School Specific Auction Tips
School auctions have unique challenges that require creative solutions: tight timelines, an all-volunteer workforce, and often an event team that changes personnel every year.
With early planning, smart preparation, and the right tools, you can make your school auction a smashing success!
The school year is already short. Give yourself a head start and begin planning next year’s spring auction before this school year ends. You’ll have fewer headaches, your volunteers won’t be as likely to burn out, and your guests will appreciate attending a well-organized event.
Insider Tip: some of the schools we work with are going away from a typical school auction, and moving to a No Hassle Fundraiser. Essentially, you stay at home and give money online, which incorporates beautifully into a mobile bidding auction (e.g. parents don’t need to get dressed up to actually go to an event, but can outbid each other from their own smartphones).
Engage Parent Volunteers Professionally
Parents are busy people. Your best strategy is to break down the jobs into smaller chunks and spread them among more volunteers. It’s much easier to say yes to a small job than to a huge job. Interview your volunteers as if they were applying for a job so you can better match up their skills with the tasks that need to be done. Make sure the tasks are clearly defined and make a point to appreciate each person’s efforts.
Online Stores with Storefront: Are you selling raffle tickets, Wall of Wine, or other multi-sale packages at your event? If so, Greater Giving Go Time with Storefront just made things a lot easier for your team. Storefront creates a touch-to-sell interface for your fundraiser’s multi-sale packages. To sell a raffle ticket or bottle of wine, simply click on the pre-loaded images assigned to each item. Need to sell three mulligans to a golfer at your spring golf tournament? Tap the picture three times, then add the purchaser’s bid number or name, and click ‘done’. The easy drag and drop creator allows you to customize the order and setup of your Storefront dashboard. Pre-loaded with 45 stock images focused on event multi-sales packages, Storefront lets you choose from what’s already available or upload your own image.
Start early and procure through the summer. Get as many people involved in the process as possible. Know your audience: find out what worked well last year and develop a wish list. Gather desirable, unique, quality items that resonate with your guests. Put together a procurement packet to give to parents that includes a standard donation request letter they can send out. Reward those who procure the most.
Package Items Creatively
Group similar items together to create one-of-a-kind offerings. Develop experience packages like a Staycation, an Indulgence Package, a package for grandparents, or a package for busy professionals. Once you get started, you’ll come up with all kinds of ideas.
Provide a Variety of Giving Opportunities
Hire a professional auctioneer who has school auction experience. He or she can make your event fun and exciting and help you generate more revenue. Provide a smaller silent auction so guests of every economic level can participate and have fun. Offer a raffle and sell tickets. Create a Bargain Board with cards representing items or services guests can buy for a discount. Create a Fund-a-Thon that appeals to your audience. Put a Donate Now button on your website for those who can’t attend your event.
Individual Fundraising Campaign (peer-to-peer): We see more and more organizations going to online fundraising with solutions like Join Me.
While school auctions can be challenging, by starting early, effectively engaging your volunteers and being smart about procurement, you can create a memorable event that your guests will want to attend.
I am looking for advice on how other schools use Greater Giving’s bid sheet? We typically use a 5×7 carbonless duplicate bid sheet so we can leave a copy on all the auction tables of who won. People like to see who won before they check out. Greater Giving provides a wonderful 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, but not a 5×7 format. I can’t print the page 5×7 since it would cut off the page that is originally scaled to 8 1/2 by 11.
We also want to use 2-part carbon forms. Do not know if anyone bought blank 2 part forms and were able to print their bid sheets on them?
Thank you for any advice, Carolyn
Hi Carolyn, while we don’t have a 5×7 version of the bid sheet, I was able to find these resources that I think might help:
Kiefer Auction Supply
Stokes Auction Group
Carbonless on Demand
Also, please see this helpful piece on Bid Sheets.