I was talking to an auction chair yesterday; a really sharp woman who obviously has done this many times. And yet… when I told her how we handle signup parties in SchoolAuction.net, she told me her school had never tried selling signup parties.
I was a little surprised, but only a little; about 35% of the auction chairs we work with say something similar. If you’ve never sold these at your event, here’s the basic idea: a parent in your community offers to host a fun event on a set date, for a limited number of guests. You sell the “slots” to this party at your auction, for a fixed price. Guests just write their name in on the Signup Sheet (and yes, you can print ready-to-go signup sheets for each party from SchoolAuction.net); you enter them using the “Sell A Bulk Item” tool, and after the event you print the Signup Report and let each host know who is coming.
The trick is finding hosts, and the trick to finding hosts is having a list of good party ideas that you can suggest. (As with most volunteer jobs, it’s easier to get someone to agree to do a well-defined job than an ambiguous one.) So here’s a link to a list of signup party ideas; feel free to use any or all of them.