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How to Raise More Money in a School Auction by Selling Branded Merchandise

April 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 150

When you start to think about your school auction as a business, your auction will grow more quickly. And as your auction receives proper attention, you'll be looking for ways to add additional revenue to nurture your growing baby.

One revenue stream popular at for-profit enterprises is branded merchandise. Let's consider how you might adopt this idea in your school auction.

Branded merchandise refers to items sold at a flat rate. The merchandise is typically themed to the gala itself. In fact, if you've ever bought a T-shirt at a concert or a popular restaurant, you've been a consumer of branded merchandise.

Oftentimes the logo of the auction gala is on the item, or - if you want to brand the item to your school - the logo or mascot of the school is imprinted onto the item.

Most branded merchandise is sold at the benefit auction itself or in the days immediately prior to and after it. If you are able, take orders for the merchandise on your website in the days and weeks leading up to the event.

(Tip: If you are using an auction software provider, they typically have a feature that enables you to easily accept flat orders online.)

If online orders aren't an option, apply sales to guests' bid numbers at the auction itself.

What should you sell? Here are a few items I've seen:

  • Stadium chairs
  • Tshirts
  • Umbrellas
  • Ball caps
  • Megaphones and mini-foam footballs
  • Beer mugs / beer steins and wine glasses
  • Sports-like pendants
  • Beach towels (great for beach-type themes)
  • Tote bags / reusable grocery bag
  • Sweatshirt blankets

A vendor who sells promotional materials (also called "tchotchkes"or giveaways) will be able to suggest items in your price point and expected volume.

What will your school raise? Revenues will vary based on your sales and price point, but a few hundred dollars to the low thousands isn't uncommon.

My advice: Ensure that you're charging enough to raise the intended amount of money.

You should factor in all costs: the item itself, marketing expenses, and your "labor" in selling it. Realize that even if labor is free because a volunteer will sell the item at a table in your silent auction, you still have an opportunity cost. Is it better to assign your sales-y volunteer to the table so she can pitch $10 beach towels, or would you raise more money having her selling $100 raffle tickets?

The key to a successful school auction is to make sure selling these products isn't more hassle than it's worth.

Fundraising auctioneer Sherry Truhlar has been featured in Town & Country, The Washington Post Magazine and on E! Style and TLC shows for her trend-setting work with school and nonprofit auctions. Her classes and tools are used by hundreds of charities to improve their bottom-line auction results. To amplify your auction, enjoy her annual Auction Item Guide TM listing 100 items that sold for over value in auctions last year. Get your FREE Guide at

Source: EzineArticles
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Branded Merchandise


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Auction Branded Merchandise


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