School fundraising: Our auction of promises raised more than £2,000

How a West Yorkshire secondary school PTA raised over £2,000 with an auction of promises

It’s quite tricky to build parental networks and drum up interest in fundraising as a secondary school PTA. However one fundraiser that is guaranteed to be popular at Ilkley Grammar School (a comprehensive academy) is our auction of promises.

We use the jumblebee auction site, which charges five per cent plus VAT and makes running an auction really straightforward – you just put up each lot with a brief description.

The auction has a wide reach. We start by putting mailings on Facebook, asking people to donate what they can. Parents might give a case of wine or a week at a seaside holiday home, bake cakes or donate a jar of locally-produced honey.

We put a call out to local businesses who want to raise their profile and show their support for the school. One local solicitor often donates free will writing or free mirror (his/ hers) wills. We’ve also had donations of promises such as bicycle maintenance or refurbishment, fitness classes, CV writing and job-seeking guidance, six months of flowers, cleaning services, dog walking, hairdresser vouchers and pet portraits. We encourage students to get involved by offering things like car washing.

We publicise the lots over a four-week period through ParentMail and Facebook, with a link to the auction site. Then we open the auction for bidding. Our last auction raised just over £2,000 and the funding was distributed across different areas. These have included books for a new shared reading initiative, mental health services, 3D printers for the tech department and new sound and lighting equipment for the creative arts department. We also put funds into the PTA bursary, which supports students from families who can’t afford to pay for study trips or activities. We recently paid for exam reader pens to help dyslexic students during their exams.

  • Jane Wearing, former PTA chair, Ilkley Grammar School, West Yorkshire

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