Chinese Auction Fundraiser

It is not clear where the phrase “Chinese Auction” came from, but it is a wildly popular form of fundraising that is simple to put in place, extremely profitable and a lot of fun! A Chinese Auction is an event at which you bid for items with small tickets that have a predetermined dollar value.  The tickets typically come 25 per card and are perforated for easy separation.  Bidders win by either 1) placing the highest dollar value of tickets into a container placed next to the bid item than anyone else (a “silent auction”), or 2) increasing their odds of being chosen from a hat by placing a higher number of tickets into a container than anyone else, thereby increasing the likelihood that their ticket would be drawn from that container at the end of the auction. The reason for a Chinese auction need not be a special occasion; it could simply be a good cause or the spark for a good time. The items to be auctioned can be anything that your imagination allows (see below).  Contributed by Meister Software

The basic steps to run a Fundraising Chinese Auction are as follows:

1.  Decide on and acquire the items you want to auction off.

This is actually the fun part and will determine how much money you can expect to bring in from your fundraising event.  A $50.00 dinner donated by a local restaurant, for example, could bring in $100’s. A painting by the restaurant’s owner – all things being equal – may not. The good news is that the sky’s the limit.  In return for their donations, you could place the names and logos of businesses as sponsors on the auction cards themselves. Alternatively, a group of friends, an association or a church group may wish to hold an auction consisting of items purchased from their travels around the world. Here, the value of the “treasures” to be bid on is a total judgment call, but often turns into humorous bidding wars. Bid items could also be services such as a shoveled driveway, a cut lawn or an invitation to a dinner party.


2. Decide on the location of the auction.

Anywhere. Your house, my house, the clubhouse, the church basement, the beach, the parking lot.  Wherever. If you decide to offer refreshments – and this is certainly not necessary – sell them yourself on site as another source of revenue.

3. Decide on how to get potential bidders to the auction.

This, too, can be fun.  If the fundraising auction is being held by a group or association of some sort, invite that group. And mention that they can bring friends and family. And if they tell two people and those two people tell two people . . .

4. Setup

In addition to securing fundraising bid items, auction cards should be obtained and someone must be assigned the job of collecting money from card purchasers and collecting the tear-off name and address stub from their respective auction cards. That’s it!

We have included a number of do-it-yourself fundraising ideas in this section that offer a break from traditional product sales.  They were developed by groups just like yours in an attempt have a little fun with their fundraiser. Some of them are tried and true while others show a lot of creativity … and even wackiness in some cases.  All of them are obviously not appropriate for every group, but sometimes, with only a little modification, your might find some fund raising ideas that are perfect for your group. If you have an idea for a do-it-yourself fund raiser you are willing to share with others, please send it to us via email. Include anything and everything you would want to know if you were hearing the idea for the first time.