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School Fundraiser: Baskets for Silent Auction

Posted by on Jan. 14, 2015 at 11:08 AM
  • 63 Replies
My child's school usually has an annual Bingo night as their big fundraiser for the year. This year the state has decided to crack down on a law that prohibits pay to play events.
So this year PTO voted to hold a family movie night where the admission ticket buys you dinner and a movie. We are holding a silent auction as well. Each class in the school is responsible for making a themed basket. We did this for bingo as well, but the baskets were prizes for the winners of the bingo games. This time people will essentially be "buying" them.
We've been doing these for years, so we have plenty of theme ideas. I'm just trying to get the PTO to understand that it's different this time because people are going to be spending their money on them. We can't just throw a bunch of pasta and sauce in a basket and call it Italian and expect people to spend big money trying to win it.
What are some unique things that make baskets for Silent auction worthwhile? I don't have a lot of connections to get sports memorabilia and things like of that nature that are usually really popular. What else is there?
And... The PTO has already voted and the motion for this event has passed, so there is no changing it.
ETA: raffles are also prohibited by the state, so we can't raffle the baskets. It's silent auction only.
by on Jan. 14, 2015 at 11:08 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mom2jessnky
by Platinum Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 11:44 AM
2 moms liked this

Maybe it would be better to have the baskets and sell raffle tickets to win them rather than trying to auction them off. I don't know if it's too late to suggest that though.

steelcrazy
by Emerald Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 11:55 AM

We sell tickets for chances to win baskets at our open house.  It is a huge money maker.

The biggest thing is to get the completed baskets donated.  First send out a solicitation letter to every local business, I live in a very rural area but we still get some amazing gifts from local businesses.  Don't forget to include those who do party sales in with your local businesses.  Ask the teachers if they would be willing to donate a basket or two, we have 4 teachers per grade level and each grade level typically donates a basket.  Ask the school board if they would be willing to donate a basket, our school board typically does a school spirit basket.  Our PTA officers typically do a basket together that they donate as well.

LittleRed80
by Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 12:22 PM
We can't raffle. That's part of the pay to play prohibition. Stupid, stupid law!

Quoting mom2jessnky:

Maybe it would be better to have the baskets and sell raffle tickets to win them rather than trying to auction them off. I don't know if it's too late to suggest that though.

LittleRed80
by Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 12:25 PM
We aren't allowed to sell chances or raffle. It's part of the pay to play prohibition. It's idiotic, yes. What kind of items have you gotten from businesses? I think we used to get big ticket items donated for Bingo raffle (bikes, I pads etc) , but mostly I believe the Bingo committee chair used her budget to buy those things. Since we won't be making that kind of money we need it all on a donation basis.

Quoting steelcrazy:

We sell tickets for chances to win baskets at our open house.  It is a huge money maker.

The biggest thing is to get the completed baskets donated.  First send out a solicitation letter to every local business, I live in a very rural area but we still get some amazing gifts from local businesses.  Don't forget to include those who do party sales in with your local businesses.  Ask the teachers if they would be willing to donate a basket or two, we have 4 teachers per grade level and each grade level typically donates a basket.  Ask the school board if they would be willing to donate a basket, our school board typically does a school spirit basket.  Our PTA officers typically do a basket together that they donate as well.

ljmom24
by Gold Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 12:32 PM

My youngest went to catholic school last year and they did a silent auction at the annual fundraiser. They had sports memorable for sale (think when you go into a shop as a catholic school in a highly catholic town you work that catholic guilt and get a break plus some parents volunteered to buy things for the auction because its also a tax deduction) Each class did a theme we had book theme, movie theme, pizza theme, board games. My DS class did a book shelf, the class mom's DH was good at building things so he built it and the class panted it and families donated books. Also they got local resturaunts to donate gift cards (see above about catholic quilt). Each teacher also donated time and you could enter to win an outing with the teacher. Even the principal did one. They also did a booze table (private school could do that). Now we can do raffles so some were raffles and some were auctions. Baskets and memorablia were auctions and teacher outings and booze table were raffles. They also did a free tuition raffle and a 50% off raffle and you could also buy your kid a uniform free week. They did an auction for principal for a week and also front row seats at graduation.

LittleRed80
by Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 12:43 PM
Free tuition raffle? That's awesome. I'll bet that one was popular!
We are having staff donate items and services like you said. My question is mainly about what to put in the baskets to make them stand out and people want them. The room parent for each class is in charge of collecting donations for the basket from the parents in their class and businesses and putting the basket together. I am the room parent coordinator, so lots of people will be looking to me for ideas.
We always have some creative themes,I just feel like we are going to need some big ticket items to make these baskets worthwhile... Stuff you can't just go to the store and buy yourself.


Quoting ljmom24:

My youngest went to catholic school last year and they did a silent auction at the annual fundraiser. They had sports memorable for sale (think when you go into a shop as a catholic school in a highly catholic town you work that catholic guilt and get a break plus some parents volunteered to buy things for the auction because its also a tax deduction) Each class did a theme we had book theme, movie theme, pizza theme, board games. My DS class did a book shelf, the class mom's DH was good at building things so he built it and the class panted it and families donated books. Also they got local resturaunts to donate gift cards (see above about catholic quilt). Each teacher also donated time and you could enter to win an outing with the teacher. Even the principal did one. They also did a booze table (private school could do that). Now we can do raffles so some were raffles and some were auctions. Baskets and memorablia were auctions and teacher outings and booze table were raffles. They also did a free tuition raffle and a 50% off raffle and you could also buy your kid a uniform free week. They did an auction for principal for a week and also front row seats at graduation.

mom2jessnky
by Platinum Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Lame. I wouldn't bank on making a ton of money on the baskets then. :-/

Quoting LittleRed80: We can't raffle. That's part of the pay to play prohibition. Stupid, stupid law!
Quoting mom2jessnky:

Maybe it would be better to have the baskets and sell raffle tickets to win them rather than trying to auction them off. I don't know if it's too late to suggest that though.


LittleRed80
by Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 1:05 PM
No I don't think it will. I wasn't for this idea.

Quoting mom2jessnky:

Lame. I wouldn't bank on making a ton of money on the baskets then. :-/

Quoting LittleRed80: We can't raffle. That's part of the pay to play prohibition. Stupid, stupid law!

Quoting mom2jessnky:

Maybe it would be better to have the baskets and sell raffle tickets to win them rather than trying to auction them off. I don't know if it's too late to suggest that though.

CometGirl
by Silver Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 1:38 PM

Basket auctions are very popular around our area.  At our fall book fair we had a basket auction where each class had a themed basket.  I don't think any of the baskets had "big ticket " items but most baskets sold for close to $200 even the small sewing basket.  The parents/public just want to help the school.

LittleRed80
by Member on Jan. 14, 2015 at 1:40 PM
Well that's encouraging

Quoting CometGirl:

Basket auctions are very popular around our area.  At our fall book fair we had a basket auction where each class had a themed basket.  I don't think any of the baskets had "big ticket " items but most baskets sold for close to $200 even the small sewing basket.  The parents/public just want to help the school.

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