Imagine your school selling one of its class art projects for $50,000! Wonderful, right? Not in one case. It landed in court. In a recent blog post, I shared the Vanity Fair story of Harvey Weinstein and his auction donations at a 2015 gala in France. He's currently being investigated for the questionable financial dealings tied to that AmFAR fundraiser. With today's post, the drama turns from glamorous international galas to a more typical school auction. The controversy took
The rules around listing fair market values Here's a common fundraising auction question: "Is it OK to put the fair market value of an auction item on the receipt, instead of listing it on the bid sheet, auction catalog or display?" Some people believe (mistakenly, in my mind) that guests will pay more for an item if they don't know the value of it. The IRS regulation explains that for a donation above the fair market value to be considered a gift, the winning bidder must be told the
There was a problem at one of my spring fundraising auctions. The event was new, designed to take the place of a more traditional fundraising dinner. For many years the dinner reliably drew 400- 500 guests. The hope was that this new event would attract a similarly sized crowd. It didn't. At first the planner dropped the guest count estimate to 300. Five days prior to the auction, the count wasn't yet 100. It didn't climb much higher than that. (Not all events are stellar out
Do you have to collect sales tax at your benefit auction? Should guests be paying sales tax on auction items? The answer depends upon your state and municipal rules. If your fundraiser is in Maryland, you must charge sales tax. If you're living in an area that requires tax collection, I suggest putting a written notice in your catalog or program. Most often this type of information is listed as one of the points in the "Rules of the Auction" section. Some groups will also have the notice
Committees often debate as to whether it's a good idea to reveal the auction item values in a catalog. Some people fear it might suppress bidding. In this video, learn what I've been taught is the correct approach. Watch the video below.