Hello! I am taking over our school’s fundraising initiatives next year, and I am very clueless as to how to use items such as donated gift certificates, new items, etc. We have never done any auctions (as far as I know), and our raffles tend to be small and confined to a single event, for example, a raffle at the Holiday Boutique. Needless to say, we don’t make all that much money from this. But, it seems to me like there is an opportunity to generate higher revenue if we were to sell the items to parents at a below-market price (e.g., sell a $25 gift certificate for $20). Does anyone know of any rules/laws that prohibit this? Or would we leave it up to the donor to decide how the item should be used? Thanks for any advice!
Alissa - When we solicit donations for our silent auction and raffles we tell businesses how we will use their donation ahead of time. That way there are no misunderstandings. Some business state up front that their donation cannot be used for on-line auctions. At my PTA's auction, bids for donated gift certificates usually go at fair market value - there is significant competition for those with parents hovering around the silent auction tables to vie for them. Occasionally, bids come in that are OVER market value.
If you mention that you are using the donation in an auction (or raffle), and give the donor a space on your donation form to write restrictions or limitations on use, then you are free and clear - if they have a rule, they will tell you and if not, you can use it as you please. If you want to see a sample donation letter, there is one you can download here: