The following is a guest blog from PacificSource’s own Kenny Weigandt. Thanks for sharing, Kenny! And thank you, PacificSource, for all you’re doing to help babies be born healthy!
We called it the March of Dimes Silent Auction, but the word “silent” went out the window in a big hurry. Once the bidding opened up, things got all kinds of crazy around PacificSource. Here’s how it worked:
Step 1: We collected donations.
We didn’t want to auction off junk or canned, store bought items. So we made it a requirement that a donated auction item had to be a unique (usually hand-made) item, or a service that could performed by the donor. The response was incredible. Not only did this approach land us some phenomenal items, but it brought out a wealth of creativity amongst our employees. All told, our employees donated 124 goods or services that were all one of a kind. Items ranged from hand-made clothing, art, pet-sitting services, a salmon fishing excursion, mouth watering desserts, and the list goes on. Some of the items were delicious, others were beautiful, and some were just downright bizarre (some of us non-crafty folks had to get creative to get bids). But what we realized once the auction got rolling was that kind-hearted people looking to help a great cause will bid on just about anything!
Step 2: We copied EBay
In an effort to get all 4 of our major March of Dimes efforts (Portland, Eugene, Bend, Boise) working together, we created an online bidding system using our intranet. In a true collaboration between our IT and Communications Departments, we created an auction site that allowed every employee in our organization to take part in a bidding system that felt almost identical to EBay. The site also allowed us to “talk smack” whenever we outbid another bidder. As you can imagine, competition amongst co-workers started to boil. Odds are, productivity dipped during the auction hours, but from the hours of 11am-2pm, every PacificSource office felt like the trading room floor at the New York Stock Exchange.
Step 3: We collected the cash
All told, the Silent Auction raised more than $3,800 for March of Dimes. We had a really innovative crew take this event on, and it was a game changer for our fundraising progress. But most importantly, as much fun as we all had creating and bidding on items, the meaning behind the auction was never lost. Every one of us was proud to contribute the March of Dimes cause.
Just in case you were curious, here were a few auction items that created some buzz:
Biggest money maker: One our Springfield office employees is married to a fishing guide, and he offered to take two people out on a guided salmon trip. Winning bid: $213
Item that created biggest frenzy: An employee in our Portland Office created an astounding piece of collage art, and it had about 12 people in a bidding war. The final bid came in the last 5 seconds. Winning bid: $60
Strangest item: An employee in the Springfield office with no baking, or crafting abilities offered to simply “Photoshop your head on something awesome.”While head photoshopping is always hilarious, nobody thought it would actually sell. But out of sheer curiosity, the item went for $18.95.
Most surprising bid: Hunger must have been riding high, because a plate of chocolate chip cookies went for $45! That makes Girl Scout cookies look like a bargain.