How to Do a Quarter Auction Fundraiser

By Stephen Lilley
Silent auction

A "Quarter Auction" fundraiser is a particular type of auction where people bid on items using quarters instead of larger sums of money. This enables people to get valuable items for as little as 25 cents, 50 cents, 75 cents or a dollar. If you're in charge of running your own Quarter Auction fundraiser, you can set it up and make it as successful as possible using a few specific rules.

Visit local stores in your area to ask for donations for your auction (if applicable). The success of an auction depends on the items you're auctioning off. Visit local mom-and-pop stores as well as large chains. Ask to speak to supervisors or managers and tell them that you're planning an auction. Also tell them what the money will be going for, as identifying your cause can be a great way to increase donations.

Visit home-based vendors to get donations (if applicable). Home-based vendors include vendors of products like plastic storage containers. While Quarter Auctions can be used for general fundraising purposes, they can also be used as a type of networking for home-based vendors. If you're going this route, typically try to get 10 vendors to participate with a donation of 10 products each or more.

Determine the value of a quarter for your specific auction, based on the value of the products that are being auctioned. For example, one quarter typically equates to a retail value of $10 to $20. If you're auctioning off an item that costs $10, in order to "bid," people would have to bid one quarter. A retail value of double that amount would equate to a two-quarter bid. However, you may need to adjust the value of a quarter based on the specific items you receive as donations for the auction.

Purchase paddles or other devices bidders can use to signify when they've entered a bid. If you don't have access to paddles, you could make your own cardboard signs for people or use some other type of object. It needs to have a unique number on it, and you need one paddle for everyone who you think will be bidding. Estimate high so that you'll have enough paddles in case more people show up than you were planning. You will also need to either number ping-pong balls or little strips of paper with these same numbers.

Advertise for your auction. Create flyers detailing the date and time of the auction, as well as the cause. List some of the items that are available. Inform people that it is a Quarter Auction, and that they need to bring quarters with them. Post these flyers around town and hand them out at local businesses. This well help inform people about the auction and get them to attend. The more people that attend, the more successful your auction is likely to be.

Set up tables and chairs in your venue for people to sit at during the auction. Give people the numbered paddle/sign you made in Step 4 as they enter your auction.

Display the first item for bid during the auction, and state its retail value. People will know how many quarters they need to bid for the item based on the value of the item and the value of one quarter bid. Pass around a bucket to collect quarters. As people bid they will also raise their numbered paddle/sign that you made in Step 4. Write these numbers down. Once all bids have been entered, shuffle your little strips of paper/numbered ping pong balls and select one at random. The winner of the item is the person whose number matches the ping pong ball/strip of paper you're holding. Repeat this process for the rest of the items in your auction.

About the Author

Stephen Lilley is a freelance writer who hopes to one day make a career writing for film and television. His articles have appeared on a variety of websites. Lilley holds a Bachelor of Arts in film and video production from the University of Toledo in Ohio.