an unbelievable display of immaturity.

Profanities were exchanged, aggressive postures were adopted against each other, the auction was halted for nearly 20 minutes, the Concord police were called in and the mood of the evening was certainly permanently changed. The focus of the evening was supposed to be on the kids and instead these adults were acting more like playground bullies. Worst of all, it really seemed to impact the success of the auction as bidding after this disruption was significantly lower than in prior years.

I have been involved with fundraising for many years. I have been at events that have served alcohol. The argument has always been: the more someone has to drink, the more he or she will spend at your event.

I have to wonder if this is really the best way to approach a non-profit fundraiser for children. continue reading

Have You Ever Considered Having an Online Auction? Here’s a Great Place to Start.

I have just recently become aware of an online auction company called BiddingForGood. They used to be called cMarket, which I had heard of but didn’t know much about.

The mission of this company is to help non-profits, including K-12 schools, run online auctions that raise money for their organizations. After having read through their website and studied their plan, I think that this would be an excellent fundraising option for all schools, but especially for those that have a hard time drumming up a large number of volunteers. You’ll see why I say this in a minute.

BiddingForGood can help in many aspects of your auction planning, which saves you valuable time. They also have experience running thousands of online auctions, so they have advice that will help you make profitable decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

There are a couple of different paths you can choose if you want to have an online auction. First, you can conduct your auction exclusively over the Internet. You won’t have to set up a physical space and all that entails, planning-wise. Your supporters simply visit the auction website, log in, browse the items, and bid. You can just sit back and watch your school make money.

The other option is to incorporate an online auction into a traditional live event. According to the BiddingForGood website, here are some advantages to choosing this option: continue reading

What’s Your School’s Auction Reputation?

School autionMany non-profit organizations, especially schools, hold a silent and/or live auction to raise money each year. Both public and private schools have discovered that auctions can be very lucrative.

However, there is a down-side to auctions, as well. Since this fundraising method is so popular, they have become over-done in some towns. In my small community, for instance, there are at least six separate groups that hold annual silent and live auctions. This makes for a very crowded calendar.

While I support each group’s absolute right to raise money, there is an undeniable pressure put on local merchants to donate items to all these auctions, as well as on people in general to buy tickets. If someone is only slightly involved in this community, it is possible he will be invited to six separate events during the course of one year. This can put an individual in a number of awkward situations. While everyone is entitled to say no, the practical and political ramifications can be slightly more complicated than that. continue reading

Auctions Can Raise Funds for Your School

Does your school hold an auction to raise funds? If not you might one to consider it. Many private schools, and even some public schools, hold dinner/auction nights to raise funds. It’s a fun way for parents to support the school, socialize and even go home with some great prizes.

Schools can have a live auction, silent auction, online auction or any combination of all of them. When there is more than one type of auction going on you are more able to reach out to everyone’s interest and price levels.

Have some really high priced, premium items in the live auction. Big vacation packages, a motorcycle or gourmet dinner party are all good ideas for a live auction. Ticket packages for professional sports teams are also great auction items. Even if it’s not a super high priced item, if it will bring in lots of excitement and bids, put it in a live auction.

A silent auction can provide a way to offer many different auction items. The auction items can be valued anywhere from $20 to $500 or even more. With so many auction items, there can be something for everyone. From sports, to kids, gourmet foods, gift baskets, and many other interests can be included in the silent auctions.

Online auctions can happen during the same dinner/auction night or be held over a 1-3 week period. Online auctions are very popular and many parents are already buying items online on eBay. So why not have an online auction for the school?

Auctions can be a fun, great way to raise funds. Consider all of the different auction formats available and how they can fit into your school’s fundraising plans.