A USA Fundraising reader tells us how their school put their own twist on a school auction – and had their most successful fundraising auction to date!
Our school’s “Tasty, Delicious Chinese Auction” Fundraiser was our most successful auction yet. The novelty of standard Chinese Auctions wore off when many of our generous donors of gift certificates, 50/50 prizes and table items for auction grew scarce. Fundraisers subsidize our class trips, graduation dances and other needed resources. Our think tank Fundraising Committee was charged with the job of arranging new and different ways to raise funds. Borrowing from ideas of our previous annual Chinese Auctions, we tested a new path to fundraising success.
Foodies and Fun Equal A Successful Food Auction
The nice thing about our Tasty, Delicious Chinese Auction was that children, parents and whole community were intrigued and eager to be part of this unusual idea. Some of our organizers collected discount coupons from local restaurants and fast food emporiums for dinners for two and a whole family. There were also vouchers for free pizzas at a local pizzeria and a complete Chinese family dinner at a nearby Chinese Restaurant. These items were used as door prizes. The first-prize winner would get cooking lessons with a major chef.
Set The Tables Like They Are Groaning Boards
Three long cafeteria tables were loaded with items like cookie dough cakes, hand-turned chocolate in whimsical dishes from the local Chocolatier, bags of popcorn and cotton candy secured with balloons and necklaces with strings of lollipops for the kiddies. A second table was filled with cooking items like various types of kitchen gadgets, bouquets of fresh herbs, large beer steins loaded with sticks of beef jerky, pretzels and cellophane-wrapped cheese sticks. On the third table, there was a T-shirt “tree” created from a 36-inch cardboard pole from an empty gift wrap paper tube. Chop sticks pushed through the pole formed hangers from which t-shirts were suspended. To this table was also added hand-sewn aprons, pairs of baking mitts, tea towels and even a chefs cap.
The Most Popular “Take Home” Food Table
Two round tables were set aside as featured “take home” food tables. The committee appropriated aluminum containers from local takeout restaurants to fill with homemade chile, Boston baked beans, cole slaw, Buffalo wings and finger sandwiches. Not to be outdone by this, desserts were added to the second round table to display homemade cakes, pies, cookies and sweet quick breads like maple walnut, banana coconut and strawberry kiwi wrapped in cellophane and tied with pretty bows.
Doors Open Promptly And Fun Begins
Each item was numbered as regular Chinese Auctions. Patrons purchased a number of tickets in duplicate, holding onto one and depositing the other in a small container in front of items for each drawing to determine winners.
Food and meal fundraisers always draws people out, because everybody has to eat, and most people end up spending money on fast solutions from time to time. A food fundraising auction gives busy people the option of buying home-cooked meals instead of fast food, and to buy something in support of their favorite organization that will definitely, definitely be used!