Here are ten ideas for school auction themes that are easy to do and won’t break the budget. At any fundraising event, you want a theme that’s fun and readily encourages attendees to get in the spirit of the event. If everyone’s having fun, then they are much more likely to get involved in bidding on your school auction items.
Auction expert Sherry Truhlar from Red Apple Auctions offers these 10 fun themes for school auctions as some of her favorites. Read more from Sherry about how to put more fun in your next fundraiser auction.
Themes For School Auctions
Themes won’t raise additional money for your school auction, but they can make your event more fun to attend. In no particular order, here are ten eternally popular and easy-to-implement themes.
March Madness / Sports Fanatic
If you like casual dress, this is a good auction theme. Guests are often encouraged to dress in their favorite team’s jersey. In the lead-up to the gala, your promotional material can borrow heavily from sports lingo, like “come out and support the team,” “hitting a hole in one,” or “grand slam.”
An Evening in Venice
Building canals in the gymnasium or hotel ballroom involves too much work. Instead, opt for elegant masks. If you really want to amp up the feel of the night, rent a life-size gondola as a backdrop for guest photos.
An Evening in Paris
If Venice, Italy isn’t your thing, maybe Paris, France is. Cut-outs of the Eiffel Tower and silhouettes of women walking poodles, tulips on the gala table, and French cafe music in the background is typical. You’ll recreate the Champs Elysee in your gymnasium.
Decorate with peacock feathers and long pearls. Encourage the wearing of flapper dresses and fashionable fedoras. Don’t forget those long, elegant cigarette holders as a fashion statement.
Blue Jeans & Black Tie
Because this theme focuses on what guests should wear and is less concerned with putting up room décor, it puts the burden of the “feel” onto the guests. The idea is for guests to wear spiffy on the top (think glitz for women / tuxedo jackets for men) and more comfortable clothing (jeans) on the bottom.
Out of this World
Create an otherworldly space theme by hanging planets from the ceiling and wrapping everything in tinfoil. One school darkened the gym and used a borrowed projector from a Star Trek fan to cast entire constellations on the ceiling.
From Greta Garbo to Tom Cruise, all the stars from Hollywood make an appearance when this theme is rolled out. Sometimes guests dress as their favorite actor, but usually the Hollywood stars are in the form of cardboard cut-outs. Walking the red carpet is often part of the evening.
Jazz / Blues Nights
It’s about the music, baby! Use photos of the jazz greats. Opt for a saxophone and trumpet in your decor. A well-designed street sign can remind us that we’re walking down Beale Street in Memphis or an alley in New Orleans.
If you like the idea of a costume party for your auction, this is a good theme. Guests seem willing to reach deep into their closets to pull out vintage clothes.
Beach themes are popular because so many people vacation there. Use colorful beach balls and towels with a few cardboard surfboards will make the theme. No need to haul in a truckload of sand.
About The Author
Fundraising auctioneer Sherry Truhlar has been featured in national publications and television shows for her trend-setting work with nonprofit auctions. She offers auction chairpersons many free resources on her website, including her Annual Auction Item Guide TM, which helps acquisitions committees with procurement. Get your FREE Guide at https://www.RedAppleAuctions.com/.
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