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Auctions are the bread and butter of school fundraising, which means that there are plenty of ideas out there for school groups looking to raise money. Finding truly unique ideas – ones that will drive more bidding and donations – is a must have.
Whether you’re hosting a silent or live auction, procuring auction items, or creating a strategy for getting the most out of your auction software, this blog covers ways to raise more at your next event.
To make it easy for you, we’ve separated out this comprehensive list into sections based on the most popular school auction groups.
This guide will run through some of the easiest, most unique school auction ideas you’ve never heard of, including specific ideas for:
The best school auction ideas don’t have to be complicated or over-the-top. Instead, they should be relatable, easy to procure, and have a wide appeal with your attendees.
In any school community there are at least one or two families with lake or vacation houses (beach, ski, mountain houses, etc.) that can be offered up as a grand prize.
To truly take this item and your school auction to the next level, consider packaging it with a nice welcome basket for the winner. Include:
This winning item is a go-to for any school auction because it is a universal win. No matter how old your kids are, they will love being named principal for a day.
The appeal to principal for the day is the “fun business perks” you include along with it. Think about adding:
As with any great school auction, sponsored gifts are the perfect way to generate maximum revenue. Start with your school community to see if business owners can donate goods. Easy sponsored gift items include:
Then, spread out to the community for a wider variety of items. Just be sure to thank all your sponsors in your event program.
PTA fundraisers are usually hosted by the parent teacher organization itself and not by the school. In some cases, these can be more adult-focused events where attendees can really let loose!
All PTAs love a good book club, so what better way to attract your audience than with a book club starter kit?
Here’s a few quick wins to create an awesome book basket:
You can amp-up the cute factor by including some cheeky bookmarks or bookends.
This auction idea is great for school fundraisers that might be taking place in the warmer months.
With a gardening pot or wheelbarrow as a basket, load it up with:
Add a gift card to a local nursery as well so the winner can really take his or her garden to the next level.
All parents love a night out (no matter how old their kids are), and parents at a PTA fundraiser are even more likely to value such a prize.
The ideas are endless with parent’s night out packages – popular items include:
If your school skews younger, have a free babysitting service set up along with a few date ideas. For parents of older kids, think about providing concert or movie tickets to really make their date something to remember.
For parents with younger students, find a mix of auction items that appeal both to the sentimental feelings of parents and the fun-loving personalities of the students.
Parents with younger children are completely enamored with anything their children create, which is great for auctions! Easy items include:
Parents will love having a piece of their child’s legacy, so expect a bidding war!
Summer break can be a crazy time for families with younger children, so if you’re hosting an auction during this time a basket with fun ideas can help ease the chaos.
Elementary school children are still at an age where anything that can break-up the school day is a welcome distraction.
Parents can bid on a class party that includes pizza, ice cream, and even an extra recess where everyone can run off their lunch.
Middle school auction items start to veer away from appealing to parents and get more focused on what appeals to the students themselves. This is fun for individual students, families, and entire classes.
The best middle school auction items reward the entire class instead of just a single student. Try to create items or experiences that are unique and one-of-a-kind, so that the competitive bidding takes off.
Great Class Spirit Day ideas include:
Whether it’s college sweatshirts or full-on crazy costumes, a spirit day can inject some much needed excitement into the middle school calendar.
This is a go-to school auction item for good reason. It’s fun, out of the norm, and a real win for the highest-bidding family.
As a twist, allow the student with the highest-bidding parents pick out the movie for the class (within a selection, of course) and allow him or her to bring in snacks for the class.
Another full class auction idea is the field trip. Working with the teacher to ensure this trip fits within the lesson plan.
You can really get creative with these ideas and create fun experiences that drive school auction proceeds too!
While it’s harder to appeal to high schoolers and their parents than other age groups, it’s not impossible if you think outside of the box and look toward the future: college.
Many high schools, even public schools, now implement some sort of uniform to keep students in line and respectful in class.
If your school has a uniform, give parents the chance to bid on spirit wear days where students can wear whatever they want.
Usually these come in a pack of 4 or 5 so the family really gets the biggest bang for their buck.
If your school doesn’t allow students off-campus for lunch, this is a great auction idea. A student and a friend can go down the street to whatever lunch spot is closest for a fun mid-week break.
You can increase the value of this item by adding in gift cards to any popular restaurants by your school.
Finishing high school can be hard for students and parents alike. Make the transition easier with a college prep basket at your next school auction.
Swap the traditional basket out with a laundry hamper and fill it with:
School sports teams are notorious for trying to raise money, and these auction ideas go above and beyond selling candy bars or magazine subscriptions.
Of course your student athletes love sports, so what better way to raise money for their teams than to auction off sports memorabilia?
To ramp up the creativity, leave the professional memorabilia at home. Instead, auction off jerseys from current players or famous alumni to bring a personal aspect into the room.
The best thing about this prize is that it gets kids out in the community to connect with others while doing good.
By putting a team up for hire as an auction item, donors can bid on a ‘day of work’ from athletes. This means anything from yard work to painting to hauling junk is up for grabs. Who knows, it could be a good workout too!
Whether you’re hosting an auction specifically for teachers or if you simply have teachers in attendance at a larger auction, here are some ideas geared toward the educators in your midst.
School supplies are notoriously expensive and with shrinking budgets many teachers are forced to buy supplies for their classrooms out of their own pockets.
With an auction item dedicated solely to school supplies, you can create an item that gives back to the class or school.
Teachers can keep their kids engaged and their classrooms exciting all year round.
Teachers need breaks, too, and a teacher’s day out is sure to be a hit auction item.
Work with your school leadership to ensure this kind of gift is acceptable and that they will honor the winners of the item accordingly.
This auction item is easily scalable as well – instead of a single day create a booklet of ‘free half day’ passes that the teacher can use at whim.
Your kids spend time with their teachers every single day, so what better way to make sure teachers feel appreciated than with an auction item meant to say ‘thank you’?
While this auction item requires a little more planning than the rest, it’s definitely worth it. Work with the other parents to have the kids create an appreciation gift for their teacher, such as a small thank you card that’s part of a larger collage.
Then, you can put everything together and package it to look amazing!
Now that you’ve read through these 20 ways to raise more at your school auction, it’s time to talk to your team and brainstorm even more ideas. Once you decide on which auction items you’ll be offering at your fundraiser, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get started!
Remember: the earlier you can start, the more time you have to get creative with your school auction ideas, and the more you’ll raise at your event.