March 1, 2012

Gift Baskets for Auctions & Fundraisers

by Anne DelBalzo
Spring is in the air, and that means lots of schools, churches, and
organizations will be planning events. Whether they're hosting a
carnival, an auction, or a dance, most of these places like to include
items that can be raffled off to one of the attendees. That's a great
way for the group to raise money, especially if local businesses or
individuals donate items that can be turned into prizes.
At my daughter's school, we organize a dance every spring, and
beforehand, we spend a lot of time soliciting donations and putting
together a great selection of prizes that are auctioned off during the
party. Usually, the most popular ones are the gift baskets!
Since some local stores cannot afford to make large contributions, they
often give us smaller items to include in our raffle. Then volunteers
like myself organize the items into pretty baskets, usually based around
a theme. For instance, we had a pair of sunglasses from a local Pearle
Vision, a gift card from a deli, and a blanket from a home goods store.
We added two plates and napkins and put these together as a “picnic
basket” for someone to win.
The first year I was involved in this fundraiser, I thought it was very
stressful to come up with ideas for the party itself, while at the same
time trying to promote the raffle so that we could earn money for our
school. However, the gift baskets I put together were a huge hit, and I
never hesitate to recommend them to volunteers who are trying to raise
money for a cause. People love winning prizes, and they especially love
winning things that they can use and enjoy. In fact, I tend to think
that the chance to participate in an auction or giveaway brings more
people to an event than would come if it were “just” music and dancing.
The next time you end up on a fundraising committee, remember gift
baskets, and you'll be a success!