Leaders of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula say they can’t pinpoint any one reason for a shortfall at their annual auction held Saturday, Nov. 12.
“A Night to Sparkle,” the Sequim and Port Angeles clubs’ 23rd silent and live auction, is their biggest fundraiser of the year with preliminary numbers showing the clubs making about $152,000 of their $200,000 goal.
Mary Budke, executive director of the organization, said the event nearly sold out at 300 people and there were a lot of new faces but bidding at the live auction seemed down.
The event featured 250 silent and 30 live auction items, including a 1970 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia that went for $8,500, a 2009 Metropolitan scooter for $1,600 and various trips to places like Hawaii for $2,700 and San Diego for $1,200.
Prior to the event, donors gave about $30,000 for sponsorships, Budke said, a new record.
In 2010, the clubs grossed about $200,000 and received $65,000 toward clubs’ memberships and Snack Attack, the after-school food program. This year, donors gave about $28,000 for Snack Attack.
Some possible detractors for donations, Budke said, came from the auction falling on the same night as the Sequim High School Wolves’ state football playoff game. Also, the anticipated auctioneer from Stokes Auction Group could not find a flight in time from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Budke said planning for the event starts in the summer and Janet Gray, the clubs’ new resource development director, had two months to set up much of the event and still made several improvements aesthetically and in the flow of the event.
“Every year we learn,” Budke said. “Because our resource development person is new, the sky is the limit. She did a commendable job stepping in 60 days before a major event.”
Budke said they consider this year’s auction a success.
“We’re going to net more than the initial numbers say,” she said. “We were very thrifty and creative with expenditures for the auction.”
Jerry Sinn, board president for the clubs, said everyone he spoke with enjoyed the auction and also noted bidding was lower than it’s been in the past.
“Who knows why? The economy is tough. People might not have extra money,” he said.
“We appreciate this community for their support of the clubs. People do what they feel they can do. We’re going to have to tighten our belts and look at the rest of the year.”
Sinn said the clubs’ costs have gone up a lot this year, including food rates and utilities due to a cooler year, and they’ve invested in more programs and materials.
“This does put some initial pressure on us,” he said, “It’s going to be tighter going into 2012.”
Budke said staff and board members are strategizing on how to meet 2012 plans.
“We’ll continue to trim expenses and watch our overhead,” she said. “We want to look at another event or fundraiser to do in the first quarter.”
Currently, the clubs cannot solicit donations during the United Way of Clallam County’s fundraising period as a partner agency, but they can hold events. Upcoming fundraisers include The Gateway, a fundraiser sponsored by the Promise of Hope Foundation, in March, and the clubs’ annual golf tournament in late spring.
Budke said the clubs have no interest in raising their $30 annual membership dues.
“This is affordable for all who come through our doors,” she said. “We are not making money off membership. It’s not an avenue for providing income for the clubs. It’s not our philosophy.”
This is the second major fundraiser to face a shortfall in 2011. The Campaign for Kids fell about $20,000 short by the end of August before community members stepped up support to help the clubs exceed their $80,000 goal. Sinn said they always are looking for volunteers, donations and/or special events to help the clubs.
Contact the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, 400 W. Fir St., at 683-8095 or visit www.positiveplaceforkids.net.