School fundraisers usually get a bad rap, and rightfully so. Candy bars, gift wrap, magazine subscriptions--we know the drill. But if you are looking for a different way to support your local school, check and see if they are having an auction.
Our town's grade school solicits donations from local businesses and community members and the response is incredible. Items range from $10 gift certificates to restaurants to a private folk concert performed in your living room, and everything in between. The evening is a blast with the school kids working alongside the auctioneer, displaying each item with enthusiasm. It is a great chance to save a few dollars on items and services you may actually need, and it is good to know that your money is supporting a great cause.
If you have a skill or are a crafty type, think about donating. I never dreamed my birdhouse would bring in that much. This year, I made a set of dueling wands, complete with display rack. Hopefully someone with deep pockets will have a grandchild who is a Harry Potter fanatic.
The best part about donating for me was the handwritten (and illustrated) thank you letter I received from a fourth grade student. It was really quite touching.
(Images: Richard Popovic)