Storytelling: Evolution of an Elementary School Auction

Published on 2 Jun 2016 by Auctria

Evolution of an Elementary School Auction

Here’s the auction evolution of an elementary school in sunny Florida. To preserve privacy let’s just call the school Sunny Elementary. For many years, Sunny Elementary held a carnival with lots of activities, food and games. During the carnival, Sunny Elementary would also hold a silent auction. Sunny Elementary PTO did a great job in collecting donations for the auction, lots of pretty baskets filled with goodies, local and national chain gift certificates and sports and entertainment tickets and memorabilia. At the end of the carnival, Sunny Elementary PTO closed the auction and awarded the goods to the most recent and highest bidders.

After analyzing the results, they found final bids were only at a fraction of the retail values.

They thought: “There has to be a better way.”

Auction at the carnival yielded $1,200. This is ok but we can do better!

Sure enough year after year, Sunny Elementary evolved from a stand alone auction event, to a gala auction to an online auction.

auction bulletin board.jpg

Year 1 Stand Alone Auction Event

Year 1 yield $9,000
Increase of 9-fold.
This is great but we can do better!

Year #2 Stand Alone Auction Event- Working Smarter

10% additional bidders attended.
Year 2 yield $12,000.
This is great but we can do better!

Year #3 Stand Alone Event with Online Auction Teaser

Year #3 yield $15,000
30% increase income from prior year.
This is great but we can do better!

SUCCESS! Number of bidders doubled.

Year #4 Online Auction Only

Year #4 yield $18,000
20% increase from the prior year

Read the WHOLE story "Evolution of an Auction" here

Moral of the story

The moral of the story is never stop improving.

Auctions require multiples bidder to bid up donated items. If there are too few bidders auction items will remain at low bids. More bidders equates to more sharing, more support, more donations and more fundraising.

More Bidders = Higher Final Bids

Successful auctions start before the auction does with promotion and marketing. Evaluate retrospectively and use that information to make different and hopefully better decisions, resulting in subsequent success.

Special thanks to Andrea M & Gina S for kindly sharing their fundraising story. If you have a best-practice to help enlighten the Auctria family please email us at