BidPal has the privilege to work with K-12 schools throughout the country. Typically, an auction planning committee will call upon the parents of the school to not only attend the event, but also to donate items to the silent auction. No doubt every committee would like 100% parental participation, but the odds of that are slim.
However, one school outside of Atlanta has found the key to beating the odds: good, old-fashion bribery. This auction committee threw out the idea that item solicitation should be a task reserved for their overwhelmed group and threw it out to the whole school to participate. They made it a school-wide effort driven by their students.
The committee devised a classroom competition that encouraged each home room to secure and bring to the auction office as many auction donations as possible. The home room with the highest donated value won a movie party during a school-day complete with popcorn!
- It’s hard to turn down a child’s request. Parents were more likely to donate auction items when their child was pleading with them about winning the chance to watch the latest Disney or Pixar flick. A solicitation letter sent home in Friday folders just does not have the same relentless tenacity.
- Little minds are creative and tend to fixate on competition. Students helped their parents brainstorm auction ideas or they found valuable donations around the house. While some students tried to donate younger siblings, most contributions were completely viable.
- Home room pride swelled during the weeks leading up to the submission deadline. Teachers were able to include auction discussions in the classroom curriculum. Students practiced their math skills by calculating the values of the packages they had turned in and they enhanced their writing skills by developing package descriptions.
By turning auction item solicitation into a fun competition for the whole school the auction committee made their efforts much more effective and greatly reduced their footwork. Their only costs? A $10 DVD and a $3.50 6-pack box of butter lover’s microwave popcorn. And the winner of the competition was? The auction committee!
Kat Taylor, BidPal Consultant