Fundraiser Etiquette: how much is enough?

<p>We will soon be attending a splashy hotel banquet designed to raise funds for a sports organization my son has been involved with for a year. To be supportive, we bought three banquet tickets (for my spouse, son, and me), and we will attend the evening. We did not donate goods or services to the fundraising effort, and I did not volunteer for any of the banquet committees. At the dinner, there will be silent auction, live auction, and raffle opportunities. Should we feel obligated to participate in these? Is there an unspoken rule that one should bid if one attends? The evening is already a financial stretch.</p>

<p>I work on and attend a lot of fundraisers, I do not think anyine should ever feel obligated to spend more money then they are comfortable spending. I would never judge anyone who did not bid, I doubt I would even notice!</p>

<p>Go look over all the goodies up for auction, but don't feel bad about not bidding. It is great that you are attending at all. No one keeps track of who bids--or doesn't.</p>

<p>I would not feel obligated to buy or bid on stuff you don't want or can't afford. If anyone asks you can just tell them there was nothing that caught your fancy. At my S's previous private school, even tickets to the dinner were much more than I wanted to spend so I volunteered to help out that night instead. </p>

<p>At my D's school, I donate, volunteer, attend and buy stuff there, but it is much more affordable. A few years ago they moved the auction to a "nicer" ie-more expensive facility and we stopped attending until they moved it back to the previous facility. If you feel like you should donate something, look around and regift something you already have that you will not use. My D's school willl bundle small stuff together with other donations to make it more attractive to bidders and they also have lots of smaller items on the silent auction table where you bid by raffle. The ticket that gets pulled wins. That table is very popular, so don't feel the need to donate high priced items.</p>

<p>Agree w/acm. I'm very involved with a couple of organizations and have never donated during the official fund-raising push because money is tight for us. My time is worth a lot, however, and I know the powers that be are much happier to have my help than my money.</p>

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At the dinner, there will be silent auction, live auction, and raffle opportunities. Should we feel obligated to participate in these? Is there an unspoken rule that one should bid if one attends?

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<p>Not at all. Just go and enjoy. You're not obligated at all.</p>

<p>I concur with the consensus here, with one observation. Sometimes when one is selected to be a more active participant in the organization, there is an expectation (it should be in writing) that attendance at the one main fund raising event and a certain monetary contribution for the year is required. This is the case for me as a trustee of our local education foundation, but Trustees know this coming in. Logically, there are acceptable reasons for not attending the May event (e.g. college graduation, family death/health issues, etc.)</p>

<p>Buying tickets for the event are enough if you are stretched financially. Enjoy the evening! We have been to plenty of fundraising events like this where we simply cannot afford to bid for the items - and often, those things aren't things we want or need, anyway.</p>

<p>Some fundraisers are designed to bring in supporters who will bid in the live and silent auctions. One way you can help is to sell tickets to those who enjoy supporting organizations in this way. I have a friend who will buy tickets to our annual fundraiser if I can guarantee her that a certain hotel will be available in the silent auction. She's won it two years in a row. </p>

<p>You and your family, of course, should not feel obligated to spend any more money there and no one will notice.</p>

<p>You could always bid low on something.</p>

<p>While I agree that you are not obligated to spend money at the event, I do have a problem with this:</p>

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We did not donate goods or services to the fundraising effort, and I did not volunteer for any of the banquet committees.

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<p>Around here, there is an unspoken rule that if you cannot give your money, then you are expected to give your time. I think this is a valid expectation. Otherwise, you are freeloading the benefits that flow to your child from everyone else's donations of money and time.</p>

<p>Even if you work full-time, there is always something you can help with - invitations, set-up and clean-up. You can even solicit donations from vendors for the silent auction.</p>

<p>Just a funny story to add...a friend of mine attended our annual fundraiser last month and won 4 items in the silent auction - including an expensive coffee maker that she already owns! I asked her why she even bid on it and she said she bid on all of the items just to start a bidding war! Now she owns a bike, coffee maker, spa basket and a pasta maker.</p>

<p>Having run some of these, NO ONE is checking to see who bid and who did not. If you find something you WANT or or want to bid on FOR A GIFT, do it. If not, then don't. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised that there is something there you want or need and can get a good price for it. Or not. Have fun.</p>

<p>be careful, though. Auctions are a great fundraiser because people get carried away, and sometimes come home with aquariums they never knew they needed.</p>

<p>Auctions are a great fundraiser because people get carried away, and sometimes come home with aquariums they never knew they needed.</p>

<p>Watch out for the servers with the " free" champagne.</p>

<p>I also attended a fundraiser where the principal passed around a hat and asked everyone to come up with a $20 bill. Peer pressure...</p>

<p>If you do end up bidding on something like sports tickets, make sure you know restrictions on them. My family ended up bidding on US Open tennis tickets and winning them (a last hurrah before I went off to college), and they turned out to be for the one rained-out day, and were not exchangeable for another day nor refundable because they were part of a season ticket plan.</p>

<p>One of the most fun fundraisers I was at was a "Bag Lady" luncheon. They had silent auctions for designer bags and "famous" bags. The range in prices was $40-$2000 so a nice variety for everyone. The only disappointment was Lady Gagas pocketbook - it was so plain and boring, not what I expected at all.</p>

<p>Since a friend bought a table and invited me as her guest, I bid on 4 different bags and won 2; the two coincidentally I bid on for each of my daughters. The two I wanted for me, didn't happen. Oh well. </p>

<p>One thing I have learned over the years is to never bid on something that I don't bring home with me that night. I have won too many dinners, tickets, etc. that I just never followed up on, even if the organization tried their best to get me to pick a time/date whatever.</p>

<p>"Just a funny story to add...a friend of mine attended our annual fundraiser last month and won 4 items in the silent auction - including an expensive coffee maker that she already owns! I asked her why she even bid on it and she said she bid on all of the items just to start a bidding war! Now she owns a bike, coffee maker, spa basket and a pasta maker."</p>

<p>lilmom - A similar situation happened with a friend of mine. When both our kids were in third grade their class made a plate for the auction. The class items typically were big auction items and went for big bucks. I told her I was going to make the first bid so I could go home and tell my son I had bid on the plate. When the plate came up for auction her husband wanted to be funny and decided raise his paddle first. No one else bid and he went home with a very expensive plate. We laughed pretty hard for the rest of the night. </p>

<p>speckledegg, I agree with the others, you don't have to bid, just have fun.</p>

<p>If the tickets are already a stretch, I agree with others that you don't have to bid on stuff or buy raffle tickets. Sometimes they have a bunch of raffle tickets for $10 or $20, and I have to say that I usually will buy those in hopes of winning something, which almost never happens.</p>