Quarters Auctions!

UltimateDonations.org - Quarters Auctions: a fun new way to raise moneyHave you ever heard of a Quarters Auction? No?? Well then, let me tell you all about it.

A Quarters Auction is a pretty neat idea, and works especially well for smaller organizations looking to raise some money while giving their guests a good time. It’s a cross somewhere between a tricky tray, those penny auctions you see advertized on TV and online, and bingo night—but any way you slice it, it’s a lot of fun!

It works like this. The hosting organization has items of different values to “auction off.” (Many times these items are provided by vendors that are also attending your event, but we’ll get into that later.) All items are divided into groups, based on their value and are assigned a “bid amount”, or the amount of quarters it will cost to enter. Something like this: items between $10-$24 cost 1 quarter ($.25) to bid, items between $25- $49 cost 2 quarters ($.50) to bid, items valued at $50-$75 cost 3 quarters ($.75), and items valued at $75-$100+ cost 4 quarters ($1)to bid.

Each guest is given one paddle with their number assigned to it when they arrive. Usually guests will have about a half hour to hour to check out the vendors, shop, and maybe grab something to eat. After that, the auction will begin. Once the auction begins, the Much like in Bingo, there is an announcer. Instead of just calling numbers, this person first holds up an item that is up for bid and says whether the item is a “one quarter” or “two quarter” (and so on) bid. If guests are interested in bidding, they put the correct number of quarters into buckets on the center of the table. The announcer will then draw a number that corresponds to the paddle numbers in order to select a winner. If they draw a number and the guest had bid on the item then they win the item! If they draw a number and that guest0 did NOT have a bid on that item, then the announcer will continue to draw numbers until a winner emerges.

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Tips for Making Money on This Event

Obviously the bids generate quite a bit of money. Be sure to have plenty of rolls of quarters for people to swap their bills for.

Charge an entry ticket price. If you choose to keep ticket prices low, don’t forget to have a concessions stand selling food and drinks. If you opt for a higher ticket price, think about including appetizers, desserts and beverages. Check out this post for reasons why you should always sell tickets in advance!

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Charge vendors to sell their goods. Decide whether you will ask them for a flat fee or a percentage of their sales the night of. Direct sales groups like Thirty-One Gifts, Origami Owl, Younique Cosmetics, and other similar businesses are a great place to start, but don’t over-lap with more than one of any particular brand.

In addition to donations from local businesses, require your vendors to each donate a particular number of items to your event. Two is usually sufficient. This not only helps your cause, but will help them in advertising their goods for sale at your event.

So what do you think… will you try a quarters auction?

Media and Marketing at Ultimate Donations
Jaime is the conceptual mastermind behind UltimateDonations.org, a website that helps nonprofits find and request product donations for fundraising events. When she is not helping nonprofit events to reach their fullest potential, she's spending time with her two adorable girls, volunteering within her local community, and sneaking leftover Halloween candy when no one is looking.