It’s time again for Ways to Fundraise, because you’re not just a Mom (or Dad) who aims to create a comfortable home, you want to get involved in your kids’ school or the community and do even greater good. So today, let’s talk about an appraisal event fundraiser.
How to Plan an Antiques Appraisal Event
The idea of discovering a treasure is appealing to just about everyone. Who wouldn’t want to discover a priceless painting or a valuable vase has been stored away in their attic for decades? Which is exactly why an antiques appraisal event could be a great stand-alone event or the perfect add-on to a yard sale, raffle, or other fundraising event you already have planned. Let’s walk through the steps to plan an appraisal event fundraiser.
The first step in planning an antiques appraisal event is to hire professional appraisers. An appraiser is a person who has the knowledge to estimate the value of an asset.
Appraisers specialize in particular products – coins, furniture, glass, art, etc – so you will need to hire a few different appraisers that can handle the multitude of products that may come through the door the day of your event.
Always start with your own school’s parents when looking for a skilled professional for an event. You may be surprised to find you have an antiques appraiser close at hand. If you don’t, an online search will help you find professional appraisers in your area. These organizations are a good place to start:
Antiques Dealers’ Association of America
National Antique & Art Dealers Association of American
When you find an appraiser, ask them their rates. Do they charge a flat rate or would they be willing to accept a percentage of the ticket sales? Paying the appraiser based on the tickets sold would entice them to advertise to their own customers and draw a larger crowd to your event.
Choose a Date & Location
Once you find the appraisers, choose an event date that works for everyone. A Saturday usually works best. A school gym is great option for an appraisal event. There’s plenty of space to set up separate areas for each type of appraiser. If a gym is not available, perhaps a boys & girls club or local hall (Elks, Lions, or City Club). Regardless of where the event takes place, try to to have the location space donated.
You will make money by selling tickets to your event (both in advance and at the door). The ticket is their entrance fee to meet with the appraiser(s). For advanced ticket sales, ask each of your volunteer committee members to sell tickets in advance.
Ensure that whoever purchases a ticket has the opportunity to have their item(s) appraised. This could mean closing the doors an hour or two prior to the end of the day to give the appraisers a chance to complete all of the appraisals. You may also need to limit the number of items a person can have appraised. If attendance is really high, limit the number of items to 2 or 3.
Price tickets at a price point where you’ll make money but not so high that you’ll it will turn people away. Ten dollars $10 per item with a maximum of three items per person is reasonable if this is your first time running the event and you have no idea how many people will show up. Or perhaps $10 per items, 3 items for $25.
Ask appraisers how many items they think they can appraise in one hour, then keep a list at the door of the tickets sold for each appraiser. The ticket will be the buyer’s voucher to be redeemed for a particular particular appraiser. Schedule people into time slots as they arrive in case they want to come back during their scheduled time slot rather than wait around.
Let’s assume the appraisal event is scheduled from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (5 hours) with two half hour breaks for the appraisers. This means the appraisers will be working for 6 hours.
Appraisers can view an item every 5 minutes (12 items per hour; 72 items in 6 hours). If you have 3 appraisers working that day, that’s 216 items appraised over the 6 hours.
At $10 per item, that’s $2,160 in ticket sales.
Sell Food & Beverage
Whenever you have a large number of people in one location for a long period of time, it’s a good idea to sell food and beverages. It will keep your guests and volunteers happy and hydrated, and it will add another way for you to make extra money.
Sell hotdogs, pizza, and donuts. Purchase deli meats and prepare fresh homemade sandwiches. Sell coffee, water, and snacks. Do your best to get these items donated or sponsored.
Offer your appraisers a complimentary lunch and beverages throughout the day to keep them happy!
Arrive at the hall early. Gather your volunteers and hand out their assignments. Be sure to assign a volunteer to stay close to each appraiser throughout the day in case the appraiser needs assistance.
Set up individual stations for each appraiser. Hang a sign at each station to clearly to identify the type of appraising (furniture, coins, artwork) that will take place there. Also place a table and a few chairs at each station so that the appraiser and a few people waiting in line can sit.
Let the appraiser know they can bring their own sign to advertise their company and services which they can display on their table (or an easel).
Set up a table at the entrance to sell tickets. If you have a company sponsoring the event, the entrance table is a great place to display a large sign thanking the sponsor.
Set up a food and beverage section. Set up extra tables and chairs in this area where attendees can sit and eat while they wait.
Take photos and if someone brings an item of real value, take a short video. These can be used in your Thank You’s this year and your promotions the following year.
Begin advertising the appraisal event 3-4 months in advance. Go overboard! Advertise throughout your state. If you’ve ever attended a major antique market, you know that people who love antiques and the anticipation of a valuable find, will travel.
Below are a few ways you can get the word out beyond your local school/organization:
Social Media: Facebook could be invaluable here. Find groups on Facebook that are dedicated to yard sales, antiques, art and JOIN THEM! Post info about your event. Consider spending a little money (maybe $25-50) and post a Facebook ad that targets people that may be interested in attending.
CraigsList: Post free ads on CraigsList under “For Sale – Garage Sales” section. Post ads in your own area as well as areas throughout your state. Remember to renew these ads every 5-7 days!
Newspaper: Write a story about your appraisal event and submit it to lots of newspapers. Most newspapers will print editorials about non-profit events at no charge. A tip though – write it in story-form as opposed to advertising form. Newspapers love a great story. If you ran the event last year, maybe write about a success story from that event and then at the end of the article let readers know the date for the upcoming appraisal event this year.
An antiques appraisal event is a great opportunity for people to get excited and hopeful about a potential treasure found in their own attic and a great way for your school to raise some money.
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