7 Stellar PTA Auction Tips for Generating Revenue

PTA, or parent-teacher association, auction events come stocked with incredible fundraising potential. Your school can use this opportunity to connect with and cater to your students’ parents.

Like your typical school auctions, you’ll want these events to host a comfortable and engaging environment so everyone feels able to place their bids without worry.

You’ll have a lot to manage while organizing your PTA auction, but luckily we’ve crafted 7 stellar tips to follow in order to generate more revenue at your upcoming fundraising event:

  1. Set your PTA auction fundraising goal.
  2. Select auction software for your PTA auction.
  3. Staff your PTA auction event.
  4. Procure your PTA auction donations.
  5. Choose the date, time, and location for your PTA auction.
  6. Promote your PTA auction event and auction items.
  7. Execute your PTA auction.

If you’re ready to follow the best strategies for hosting a PTA auction, let’s dive in!

Set your fundraising goal for your PTA auction.

1. Set your PTA auction fundraising goal.

In the case of any event, you’ll first want to establish your fundraising goal and take into account your budget when doing so!

Since auctions have a lot of elements involved, your budget can quickly get lost in the dust, but if your goal and budget work together, you can avoid stretching your dollars too thin.

Make sure you amount for things like auction set-up, software, item procurement, and more.

You’ll also want to note how many auction items you need to auction off. Think about where your starting bids should be to start thinking about what type of auction times you’ll want to procure.

The takeaway: Determine your fundraising goal before you begin planning your PTA auction so you can stay on track throughout your planning process.

Select auction software for your PTA auction.

2. Select auction software for your PTA auction.

Comprehensive auction software is a must-have for any auction event, especially a PTA auction. Your auction software can store all of your crucial data in one, centralized location.

Because you’ll busy procuring auction items (we’ll get to this in the fourth section), you’ll need somewhere to store donors’ information. When an individual donates an item for your school to auction off, you’ll want to record their name and contact information, as well as the item’s market price, starting bid, dimensions, weight, photos of the item, and other imperative data. This is where you auction software system can help track, inventory items and save tons of time.

Plus, think about your location. You’ll most likely be using your school’s gymnasium, cafeteria, or auditorium. These spaces are great venues for your event because they’ll help motivate bids, but they tend to be a bit tight on space. With mobile bidding software, you won’t need to worry about making room for paper bid sheets because your students’ parents and community members will be able to bid directly from their phones!

See how school auction software can help you plan your event.

Make sure your software fits into your budget and has all the features you need. Before searching the market for the right provider, you should decide which features are must-haves and which you would like to have.

You’ll also want to consider the training and support that comes with each different provider. How easy to use and intuitive is your software? If you need help figuring out the program’s functionality, how easy is it receive help? Is there a hotline or an email address that is constantly attended for your use?

With the wide range of auction items and probability of kids running around your event, you’ll want to be as organized as possible, and auction software is the necessary tool to help you do so.

Bonus! Check out our School Auction Software Guide for extra tips and pointers on selecting the perfect provider for your school.

The takeaway: Software will make managing and executing your PTA auction easier as it lifts some of the administrative burden off your shoulders.

Staff your PTA auction event.

3. Staff your PTA auction event.

You’ll need plenty of helping hands when it comes to putting your PTA auction together. You’ll want to put together a few teams: your planning team and your event team!

Your planning team will consist of the following necessary individuals:

  • Auction Chair. This team member will be in charge of managing your team as well as keeping everyone motivated throughout the early planning stages. She’ll make documentation of every relevant action, contact your loyal supporters, and will make any final decisions.
  • Co-Chair. The co-chair will need to have a yearning to learn! Since they’ll be the Auction Chair for next year’s event, they’ll need to help the Auction Chair with any task. They’ll want to keep notes on what works well, fell short and use reporting data to analyze performance.
  • Procurement Chair and Team. These individuals will need to procure your auction items, one of the most important jobs around! They’ll be responsible for tracking and documenting these items.
  • Ticket Sales Chair. This position will need to sell as many tickets as possible! The Ticket Sales Chair will manage both your in-person and online ticket sales.

Your event team will need to include the following positions:

  • Theme and Decorations Chair. This role will decide on your theme and pick out decorations that correlate with the chosen theme. This chair will be the one to act as your host and greet your guests at the door.
  • Check-In and Check-Out Teams.  These teams will manage your check-in and check-out processes! They’ll set up your venue and help check-in guests by giving them their seating arrangements or take down your event and help winners get hold of their items.
  • Auction Monitors.  These individual will assist attendees by answering questions or helping place bids.

Recruit volunteers who display a strong philanthropic interest and connect with your school’s missions.

The takeaway: Create reliable volunteer teams so you’ll have plenty of help throughout every stage of your PTA auction.

Procure your PTA auction items.

4. Procure your PTA auction donations.

Your auction items are arguably the most important part of your event!

Before you begin drafting your procurement letters, think about which items will appeal most to your donors. If you’ve previously hosted an auction, take the time to look back at your data to see which items were most popular.

Keep in mind: a variety of auction items (think kid-friendly packages as well as getaway trips for parents) will appease all of your guests. This way, everyone can find something they’ll love and at a prices range they can afford, too! With different auction items, every attendee can support your school without pressure to bid hundreds of dollars!

Your procurement team will take the lead with this step by asking the school’s networks for donations. Your school’s network can include all of the following:

  • Coworkers
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Peers
  • Local businesses

You can even offer local businesses a sponsorship package where your event decor can feature their logo, for example.

When writing to donors to procure auction items, you’ll want to include background information on your school, your event’s details, donation forms, event invitations, and a list of auction item ideas.

Bonus! Check out our School Auction Letter Tips to learn how you can procure items from donors.

The Takeaway: Be sure to solicit a variety of auction items that your audience will love in order to host a successful PTA auction event.

Choose the date, time, and location for your PTA auction.

5. Choose the date, time, and location for your PTA auction.

Your location will most likely be your school’s gymnasium, cafeteria, auditorium, or offsite venue, so you’ll have more to worry about when it comes to your event date.

You’ll want to secure a date and time for your PTA auction event in advance. Remember to take your attendees’ schedules into consideration when planning. Most students’ parents will work during the week from 9-5pm so an event during the day on a Tuesday will most likely have a poor turnout.

Shoot for a weekend or a weekday evening depending on your event’s theme and other details.

Do make sure to test out the wi-fi and cell service in your venue to make sure your software’s mobile bidding features will be usable during your event.

The takeaway: Schedule your event well in advance so you have plenty of time to figure out smaller details and your supporters can attend!

Promote your PTA auction event and auction items.

6. Promote your PTA auction event and auction items.

Promoting your event is a crucial step in your fundraiser’s success. Your community can’t support your cause and bid on your auction items if they don’t know about your event.

First things first, you’ll want to create a guest list. Think about your loyal supporters and those who have been active within your school’s community in the last few years. Consider inviting those in your donor base who have often been strong bidders at previous PTA auction events.

Send out your invitations. You can do so either by mail, email, social media, or all three! Use your auction software to set up online ticketing so your community can use the internet’s convenience to purchase tickets for your event. Include the link in your invitation.

When spreading the word about your PTA auction fundraiser, be sure to promote your auction items, too! On the same site you configure online ticketing, you can set up an online item catalog for supporters to browse through before your event. You can even encourage early bidding to raise your revenue.

The takeaway: Event promotion is directly related to your event’s success. Be sure to share all your event’s details with your supporters and entice them with your auction item packages.

Execute your PTA auction.

7. Execute your PTA auction.

After all the planning, the last step is to host your event!

Your PTA auction will be lively and successful so long as you remember to engage your guests when they arrive. Make sure that your check-in process runs smoothly and donors are aware of the ways they can place their bids. Help them familiarize themselves with your mobile bidding software!

Be sure to keep the energy flowing throughout your event and keep an eye on the bidding. You won’t want to lose momentum!

Just like check-in, your check-out process should be seamless as well. Be sure to inform donors of the different ways to pay for their winnings, and encourage pre-swiping of credits to facilitate easy checkout, through your mobile bidding software. Make sure no one’s waiting in long lines.

Thank your community for their support shown at your event! Send a follow-up thank-you through email, mail, social media, or even over the phone.

The takeaway: Supporter stewardship is an important element of any fundraising effort so be sure to recognize your donors for their unwavering support!


Now that you have our stellar strategies to help generate revenue at your next PTA auction event, there’s nothing holding you back from raising the funds you need. Select an auction software provider and get to fundraising!

If you’re interested in learning more about hosting an auction event, check out these additional resources:

  • Charity Auction Items. Charity auction items can sometimes be hard to think of and procure. Check out our list of over 115 different auction item ideas to find things your school will love.
  • Charity Auction Item Procurement Tips. Does procuring items have you stressed? Take a look at our top tips to organize your asks and secure the best items for your audience.
  • School Auction Guide. Before you know it, it’ll be time for your school auction! Refresh your memory on the basics of how to run a school auction so you can be sure your event will be a success.
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