The idea of a completely online auction started last year when the Foundation was exploring new ways to raise funds for class size reduction, teacher development, expanded curriculum and critical services and programs at M-A. Board members Trish Gump and Linda Fornaciari had been involved with the Las Lomitas Education Foundation and knew people love to support a school by buying donated items at an auction. As students graduated from La Entrada, so did the wonderful items their parents regularly donated to the schools' auction. "It felt like leaving money on the table - - money that M-A could well use!" remembers Trish. They and fellow Board members asked friends for auction items and the auction was born.
Not wanting to put any precious resources into holding an event or paying for an online auction company, they chose to use eBay's charitable works program. Adding a catalog website leading bidders to eBay was the key, and the website was generously donated for the remainder of the year by local company Intuit. "This kind of auction is more inclusive," explains Linda. "We reach more people online without an event, plus eBay is easy to use and well-known to most bidders. And we get plenty of bidding frenzy without a live event!"
The success of the first year's auction was outstanding, raising $50,000, but, according to Trish, "it went beyond raising funds; the auction fills a void at M-A by offering chances for parents to come together at fun parties, and for community members and businesses to support our school. People are very generous and seem excited to be a part of this, no one turns us down!" As a result, the items are incredible, diverse and very fun. In fact, the auction has now been dubbed M-A's FUN-RAISER by this year's co-chair Michele Culhane.
For more information, please contact Michele Culhane or Trish Gump at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, or go online and view the auction catalog at www.maauction.org.
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