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Hello, my name is Jenna. In this blog, I am going to bring you BIG ideas for every little detail of your event. Need inspiration? Check out my current post. Want a tip on a topic? Browse the categories. There are thousands of people just like you planning fundraising events across the country...we may be apart, but when we share ideas, we will do great things together!

Please Note: Jenna has retired from blogging, but we keep her posts on the site because the ideas are timeless and have been very well received in the non-profit community!

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JennaBW resized 182 Mom, step-mom, wife, daughter, singer, volunteer, writer, marketer, gluten-free baker, MBA, and...
eternal optimist! More...

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Help Others by Sharing Your Ideas! (And, maybe win a hot air balloon ride!)

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Every month from November through June, I will pick a winner of a hot air balloon ride for two! And, if you submit a photo or video from your event, you will be entered twice! Any event topic is welcome! Things like..

Creative Place Settings
Fundraising Games
Checkout Best Practices
Agenda Ideas
Invitations
No idea is too small!

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR IDEAS! (AND MAYBE WIN A HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE FOR TWO PEOPLE)

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Why the Details Bring Us Bliss

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I have a love of details because managing them gives me three wonderful gifts. To find out what they are and learn a little more about me, click here.


Is There an Event Detail You Would Like to Read About?

Themes that Rock
Transforming Your Venue
Event Timeline/Flow
What Makes a Good Emcee
Staging the Auction Table
Balloon Arch Design
What's on YOUR mind?

If you are thinking about it, most likely other people are too! Send me an email and let me know what event details you have the biggest questions about!

Send me an Email!

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Fundraising Auction Ideas for Donations, Driving Awareness, and Decor

  
  
  

Hello Everyone!

Okay…so the auction is taking over my life. Just to update anyone who isn’t aware, I am running my church auction, this year. It is on May 4th. And, I am definitely putting way too much of my time and energy against it.

I am happy to share with you some of the exciting stuff that is unfolding with my event. While I can’t call them best practices…yet! These tactics are working out really well for us.

A NEW Way to Find Likely Auction Donation Sources (That Is Easy to Delegate!)

Finding about 70% of the auction donations you need is pretty straightforward. Tapping into last year’s donors, local businesses, personal connections of auction team members, and the professional services among your supporters starts to fill up your auction catalog nicely. But, that last 30% is a bear.

Find auction donors through email addresses

One tactic we used to close in on our auction target was to look at the list of email addresses of our congregation members. Many people still list their work addresses on these lists—lettings us know where they worked!

We uncovered local professionals who can sponsor the event, small businesses who want the publicity, and even a person who works for a major modern furniture manufacturer with a retro Lounge line that is completely in keeping with our 1960s Cocktail Lounge theme. She is looking into getting a piece from the lounge line donated for our auction!

We never would have found these people if we hadn’t looked through the email addresses. And, once we found them, we sent out a template emails about the event modified with specific asks related to their business or service.

And, the great news for you is, this is a task that is easily passed on to a member of your auction team!

An Easy Way to Promote Ticket Sales and Make Your Supporters Experts on Your Event

I find that the best way to get people to buy tickets to the event is to get them excited about the event! But, to do that, you actually have to get their attention. Get them to listen, or read, or open an envelope—nearly impossible tasks in this distracted world.

To overcome these challenges all you have to do is to put your online auction content and catalog to good use. Whether you have a page or two on your organization’s main website, an online catalog through your auction software provider, or a dedicated website promoting your event, you can do this!

Auction Website Scavenger HuntWe are sending out emails and inserting flyers in the church bulletin announcing our Auction Website Scavenger Hunt. When a person visits our website and submits answers to five questions about the event via email, they will receive five raffle tickets (winner need not be present at the event).

Every event will have different questions. Ours look like this:

1. What Prestigious American Music School did our Lounge Singer, graduate from?

2. Of these four services, what is NOT included in our amazing Granada, Nicaragua family vacation: Airport Transfers, A Carriage Ride, A Plantation Tour, A Boat Tour?

3. What date will we start selling Auction Dinner Tickets (Hint…Ticket Information Page)?

4. What are the names of the three orphan girls who handcrafted the beautiful jewelry in our Silent Auction (Hint…check out the “Donated by” info on the items)?

5. What type of dancing will some lucky Norfielders get to learn with our Senior Minister?

This is a great way to transform your organization’s supporters into auction gala experts. Not only will they be excited to get the raffle tickets (building goodwill around the event) and more likely to buy tickets, but also, they will be walking, talking auction experts creating a buzz among your supporter group. And, for a supporter group that is remote, you could easily distribute this content via email.

Borrow, Borrow, Borrow

You want to get a great décor for your event. BUT, you don’t want to spend money on it. Depending on your theme, your supporters may have items in their attics or basements that you can use!

Auction Decor furniture request

Here is the flyer we are inserting in the church bulletin, this week.To get the best response, it is important to be specific about what you are looking for and provide visuals to trigger their memory. Here is part of the copy...

As part of our efforts to transform the Parish Hall into a Circa 1960 cocktail Lounge, we would like to create small “Lounge Areas.” To that end, we are looking to borrow some modern-style furniture. Here is what we need:

Several  Lamps (Floor and Table) ● 2  Sofas
4 Chairs ● 2 Coffee Tables ● 4 Side Tables
( Also Strings of White Christmas Lights! )

Like the Website Scavenger Hunt, you could also distribute this content to supporters via email.

I hope these ideas help you in your event planning! I hope you are getting more sleep than I am. And, I hope that you are feeling as good as I am about the amazing effort you are putting forth.

And remember, the Bliss is in the Details,

Warmly,

Jenna

This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.

 
 

In YOUR Shoes. Yes, I Am Running My Church Auction Fundraiser!

  
  
  

YES, now I am in your shoes. No longer will I be blogging from a safe distance. And, for many of you, we will be planning our events simultaneously—My auction date is Saturday, May 4th. (If your event is the same date, be sure to leave a comment and let me know!)

The “best practices” that I typically report on will be accompanied by real-time survival tactics, complete guesses, inspired ideas and…utter failures. In this post you will find:

  • An introduction to our event theme
  • The result of my "pitch" to the committee in charge of the event
  • A video of me introducing the event at church this past Sunday
  • Links to documents that we used to introduce the event

As planning unfolds, I will share our event ideas, photos, and editable documents in the hopes of helping you with your event—what to do and what NOT to do! Let’s start with our theme for the night…

A Circa 1960 Cocktail Lounge

To put yourself in the mood, visit the Retro Cocktail Hour website, a program of Kansas Public Radio.  Go to the link below, and click on any of the program dates for a real treat!

http://www.retrococktail.org/listen.html

Bernard's Back Room LogoOur plan is to recreate the Cocktail Lounge Culture of the early 1960s. The name of the event is a nod to our simply remarkable senior minister. We are calling it:

Bernard’s Back Room,
Where Cool Cats from the Congregation Come Together

FYI…This nifty logo was crafted by me with NO graphics expertise using www.PicMonkey.com a FREE online graphics software (Let’s just say it’s Graphics for Dummies).

Our event will be held in our Parish Hall…a well-used space that hosts senior lunches, bible study, social speakers and small concerts. It is a perfect utilitarian space for almost everything the church does. Everything…except the auction!

Purple Leaf LoungeIn the cheapest way possible, we will transform the hall into a dazzling space. Inspiration for the décor is coming from two iconic cocktail lounges from the 1960s—The Purple Tree Lounge at the Manger Hotel in Rochester, NY, and the Congo Room at the Tropics Motor Hotel, in Palms Springs. The big utilitarian room will be made more intimate with three small lounge areas, creative lighting, and our own iteration of the "purple trees" you see to the right.

The theme lends itself to some great fundraising Congo Room Palm Springsopportunities.  In addition to the traditional silent auction, live auction and raffle, we will raise money with an “Instant Wine Cellar” (Idea submitted to this blog by a reader in 2011…check out this post!), Lounge Singer Song Requests, A Photo Opportunity with the Rat Pack, and the purchase of our church's signature cocktail that will be unveiled the night of the event.

What I learned at our Outreach Committee Meeting

My first official act as Auction Chair was to meet with the committee that is responsible for the annual auction and get buy-in on our preliminary plans for the event.

Jenna at Church Outreach Meeting

The evening was simultaneously a big success and a big eye opener. I was proud of the enthusiastic reaction I received with respect to the event theme and the plans to-date. But, I was disappointed with myself for not arriving at the meeting with a more comprehensive appreciation of the needs and interests of the congregation with respect to auction night.

The smart, kind, giving, and warm committee members brought up many valid points of view. Some I was unaware of, but most of which I simply had not considered.

The best thing about being humbled is that you can only grow from the experience. Here are a couple of questions that came out of the meeting that I still have to grow into:

  1. If this is your singularly most important fundraising opportunity of the year,
    how can the event remain inclusive for those who do not have much to give?
  2. If you use a professional auctioneer whose job it is to motivate the audience to greater giving,
    how do you retain the relaxed and community atmosphere that everyone comes for?

I will check in on these conundrums as the weeks go by. And, if you have any ideas, PLEASE, leave a comment, below! I need all the help I can get.

Announcing the Event to the Congregation

Below, is a video my 12-year-old step-daugther took of me making the announcement introducing the auction in church on January 27th. I WAS SO NERVOUS!!!

It felt like a long two minutes! I went with a humorous approach, which caught people off guard at 10am on a Sunday morning. I don't think they knew what to make of me. But, I stuck it out and got a big laugh at the end...so it turned out just fine! Phew!

 

Finally, I want to wrap up with a couple documents to share. Below are links to four documents we used to introduce the theme to the Outreach Committee and the Congregation.

These documents are in a .pdf format for easy download. Just send me an email if you would like to have them in a Microsoft Word format so that you can customize them for your needs.

And remember, The Bliss is in The Details!

Jenna

This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.

 
 

How to Select a Benefit Auctioneer for Your Fundraiser

  
  
  

Sherry Truhlar from Red Apple AuctionsI have been suffering from a delusion for the past 10 months, or so. And my guess is that hundreds of fundraising auction planners out there—maybe even you—are afflicted as well. What’s the diagnosis? It’s called:

The I’ve-Watched-So-Many-Sherry Truhlar-Auction-How-to-Videos-that-I-Actually-Believe-She-Is-My-Friend, SYNDROME.

Sherry Truhlar is the founder of Red Apple Auctions. An auction wizard who is generous of spirit and likeable in every way, Sherry Truhlar has published dozens of free and friendly online videos with incredibly practical and impactful ideas that are transformational for auction fundraisers.

Fortunately for me, I no longer suffer from this condition because
I AM NOW FRIENDS WITH SHERRY TRUHLAR!

We met a month ago in New Hampshire at the SPCA Annual Auction for the Animals. After delighting both the guests and the SPCA with her auctioneering and fundraising skills, Sherry and I sat down together and had a nice chat over Cucumber Ginger Martinis at the hotel bar.

Sherry and Jenna at the Auction for the AnimalsI had so much FUN with Sherry. We had loads of great conversation about auctions and marketing, and well, life in general. Nearing midnight, I finally managed to cover off on the blog topic that I wanted to ask her about.

“So, it would be great if everyone could hire Sherry Truhlar for their auction. But, knowing that’s not exactly possible, what advice do you have for auction planners on hiring a professional benefit auctioneer?”

Like all her videos, Sherry’s answer was simple, clear, and easy to apply to your event. Here are the five great tips she reviewed with me.

1. Start the auctioneer selection process early.

This is a big decision with lots of opportunity and potential risk tied to it. Give yourself time to select methodically. Plus, the scope of a benefit auctioneer’s services can range from a simple on-site auctioneer to an all-encompasing gala consultant. You may not know what you need at the start of your selection process. Keep an open mind and explore all options.

2. Contact at least seven auctioneers.

Seven???  Really??? Yes. Sherry’s point of view on this is that with each auctioneer you call, you will get a better understanding of what to ask and what to look for. You are educating yourself in the process. In the end, you will have a very clear understanding of what you want, as well the confidence you need to make a recommendation.

One source for identifying auctioneers is the National Auctioneers Association. They have a Find An Auctioneer page where you can select your state as well as indicate the specialty of “Benefit & Charity.”

Benefit Auctioneer Specialist LogoNote: There is a Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) designation that requires an auctioneer to complete 21 hours of classroom training, as well as annual continuing education. Sherry has her BAS, but not all benefit auctioneers do. It is definitely a good thing to have, but not necessarily a reason to rule out an auctioneer. You should decide how important it is to your organization and go from there.

3. See all your candidates in action! If you can’t do that, request a video showing the auctioneer selling an item from start to finish at an auction.

The video should not be promotional in nature. Actually, the worse the quality the better—it guarantees authenticity! If you can, find a video from an audience member who happened to switch on their iphone and uploaded the video to YouTube. Your goal is to get a feel for what really happens at an event!

For an example, you can check out this video where Sherry grabs the attention of a chatty audience, dodges the wait staff, gets people laughing, and closes a $750 item for nearly $4,000 dollars.

4. Call referrals.

Ask for referrals specifically from benefit auctions. Call all the referrals provided. And have questions prepared to ask each of the referrals so that you can compare answers. Questions may include:

  • When was your auction?
  • How many people attended?
  • What did you expect to raise with the live auction? What was the combined retail value of the items in the live auction? What was actually raised at the live auction?
  • How many live auction items did you have?
  • What services did the auctioneer provide?
  • How many meetings did you have with the auctioneer prior to the event?
  • Is this person going to be the auctioneer at your event, this year? Why or why not?

5. Google the auctioneer.

Of course, you can’t believe everything on the internet (With the exception of this blog –all true!). And, you shouldn’t let reports of mild dissatisfaction dissuade you. But, you should definitely investigate to see if there are any scathing complaints or troublesome news stories out there and follow up as you see fit.

Finally, something to think about regarding auctioneer fees.

There is no “right” fee structure to look for. Sherry knows plenty of great auctioneers who charge a flat fee, and plenty of great auctioneers that charge fees tied to the money raised at the event.

In this bloggers opinion, it is best to tie at least a portion of the auctioneer’s compensation to the success of the event. You want all involved to feel the excitement build as more and more money is raised—you, your board members, your audience, and the auctioneer. It is just human nature to perform at your best when you have skin in the game.

To wrap up, it is worth mentioning that watching so many Red Apple Auction videos that you think Sherry is your friend isn't a bad thing! Her content is terrific, and truly only good can come of it! So here is what I recommend...

Coffee and Conversation "with Sherry"

Stop by your favorite local bakery and buy a small box of treats (make sure there is chocolate involved). Invite your best friend on the auction committee over for the afternoon and make a pot of good coffee. Open up YouTube and search on “Sherry Truhlar.” You will have your choice from over 129 well-labeled, three to seven-minute videos on topics you are interested in learning about. Take notes and brainstorm together.

And remember, the Bliss is in the Details!

Jenna

Sherry Truhlar's Auction Item GuideP.S. Sherry also has a great deal of benefit auction education and instruction available on her website—Free content (Like her What Sold Like Heaven in 2011 Auction Item e-book) as well as very valuable webinars and consultation opportunities! Visit www.RedAppleAuctions.com for more information.

This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.

 
 

Actionable Fundraising Ideas from the Auction for the Animals

  
  
  

NHSPCA Fundraiser Auction for the AnimalsThis past weekend, I road-tripped to the absolute epicenter of New England fall foliage to attend the New Hampshire SPCA Annual Auction for the Animals. What an amazing event!

Today, I am serving up a gallery of detailed images from this auction that will help trigger your creative thinking, as well as sharing some of their fundraising team’s best practices that are mighty worthy of replication.

 One quick note, before I dive into all these great auction details—Sherry Truhlar from Red Apple Auctions, was the auctioneer for the evening. After working all day and into the night with the NHSPCA team, Sherry generously spent some time with me. She is an absolute gem—positive, energetic, massively talented—and, by the way, a lot of fun! One of the things we talked about was what you need to consider when hiring a benefit auctioneer—stay tuned for my next post on that topic!

So, I got in the car before 9am, on Saturday, after sending my youngest off to soccer. With four hours of I-95 behind me and three CDs of the audio book I took out from the library complete, I arrived at the stunning Wentworth by the Sea, in New Castle, NH.

Fundraiser at Wentworth by the SeaI got my room key, and swiftly made my way to the ballroom to see how I could help out with the event set up. I shook hands with the very dedicated Sheila Ryan who was calmly putting out the inevitable event-day fires. She handed me off to smiling Tracy and her army of welcoming volunteers.

Over the next eight hours, the NHSPCA team introduced me to so many great ideas worthy of sharing with you! Here are the top five:

Make it Super Easy to Delegate

Empty Table + Box of Stuff + Any Person = Well-staged Silent Auction Display

Every table at the event had a box or boxes assigned to it. In addition to all the items needed for the display, the box included a photo of what the display should look like.  Prior to the event, every silent auction table had been set up in the office and photographed. That way anyone—even a stranger like me—could walk into the venue and assemble an auction table display in the way it was intended.

SARoom

Plan, Plan, Plan—But, Be Open to “Shifting Gears”

The bike was supposed to go on the stage. The bike didn’t fit on the stage. The bike went on the floor. The friendly lady who has a lot of opinions—who is she anyway? (that’s me)—doesn’t think it should go on the floor.

Jenna, “Once this room is filled with guests, the bike will be at butt-level, not eye-level! Tracy, do you mind if we figure out a way to elevate it?”

Tracy, “Sure!”

Bike in silent auction

Linda, who is a dog walker for the organization, and I acquired an extra table drape, found two empty rubber tubs, and scored some fishing wire. And, with the help of the super cheerful woman (Forgive me, I didn’t write down her name!) who wrangled the uncooperative wire into a knot, we got the bike elevated!

Tracy, “WOW! That looks great!  Now, what can you do with that guitar, over there?”

Make Every Display Unique. Make Every Display Look the Same.

This can be tricky! The best auction displays accomplish the sometimes conflicting goals of being eye-catching while also promoting a sense of visual continuity throughout the room. You want to engage your guests with color, content, and creativity AND you want to give them a familiar framework that will allow them to quickly take in and evaluate the dozens of items you are asking them to consider throughout the evening.

As you will see in the examples, below, the NHSPCA was very successful on this front.

Silent Auction Display for Golf Outing

Silent Auction Display Pizza  Silent Auction Display Spa  Silent Auction Display Dancing

Live Auction Display Lobster Trip  Live Auction Display Ireland Trip  Live Auction Display Patriots

Give Your “Silent” Auction a Voice!

Sometimes, people just need to be given permission to bid. At every silent auction table, there was a friendly SPCA volunteer who initiated dialog with guests and helped to build enthusiasm around the items on their table. These volunteers made guests feel relaxed, and they effectively gave them permission to get excited about the possibility of winning an item.

Build Awareness and Create A Sense of Urgency!

If you have read my earlier posts, you know how much I like it when there are a variety of levels that a guest can choose from to spend their money throughout the evening. In addition to the Live and Silent auction items, this event had a $25 grab bag, and a raffle with ticket purchase options at $50 and $100.

To ensure that all these revenue opportunities were a success, Sherry would broadcast periodic cheerful announcements that were audible in all the venue rooms.

 Live auction showcase roomWe have a $25 grab bag. Everyone is a winner with prize values from $25 to $200!

 The grab bags are sold out! If you missed out on that, be sure you purchase raffle tickets, we are only selling 200, and there are only a few left!

Don’t forget to see our Live Auction Showcase! I am standing right at the entrance, come on down to the end of the hall and look for the woman waving a red light in the air!

(Sure enough, when you looked at the end of the hall, there was an enthusiastic Sherry waving a red light saber thingy and welcoming guests into the showcase room.)

The NHSPCA is an organization with massive heart in every way, from staff to volunteers, and from supporters to the adorable animals. Having found “Forever Homes” for 3,000 rescued animals, this year, and provided Humane Education to thousands of children in local schools, the NHSPCA also managed to put on a professional yet personal and warm event for their supporters to enjoy.

I say, “thank you, and well done!”

As always, the Bliss Is in the Details!

Jenna

P.S. I just want wrap up with a shout out to Chelsea, an NHSPCA intern. We shared some good giggles while assembling a TV for auction display and speculated about how long it would take before she swapped out her platform shoes for more comfortable flats. Thanks for making me feel welcome and good luck with your last year of school! :)

This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.

 
 

A Tribute to All You Spiders (And, 2 Fundraising Idea Winners!)

  
  
  

At 7:55AM, my 5-year-old daughter and I leave through the kitchen door. Hand-in-hand, we taverse our neighbor's yard, wind along a shared driveway (with a quick stop to count the frogs), cross our church parking lot, and gallop—well she does—down a big hill to reach the elementary school.

This is the most treasured 22 minutes of my day.

Fundraising Event Planners are like spiders!Last week, on a morning with thick milky fog in every direction, my daughter stopped to look up. Jaw dropped, in a tranquil whisper, she said, “Mommy, look at the spider webs!”

I looked up.

A towering evergreen, worthy of Rockefeller Center, was host to hundreds of spider webs—and presumably their makers. The visible mist had collected on every transparent strand—exposing for us mere mortals what is normally concealed from view by the morning sun. Each dinner plate-sized web was remarkably preserved by the still morning air.

On my quiet walk back from school—my second, most-treasured 22 minutes of my day—I thought to myself...

...these spiders are like all of you!

Since the end of August, our "web"site has been receiving hundreds of requests for our Auction Packets. These packets are requested as research for events that are still half a year away.

Like the spiders' intricate webs going unnoticed day after day, your meticulous work on your fundraising event is unknown to most. This private work will go on for months and months until the day when all your efforts spring to life. And—like the impact of the spiders' webs—all who are lucky enough to experience your event will be inspired.

So, I wanted you to know, that I KNOW you are out there hard at work. You are dedicated, diligent, creative, and overwhelmed. As you exist in this temporary state of under appreciation, I wanted to say…

GREAT JOB!

YOU ARE AMAZING!

ALL YOUR HARD WORK WILL PAY OFF!

THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE BECAUSE OF YOU!

And the Fundraising Idea Drawing Winners Are…

Also, I wanted to announce TWO winners of a Hot Air Balloon Ride for Two People! I confess, I should have awarded one of these prizes this summer, but the blog and website were so quiet, and we were so busy revamping our FundraisingRides offer. The Giveaway simply got away from me.

Today, we put all the entries from last Spring until now in a hat and selected two winners. Here they are WITH the ideas they shared!

Yvonne, Who Helps Raise Money for A Church—An Extra $1,400 Raised!

For anything that doesn't sell at the auction, we send out an email to all members of the church (which of course includes people who did not attend the auction) listing the unsold items and offering them at the minimum bid.  It is first come, first served.  We made an extra $1,400 when things that didn't sell at the auction were offered to the entire church community in this way.

How Fundraisers can use chicken poop to raise moneySandi, Who Helps Raise Money for A High School Sports Team—Chicken Poop Roulette

Lots of fun! You make a grid with as many numbers as you have people or (1/2 as many numbers if you would have two winners). We used butcher paper taped together to line a large pen. Sell each number for say $5.00. The chicken runs free until it poops on a number and that number wins $100.00 or whatever you determine the prize to be. (P.S. Besides being a little confused as to why the crowd cheered when she did her business, the chicken was not at all harmed in this effort!)

Thank you Yvonne and Sandi and everyone else who entered! We will be awarding a Hot Air Balloon Ride for Two People every month from November through June. All you have to do is click through to our online form and share your fundraising idea. If you send me a photo to support your entry, you get two chances to win in the drawing!

As always, the Bliss is in the Details!

Warm Regards,

Jenna

This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.

 
 

Your Silent Auction Table Never Looked Better!

  
  
  

Cross watermelon off your grocery list!It’s time to cross watermelon, hot dog buns, and lemonade off your weekly grocery list. Push your shorts to the back of the closet and replace them with your favorite dark jeans. Go ahead, swap out those cool cotton blankets for their cozy wool cousins.

This time of year, we fine tune a thousand little details in our lives to accommodate the changing of the seasons, the advent of a new academic year, and the overall shift in mindset from carefree to focused.

I don’t know about you, but I really take pleasure in this process. I guess across the board, for me, the Bliss is in the Details! Change feels good, and the art of getting prepared for it feels empowering.

Lucky me, this Summer, I had the opportunity to take my joy for the fine tuning process and apply it to FundraisingRides. I think you guys know, as a rule, I don’t blog about our business. The mission of this blog is to share your great ideas about fundraising events. But, as we launch into the 2012/2013 fundraising season, I wanted to dedicate one post to announce some really amazing fine tuning we have made to the FundraisingRides offer.

I think you are going to love it all!

Auction Table FundraisingRides Display

The heart and soul of our offer remains the same,
a free hot air balloon ride for one person for every non-profit that participates.

So what’s new? We have a completely redesigned FundraisingRides Auction Packet, we have added some really helpful online resources, and created a Tabletop Auction Display that will totally capture your bidders’ attention!

Here are a few things you will finSilent Auction display sign for hot air balloon ride for two peopled in the new FundraisingRides Auction Packet:

  • A reduction in requirement for receiving the FREE Hot Air Balloon Ride for One Person. Instead of having to include the Balloon Ride for One, Balloon Ride for Two, and the Balloon Ride for Four in your auction, You are only required to include the Balloon Ride for Two People and The Balloon Ride for Four People.
  • New vibrant auction display signs WITH matching bid sheets.
  • And, tip sheets to hand out to your auction team members for effortless communication.

As for our online resources, they now include a page dedicated to providing content for your online or print Auction Catalog. There are short and long hot air balloon ride descriptions available, as well as six hot air balloon images to choose from!

Finally, I am very excited to announce our new FREE FundraisingRides Auction Tabletop Display Kit! I would like to take this opportunity to thank my husband for his unending patience as I turned my kitchen into the FundraisingRides Craft Lab, this summer! Paper, balloons, scissors, tape and ribbons consumed our kitchen table as I worked my way from one prototype to the next. We ate many meals out on the patio!

Silent Auction Table-top Display

The result is a terrific addition to your auction table. We will send you everything you need, for free. All you have to do is supply a handful of things you already have around your house—an empty milk or orange juice carton, tape, scissors, and a ball point pen. Oh…and you do need about 40 minutes to get it done. It is really beautiful and professional, and well worth your time!

To order your FREE 2012/2013 FundraisingRides Auction Packet and your Auction Tabletop Display Kit, simply click here and fill our our online form.

I truly hope that you and your family had an amazing summer. I am so very excited to be with you at the start of this fundraising season! Please contact me with suggested blog topics anytime. Also, don’t forget to submit your own special fundraising ideas…I plan on giving away a lot of hot air balloon rides this year.

Remember, the Bliss Is in the Details!

Warm Regards,

Jenna

This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.

 
 

Put IMPACT Center Stage at Your Fundraising Event!

  
  
  

Hi Everyone!

First, I want to start with a BIG apology for my blogging hiatus. A family vacation and a busy work schedule (outside of blogging) kept me away. But now, I am back with a stockpile of ideas to write about.

I am going to start with the events of this past weekend. This post is split into two topics. The first section describes a personal revelation I had as a blogger. But, that may not interest you! So, feel to go straight to the meat and potatoes advice about fundraising events in the section following, Thanks!

Humbled—Introducing Your New and Improved Blogger

Fundraising Event Orchid DisplaySo, I went to an absolutely stunning gala for the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I had never been to such an upscale fundraising event—and I was amazed.

The tent was decked in chandeliers and featured an elegant bar that encircled a tower of orchids.  The cloud-like room draped in billowing white fabric was accented with beautiful young women dressed in silver sequined strapless mini dresses. To complete their totally Mod look, they sported electric blue bob wigs that were topped off with Paula-Abdul-style headsets, allowing them whisper logistics to their twins who spanned the venue.

They were super cool…and I was out of my element.

I took a few deep breaths and parked myself in front of platter at a sushi bar equipped with easy-access tongs to fill and refill my plate. As I took comfort in noshing, I wondered, “What could I learn at this elaborate event that will help my readers?”

Most of you have restricted fundraising event budgets. You rely on homespun charm and resourceful genius. And with the exception of the auctioneer, your staff is primarily volunteer and inexperienced. I confess to a moment of arrogance thinking that the scope of financial and professional resources (donated or otherwise) trained on pulling off this event felt a bit like cheating.

I was swiftly humbled.

Fundraising Event Place SettingIn fact, as the evening unfolded, the rug was completely pulled out from under me again and again, as I cried, cheered, and felt the room come together for a common goal.

I giggled with the friend sitting next to me as we sorted out what sequence to attack our eight pieces of silverware! And, the paradigm I had built in my head about how I think fundraising events stack up came collapsing in.

The net of it all is, when it comes to fundraising events, whether the budget is $1,000 or $100,000, authenticity and passion prevail. It is a spectrum of goodwill that deserves respect at every level.  And, in reality, to meet the MASSIVE collective financial needs of non-porofit organizations large and small, we absolutely need that entire spectrum of events to bring in dollars from all types of donors.

So, shame on me for thinking that you have to bootstrap to be authentic.

The good news, for you, is that your blogger grew up and expanded her horizons. Once I opened my mind, I learned A LOT on Saturday night that is highly relevant to you and your event! Regardless of where your event falls on the spectrum of fundraising, you can benefit from this post. Please read on!

Put The IMPACT of Your Organization Center Stage—What I learned from Harrison

It is safe to assume that every person who walks in the door to your event embraces the mission of your organization. But, it is erroneous to assume that every person who walks in the door of your event grasps the impact of your mission.

And, while the mission of your organization undoubtedly touches heart of your attendees, it is the impact of your mission that will get them in their gut. In fact, putting the impact of your mission center stage can cause a group of attendees to coalesce—reacting collectively, sharing empathy, and experiencing enlightenment.

To that end, I would like to introduce you to Harrison Zuckerberg.

Harrison was honored at the JDRF event I attended, this weekend. He is ten  years old and has had Type-1 Diabetes for most of his life. At six years old he started a movement called T-1 Enlightenment to raise awareness for finding a cure to Type-1 Diabetes. It is this work that he was honored for.

The video, below, of his speech is only four minutes long. About two minutes in, you will see possibly the best example I could find anywhere of putting the impact of your mission center stage.

In the ten minutes following Harrison’s speech, the audience (approximately 400 people) committed $139,000 toward the JDRF’s efforts to Forward a Cure! These were incremental donations above and beyond funds raised by the live and silent auctions and the ticket sales.

Now, don’t for a second be intimidated by the process of putting the impact of your mission center stage. Not every organization is lucky enough to have a Harrison. But, there are many ways to accomplish this that are within reach.

The first step (And the most important one!),
is to define your organization’s impact in its simplest terms
.

Make your impact relatable to everyone in the room. Harrison is a great teacher for us on this! He tells us, in tactical terms, how every day of his life as a ten-year-old boy will change when he is cured of Type-1 Diabetes.

Fundraiser, ChristinaFor a live case study in accomplishing this, I called a college friend, Christina, who is the president of the board of trustees of a massive watershed association in New Jersey—a powerful group that protects watershed areas across 470 square miles of the state.

Most likely, an attendee at a fundraising event for Christina’s organization will know that a watershed association’s mission is to ensure the protection of the natural resources of a watershed through education, advocacy, land preservation, and stewardship.

And, while we can all grasp that mission in our head, it isn't something that we can feel in our gut—something we will talk to our friends about. That’s why we need to crack open that mission and expose the organization’s impact on the community.

Throughout our conversation, my passionate and intelligent friend Christina kept using heady and scientific terminology such as, “non-point source pollution,”  “impervious surfaces,” “soil degradation,” and “open space,” as she waxed on about the expansive work of the organization. Honestly, it was a little confusing, and not at all compelling.

So I stopped her. And, I asked Christina to imagine her community without the watershed association.

“Oh!” She said. And, she paused.

That was the trick. The conversation turned more…well conversational!  And we got to some relatable impacts that an event audience would quickly embrace. They broke down into little “what if, stories” that could be communicated in a speech, montage, or video. Here is one such “what if story.” Just imagine Christina at the podium speaking to you…

Imagine a wooded area. A canopy of trees allows rain water to disperse evenly across the forest bed. The soil gently filters the droplets. They gather underground yielding to natural flows that lead to tributaries, streams, rivers, and eventually lakes and reservoirs.

explaining the impact of watersheds at a fundraiserNow replace that wooded area with an average big box store. 500,000 square feet of absorbent soil is traded in for impervious roof and parking lot asphalts. The rushing waters channeling across these non-porous surfaces dislodge and take on oil, grease, phosphorus, road salt, and other manmade debris.

The water is artificially routed to rivers and streams. Naturally ill-equipped to handle the volume, these waterways are diverted and manipulated to efficiently deliver this “fresh” water to our reservoirs.

Without our organization—WITHOUT YOU—contamination of our drinking water supply would go unchecked. But, with all of us working together, standards including multi-level garages, porous pavement, parking lots beneath stores, and re-development of existing vacant properties, are put in place help to support both our ecosystem and our economy.

Christina’s donors definitely have interest in funding stewardship and education. However, they are PASSIONATE about seeing to it that the oil, radiator fluid and gasoline from expansive big box parking lots don’t end up in our drinking water supply.

Supporters of JDRF, want to find a cure for Type-1 Diabetes. But, they are PASSIONATE about seeing to it that children with Type-1 Diabetes, like Harrison, can go to a sleep at night without fearing they will slip into a diabetic coma.

So, put your organization’s impact center stage at your event,
and transform your caring donors into PASSIONATE supporters!

And remember, the bliss is in the details!

Warm regards,

Jenna

This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.

 
 

We Did Everything Right, and We Still Had Low Attendance! NEW Ideas for Boosting Fundraising Event Ticket Sales!

  
  
  

why didn't more peole come to our fundraising event?“We had such a great time! Why didn’t more people come to the fundraiser?”

That’s what Mrs. Q., my 4 ½ year old’s preschool teacher, asked me on Monday morning. And, you know, it's a great question. After doing some due diligence, I think I know why.

The preschool has a history of lovely annual fundraising events. This year was no different! The event was held at a very convenient and well-liked local pub. The evening was relaxed with a great DJ who played 80s music (You spin me right round, baby. Right round, like a record, baby…).

In addition to throwing a great party, the moms organizing the event did a great job of publicizing the event. THEY DID ALL THE RIGHT THINGS!

  • Notices were sent home with the kids with plenty of time to hire a sitter.
  • Email reminders were sent weekly
  • A price cut was offered to people who bought their tickets early
  • Auction items were put up online for preview and bidding
  • And, a week prior to the event every parent had to walk by a balloon bouquet with a sign… “Have You Bought Your Tickets Yet?”

And yet, attendance at the event was really low. My heart went out to the organizers because they had done such an excellent job, and everyone who went had a blast! But, more guests in attendance mean more money raised. And, I am sure the organizers left the evening feeling a little frustrated and wondering what more they could have done.

At the event, I had a chat with my wise friend, Shelby—my go-to mom at the school for getting perspective. She said, “Sometimes you just do all you can do.” She was right. And, I am sure like me, she felt like the event organizers checked the box on every event planning best practice in the book.

So...that got me thinking. Maybe the book is missing something! And, after a little research, I realized that--in fact--we need to add a chapter to that book. And, when we do, the solution to low attendance is definitely within reach!

As Fundraising Event Planners, We Need to Improve Our E.Q.

To set the stage for the ideas I am offering up, I am going to roll back the clock and dust off a buzz word from when I was getting my MBA—E.Q. or Emotional Intelligence. Here is how Wikipedia explains it:

Fundraising Events could use some emotional intelligence
As a group, fundraising event planners are highly successful from an I.Q. perspective. We cover all the logical communications requirements—date, time, place, menus, auction information, and we provide frequent reminders. But from an E.Q. perspective, we are missing the boat.

To get to the bottom of this, I asked people who decided not to attend this event one simple question,

"Why didn't you come?"

Beyond simple calendar conflicts, here are a few reasons why people didn’t attend the fundraising event this weekend:

  • I couldn’t get a sitter, and I didn’t want to go alone.
  • I was afraid I wouldn’t know enough people and I would feel awkward.
  • I was afraid everyone else would know each other and I would feel left out.
  • I was afraid I wouldn’t remember people’s names—I feel like I should know them by now.
  • I have been to fundraising events that are a total snoozer.
  • I didn’t really want to give up my Saturday night for this.

Of course, these reasons will change some from one event to the next. But, I think you will agree that they are universally experienced on some level. 

Now we have some real things we can solve for!

I am going to use the preschool fundraiser as a case study in the ideas below, but many of the ideas could be applied to your fundraising events!

Emails that Address Social Anxiety Head-On

Emails that to pump up the fun factor of the event and dispell any social anxiety fears can be sent out in the final week of ticket sales. Address issues head-on with lighthearted treatment of the concerns that are holding people back from attending. Below, are two emails that could have been used for this event.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EMAIL SUBJECT: YES, there will be name tags!

Hey All,

We know that you have options on how to spend your Saturday night, so we are putting some things in place to make sure you know the fundraiser will be a great night!

fundraising event name tagsYou Don’t Have to Worry About Forgetting People’s Names! We will have NAME TAGS. Plus, we will include your kid’s name, their teacher’s name, and provide color coded stickers so that you will know at-a-glance if you are talking to the parent of one of your child’s classmates.

You Can Sit with Your Friends at Dinner! We will have place cards available at check in. All you have to do it grab your place card, put it at a place setting, and tell your friends to put theirs next to yours. Guaranteed awesome dinner conversation!

You will have Natural Opportunities to Network! Whether it is while you wait for the bartender to mix your drink, while you browse through the auction items, or while you are on line for the buffet, the evening is filled with natural opportunities to start conversation with the person next to you! This is a great group of parents, and you are guaranteed to make new friends!

So, rest assured this will be a great way to spend your Saturday night!

We can’t wait to see you there!

Carol, Nicole, Penny, and Mary (The Fundraiser Committee)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EMAIL SUBJECT: Didn’t get a babysitter?

So you are interested in attending the fundraiser, but you didn't get a babysitter and you don’t want to go alone. Well, we are here to tell you, you won’t be alone!

  • We will have friendly greeters at the door to make you feel welcome and even walk you to the bar to get your first drink, if you like!
  • Other parents, including Sara Thompson and Emily Jones, are coming on their own! Look for them, they will be happy to have you join the conversation.
  • Your kids’ teachers will be delighted to see you!  What a nice opportunity to get to know each other outside the classroom.
  • Plus, we are a community of people with a long history of enjoying each other at this event. We promise you will only feel alone for the 30 seconds from your car to the front door of the event!

So, please come! Don’t let a little thing like not having a date to walk in with keep you from a wonderful evening among friends.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Carol, Nicole, Penny, and Mary (The Fundraiser Committee)

Signage to Highlight the Fun Factor

fundraising event chalk board announcementsHighlight the diversity and interest of your non-profit's community by communicating Silly, Fun and Fascinating Facts about its members! This chalk board is located at the entrance of our school and used for announcements. Other facts could have included:

Which teacher has served chateaubriand
at 30,000 feet?

Which Mom worked at NASA?

Which Dad was an Olympic rower?

Everybody has something about them that is intriguing--I am actually the mom who worked at NASA!

Let people know that at your fundraiser, there will be a room full of people who will laugh, listen and be great conversationalists! Fun facts like these can be rotated daily in the final week of ticket sales to create a buzz.

Personal Notes That Make People Feel Wanted

Everybody wants to feel wanted. And, in this electronic age, a handwritten note truly has the ability to stand out and make someone feel special. Below is an example of something a teacher or administrator could place in students' cubbies during the final week of ticket sales to reach out to parents who have not yet purchased tickets.

fundraising event personal note

Amp Up Your E.Q, and Amp Up Attendance

Whether or not these specific tactics can be applied to your organization, I hope that you all feel encouraged to start to develop your E.Q. as fundraising event planners. Just keep in mind...

Our guests are all human.
They need to be nurtured and coaxed and reassured.
Being informed simply isn't enough!

This was a heady and long topic today! Honestly, it took me ages to get to the heart of the issue. But, I think this line of thinking could be very valuable to all of us. I hope you feel like your time spent reading was a good investment!

Remember, the Bliss is in The Details!

Jenna

This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.

 
 

What I Did This Past Weekend—Field Reporting from a Local Auction Fundraiser!

  
  
  

Table settings from auction fundraiserThis Saturday, I went to a wonderful fundraising event for an elementary school in Stamford, CT. I had the chance to observe some amazing fundraising excellence in action. Plus, the night was extra special for me, because, I went with my Dad.

Arm-in-arm, this 42-year-old mom walked into the ballroom with her 76-year-old father (and employer). I felt so proud. It was the 1978 Father-Daughter Square Dance at the Annual Girl Scout Jamboree all over again.

As a result, while mulling how I should report my fundraising findings from the event back to you, I found myself in a reminiscent mindset. Did you know, I first worked for Dad three decades ago?

In the summers just preceding my teenage years, I helped my parents run an aerial sightseeing business out of the rustic Trade Wind airport on Martha’s Vineyard. Featuring tales of the hundreds of flights launched from the bumpy grass runways, my back-to-school essay, "What I Did on My Summer Vacation," was always the most exciting story from the class. (Once I was even published in our local newspaper, Our Summer Sailplane Service, 1982!)

Silent Auction Table CenterpiecesAnd so…this week I am giving a nod to those long ago essays about summers with my dad and submitting to you for your grading my Monday-back-to-work essay on “What I Did This Past Weekend!” (I hope I get an A+!)

First off, this was a very impressive event. I was most struck by the event team’s focus and organization—This group orchestrated the evening more like a Navy Seals Unit than a temporary assembly of volunteer moms.

I got a real kick out of overhearing one G.I. Jane answer another’s question with … “You will find that at Central Ops.” Um…turns out that “Central Ops” was the registration table. Really, they were incredible!  

I can’t possibly cover everything that was great about the evening one post. So, I am going to dedicate this post to what I think they did best.

They made it EASY for me to spend my money.

Here are five ways I think they excelled in making the spending experience effortless and enjoyable for their guests.

1. Express Checkout

    The Express Checkout option on registration really set the tone that this group truly respected my time. Nobody likes the long lines at checkout at fundraising events. Knowing that the end of the evening would simply involve grabbing my invoice and picking up the items I had won was great. I felt like I had wings!

    For those who haven’t done this, express checkout simply involves asking for credit card information at registration with the understanding that all purchases will be charged on that card after the event.

    Receiving a clean and clear email receipt within 24 hours of the event closed the loop on this process, and really made me feel like event organizers were ultra considerate of, not only my time, but also my financial information.

    2. That “Already Paid” Feeling!

      By the time I stepped in front of the first silent auction item that piqued my interest, I had actually already signed my receipt. And, for whatever reason, this gave me a sense of bidding freedom. Spending money was inevitable, predestined even!  I was just going through the motions of making the bids I was intended to make.

      3. Pre-populated Bids

        Every bid sheet had the incremental amounts of the bids pre-populated in the column. The incremental jumps between bids ranged from $5 to $50 depending on the value of the item. For example, restaurant vouchers went up by $5 increments, while a 2-week sleep away camp went up by $50 increments.

        So, all I had to do was write my bidder number or sign my name. I didn’t have to run through my typical mental routine…What is an appropriate next bid?…What are they expecting?…What will make me look like serious bidder?

        It was all so easy! There was no debate in my head to slow my progress or detract from the evening. Just sign and step…and, sign and step…and, sign and step. You get the idea!

        Silent Auction Sheet Bids Pre-populated

        4. Table Service

          The meal can chew up (pun intended) dozens of valuable fundraising minutes at an event. Don’t simply dedicate this time to digestion! At this event, a very friendly woman came by the table with silver “Mystery Envelopes.” These envelopes were $20 a piece and contained vouchers that were at least a $20 value.

          Now, I know we don’t want to leverage peer pressure too much as fundraisers, but we can’t ignore the opportunity altogether! Truth is you really don’t want to be the only person at the table who doesn’t purchase a Mystery Envelope! Plus, there is a silent competition going on around the table…who will select the most valuable envelope! The gentlemen next to me won, he got a $50 jewelry gift certificate.

          5. The Power of the $20 Bill

            Your guests may enter the event with a set amount that they want to spend on live or silent auction items. But, they also have a wallet with at least $100 of twenties in it as well. Give them lots of reasons to spend that money!

            For this event, there were three additional $20 options for spending money.

            • $20 got you three raffle tickets to win an iPad
            • $20 got you a Mystery Envelope
            • $20 got you a stunning 8x10 black and white photo of your child (More on this in a later post—it was fantastic!)

            There were about 150 guests at this event. Many were couples, so let’s guess that there were 100 possible purchasers. If each purchaser freed three $20 bills from their wallet at the event, that added a total of $6,000 to the money raised!

            It was such a memorable night. And, it was all in the name of research! Dad and I are tapping into the local fundraiser circuit to figure out how we can improve our offerings in our FundraisingRides business.

            Not a bad gig, right? We get to go to parties, meet new people, have a great meal (Yummy steak on Saturday!), and learn about the amazing things people just like you are doing for your non-profits!

            My plan is to bring you more helpful details about the fundraisers we attend in the coming months. In the meantime, share your fundraising event details with me in our online form and get a chance to win a hot air balloon ride for two! Dad and I can’t travel across the country…so if you have some great ideas to share with the group, please submit them!

            And remember, the bliss is in the details,

            Jenna

            This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.

             
             

            Classroom Art Fundraising Auction Item that's Stunning, Fun and Easy!

              
              
              

            auction item for kidsI want to let you in on a secret. My greatest asset is also the thing that is most likely to trip me up. Here is how it usually goes down. Something out in the world really strikes me in a good way, next thing I know, a child’s voice in my mind convincingly whispers...

            “...I can do that.”

            It is this voice that throws me into a Lucille Ball-like tizzy—acting swiftly, debunking deterrents, hurdling (or hurtling!) road blocks, and making bold assumptions. I am proud to say, that I have a little better track record than Lucy. (Although, that voice has compelled me to make Paella time and again with the same porridge-like results.)

            Today, I am here to report on a project that I can put in the “win” column. It all started as I was meandering around my fabulous new Pinterest account when I came across a Holten Rower video. Have you seen this? Well, you have to. No, really you do. Watch the video below. Go ahead, click play!

            I bet you feel groovy, now. Has there ever been more soothing artwork? The rhythm of the tipping coffee cups, the determination of the cascading hues, and the blossoming of the rainbows. Ahhh. Did you hear that??? There she is again…

            “...I can do that.”

            At my first opportunity, I dove for the basement. I wrested a giant old canvas from the piles, dug out my ancient acrylics, and found a tarp. My 12 year-old and 4 year-old daughters swiftly caught the fever. They threw on their pants with holes and followed me in a procession to the garage. (We also may have put a sign on the door, “Top Secret Project in the Garage—No Boys!”)

            sign for painting auction itemAfter a dreamy afternoon of mixing and pouring paints with my girls, I had established a proof-of-concept (as well as a masterpiece that is destined for our living room). The result, I ACTUALLY can do this! Not only that, my kids could too.

            "Hmmm…" my little voice said,
            "There is something more to this."

            I got it! How about the most super-fantastic-fun-whimsical-easy classroom fundraiser art auction item of all time!

            Monday morning, I headed to the art store to make this new endeavor official (in my case it was my favorite art store mecca Jerry's Artarama ). Here is what I bought:

            One 12”x12” canvas $5.41
            One 8”x8” canvas $3.12
            One 4”x4” canvas $3.20
            Eight 75ml tubes of acrylic paint $1.99/each (make sure one color is white)
            Elmer’s Wood Glue $4.24
            (I will also use a varnish for this project, but I had it at home)

            So, I spent about $32 at the art store (The paint will easily be enough for two canvases). You will also need Dixie cups (no wax), plastic spoons, one paint brush, paper towels and a couple rags.

            I will layout the basic steps, below. Of course, being a classroom art project you will want to bring the kids into the process. The older they are, the earlier they can be brought in. Your youngest artists will be delighted just to pour.

            Prior to Painting Day

            1. auction item blank canvasPut lines of wood glue on the backs of the frames of the 8”x8” and 4”x4” canvases. Center the 8”x8” in the middle of the 12”x12” and center the 4”x4” in the middle of the 8”x8.” Do this at least the night before so that the glue can set.
            2. Get a sheet of white card stock and create a grid. Each child involved in the project will need their own box in the grid (You may need two sheets). Inside each box put a circle. This sheet will be what you use for the kids to record the paint color they poured. After they pour their paint, the child will swipe the paint brush across the inside of the cup and fill in the circle with their color. Then they write their names below the circles in the box. This will be a great addition to the auction table when you display the art!

            Painting Day

            Step One:  Squeeze each of the colors of paint into separate Dixie cups. Fill them about ¼ the way up. To create more colors use additional cups with the original colors plus some white. Then go ahead and mix some of the others together too. You should have at least 30 cups of paint (colors can repeat).

            auction item cups of paint preparationStep Two:  Most likely the colors are too thick to pour. You can thin them out with water. Thin out the colors a little bit at a time. Mix them with your spoon, when the viscosity of your paint stops plopping off the spoon and starts pouring off the spoon, you are good to go.

            Step Three: Get a kid and put a smock on him/her.

            Step Four:  Let the child pick a color.  If the kids are young, have them stand on stools over the canvas. Have each child pour the paint into the middle of the top canvas. After the first color is poured, the child will be pouring in the middle of the previous color.

            Step Five: Have the child fill in their box on the grid. Remove the smock, and go get another kid. 

            Step Six: Repeat until all the kids have poured and all the Dixie cups are gone.

            auction item evolution

            Here are a few tips

            Don’t rush this. Ideally, you can space this project out over at least an hour. Allowing each color to spread a bit before adding the next is a good thing.

            Pour in the center. Try to keep the paint pouring in the same spot centered on the top canvas.

            Ensure paint spreads evenly. If one side is getting more paint tilt the canvas up a bit to make sure that it disburses evenly across the canvas. I slid spoons under the canvas to tilt it just a bit, as needed.

            Leverage the photo opp! Have one parent volunteer dedicated to documenting the creation of the art. These photos will be a great addition to the auction display.

            Don’t move the canvas for 48 hours. And, allow canvas to dry at least one week before varnishing.

            Try a black or gray canvas! Especially if you have more than one classroom, try painting one of the canvases gray or black before you start. The colors will pop!

            This all sounds harder than it really is. Don’t be intimidated! The kids will absolutely love watching the bands of color move down the canvas. They will be so proud!!! And, the format is very forgiving. If a bit of paint drips into another color—don’t worry! It will look great no matter what.

            Okay…now go forth and pour paint. Get messy. Get Groovy. And, don’t forget to let me know how it all works out.

            Remember, the bliss is in the details!

            Jenna  --Please see 4/5/12 update below--

            We finally got the art project I did with my girls up this weekend! It is 6 ft x 4 ft and looks amazing! The girls are so proud to have their work so prominently displayed in our living room! :)

            Art project for fundraising events

            This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.

             
             
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