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School Auctions 101: Questions to Ask While Developing a Plan

In the first section of our Getting Started Guide for Auctions, we provided an introductory look and the big picture that your school will face when starting to plan.

auction gavel

Now that your team has been formed, it’s time to build a plan around your mission, theme, and story. The following are questions that you should ask your team to develop a strong plan and a foundation for success:

Developing a School Auction Plan

1. Auction committee design and operation:

  • Which parent and community volunteers are best suited for specific tasks?
  • How often should your team meet, and when are the best available times?

2. Day of the auction:

  • What needs to be in our day-of checklist to ensure each volunteer has a job?
  • Should there be food and drinks? If so, what kind?
  • Where should the auction be held?

3. Event budget:

  • How much do we need to spend up front? (Food, venue, decorations, websites, marketing material, etc.)
  • How much do we need to charge for admission to break even or make additional money?

4. Marketing:

  • What are the best ways to reach our community?
  • Who can build a website for information about the auction and let people register?

5. Post-event follow-up:

  • Were donors, sponsors and participants formally thanked?
  • Have fundraising results been reported?

6. Silent Auction:

  • What items should be in the silent auction?
  • How should we accept bids?
  • What should be the starting bid?
  • Should we have a buy it now price?
  • How should we accept payments?

7. Live Auction:

  • Who should present the items and take bids?
  • What are the best items we should feature?
  • How should we follow up with the winning bidders?
  • How should we accept payments?

8. Corporate Sponsors:

  • Who can we ask for venue space?
  • Who can we ask for items to be auctioned off?
  • Who can we ask about discounted or free food?
  • Can someone be a celebrity bar tender?

9. Raise the Paddle:

  • Should we feature a raffle or raise the paddle in the middle of the live auction?
  • What should be the specific call to action/project for the money raised?

10. Bidders:

  • Who can we talk to in advance to help get the bids moving?
  • If we do use Raise the Paddle, who can we talk to in advance to bid first?
  • Which bidders might be open to pre-event commitments or establishing a challenge match pledge?

Now that you have answered these questions your team should be able to develop a plan, assign tasks, and identify key people and companies within your community to begin having conversations with.

Care to skip ahead? Download our free eGuide now, and learn how your school can host its first auction.