Auction (Silent or Not): A fundraising auction can be combined with any event, a spaghetti or pancake dinner, cookout, cheese and wine tasting party, etc. or held on its own. Supporters donate their time, talent or treasures which are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Examples of time or talent include: x hours of yard work, housework, knife sharpening, a romantic dinner for 4, mystery supper for 8, water ski lessons, piano lessons, a room painted or wallpapered, knitting lessons, handyman for a day, homemade pies, baked goods, etc. Treasures can be handmade or not, crafts, decorative items, meals, trips, concert or sports tickets, golf green fees, and other items.
The key to a successful live fundraising auction is to have a good auctioneer, preferably one willing to donate their services. He/she does not need to be a professional or a fast talker, like at a tobacco or car auction. Some group member with the gift of gab and a sense of fun, knowledge of the expected audience and possibly of the donors, as well, can be very successful. A good auctioneer can generate bids for even the most unlovable object, and foster bidding wars for the popular items. It is important to let the auctioneer know the number and character of the items to be auctioned so ample time is allowed for the big ticket items, and everything is auctioned within the allotted time span. The auctioneer should be given a complete description of each item as it is presented for auction. (Small typed index cards are suitable for this purpose. Be sure to include the item number for easy reference.) Several helpers are needed to move items to and from the ‘stage’ or from where ever the items are auctioned.
Helpers are needed to register bidders and assign bid numbers at the start of the event. Card fans or large index cards can be used as bid numbers. Just be sure the numbers will be clearly legible to the auctioneer or helper. Each bidder (or couple, if desired) should be given their bid number and a listing of all items to be auctioned. Additional helpers are needed during the auction to record the winning bid number and amount on the master list of items; and to collect the bid amounts and distribute the items at the end. It can be helpful to prepare a separate index card for each successful bidder and maintain a running list of purchased items, identified by number and bid amount. These cards can be quickly totaled for easy checkout, with method of payment (cash or check), and delivery of auctioned items noted. The card totals should be balanced against the annotated master list and any discrepancies reconciled, hopefully before bidders ‘check out’.
For a silent fundraising auction, each donation is displayed with a ruled sheet and pen/pencil. The bidder signs his/her name and telephone number and the amount of their bid. Other bidders sign below with a higher bid amount. (The minimum bid and raise amounts should be noted on the sheet.) Bids are closed at a set time for all, or can be closed by table in 15 minute increments. Announcements are made 5 minutes before closing to encourage ‘bidding up’ of the most popular items. Once closed the winning (last) bidder is notified and can collect his/her prize at a central collection table where payment is made. (Be sure to have plenty of help available to locate items and collect bids.)
Youth Auction Fundraising (in Costume)
Auction off the youth to do jobs, i.e. 6 hours of babysitting, a day of house cleaning, a car wax, etc. Auction participants where costumes or carry props used for the specific job being offered for auction. Some jobs can lend themselves to pairs of youth (i.e. window washing-inside and out). Pairs or groups (weeding gardens, cleaning/raking yard) may also be a good idea if you anticipate bidders who are not personally known to the youth.
Youth for Rent Fundraising
This is a youth auction (as above) with a twist– bidders get to specify the service rendered. The congregation, or audience, bid on an hourly rate for 2 youths. Once the final rate is established (usually around $20 for 2 youths for 1 hour), the people sign up for date, time(s) and job. The youth group then matches 2 youths per job, based on the skills, if any, needed to accomplish the job and availability. Jobs range from house cleaning, babysitting, yard work, painting, packing, moving, etc.
Christmas Carols or Hymn Sing & Pie Auction Fundraising
Have a hymn sing or Christmas Carols followed by homemade pie or cake and ice cream. The remaining pies/cakes are then auctioned off. A basket is placed by the refreshment table for donations for those who don’t buy a whole pie or cake but still wish to help out with the costs of refreshments.