is a service of Northworld LLC, the premier provider of benefit-auction software solutions. Which is to say, we’re a software company who likes to help non-profits with their fundraisers.

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Last week, we introduced the Classroom Projects Showcase ( and talked a bit about what great auction items these kid-produced items are.

But really, why should kids have all the fun? Your school community contains teachers, staff, parents, and grandparents, too. Marshal some of their talents, too! Here’s a few ideas for how to do so:

  1. Christmas Wreath Auction : (Obviously, this idea works best for fall auctions.) 5 - 10 groups of community members procure and decorate Christmas wreaths along themes - local sports teams, signature moments from the school year, etc. Display the wreaths on easels at the event, with signage containing the theme, a key to the decorations, group member names, and a notice that the team whose wreath raises the most money will be recognized during the live auction (or win a trophy, or a bottle of wine; you get the picture). This idea works well as a “Super Silent” auction section. Not comfortable with the tie-in to a Christian holiday? You can adapt the idea to your community easily - just pick a different event or holiday and produce themed tableaux that relate.

  2. Table Centerpieces : At a recent auction for a local chapter of the Soroptimist International, I saw this idea and was absolutely blown away by it. The donor groups (all members of the organization) produced amazingly creative, one-of-a-kind themed baskets stuffed with goodies (I really liked the one with barbecue tools in it, and the one with local microbrews - now you have an idea what summer evenings at my house are like) that raised a lot of money for medical programs and services for women and girls with heart disease. AND… it took care of the need to have someone procure centerpieces for the tables. Depending on your schedule and layout, you can put silent bid sheets on the tables with the centerpieces, put silent bid sheets in a separate area (make sure you also have pictures of the centerpieces next to the bid sheets in this case), or make them a fixed-price “sellable item” in your database, and have guests add them to their cart at check-out.

  3. Custom Design/Build Treehouse : If you have one or two skilled carpenters amongst your parents, a custom treehouse or playhouse makes a fabulous, always popular live auction item. Make sure you ask the builders if they are willing to donate a second treehouse if the bidding goes over a certain level!

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