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Paying for the reunion - Fundraising Auctions Raffles 

What reunion doesn’t need money? There are many ways to raise money if you don’t just divide all your costs and assess everyone equally. Consider some of these ideas and share your ideas with our readers. E-mail us.

Silverton alumni success
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Setting up an auction
Judy Nunn is the spark behind the Silverton (Oregon) High School Alumni Association and its fundraising activities. Here she describes how they set up their auction.

We fill long tables with items, each of which has a bid sheet. The bid sheets are made ahead of time, as we collect the merchandise. I take pictures of each item and print it right on the bid sheet, listing the item and who donated it. Many merchants give gift certificates. For the certificates, we make a stand-up display board (8 1/2 x 11 or 5x7) showing the item or restaurant, in the case of a meal. In the case of monetary certificates ($20 worth of merchandise, for example) the amount of the certificate is listed on the bid sheet. Where a certificate is to be redeemed for an item (Christmas tree, for example), a description of the merchandise is listed on the bid sheet. Gift certificates bring recipients into local businesses.

Class baskets were started several years ago. We encourage each class to donate one. Each is decorated, some wrapped in cellophane and usually have a "theme." Examples have been a chocolate basket, containing different kinds of chocolate. One was a coffee basket with coffee beans, mugs, flavored ground coffee, etc. Another was all candy bars, and looked like a bouquet. One was movies, popcorn and other snacks. My class created a yarn basket containing finished crocheted and knitted items, yarn, knitting needles, crochet hook and instruction book.

Several alumni members bring a bottle of wine or liquor for auction. The past two years we filled a wooden box and this year we put the bottles in an old wheelbarrow. It is a big seller every year.

Another high ticket item is a motorized scooter donated two years in a row by the local medical equipment supplier. Our former high school principal, Mr. Anderson, now retired, builds furniture as a hobby. He donates tables, small wooden pianos (plays similar to a music box) and recently a gavel. The lady who won the bid on the gavel is a Superior Court judge in Washington, DC. She uses it in her court!

USS Eugene A. Greene offers opportunity

Robert J. Clark, Louisville, Kentucky, explains that the USS Eugene A. Greene (DD/DDr-711) Association Reunion has an opportunity raffle. (Using the word "lottery" entails legal restrictions, so they sell "opportunity tickets.")  This has been an effective fundraiser for the Association and a lot of fun!

Raffle tickets (one dollar each, or seven for five dollars) are for items donated by the attendees. All raffle items are arranged on a long table. A Tupperware container with a slot on top is placed beside each item. Clark keeps track of each item and container by labeling the item and the corresponding container with a matching number. People place "opportunity tickets"  in containers of their choice. They may put all their tickets in one container, or one ticket in each container.At the banquet, the donor or person who made the gift is recognized and the container is handed to an attendee to draw the lucky winning number. The winner picks up his or her item after the banquet.  People love this approach!!

Left: Robert J Clark is the auctioneer for the USS Eugene A Greene (DD/DDR-711) reunions! Top right: Diane Clark drawing a chance to win at the USS Eugene Greene reunion opportunity raffle. Bottom right: Robert J Clark auctioning a Salty Dog at the USS Eugene Greene reunion. Click on thumbnails to enlarge.

Raffle items have included knitted throws, hand-carved items, Navy books, pictures, artifacts, food baskets, American and Naval flags, watches and wood crafts.

Revenue from the raffle pays for the Greene Association’s newsletter mailings, as well as food and drink for the reunion. They raise several hundred dollars, and excess funds are donated to Tin Can Sailors and The Navy Memorial Association.

Reported by Robert J. Clark, Louisville, Kentucky.

A fun and cost-saving event: sold!

by Katherine Sinclair

Family reunions are about catching up on what’s new and remembering times past. They’re about barbecues, dancing, baseball and horseshoes. They’re also about money. They can be costly and, unfortunately, some relatives just can’t always afford to come. For eighteen years the Moore family has held a reunion auction to help relieve some of the money pressure.

The Moore Family Reunion is held every two years in British Columbia or Alberta, Canada, where most of the family lives. As relatives arrive from as far as Nova Scotia, Michigan and Florida, they place donations on tables lining one wall of a rented hall. The items are displayed throughout the reunion. Each day as family crowds the hall for breakfast, lunch and dinner, items are examined and admired over and over by young and old alike.

On Sunday afternoon the air of excitement begins. Everyone crowds into the hall talking excitedly, jostling to get the best seats.

It’s auction time.
The hosting relative is the auctioneer. The first item is up for bid. Arms wave to place a bid as everyone strives to get that special something they’ve had their eye on since arriving. The smallest relatives stand on chairs to ensure their bids are acknowledged. In the crowd are a devilish few who bid solely to drive prices higher. It’s all part of the game and their antics are the source of much laughter and playful taunting. Hoots and howls of laughter shriek through the room when a price driver gets caught in a bid and ends up buying an item s/he didn’t intend to take home.

The majority of items up for bid are hand-crafted by both adult and young family members or by a family as a group. Relatives unable to attend send items with other family members. One year, items arrived all the way from Argentina from a Moore family living there temporarily.

Items for bid include cacti in decorated clay pots, wooden lawn ornaments of popular cartoon characters, decorative butterfly fans and even crocheted turtles to mop the floor. There have been macramé lawn chairs with the date and “Moore Family Reunion” emblazoned on their backs, throw pillows, homemade wines, jams, jellies and preserves, teddy bears and wooden gingerbread men holding Canadian and American flags honoring relatives from each side of the border, sculptures from a full-time family artist and more.

At the 2002 reunion a beautiful handmade quilt sold to the highest bidder for $235. Bidding closed at $75 for a wooden folding lawn table. The most coveted item of that year was a miniature grandfather clock, handmade of wood and frosted glass, standing only twelve inches high. Sold! For $470.

The auction funds are banked until the next reunion draws near, then forwarded to the next host. A hall is rented, facilities, such as campgrounds, are paid for in advance and all meals, made by the family or sometimes catered, are completely paid for. Everyone has a great time generating ideas and making auction items. And it lowers each family’s expenses considerably, leaving a little extra for the auction!

What do I think about the Moore family auction? One word: sold!

About the author
Katherine Sinclair is a single mother of two teenagers living temporarily in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. Her jobs range from free-lance writing to working in BC’s pulp and paper mills. Her permanent home is out in the bush on a small acreage in the community of Sinclair Mills (population approximately 30).



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