Auction Game Time: Dessert Dash

Dessert Dash - Fundraising Auction Revenue Enhancer

People love sweet endings—and they love games. What better way to top off your event dinner than with a dessert dash?

For the best dessert dash results, display your mouth-watering desserts prominently as your guests arrive and then give them a chance to bid for the one they like best.

It’s important to mix-it-up from the same games and activities. Be sure to surprise everyone and wow them with something new, fun, and exciting. What better way to top off your live auction than with a dessert dash? Display your mouth-watering desserts prominently as your guests arrive and then give them a chance to bid for the best one.
Dessert Dash - Fundraising Auction Revenue Enhancer

How Does the Dessert Dash Work?

Round up desserts. Include a variety (including nutfree and gluten-free options). Make the dessert table as tantalizing as possible and place it in a high-traffic area. Label each dessert with a description, the baker’s name, and any ingredients that might cause allergies. Make a big “Desserts” sign for the dessert table. Post the rules for the Dessert Dash in a prominent location. Post the Dessert Dash rules on your leaderboard during the Dash. Each table will need a dessert flag with its table number.

Create a bid sheet on brighty-colored paper for each table. Include the table number, spaces for each person to bid (bid number and amount), and a space for the total bid amount for the table.

As soon as guests sit down to dinner, encourage them to bid for their dessert. Explain that the table with the highest bid amount gets to choose the first dessert. Your auctioneer can help generate excitement for the desserts.

Each table selects a “Dasher” that will run to the dessert table when their table number is called. Have the tables decide which dessert they want and select a runner with good shoes.
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The auctioneer calls out the table number for the table with the highest bid amount. That table’s Dasher gets to the dessert table as quickly as possible and selects a dessert by placing their table flag in it. As the first runner has entered the open space between the tables and desserts, the auctioneer calls out the table with the second highest bid and so on. A good auctioneer will add to the comedy with play-by-play commentary.

Variations And Other Names

If desserts aren’t the direction you want to go, try a wine or signature cocktail variation with a commemorative event glass.

Kelly’s Advice

Note: Many states have specific rules that govern auction games. Make sure to check your state’s raffle licensing laws as well as your organization’s bylaws. Also, check on alcohol sales rules and permits, as well as firearms, if those will be available at your event or in the auction.
  • Contact local bakeries, culinary schools, or cooking clubs for dessert donations. If you really want to engage your community, organize a bake-off the day before your event.
  • The more visually stunning the desserts are, the higher people will bid for them.
  • You can either have the catering staff cut and serve the selected dessert for each table, or have guests carry the desserts back to their tables. If you choose the latter option, make sure to provide serving utensils and dessert plates for each table.
  • If you have desserts that need refrigeration, be sure you can store them on-site. It may be best to skip these, if possible.
  • This will NOT work in a theater-style setting. It relies on the participation of a group of guests at a proper table who can come together to successfully outbid other tables.

Some Personal Insight from Kelly

With a little creativity and a bit of planning, the dessert dash can be a fun and delicious way to raise more funds for your cause. Most dessert dashes I have seen bring in about $3,000 – $4,000. One of my clients found some of the most beautiful desserts, coupled them with a crowd that had a gigantic sweet tooth, and managed to raise $15,000 on the Dessert Dash. That’s what I call SWEET success! It pays to get showcase-quality desserts and display them proudly at your event for maximum impact.

This article is part of our 26 Proven Revenue Enhancers for Your Fundraiser eBook available as a free download. If you looking for new revenue enhancing ideas and how to incorporate them into your event—this easy-to-use lookbook is for you.

One Response to “Auction Game Time: Dessert Dash”

  1. Hi Kelly – –
    Our High School Choir Cabaret Fundraiser has always done a Dessert Auction; this year we are changing it up to a Dessert Dash. I appreciate all of the details you have included in this post. I may be a bit dense but am still having trouble visualizing what the bid cards look like. : | Do you have a sample you could send me?

    Thank you for any assistance you can give.



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