Have a Penny Auction at your next event!

Elevate Your Fundraising Game with a Penny Auction

Are you tired of the same old fundraising routine? Inject a dose of excitement and mystery into your event with a Penny Auction, also known as Tricky Tray or Pick-a-Prize. This unique fundraising concept combines the thrill of an auction with the luck of a raffle, creating an engaging experience for participants and potential donors.

The Auction Dynamics Unveiled

A Fusion of Auction and Raffle

Much like a silent auction, the Penny Auction showcases an array of prizes for participants to drool over. However, the twist lies in the voting process. Each prize has a designated “hat” or bucket, and guests express their preferences by depositing tickets in the respective containers. The more tickets they buy, the higher their chances of clinching the desired prize. Plus, with affordable tickets, everyone can join in on the fun without breaking the bank.

Rule of the Penny Auction Realm

Participants are granted the freedom to purchase as many tickets as they desire. There’s no cap on the number of tickets one can place in a single bucket. Once all tickets are spoken for, the emcee randomly selects a winning ticket from each bucket, creating an atmosphere of anticipation and suspense.

Legal Considerations: Keep in mind that most states regulate or even may prohibit raffle ticket sales. Be sure to check your state’s laws about raffles.

Crafting a Prize Paradise

Theming the Bounty

Penny Auctions often feature themed prize bundles, ranging from a baker’s dream to a day at the spa. Seek donated items to maximize revenue, and tailor prizes to match your audience’s preferences. Whether it’s dinner outings, vacation packages, spa retreats, or celebrity memorabilia, catering to popular interests ensures fierce competition and heightened excitement.

Ticketing Tactics

You can use paper raffle tickets; they are small, cheap and have pre-printed numbers, which makes it easy to identify the winner. Sell your tickets in bundles of 25, 50 or 100 tickets. By pre-packaging them and pricing them in even amounts ($20, etc.), you’ll make it quick and easy for guests to buy large amounts of tickets.

To select the winner, use your auction software to generate a separate spreadsheet for each prize, listing the raffle tickets one per line. Then use a random number generator website or app (such as random.org) to choose the winning ticket for each prize. For more details, visit Raffle Tickets – Tips and Best Practices.
Dream Gala

Setting the Stage for Success

Physical Arrangement

Setting up a Penny Auction space mirrors the organization of a silent auction. Maximize traffic flow with strategically placed tables, and add a festive touch or align decorations with the event theme. Categorize prizes for easy navigation and provide information sheets for each package. Ensure the “hat” or bucket is prominently placed next to its corresponding item.

Timing is Everything

Allocate sufficient time for participants to use their tickets; a typical Penny Auction lasts around two hours. Consider holding back special items for a grand finale, allowing guests to purchase extra tickets for last-minute drawings and intensifying the excitement.

Unleashing the Fun: Penny Auction for Everyone

With the fun and novelty of a Penny Auction, you can perk up enthusiasm for your fundraiser and provide an affordable way for everyone to join in the fun. What’s your experience with a Penny Social? What tips can you suggest to make it really successful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

One Response to “Have a Penny Auction at your next event!”

  1. Andrea Soberman

    I am doing a Halloween concert fundraiser for 2-7 yr olds, and I am running it like a tricky tray. admission: Suggested donation is $10-$20.00 per family . I want to keep it simple, because the focus is on the concert, and we just have a half hour to put their choice in about 35 businesses who have contributed from 15-$100.00 items , the tickets I have have 25 in a sheet plus the door prize- Im not sure how to price the tickets- include it in their donatio or sell them in addition. I thought of including 5 tickets with a $10.00 donation and $10 tickets with a $20 donation and then $1.00 at ticket after that?


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