Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA online Auction FAQ
Why is the PTSA canceling the live auction & parent social?
According to the Washington State Department of Health, the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is very high, both to the United States and globally. The risk of exposure is increasing for people who live in Washington state and healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure. While Hazel Wolf has no confirmed cases, we have a duty to others who are vulnerable (immunosuppressed) – both inside and outside the Hazel Wolf community – to stop the rapid spread of this disease. Guidelines have been issued by numerous agencies to limit large gatherings of people (some say 10+, others say 50+) that would have them in close proximity (less than 6 feet) of each other. As a result, local companies are asking employees to work from home until further notice and large events and conferences are being cancelled. SPS is cancelling all large, school and district-sponsored community events and activities outside the regular school day, starting March 9.
While not district sponsored, Seattle Public Schools encourages PTAs to develop a sound plan for protecting the health of our community, and specifically reference running a direct appeal in place of a live auction. The WA State PTSA also recommends following public health guidance and postponing or canceling events/activities.
Why did the PTSA decide to run an online auction instead?
We have received numerous item donations from our school community. Much effort has gone into procurement of donations from businesses. Also, all classes/grades have diligently worked together to create art projects and gift baskets. These wonderful projects and items will still be able to be offered up to our community through an online auction format.
Additionally, regional PTSA leadership recommended that Hazel Wolf consider utilizing an online auction in place of a live auction.
When will the online auction take place?
Currently, the plan is for the online auction open on Friday, March 27th and close end of day Sunday, April 5th.
What types of items will be auctioned using the online format?
The online auction would include all procured items, events, and party spots with either a set price or with a minimum opening bid, reserve price, and “buy-it-now” option.
Are we still going to have a Fund-A-Need (FAN)?
To ensure we can raise enough money for the Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA general fund, we have decided to forgo the Fund-a-Need and replace it with a donation to the General Fund.
Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA Annual Auction & Parent Social Overview
The purpose of the Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA Annual Auction & Parent Social is to raise money for the PTSA and gather parents, school staff, and other student family members together for socializing. The history of the Hazel Wolf PTSA Annual Auction goes back more than ten years to 2009, when the community came together to form the E-STEM option school. Over the years, the auction has raised between $90,000-$130,000 annually. This money is used to fund PTSA sponsored programs that support its mission.
The mission of the Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA is to facilitate opportunities for family involvement in the school community. The PTSA works to enhance the learning experience for every child – in a way that fosters whole child wellbeing and success. The programs and events offered by the PTSA are in alignment with this mission, and with its key areas of focus and goals for 2019-20, which are to increase racial equity and inclusion, reach kids who need support, create an inclusive community, support the mission of Hazel Wolf K-8, and support neighboring schools.
To achieve this mission, the PTSA leverages a variety of approaches, including communicating important information, creating community events and programs, recruiting volunteers, and engaging a vocal group of advocates.
The operating budget for the 2019-20 school year is $148,300. Funds go to the PTSA general fund and support programs that ensure an equitable experience for all students and include tutoring, student enrichment, overnight trips, staff/faculty grants, and racial equity work in our community.
In recent years, as advocates have urged the state to fully fund education, PTSAs in the region have faced scrutiny for relieving the pressure by offsetting costs for schools, and therefore creating an unfair advantage for PTSAs that are able to raise more money. Among Seattle PTSAs, the Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA is in the bottom third in terms of fundraising income, on par with schools like Olympic View, John Rogers and Sacajawea. The PTSAs raising the most money (upwards of $400,000) include F.A. McDonald International and View Ridge. All of these schools are K-5, while Hazel Wolf fundraises for K-8. Also, according to the opinion of the Center for American Progress, the Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA has an operating budget amounting to approximately $200 per student, and the concern for inequality is concentrated more on PTSAs funds amounting to more than $300 per student. Based on this information, one can conclude that the Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA operates on a modest budget to support its programs and does not fully fund or hire teachers to close gaps in education funding by the district or state.
Given the media attention and growing concern about equity, the Hazel Wolf K-8 school community has been reflecting on the Annual Auction and Parent Social and asking questions. Here, the most common questions and answers are documented to help increase transparency and alignment. All data included references the last three years (2017-2019). This document will continue to be updated as additional information or questions arise.
Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA Annual Auction & Parent Social FAQs
When is the next Auction & Parent Social?
The next Auction & Parent Social has been canceled. The reason for canceling the live event are include in the Online Auction FAQ at the top of this page.
Who leads the Auction & Parent Social?
The PTSA Board has oversight for the event and it is led by the PTSA Auction Committee, which is comprised of four leaders:
• Procurement Lead (requests, collects, and organizes items put up for bidding) – Tabitha Burns
• Marketing & Communications Lead (advertises and communicates Auction & Parent Social information to families and community members) – Erika Krebs
• Event Lead (works with vendors and plans all activities that take place during the Auction & Parent Social) – Jennifer Colaner
• Reconciliation Co-Lead (handles registration, matching bidders to items, volunteer coordination and ensuring people pay only what they are supposed to after the Auction & Parent Social) – Sabrina Howell & Lauren Graham
How do families and volunteers support the Auction & Parent Social?
The PTSA Auction Committee solicits volunteers to help with procurement, organizing, planning, and night-of management for the Auction & Parent Social. Volunteer tasks and commitment levels range from less than an hour to multiple hours per week and can take place months before the Auction & Parent Social all the way until the clean-up of the Auction & Parent Social. A lot of things can be done on one’s own time, from a computer or phone. An estimated more than 100 volunteers and more than 1,000 hours of support are needed to successfully plan and execute the Auction & Parent Social.
How do school faculty and staff support the Auction & Parent Social?
There are several ways the school faculty and staff support the Auction & Parent Social, including:
• Supporting Homeroom Reps by allowing time for students to create or donate classroom (K-5) or grade level (6-8) items for purchase at the Auction & Parent Social.
• Faculty and staff offering items that are student and family friendly to be auctioned off – for example, class parties.
• Attending the event and engaging with parents in a more casual, social setting.
How does the community support the Auction & Parent Social?
The PTSA Auction Committee works with local businesses, as well as national brands, to sponsor the event with direct financial contributions, or to donate or discount items for consumption or bidding at the Auction & Parent Social. An estimated $35-$40,000 worth of donations are provided by the community each year.
How much does it cost to attend the Auction & Parent Social?
The PTSA sells tickets to the Auction & Parent Social to help offset the costs associated with the event. Early bird tickets, including bid card, drink ticket(s), catered meal, etc., are priced at $50 per person. As the event date gets closer, the cost increases and a ticket purchased at the door costs $75 per person. Night-of volunteers and school faculty and staff are offered tickets and bid cards for free. Spouses/partners of faculty and staff are asked to pay $25. Ticket revenue is only meant to offset total costs associated with hosting the event and are meant to be set at an affordable price.
What happens at the Auction & Parent Social?
The Auction & Parent Social is designed to offer plenty of opportunity for attendees to socialize, check out auction items up for bid, play games, eat & drink, and participate in the Live Auction. Throughout the evening, participants can buy spots in games like Heads or Tails and a Raffle with the chance to win a Live Auction item. There is also a Dessert Dash where each table can collectively bid for a chance to go first in picking a dessert.
Is it possible to purchase Auction items without attending?
New in 2019, the PTSA Auction Committee created an option for families who do not join the Auction & Parent Social but would like purchase auction items – especially those that involved classroom parties and contributing to the Fund-a-Need. In its first year, 10% of total sales were generated through this option.
How much money does the Auction raise?
For the past few years, our community has been able to meet or exceed our fundraising goal to support the PTSA. In 2020, the estimated PTSA income from the auction is $90,000. This represents approximately 70% of the fundraising income that is used for PTSA programs and events. Aside from the Auction, the PTSA has two other main fundraisers: the Read-a-Thon ($21,000 in 2019, or 16%) and Direct Appeal (budgeted at $13,000 or 10%).
How is money raised by the Auction spent?
The money raised at the auction is spent on programs that support the PTSA mission to enhance the learning experience for every child and facilitate family involvement in the school community. Programs that the PTSA supports include tutoring, overnight camping trips, field trips, racial equity, and classroom/specialist teaching grants.
Is the Auction & Parent Social equitable?
The Auction & Parent Social is designed to be enjoyable for attendees regardless of income level or ability to spend money at the auction. Given that it is also a fundraiser, an objective of the event is to raise enough money to support our programs, which are targeted at ensuring an equitable experience for all Hazel Wolf students and families.
What changes have been made to the Auction & Parent Social to address concerns about inequity?
The PTSA Auction Committee cares deeply about creating an inclusive event, and about ensuring that students do not recognize inequities as a result of the event. In response to feedback from the community, the following changes have been made or will be made to the Auction & Parent Social:
• Coordinating low-cost childcare options.
• Partnering with the Racial Equity Committee and school faculty and staff to identify changes.
• Encouraging all members of our community to contribute to the auction in a way that is authentic and has cultural importance.
• Translating auction material into appropriate languages for our students so that their families can read the paperwork.
• Improving affordability of attending the auction by allowing people to volunteer time in exchange for a ticket and bidder number at the auction and discounting tickets for staff partners.
• Pricing auction packages at multiple price points to ensure there are many levels of monetary participation.
• Working with teachers and staff to ensure grade-wide and in-school events are either available to all kids or procured through an equitable lens.
• Creating an online site for those who cannot or do not want to attend the Auction and Parent Social.
• Creating an online post auction site to open the sale of any items not sold at the auction to the entire school community.
• Creating a mocktail at the bar to move away from alcohol centered consumption.
What if we did not have an Auction?
The PTSA Budget Committee created a pro forma budget based on direct appeal as a primary fundraising effort (and no auction). The estimated total funds available to spend on programs and events in FY20 is approximately $83,000. Without an auction, based on current giving to direct appeal and other fundraising efforts, the estimated total funds available for programs and events in FY20 would be approximately $32,000. This could mean a total elimination of grants that support tutoring, overnight camping trips, field trips, and racial equity.
What fundraising alternatives have we considered?
The PTSA is looking at options that could bridge the fundraising gap between an Auction & Parent Social (70% of fundraising income) and the Direct Appeal (10% of fundraising income) to ensure we can offer programs for our students and families that achieve our mission. Options considered include building momentum with another spring fundraiser (like the mini golf event), holding a low cost Parent Social with only a Silent Auction or Fund-a-Need, and increasing engagement with the Direct Appeal. The PTSA welcomes all ideas for what a new fundraising structure could look like in the future and is eager to engage the community in coming up with a new approach if one is desired.
Can money raised by the Auction go to other neighboring schools?
As of 2020, yes. Until this year, we were unable to legally raise money for other schools based on our IRS 1023 filing, which is referenced for our 501c3 non-profit status. The PTSA is re-filing the IRS 1023 document and updating the information to include “raising money for other non-profits” as one of our activities. Also, in the fall of 2019, the PTSA Board agreed that one of the top priorities for the 2019-2020 school year is to help support neighboring schools. The auction is one way we may address that priority, while we also increase our inclusion of neighboring schools and communities in legislative advocacy efforts.
What types of rules and regulations do we have to follow?
The PTSA is a non-profit, and also a business, in the eyes of governing bodies like the city, state, and PTA. We are required to file licenses, file taxes, and take out insurance to cover all of our activities. In most cases, these agencies will reference our bylaws and government filings for auditing purposes. As a business, we must apply for licenses and abide by those rules. Examples of how this impacts the Auction & Parent Social include:
• PTA Governance Policies for Committees, Fundraising, and Non-Profit laws
• Adhering to guidelines in our AIM Insurance Policy
• Following guidelines outlined in our Liquor and Gambling Licenses