The MLS PTO Spring Auction is Coming!

 Now’s the time to get your plans ready for a fun night out!

Please join us for a casual evening at Meriwether Springs Vineyard on Owensville Road. No tickets are necessary and everyone is welcome!

Don’t bother making separate plans for dinner or drinks – a food truck, beer, and wine will be available for sale on site. Water and light snacks will be provided. 

The auction has been a tradition at Meriwether for a long time and it grows and changes a little every year. Even if you know the ropes and have been before, check out each of these links to about this year’s event:

·        Camps and Summer Activities Pre-Sale: April 16-19

·        Why We Have an Auction

·        Host a Mixer

·        Online Bidding

·        Bid Early

·        The Giving Tree

·        Auction Sponsors

 Thank you for supporting the auction! None of this would be possible without you!

 Camps and Summer Activities Pre-Sale: April 16 - 19

Our auction is later than usual this year and we know it’s time to make plans for summer. We have some amazing camps (local and sleep-away), summer activities, and an exciting pre-sale grand prize in our auction and we don’t want anyone to miss out!

 We will open the auction from April 16-19 to give you time to bid.

 To participate, you need to set up your online bidding account:

-        Access https://rsabid.com

-        Enter the zip code when prompted for the event code: 22901

-        To create an account, click My Account and click Request Account

-        Enter your information when prompted and click Request Account

-        You should receive an email. Use the link it includes to complete your account setup

 After you’ve set up your account, make sure you check out the auction catalog!

Why We Have an Auction:

Help Fund New Shaded Outdoor Learning Spaces!

Our auction is a great way to bring the adults in our community together to celebrate and support our wonderful school. In our auction catalog, you’ll find many items and services you already use on a regular basis (local restaurants, camps, sports teams, salons, etc.) so purchasing them this way is an easy way to support the school!

Every year, the auction raises more than half of the PTO’s annual budget. With your donations, the PTO helps fund classroom supplies, professional development for our teachers, and special projects around the school.

This year, we have set an ambitious goal to fund the construction of two shaded areas on the school property. Teachers will be able to use these spaces to take their lessons outdoors and give classes the chance to maximize their time outside. Please support this important goal!

Host a Mixer

Mixers (for kids and adults) are fun parties or experiences that are a great part of the MLS Spring Auction tradition. They are open to everyone and provide a fun way to get to know families in our community.

Hosting a mixer is a great way to support the auction! Typically, several families group together to plan the event and we can provide ideas to make it easy for you. Please feel free to get creative! A few ideas for adult mixers we’re hoping to offer this year include a field day (for families), a wine tasting, a crafting party, a chili cook-off, and adult Olympics.

Scroll down for more information about hosting a mixer and please let us know if you’re interested in hosting a mixer by emailing silentauction@mlspto.org.

If you don’t choose to host a mixer, please review them in the catalog and plan to attend at least one this year!

 Online Bidding

All bidding takes place using an online auction tool that makes it possible to place your bids from anywhere! That means this is the one social event where it’s encouraged to look at your device (of course, we hope you’ll visit with friends too!).

The tool is fun and easy to use! Please follow the steps (below) to set up an account before you arrive. Once you have an account, be sure to review the catalog and mark your favorites. You can use the tool in a variety of ways. You can “set it and forget it” by setting limits and alerts or you can actively track your items and participate in the bidding actively.

Now’s the time to set up your online account so you can check out the pre-sale catalog and get ready to bid!

 Here’s how:

-        Access https://rsabid.com

-        Enter the zip code when prompted for the event code: 22901

-        To create an account, click My Account and click Request Account

-        Enter your information when prompted and click Request Account

-        You should receive an email. Use the link it includes to complete your account setup

 

After you’ve set up your account, make sure you check out the auction catalog!

 Bid Early

Online Bidding Opens One Day Early: Wednesday, May 8 at 6pm

This year, you’ll have a full day to place your bids! Log on to rsabid.com starting Wednesday, May 8 at 6pm to get started!

 The Giving Tree

Last year, we debuted The Giving Tree, which is an alternative way you can support our teachers at the auction. The concept is simple. Teachers provide a list of items they need for their classrooms and you have the chance to directly fund their request. After the auction, the PTO will purchase the items and deliver them to the teachers. Last year, teachers requested items as small as markers and as large as chairs for their students to lounge in.

 

Giving Tree items are included in the online bidding system so you do not need to attend the auction to help.

 Auction Sponsors

Thanks to the generous donations from Meriwether Springs, Veritas Vineyard, and Random Row Brewery, the expenses associated with the auction have been significantly reduced. That means more of the money we raise goes to directly to the school.

 MIXERS

The tradition of selling tickets to parent hosted Mixers at the MLS Silent Auction was born from the idea that raising money for our kids’ school should be rooted in having fun and building community, and not just about selling more stuff. Mixer ticket sales typically account for about one third of the total profit at the Silent Auction, so practically speaking, they’re also an incredibly important source of revenue for the PTO. Most importantly, they’re just a really fun way to meet new families and let your hair down with old friends in the name of fundraising for our school!

Want to host a mixer? Fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!

WHY HOST A MIXER?

In the simplest terms, we can’t make money if we don’t have mixer tickets to sell! Some basic math also tells us that the more mixers we have to offer, the more money we can raise to invest back into our kids and teachers!

MLS parents will also tell you that hosting is a fun way to create an annual tradition of getting together with a group of friends and creating a memorable experience that other parents really do look forward to. Mixers are at the heart of building community among parents at MLS.

You can also think about it like this: your initial hosting investment is exponentially increased with every ticket sold, so in that sense, you are like a matching donor to the school. Look at you with your sassy matching donor skills!

WHY GO TO MIXERS?

Marie Kondo will tell you that mixers are guaranteed to give you a spark, and more importantly, it is a way to give back to the the school without adding any more stuff to your house. See also: having fun. You know you want to.

MIXER FAQs

Q. I’m not a party planner and I think Pinterest is dumb. Do I have anything to offer as a host?

  1. Heck yes! There are two possibilities here. One is to partner with other families who love to handle the party planning aspect and you can provide a check, labor, and/or the trip to Costco. Another option is to think about skills that you have and build a mixer around that. For instance, maybe you are really great at making wreaths--you could host a holiday wreath making party by a backyard fire where the emphasis is on producing a wreath and having a cup of hot cider, not on all the extra fluff. See? No Pinterest necessary! We promise that you have a lot to offer as a host, don’t even doubt yourself.

Q. I’m worried that people won’t like it/people will be judgey/people will thinking about bang for their buck etc. Basically, I’m worried. Is that a thing?

We get it! It can be nerve wracking to put yourself out there as a host, but you don’t have to worry, mixers are low stakes and parents are just happy to have a party to go to and thankful to the generous souls who host! Historically mixers have ranged from large backyard parties to a limited seating poker tournament to a women’s-only night-in and more. This means that you can host a mixer on a scale that works for you with a population that you’re comfortable with. If you build it, they will come, and they will be grateful, so no need to worry!

Q. How much does it cost to host a mixer?

Well, the truth is, that depends on your vision and the number of families sharing hosting responsibilities. If your mixer is something like a DIY aromatherapy party for 12 women and there are three hosts, the total divided cost for the mixer might be very low. Similarly, having a lot of mixer hosts share hosting duties keeps costs down. Some families will set a group budget ahead of time (i.e. 7 families each agree to put $100 into the pot, so the total budget for the party is $700.) while others will save receipts and split the total cost at the end. The point is, there are options for hosting mixers that work with every budget and vision.

Q. Do I set the cost of the mixer ticket?

The cost of mixer tickets can vary depending on the type of experience that’s being offered. $30 per ticket is the historic average for adult mixers and they are generally sold individually so that there is no pressure to buy more than one ticket to any given event. However, there are a few exceptions to this. For instance, if you’re thinking of hosting a black tie event, or a small but elaborate backyard dinner, there is a precedent set for an increased ticket price. If you’re considering this option, please talk to the Mixer Co-Chairs!

Q. Does our mixer have to happen before the end of the school year?

Nope! We just like to have all mixers completed before the next year’s auction. Pretty cool, huh? Please just have your approximate (Spring, Fall, etc.) mixer date set by the auction so that people can check their calendars when bidding.

Q. How do we know who signed up for our mixer?

Following the auction, the auction committee will send you a guest list. Often, we will keep mixers “open” up until the date of the event and/or until all the tickets have been sold, but some mixers will sell out at the auction. Basically, the Mixer co-chairs will keep you posted. We recommend sending out electronic invitations/save-the-dates to your guest list just to keep everyone in the loop and track RSVPs.

Mixer Ideas!

Sometimes all it takes is a good idea. Check out the list of possible mixer ideas below for inspiration and then contact Sarah Kelsey or Amelia Walton to let us know the name and details of your mixer, the host family name(s), and the date of the mixer. Please let us know if you have any questions, we’re here to help!

Fun Party Ideas: These parties can generally have a larger guest list and work well in someone’s backyard!

  • BBQ and Blues (This is a popular party that is ready for new host families!)

  • Adult College Olympics: Encourage people to wear their Alma mater colors and come to play your favorite adult beverage games from college.

  • Barn and Cider party in the fall

  • Low Country Boil

  • Ladies who Lunch

  • Family Olympics/Field day (three legged races, feats of strength, hula hooping etc.)

  • Sushi and Karaoke Party

  • 1970s/80/or 90s throwback party: wear your favorite garb from the decade of choice, rock out to your favorite tunes!

DIY parties: Lead a group in making their own party favors and learn a new skill. Either you and/or your co-hosts can lead the group, or you could hire a teacher for party. Ideas include:

  • Holiday wreath making

  • Calligraphy lesson

  • DIY Spa night with aromatherapy products (lip balm, face masks, bath salts etc.)

  • “Wine and Design” type painting evening

  • Botanical print making

  • Floral arranging

Takin’ it to the Streets: consider taking the party on the road and letting the venue do the hosting! To make these work, the hosts would assume the group cost for participation/drinks/food etc. FYI: We have not investigated any of these specifically, so the leg work will be up to you, these are just some ideas to get those creative juices flowing!

  • Adult bowling night at AMF Kegglers

  • Painting night at Muse paint bar etc.

  • Yoga and wine partnered with a local vineyard/brewery etc.

  • Starry Nights at Veritas

  • Vintage arcade game night at Firefly

  • Ladies tea at Dinsmore House/Keswick Hall etc.

  • Vineyard/Brewery tour with a box/picnic lunch

  • Salt room/spa day

  • Home Chef--hire a local chef to cater a meal-in

  • After-hours tour of Monticello

For more information or questions about mixers please contact Amelia Walton at walton.amelia@gmail.com or Sarah Kelsey at sarahlynnkelsey@yahoo.com