How To Include Everyone In Your School Auction, Part 2: Procuring Something for Everyone

Inclusive Procurement Strategies

In Part 1 of our discussion on how to ensure your auction can include entire school community, we talked about ticket pricing strategies.  That’s half the battle, but you also need to ensure that the lineup of items you have available for sale is wide-ranging enough to include all budgets. The most common approach to dealing with this challenge is to increase the amount of items in your silent auction, and make sure that some of them have low starting bids.  But this can quickly lead to silent auctions that have too many items. It can also backfire – anytime an item is available for competitive bidding, prices can get high quickly (that’s one of the reasons we love auction fundraisers, right?). I don’t really like the idea of watering down the effectiveness of the silent auction. Instead, consider adding the following to your event:

  1. Inexpensive Signup Parties – We’re big fans of Signup Parties.  If you are including them in your fundraising mix, make sure you have a few with a $10 or $15 signup price. Make sure the theme for these is inclusive, and consider designing one where parents can bring their kids, too – at no extra cost.
  2. A Raffle – a $5 or $10 raffle ticket gives the buyer the opportunity to potentially walk away with something fun and valuable, at a fixed price.
  3. A Commemorative Item – Tote bags, posters, engraved wine or beer glasses – these can all be offered at a reasonable, fixed price to your guests.
  4. A $25 Paddle Raise – During the Fund-A-Need portion of your gala (aka Paddle Raise, Special Appeal, Direct Appeal, etc.), encourage your auctioneer to end with a $10 or $25 pledge level.  Have her ask everyone in the room to donate at this level, even if they have already donated at a higher level.

Each of these suggestions involves fixed-price items, ones where the buyer is not at the mercy of the rest of the room to not take the bidding above a level they feel comfortable at. They also preserve the fundraising power of those parts of the event that count on competitive bidding – the live and silent auctions.  Spend time building a diverse mix of fundraising opportunities at your gala event, and you’ll be able to accommodate a diverse crowd.