I’m working with a lot of schools right now as this is the height of school auction season. In keeping with the season, here’s an idea specifically for you school auction committees.
I’m often asked for ideas for items that a committee can procure for “free.”
By “free,” the committee means they won’t have to ask a company for a donation. It can also reference the fact that the item itself doesn’t have a hard financial value associated to it.
Some more common examples of free items are below.
10 free school auction ideas for items
- VIP seats to graduation or another event of significance, such as the spring musical program or Christmas Eve mass.
- Headmaster for a Day / Security officer for a Day / School Chef for a Day / School Nurse for a Day / etc.
- Name the playground /Name the Driveway / Name the Study Hall
- Reserved parking spaces for parents or students old enough to drive
- Student gets to be the reader for morning announcements
- Fly your university’s colors on the school flag pole for one day
- Pull the school fire alarm during the next fire alarm drill
- First spot in the carpool lane /pick-up lane / drop-off lane
- Out of uniform day or week for a child /class /grade
- Food service for a year for your child’s lunch meals
Another creative “free” donation is the opportunity to paint a school Spirit Rock.
What’s a Spirit Rock?
It’s a large rock, often placed at the end of the school driveway, near the playing fields, or at another visible area on campus. The winning bidder can paint it however they wish. Usually the rock is large enough that it has multiple sides for painting, allowing the messages to change.
At one school auction, a Spirit Rock sold for $2400 the first year it was offered. Here’s how it was described in the catalog:
“The chance to paint your version of school spirit on the large rock located on the school’s corner entrance can be yours for one year! Buy it yourself, or go in on the bidding with others. Dedicate the rock to your kids, their class(es), a faculty member, a school team or activity, a school milestone event, or whatever is notable to you. The winner of the rock will begin painting the rock in August of the 2014-2015 school year.”
It can be fun to drop one or two of these free items into a school auction line-up — but don’t overdo it. For the strongest auction results, you want to have some items with more concrete values, too.
Last winter I shot a video talking about a Spirit Rock. You can view it below.
For more help on planning a great live auction, check out this master class, Lucrative Live Auctions.
The course is designed to help Auction Chairs improve (or launch) a live auction by teaching about items, ordering, tracking, selling, games specific to the live auction, and more.
Get details here and find out what you’ve been missing in donations.