PIP Auction Guide to Donations
Auction item requirements:
Each PIP applicant is required to obtain four donations from the organization or person of
• Each donation must have a minimum value of $50
o IMPORTANT NOTE: The $50 requirement does not apply to the actual price of
the donated item. Instead, it applies to how much the item will go for at the
auction. You are seeking items that people would bid a minimum of $50 on.
o Valuing auction items is not an exact science, so do not stress too much about
figuring out how much your item will be worth at the auction. Here are some
tips to help you in the process:
Take the purchase price into account: In many cases, if something is
worth $50 or more, it will go for at least $50 at the auction.
Come talk to an auction chair: Don’t hesitate to bring your item by the
PIP office and discuss its value with an auction chair. We will likely be
able to clear up your concerns or give you ideas about what to add to
your item to ensure it reaches the $50 value requirement.
Check out Ebay or other related sites: A great tool for determining how
much others value your item, especially if it is used, is by checking out
how much people are bidding on the items on Ebay or Amazon.com.
Don’t hesitate to print out how much people are bidding on similar items
and show the auction chairs when you bring your item in.
• If you are able to obtain a donation that is worth over $250, you have the option of
counting it as two, required donations.
Examples of Items That Count as a Single, $50 donation:
• 2 children’s books, 2 stuffed animals, and a $25.00 gift certificate to a toy store
• 4 tickets to the aquarium, including IMAX tickets
• 2 bottles of wine, a set of 4 stemless wine glasses, 6 sterling wine charms, a bottle
opener/cork stopper set and a book on wine tasting
• A Zipcar membership
• A collection of Aveda hair care products
• Pet items from PolkaDog, including a bowl, mat, treats, and toys
• A cashmere scarf
• An Italian cookbook, pasta pot and bottle of Chianti
• This year we are implementing a point system as part of the application process. Each
applicant must meet the basic requirements laid out in the application guide.
Furthermore, applicants will have an opportunity to earn a maximum of fifteen extra
points towards their application. Five of those points can come from your donated
• How to obtain extra points: There are three ways to obtain extra points towards your
o First, after you have donated your mandatory 4 items with a minimum value of
$50, you may donate additional items with a minimum value of $20 for a point
Last year, we had balloon prizes. Balloons are purchased for $5 each and
in each balloon there is a ticket corresponding to a prize. Purchasers pop
their balloon to find out what prize they have won. Past balloon prizes
include gift certificates for $10 to $25, movie tickets, i-pod shuffles, free
gym classes, etc. Many of these additional, $20 donations will be used as
balloon prizes or to supplement gift packages.
o Second, in order to encourage applicants to seek valuable donations, you will be
able to earn additional points for auction items worth a certain amount. In order
to obtain these extra points, applicants must still donate the four, required
items. A grid below will explain the extra point system.
o Third, you will receive additional points for each program sponsorship you are
able to obtain. Program sponsorships are cash donations made by businesses in
return for advertising space in our program. The price of the sponsorship
depends on the size of the ad purchased. The minimum sponsorship level is
$150 and an applicant will receive one extra point for a sponsorship in that
amount. Additional points will be awarded depending on the size of the
sponsorship. Please see the chart below for more information.
Donation Value of donation Points awarded
One of the four required $100 to $150 One extra point
One of the four required $150 to $200 Two extra points
One of the four required $200 to $250 Three extra points
One of the four required $250 to $300 Four extra points or the
donations option to count the donation
as two required items
One of the four required $300 and above Five extra points or the option
donations to count the donation as two
Donation in addition to the $20 and above One extra point per donation
four required donations (a maximum of five additional
donations are allowed)
Program sponsorships $150 and above • One point will be awarded
for a program sponsorship
of $150 (business card
• Two points will be
awarded for a program
sponsorship of $250
(quarter page ad)
• Four points will be
awarded for a program
sponsorship of $500 (half
• Five points will be
awarded for a program
sponsorship of $1000 (full
Tips for selecting items:
• Focus on the auction: Keep in mind that we are auctioning these items off so only seek
items that you think other people would want to bid on.
• Think about how items can be packaged: Many of our items are put into larger packages
and gift baskets so look for items that could be packaged well with other items.
• Don’t discount used items: But beware, we will only accept items that have been
“lightly” used, so best to run it by an auction chair before donating it.
• Reach out to family and friends: Some of our biggest selling items include use of a
family’s condo/vacation house for a week or a donation of game tickets from someone
whose family has season tickets.
• Stay away from gift certificates: Gift certificates are difficult to auction off because no
one is willing to pay more than their face value. We will only accept ONE gift certificate
donation from each PIP applicant as one of your required donations.
o This applies only to gift certificates for specific amounts—multiple gifts
certificates for services, without a specified value, are acceptable.
o There is no limit, however, on the amount of gift certificates that can be donated
in the form of additional donations for extra points.
• Try to stay objective: You may think your donation is great, but that does not mean
everyone else will. Seek donations that will appeal to a broad range of people.
• Come talk to the auction chairs: We went through this process last year and are always
available to help you come up with some ideas
• Be wary of artwork: Artwork can be tricky because even though something may sell for a
large amount in a gallery, it may not at the auction. For example, a photograph was
donated last year that usually goes for $250 in a local gallery. At the auction, however,
the photo sold for less than $100. If you are considering donating artwork, please talk
to the auction chairs about the item before donating it.
• People are coming to get a good deal: This makes it difficult to auction off items with a
clear market value, like gift certificates, so keep this in mind! For example, last year the
MBTA donated a semester T-Pass with a market value of $225. The pass, however went
for about $150 at the auction. Try to avoid items with a clear market value as they
create ceilings on how much people will bid on that particular item.
Alternate ways to find PIP donations:
• Earn Westlaw or Lexis points and redeem them for prizes you can donate
• Donate unwanted Holiday gifts or ask family members for gifts to go toward the auction
• Participate in law school raffles and donate your winnings
• Use credit card points toward a prize
• Get family members and friends involved
o A message from Adrienne Bossi, a PIP auction chair: “I sent out an email asking
who had what lightly used sporting goods or instruments/ exploitable
connections/employee discounts/ special skills etc and I was surprised at the
response- my aunts just gave me $25 each that I used to buy some items, and my
brother got donations from a liquor store he used to work at, my other friend
offered his discount at Neiman Marcus and my roommate got 2 theatre tickets
from his boss, another friend donated himself as a private chef for a dinner party
another donated some sterling silver wine glass charms she makes as a
• Save money from bottle returns and use it to purchase an auction item
Examples of donated items and how they were packaged:
The PIP auction is divided into two parts: a silent auction and a live auction. The following are
excerpts from the auction brochure—all the items mentioned in the descriptions were
donations brought in by PIP applicants.
Silent auction items:
• For the Working Girl: “Keep track of all your meetings with a pink leather Kate Spade
Day Planner, and make sure to look fabulous when you get there with a pair of
Signature Collection Gloves, a new pair of earrings, and a necklace from the Pear Tree.
After a long week at the office, relax with a visit to G-Spa ($50 gift card), or chill out at
home with a Lush “Love Box”. Make sure to treat yourself right!”
• Date night in the North End: “Enjoy the perfect date night in the North End. Start off
with a delicious dinner at Joe Tecce’s Ristorante. This family owned Italian restaurant
had been a Boston favorite for over 50 years. Afterwards, make your way over to the
Improv Asylum for an evening of hilarious improvisation and sketch comedy.”
• Arts, Crafts, and Wine: “Arts and crafts lovers should jump at the opportunity to bid on
an evening of pottery painting at the Clayroom. Bring along bottles of Marquee Shiraz
wine and Chateau Souverain chardonnay to make this artistic night out one to
• Find your Spiritual Side: “Looking to find your spiritual being and get a good work out all
at the same time? This gift certificate for 5 yoga classes at Soni Yoga will get you started
off right. Increase your flexibility and strength, and do it in style with this brand new
• Gamblin’ on the Jersey Shore: “Do you get excited by the sound of slot machines? Then
start planning your next trip to Atlantic City by bidding on a two-night stay at the
‘Serenity Suite’ at La Sammana Resort in Brigantine, NJ. Atlantic City is only minutes
away, and a free shuttle service from the resort to the local casinos means you can
safely throw back those complementary drinks!”
• Pool Party!: “Become the most popular guy/gal in town when you treat 25 of your
friends to two hours of pool and a free appetizer platter at Jillian’s.”
Live auction items:
• A Tedy Bruschi signed football: “Get a piece of the Tedy Bruschi magic with this football
signed by the New England Patriots Linebacker!”
• Game On Red Sox: “Want to see Manny, Youk and Big Papi live and in person? You and a
friend can watch the Red Sox defend their World Series crown at historic Fenway Park!
Round out the perfect game with dinner and drinks at Game On!, voted Boston’s Best
Sports Bar three years running!”
• Cape Cod Getaway: “Get away for a weekend this spring or fall to Massachusetts’
favorite vacation spot: Cape Cod! Relax in a large luxurious four-bedroom beach home.
Walk out the door and into the sand—this house is located directly on Old Silver Beach.
Stay for three days and two nights any weekend (Friday – Sunday) before July 4 and
after Labor day.”