Saturday, January 19, 2013

$$ Fundraising: How to get donations from corporations for silent auctions

Fundraising: How to get a ton of money for YOUR classroom today!

If your school is like mine, we are always doing fundraisers.  I am very grateful for the resources that this brings to our school, but I hate constantly asking the parents for money.  Read on to find out how to get big corporations to help YOU!

Silent Auction

Every spring our school has a Bazaar.  Each classroom puts together a basket to auction off.  Normally, we ask the parents to donate the items for the baskets (ranging from gift card baskets to spa baskets to legos...).  Then, we invite them in to bid on the baskets and give us more of their money. (Are you seeing a trend?)

This year, everything clicked!  I discovered that there are a plethora of companies out there that will DONATE items for you to auction off (instead of asking parents), and you can put in your request online with a few simple steps!

Staycation and Vacation Baskets

The theme of my basket this year is "Staycation"!  I love this idea because their are so many amazing things to see right here in Nashville.  I'm thinking that they might could use these resources to take their kids around town, a special date night for just the parents, or they could also purchase them to treat out of town vistors!

Where to get started

For me, I actually started on pages like Tripadvisor or local websites that review local attractions and restaurants.  Local news sites and newspapers often review these as well.  After finding inspiration on the top attractions in the area, I went directly to their webpages.  Scroll to the bottom and look for "Community Relations" or "Contact Us".  Most had a form for a donation request; it only took a few seconds to fill out!


I started with:
  • Sports: Major/minor teams including football, hockey, baseball, basketball, etc.
  • Zoos
  • Children's Attractions: Science Museums, Water Parks, Minigolf...
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Spas
  • Concerts
  • Unique Attractions to Your Area: Tours

Breaking it down

If your basket is worth a huge amount, you may want to split it up into smaller themed baskets to ensure that they sell for the maximum amount.

Continuing with the Staycation Theme, I'm going to break it down into: 
  • Romantic Staycation- I'm going to include gift certificates to: a performance at the Symphony, a local hotel, a fancy restaurant, and a trip to the spa
  • Ultimate Kid's Staycation- Zoo, Science Museum, Minigolf...
  • Sports Staycation- Any donated sports memorabilia, tickets to games
  • Staycation with Company- any leftover items that could be added to this basket 

THEN I found THIS!

Did you know that MAJOR companies all over the country will donate items for you to auction off?
I'm putting in a request for DISNEY TICKETS (4 four day park hoppers!).  
You can get donations from: Walmart, Royal Caribbean, Universal...  But you may want to get started really early!  Most companies want at least 6 weeks to process your request; some want as much as 6 months!  You will need your school tax exempt number to fill out most forms; sometimes you may have to fax them your request on official school letterhead.
The National Center For Education Statistics can give you demographics on your school that you may find helpful when filling out the forms.
An example of a community outreach page (Photocredit Titans Website)

PTO Today Forum included the Ultimate Donation List of 2013 that lists pretty much every corporation that gives to education along with a direct link to their site.  Great timesaver!

Staying Organized

I use Google Forms, specifically, Google Spreadsheet to keep all of my information.  I love that it is collaborative, so if I need to send it to a parent they can edit the document in real time.  I can color code my donations: who has sent in their item, who needs more information from me, who has declined, etc. Get started using Google Drive today by clicking here.
A screenshot of my Google Spreadsheet

More Inspiration

Check out these Pinboards for more inspiration!


Mark Martin

Hello! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about non profit fundraiser in your area. I'm glad to stop by your site and know more about non profit fundraiser. This is a good read. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well.
Additionally, general economic hardships can cause school fundraisers to earn less, as volunteer time is spread thin with more families requiring dual incomes. A survey done by national fundraising association in 2007 determined that on average the most labor intensive school wide fundraisers, in terms of the number of volunteers needed is school carnivals, with an average of 59 volunteers needed. Other labor intensive fundraisers included: auctions, "thons" such as walk-a-thons, breakfasts or dinners and raffles. By contrast the least labor intensive fundraisers for schools included: product fundraisers, direct donations, restaurant nights and student portraits. Another survey from the same source showed 71% of parents are "concerned and overwhelmed" with having to do more fundraisers.

Allison Zoie

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Renee at

Thanks for including those Pinterest boards, and I love Google docs for both keeping track of donations and sharing the lists with the rest of the committee, too.

I'd like to add one more resource to your list for getting product donations from willing I've been on 50+ auction committees, have chaired silent auctions with 200 items, and recently created DonationMatch so schools and tax-exempt nonprofits could access decision-makers at multiple donor companies in one place, with a single application. Available items vary by city, and it's free for organizations to use.

Hope this helps, and feel free to send me any feedback at

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