Friday, October 31, 2008

I need your help.

It's school auction time.

I have a goal of how much I want to raise for my children's school this year. I'm falling a bit short. So how about you all give me some clever ideas of who, what or how I can do something for the school. You know I do everything you tell me.

The auction is in November. So far, I've donated some pork, commandeered a baker for six loaves of yummy bread to accompany some of my preserves, asked a local winery to host two wine tasting events that I will make food for and the winery is also hosting a group of people for a morning of harvesting grapes which includes breakfast and lunch and I've asked a friend if she'll bake her awesome cinnamon rolls.

What else? Would you pay to have a kids party in the country with hot dogs roasted on an open fire? Maybe throw in some country fun like hiding little toys in a big tub of grain, gunny sack races.......um, um, um, that's all I've got. Why can't I think of something else to do with a group of little kids? Oh, right because I usually just say, "GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!" I don't think anyone would pay money to hear me say that to their kid.

Tell me what you would want to see at an auction. Tell me the best fundraiser you've ever seen. I don't have much time and I should have asked you all months ago, but this is how I roll, I'm good under pressure. Let's hear it, whatcha got for me?

35 comments:

Clayvessel said...

Okay, I've been to and participated in a number of fund-raising auctions. One good way to do it is to ask the "members" or in this case the families, to donate an item. I've seen everything from hand-made bead jewelry or quilts show up, to "two days in our vacation rental (or cabin) at the lake" When each family is asked to donate something you end up with lots of stuff. (The little things work best in a silent auction that runs several hours). Donations could include tickets to an event (sporting, movie, theater) gift baskets, crafts, piano lessons...
If you can solicit donations from local businesses, it seems the most popular are things like get-away weekends at B&B's and meals at restaurants. These can bring in hundreds of $s in bidding wars.
I went to an auction that raised something like $70 grand for an art center. They auctioned some crazy stuff that was mostly donated by businesses or patrons of the arts. Parties for 25 people with a music group and wine/appetizers, art workshops, and a doctor donated a....vasectomy with limo ride to and from the clinic. Just an idea!

Tiff said...

What about a day or night of babysitting? I would have paid to try and win that back in the day.
I think clayvessel has some great ideas!

Betsy Bryan said...

Working in a school system for the last 18 years, I've seen lots of fund raisers. The very best, however, have been theme baskets in a silent auction. Each grade level selected a theme (movie night, coffee, gardening, etc.). Parents donated items for the basket to go with that theme, and then some very talented parent put it all together in a giant basket and wrapped it up all pretty in clear plastic with a great big bow on top. (In the case of the gardening basket they used a wheelbarrow. Clever!) Some of these baskets brought over $300, and in our little town that was huge.

Molly said...

What about the photographer donates a package like the awsome one she did for your family?

bammie said...

Do not laugh-YET!! How about asking some people to donate their talent doing DREADED LAUNDRY. There are closet laundresses out there I am sure. Most people shutter at the thought so it may generate some interest. Only 2 Rules...NO UNDIES and NEVER TELL WHAT YOU FIND IN ANOTHER FAMILIES LAUNDRY BASKET hahahha Hand wash those special items as well as usual machine washing. All those shirts,jeans,pajamas, hoodies AND match all the socks. Wow ...I could really do a load of wash right now. Now you can laugh !!!

Kathy from NJ said...

How abouy a week-end in the country (Rechelle's house) for 4? Or Clay's services for a home addition? Or a couple of piglets?

Woolysheep said...

How about finding someone how can help set up a garden and give organic gardening classes for the winner. There is an organic gardening supply here in Fort Worth that charges $100 bucks for just such a thing.

I think that all the ideas presented in comments are good ones.

Also the more diverse the offerings in the auction the more people who will be interested in the auction. Definitely hit some of the local businesses. It is good for your auction and good for the businesses.

Suzanne said...

Does anyone have a vacation home? They could auction off a weekend at the place. My physician was French and always donated a weekend at her apartment in Paris to benefit the local hospital in an auction. Ooh lah! But a weekend in a country cabin would be just as nice.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

DVM's Wife said...

I second the silent auction gift basket idea. Our school does that as well and I'm amazed at how nice they all turn out. I know I bought alot of tickets$$ for those! Kids from each grade is asked to donate an item for their classes theme, such as birds(seed,feeder,books,binoculars),baking, movie night,games,chocolate(that was huge),wine, you get the idea. I like how someone suggested a photo session and since you already know a great gal who does that I think that would work great for her as well, free advertising on her part. Good luck! They are fun!

Sally said...

A farmer up here has Percherons (horses - really, really BIG horses) and he always donates a hayrack ride pulled by his horses for our fundraiser. Wait a minute - let me clarify. He donates his rides while the day goes on. People pay a few bucks for the ride and the money goes to the fundraiser. (Is that clear? Not thinking so clearly this a.m.) (Can I uses the word "clear" more times in this suggestion?) *sigh*

Karen Deborah said...

ok well I'm thinking outside the box and of course to the very huge. I like your day in the country idea. How about if you set up booths at your place for all the different wares and have a festival! Hay rides and games, things to buy, you know an EVENT. with your crazy sister it could be fun. Ya'll can do face painting for the kids and a cake walk and and and, it'd be a lot of work but shoot fire, everybody would be talking about it for years. and piglets sound like a good prize.

pam said...

How about auctioning something on your blog. I've been seeing a lot of people do that for the Nie's and it's wildly successful. Maybe something your kids make, a painting? I'd pay BIG for jars of your homemade preserves. And the money transfer can all be done through Paypal.

Jenni said...

The winery thing and the day in the country both sound fun. I would bid on either of those. A hay rack ride would be a great addition to the day in the country and maybe you could add some stories and songs to the campfire portion. Don't you know some famous folk singer who would come play and sing at your campfire? I also like the idea of a weekend at someone's vacation home or cabin. How about some of your pottery?

Are you looking for more things you can do personally or donations you can get from others or both?

That vasectomy with limo ride cracks me up! We would have bid on that about 12 years ago. It's definitely an unusual item for an auction.

edifice rex said...

I am a potter and often participate in silent auctions where lots of artists donate work. these seem to go well.

Rhea said...

blek, I suck at auction ideas.

Print off some photos of celebrities off the Internet and then "sign" them. hehe

ljchris said...

My grandson's school held a silent auction for the coveted parking spot in the parking lot. Closest to the entrance, and there's a sign that says "Auction winner parking only". My daughter doesn't have to walk as far to pick up her son, and since she's expecting, every step counts.

Anonymous said...

If some of the other parents have a craft or talent and would be willing to donate their artwork for the auction. Also, themed baskets always work well.

Leah said...

manicures, pedicures, massages, haircut/color, if you have those at your disposal. Session with a personal trainer.
Also, quilts always bring in the big bucks around here.
Maybe even get a local travel agency to donate a vacation or stay at a local-ish hotel or b&b.
tickets to amusement parks.

That's all i have. Good luck!

Julie said...

We have a great response on the "dessert of the month" item. We also do the themed baskets. I usually donate several things that the kids can bid on like toys, videos, books, etc. They like being able to bid on things. Last auction a friend and I donated a catered meal for 4, once a month for 12 months. We each cooked a meal for them every other month and it was a hit.
I think the party in the country is a great idea. You can have a hay rack ride, scavenger hunt, play kick ball, roast marshmallows, sing campfire songs.

Sandy said...

I've been impressed with my son's school fundraisers this year. 1) basically a subscription to local organic greens for 8-10 weeks. you pick them up on a certain day of the week and certain percentage of the $$ goes to the school. (of course you have to have a local farmer that does greens :) 2) constructive playthings catalog fundraiser. nice toys. not one of those over-charging for junkola type fundraisers (gag). -Sandy

Cindy said...

We've held many a silent auction at our little school. One of our parents is particularly talented in the baking department, and she donates a home baked "pie of the month" for a year. This item goes for some serious cash. The themed baskets also go over well, particularly family movie night and snow day baskets. Good Luck!

Michelle said...

The funniest thing i ever saw was when a school painted a grid on their oval (they put a rope fence around the whole lot)and numbered each square. Then people bought a square. When all the tickets were sold (and they went quick)they put a donkey, a sheep and a goat inside the fence and which ever square the animal pooped in you won that prize. Was very funny waiting and cheering when the animals pooped. This could be done on a smaller scale with smaller animals. Just need to make sure the animals have a feed before hand or it could take a while.
Love your blog!

Southern Gal said...

Um...uh.... 3-legged man race ?

Relay races involving eggs on spoons, or relay races involving eating saltines & then blowing bubbles with gum, or, or, or relay races involving plain-old running (I'm creative like that).

Of course, I am childless (as of now), & have NO IDEA! In my opinion you've done MORE THAN ENOUGH! I'd rather throw $100 at the school & call it a day rather than do all that stuff - which will cost you way more anyway, of course, so maybe it should be more??? I don't know!!! I hate this question!

Can I just come to the wine-tasting event instead????

annie said...

My church had an auction just this week to raise funds for our youth program. One man offered to "hang your Christmas lights" and this was probably the hottest ticket all night. Three people were ferociously bidding against each other and in the end he offered to do it for all three, if they paid of course.

cndymkr / jean said...

In addition to everything suggested our school has had great success with auctioning off "principal of the day". Each entry cost a dollar and each child/family can enter as many times as they like. Then once a month a different child from each grade gets to be "principal". It generates alot of money and just as important alot of fun!

Irma said...

Is there a talented Chef in your city? (preferably one with a child in your school, ha ha). One fo the items my work place donates to four or five fund raisers a year is a catered dinner for eight in your home, prepared by our Chef and served by one of our servers. He brings everything with him (all the food, all the dishes and glassware) so at the end of the night there is zero mess for the home owner to clean. It probably costs my company about $100 to do this (Chef donates his time) and I have seen tihs item reach $1400 in bidding.

Joy said...

Sounds like you have some amazing ideas. Our school auction is this weekend and our church auction the following. I do themed baskets to be auctioned off. This year I have 1) Breast Cancer Awareness basket, 2) Starbucks & Chocolate and 3) Green Living in a cloth bag.

I am also having a little giveaway this week. http://mamacitalujan.blogspot.com/2008/11/i-miss-mexico-giveaway.html

Far Side of Fifty said...

April, Make a blogging gift basket! Include a coupon for some one on one time with the highest bidder. In the basket you could put some cozy slippers, a cup, some tea or your favorite coffee. A copy of a few of your favorite blog entries. You are obviously computer savvy. Some people are not..and would just like to spend time with someone one on one for help with email, blogs, photo programs etc...
At school auctions Dads will often bid on something their kids participated in. Like a Football signed by the entire team. A Jersey..a bat..the list is endless!
Working Moms will bid on a Complete birthday package for their kid..a Country Birthday Party for ten..food and cake and some games..you are set! :)

SheSue said...

On the line of hanging Christmas Tree lights, chores have always gone over well at the auctions I've attended. Raking leaves, shoveling snow, cleaning windows, baby sitting, sewing, etc.

Molly said...

I can't believe I didn't think of the lights hanging thing...I work for a real estate company, and that very thing has been something I covet every year as we hire people to hang the lights at the office towers...And if you added the dreaded "taking down the lights" after the holidays, you'd probably have a bidding war.

Sally-Ann said...

At my daughter's school they held a silent auction every year. Different businesses donated items (Godiva Chocolates, Disney World, swamp buggy tours, restaurants, gift certificates from grocery stores, etc.)One local business donated a huge bird bath each year. Each class did a theme basket - these were the biggest money producers, each child wanted their class basket and parents forked out the money. Board game basket, Italian meal basket, book basket, spa basket,Garden basket, etc, etc. Teachers also donated time with a student by offering "A lunch with Ms Smith. We bid on and won a trip to the zoo for my daughter and her teacher.
Who ever was in charge had a letter that they sent out to each business requesting donations. Telephone calls work as well!
good Luck

Annie Pazoo said...

Man, April, you've got some good ideas. Wish I had thought of them!

Ilyanna said...

At our school auction one hot item (forgive the pun) is a tour of the local firestation. We sell shares -- so if four people can be on teh tour, each slot is auctioned off. Behind the scenes at a vet clinic, zoo, maybe a police station? Just brainstorming here.

Anonymous said...

The parents will be your best resource, I think. We had parents at our former private school who were interior designers who donated a number of hours to redecorate homes, parents who were in the fashion industry who would donate fashion camps for kids and also wardrobe makeovers. Another popular event was freezer meals for moms... one mom would donate her time and groceries would be included in the bid to create something like "Dream Dinners." Have fun!

HW said...

One of the hottest items at our church auction was the "Car wash Bucket" a huge bucket full of car washing and maintenance items. The men loved it. Also a huge gift basket from the Asian grocery store was a big item; specialy stores that we don't have around here are a big draw.

Do you know any direct sales people? I am a Stampin Up demonstrator and intend to donate a basket of goodies to our post prom auction. It's a great way for these people to get their names out at a relatively low cost.

We are also talking to our superintendent about auctioning off front row seats to high school graduation; and are trying to arrange a "bouquet of the month" with a local florist.

I hope to use some of these great ideas from other commenters in our post prom endeavor.