Celebrating our 25th Year

Last updated: January 29, 2024
We will keep this page updated as new resources become available.

Last updated: January 29, 2024
We will keep this page updated as new resources become available.

Our biggest fundraiser of the year is coming your way! On Saturday, April 13th, 2024 we hope every Bridges family and alumni will join us at Castaway in Northwest Portland for Bridges 2024 Gala | Prom Edition | Celebrating 25 Years of Learning. Typically a sold-out affair, the auction is an evening of fun and inspiration that benefits all our children.

Our fundraising goal for this event is $130,000.

Ways to help with the auction

If you are feeling uncertain about how to begin your procurement efforts, review our Procurement 101 section below. It will give you an idea of what we’re looking for and a fairly detailed way to approach your effort. We have also created an editable Donation Ask Letter and printable Donation Form that you may use to contact potential donors. We have also provided an editable Sponsorship Proposal Packet which you may personalize if you find a potential sponsor. All of our sponsorship opportunities are also available on our event webpage.

Parent volunteers are needed!

Parent Volunteer | Auction Procurement 101

Whom to Ask

Think about everyone you know. Is there anyone with a particular talent, product, business, or service that would be useful to the auction? Examples of this might be classes, restaurant owners, vacation home owners or entertainment businesses. If you don’t know anyone who can provide an item/service for the live auction, do you know anyone who might be able to sponsor the auction, either as an individual or on behalf of their company?

How to Ask

If you have a personal connection with someone who might help with the auction, it’s best if you initiate contact. Below is a brief ‘pitch’ you can customize to meet your needs:

“My son/daughter attends Bridges Middle School, an independent nonprofit school in Portland for students with learning differences. We are planning for the school auction, and I was wondering if you would consider donating XXXXX (or becoming a sponsor of the event)? The auction is our most important fundraiser of the year and is being held this year on April 13th, 2024. Proceeds from the Auction support financial aid and specialized academic programs at the school. Bridges is an extraordinary school, and we would really appreciate your support. May we count on your help?”

If you are initiating an ‘ask’ in person, always bring along a completed sponsor letter and procurement/sponsorship form to fill out. You can find those here:

Similarly, if you are making an ‘ask’ via e-mail, link to all relevant detailed information and forms. You can find those here:

Other Resources

You may be asked for additional information when making a donation/sponsorship request. We have found the below items to be the most frequently requested. Please contact Beven if you have any additional needs.

Follow up on your ask! If you don’t follow up, the chance of your initial ask turning into a donation is low. Once you have a commitment:

  1. Fill out a donation or sponsorship form
  2. Ensure the donor has signed the form
  3. Ask the donor to make a copy of the completed form for their records, or offer to mail or email them one if it is easier. You keep the original.
  4. Thank the donor for their support.
  5. Deliver completed forms to the main office at Bridges, along with the item if applicable, or instruction for delivery or pick up by you (or another auction volunteer) at a later date.

PLEASE NOTE: All Auction items need to be received by March 1, 2024.

What to Ask For | Quality Over Quantity

As you prepare for the auction item procurement process, remember that the quality of items you acquire almost always trumps quantity.

It may seem like a logical decision to include every single item you can think of in the live or silent auction, but in a sea of auction items, many will get overlooked and may not sell at all. We have found much better success by slimming down our auction and putting out only those items we know will appeal to our audience. Sometimes, smaller items can be bundled into larger packages or saved for raffles, contest prizes or donor appreciation. The idea here is to maximize revenue while keeping the logistics as simple as possible.

Live Auction

  • 8-10 Packages
  • Targeted “sale” price for packages in the live auction is in the $500 – $3000 range.

Some items sell better than others. We have listed some of the particularly popular items below:

  • Vacation houses – Oregon Coast, skiing, Sunriver, Black Butte Ranch, Hawaii, etc.
  • Cooking classes or private chef dinner parties
  • Unique experiences or trips (think of tours, wine tasting, group excursions, etc.)
  • Unique Dining experiences or certificates ($100 and over)
  • Yard work or construction services
  • Tickets for entertainment venues (e.g., theater, symphony, comedy clubs, etc.)
  • Tickets to sporting events – Blazers, Timbers
  • Airline miles or hotel points – we can always use these when we put together packages

What we cannot accept

  • Art
  • Used/Estate/Vintage Jewelry
  • Gym Memberships
  • Most Professional/Business Services (photographers, medical providers, etc)
  • Guns/Weapons/Hazard Materials
  • Furniture and Antiques
  • Gift Certificates that are not $100 or more

All donations will be submitted on a contingent basis. Form submissions will be reviewed/approved weekly.

PLEASE NOTE: All auction items must be received by March 1, 2024


Volunteer on the Day of the Event

It takes a lot of hands on deck to host a successful auction. Not sure how to help? We have a job for you!

Click here to access our online Event Night Volunteer Sign-Up (Now Live!)

In addition to the event day volunteer roles, we also need help with the following…

Bring in supplies. We need as many baskets, ribbons and decorating supplies as possible. Please bring in anything you think might be helpful in creating beautiful auction baskets. We will store them in the school’s basement until we are ready to use them.

Pick up donated items. We will have donated items that will need to be picked up from various donors throughout the city. If you are available to pick up donated items for us, please let us know. We will add you to our list and call you when we have a pick up request in your area.