Fundraisers…got to love ’em, right? As a parent of 5 I have participated in LOTS of fundraisers over the years. Just last night was our high school choir’s Spaghetti Dinner and a Show fundraiser. Students (translate: moms) were allowed to bring gift baskets to raffle off and 100% of the money the baskets sold for would go into their student trip account. I must say that I have a love/hate relationship with silent auction gift baskets. Oh, I get all excited about coming up with fun themes for gift baskets and then go overboard trying to shove as much theme related stuff into the perfect basket and making it look all cute and desirable so that EVERYONE wants to buy my gift basket. Can you feel the excitement? Then comes the hate part where I realize that maybe our little community can’t really afford to pay the big dollar amounts of what these baskets might go for somewhere else. Next, comes regret as I realize that I spent a huge chunk of time and money running around and fancying up so that just a few dollars of profit could go into my daughter’s choir account. The hate part? That is how I felt last year after our gift basket silent auction. The love? That is how I felt after our fundraiser last night. Hang on and I’ll tell you why:
Last year I spent hours and hours putting several baskets together. I layed awake at night coming up with great theme ideas. I hunted and hunted for baskets until I found these babies. I really liked their shape, but hated the ugly orange stain so before I could even start filling, I had to paint them. And distress them. And stain them. Whole day project. I don’t have any good pics of the finished baskets, but you get the idea. Here are last years assembled gift baskets:
Yeah, I told you I get all carried away. Who brings 6 gift baskets to a fundraiser? Here they are, in the back of my car…can’t you just feel the excitement?
Last year’s basket themes were, Everything Chocolate, Spa Night, Beauty, Baby Girl, Valentine’s Day, and USA. Overachievers unite! The result? My daughter got about $120 put into her trip account. The downside? I probably spent about $80 on supplies, plus days of my time. Big downside! I had one guy follow me around all night begging me to accept $15 for my beauty basket so he could buy it for his wife who really wanted it… and had put in so much time and effort for the spaghetti fundraiser… and was pregnant. Ok…fine. Whatever! I only had about $25 into it. No big. I determined then and there- never again!
Fast forward a year. The hate part was fresh in my mind as our annual fundraiser came closer. Last week I was bagging stuff to donate to the local thrift store and came across some Hawaiian shirts my boys no longer wanted. I also realized that I had a couple of really nice purses heading to the thrift store and decided to hold them back as well. Ta da! Gift baskets! The excitement came back. For just the cost of a couple of thrift store baskets and the addition a few other items I had on hand, my baskets were complete.
Before putting the Hawaiian shirts in the basket, I laundered and ironed them and made a tag, showing the shirt sizes and brand labels…
… and then I added a beach sign that I had made a few years ago and threw in a box of Hawaiian Punch fruit snacks for good measure.
My purses gift basket was just as easy and cost me only the cost of a thrifted flat wicker basket. I don’t know if you have ever noticed this, but garage sales and thrift stores seem to have an abundance of purses. I only purchase them if they are in perfect condition and usually only pay a dollar or two for them. Often the original tags are still attached. I think that us women like the idea of having more than one purse, but in reality, it is really a pain to transfer stuff to a different purse, so we use the same one most of the time. I just grabbed a few purses that I had on hand to create a raffle basket. Don’t worry, I still have plenty of purses left.
Bottom line? My purses sold for $40 and the Hawaiian shirts sold for $30. In our little community, even! $70 has been added to my daughter’s travel account and it cost me less than $5 total. That’s righ, $65 profit! MMAnother bonus: I spent less than an hour total preparing and assembling. Bingo!
Do you have a gift basket fundraiser coming up? Look around your house for items that have been minimally used and/or are no longer loved by you or your family. We are talking tip top shape, people. This is not the time to pass on junk! Some little girl would surely love a basket filled with no longer hoarded Beanie Babies. You know the bins and bins filled with Matchbox cars? Grab 20 of them and display them well. The drawer full of scarves that you never, ever wear? That works, too. Craft supplies that you have never used? Fishing lures? Teddy Bears? Board games and puzzles that never got opened. What is the bottom line for turning a profit? Don’t spend the big bucks. Use what you have and then fill in the rest.
What is lurking in your closets, drawers, under beds, or hidden away in the garage that could make a fabulous gift basket or two…or six?
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