College says silent and live auction a success, after hiatus

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Despite one drawback to the event, organizers of a silent and live auction hosted by Fort Scott Community College earlier this month are calling it a success.

On June 11, FSCC hosted "A Summer Bash" at the Liberty Theatre, which raised money for all scholarships offered at the college, improvements to campus facilities and academics. The silent auction included a variety of items donated by several area businesses. The live auction included a car provided by Shepherd Team Auto Plaza, destination trips, sports memorabilia and other items.

As part of the event, FSCC facilitated the chance for area residents to win a 2011 Silver Fatboy Lo Harley-Davidson motorcycle and $25,000 through a "Kick for Cash" contest.

"The auction was very successful," FSCC Director of Public Relations Kathleen Hinrichs said. "It was a great night for everybody who was there. The items were fantastic ... I was overwhelmed with how many people were so generous to donate."

College officials said the FSCC Endowment Association unfortunately did not meet the necessary minimum ticket reserve for either the motorcycle drawing or "Kick for Cash" contest and are issuing refunds to people who made contributions for either opportunity.

"There was a certain criteria and we didn't reach that number so we're refunding that money," Hinrichs said.

Neither an exact number of tickets sold for those prizes, nor the exact number of tickets that needed to be sold to meet the reserve was available.

Event co-chairman Gary Palmer said the ticket reserve set was "meant to cover the costs of the items for the college."

Money raised from the auctions goes through the FSCC Endowment Association to fund scholarships and various campus needs, Hinrichs said.

While organizers are still figuring expenses for the event, early figures show that about $7,000 was raised through the auctions, and about 80 people were in attendance, Palmer said. Organizers had hoped for a turnout of between 300 and 400 people and to raise about $30,000.

Despite the need to refund some donations, Palmer said he was pleased with the outcome of the event in its first year back from a long hiatus.

"I think it was a huge success," he said. "It's a building year. We brought back the auction after a 10- to 15-year sabbatical. This was a great start. We had great entertainment from local band Triple Threat. It was a great venue and food. It was a great time and a worthwhile cause."

Participants in the "Kick for Cash" contest or drawing for the motorcycle who attended the event were refunded their contributions at the door. For participants who did not attend, the Endowment Association is issuing refunds to anyone who made a donation toward either opportunity. Refunds are being mailed out to all those who contributed, a news release said.

The auction was revived as a summer fundraiser this year as organizers were not sure if the golf course, now owned by the city, would be available for the Greyhound Golf Classic, an annual appeal for funds that takes place in June.

Proceeds go to athletic scholarships at the college. That event may be held this fall, officials said.

"I think we raised more at this event than if we just did the golf tournament," Hinrichs said. "I think there is room for improvement as far as community members and attendance. It's hard to get people to come to an event on the weekend during the summer when sports and other activities are going on."

Organizers may try to move the auction fundraiser to spring next year so FSCC students can help with the event, she said. The planned drawing for the motorcycle and "Kick for Cash" contest were "really neat ideas" that served as an "experiment" that will help organizers plan future events, Hinrichs said.

"They were really big giveaways on top of what we were trying to do with the auction," she said. "It was exciting to talk to the community and see what they want ... It was a great experiment. It may have been a few too many things to throw at people all at once. Maybe we can do separate events at different times during the year. We have to throw ideas out there and see what the community wants. I think the big items drew a lot of excitement about the auction itself. We'll tweak some things for the future."