With childhood obesity and the increase of dietary restrictions, schools are doing everything they can to promote healthy eating and fitness. While schools often engage in programs like Jump Rope for Heart and Landsharks Running Clubs, sometimes it feels like there’s little time to engage the whole community, parents included, in fitness. This is one of the major concerns of schools today and, unlike issues with curriculum or student behavior, it’s a bit easier to approach. With mindful event planning and creativity, health and fitness can be a fun and engaging focus for your next auction fundraiser.
One of the first aspects of your fundraiser to figure out is auction items that are pro-health and fitness. Choosing a theme for your auction can narrow down your options for bidding items, but, fortunately, there are many ideas for health and fitness-related contributions. Here are just a few examples of what items you could obtain and where you might obtain them from:
- Health food-related items such as baskets with healthy but hard-to-find or expensive ingredients, a juicing machine, gift cards to health food stores, or cookbooks with healthy recipes. You can contact people within your school to ask for these donated items, or look at local businesses that may be willing to supply them.
- Exercise equipment, such as dumbbells, arm straps for iPods, sports equipment, or even larger items, like treadmills. You can ask members of the community—teachers, families, and administrators—to donate new or gently-used items.
- Certificates for free group exercise lessons, like Zumba, or free personal trainer sessions. Don’t forget “just for fun” exercise activities, too. For instance, if your city has a trampoline park or bicycle rentals, you can get certificates or gift cards for those as well. You can request donations from local businesses or other organizations that support fitness in schools.
- Membership to a fitness center or gym. Contact local fitness centers, or even gymnastics or martial arts gyms, to advertise your auction and ask for contributions.
For live auctions (or activities in addition to an online auction), you can get the whole community to be more active while they anticipate or participate in the auction itself. If you’re planning activities that help your students, parents, teachers, and staff get moving or eat more healthy, then there are endless options:
- Orienting the activity or activities around healthy food can mean, for example, planning a delicious and healthy dinner for the community. Whether you hire catering to deliver a quality and nutritious meal, or you have a committee prepare the courses, you can charge for tickets and provide an experience that demonstrates healthy eating. Alternatively, you could hold a cooking demonstration, wherein a local chef shows how a few healthy recipes are made, allowing guests to sample the cuisine.
- Exercise can be fun with activities that complement the auction. For example, you could hold a jump- or dance-a-thon, a track and field day, or a running competition. You could also hire local athletes or fitness trainers to hold demonstrations or a large-group lesson.
Health and fitness doesn’t have to be restricted to P.E. class. You can help promote these important habits in your school by integrating them into your auction fundraiser, benefiting the whole community as well as your cause.