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Tricky Tray Donations

8 years 3 months ago #145395 by lcasazza
Our elementary school will be holding its first Tricky Tray event this school year (we are located in New Jersey). We have filed for a gambling license and are in the process of completing the 501(c)(3) application. We are currently compiling a list of local merchants (restaurants, stores, etc.), but would like to learn more about soliciting national companies to donate to our event. I'd love to hear about how other schools solicited large companies, which companies usually donate, what type of prizes should I be looking/asking for, etc. I'd love to get items from the various sport teams (Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, Devils, Rangers, etc.) Does anyone have info on how to get something from the teams? I'd love to hear any and all ideas/suggestions on how to make this a great event. We have a lot of volunteers willing to work on this which is half the battle, now we just need a little guidance. Thanks to all who respond.
8 years 3 months ago #145443 by GSAHSA09
Go to, you can auction off a hot air balloon ride. You have to pay forit, but I woul make this one of the bigger gifts and it will make back it's money, plus some. We are located in NJ and I am in charge of our tricky tray also. Make sure to use offical letterhead with your solicitations. Normally, for us, we have a contest, any family that gets 4 (or you pick a number) outside solicitations), the student is automatically entered into a drawing. Last night, I beleive the gift was a portable DVD player. When is your event? Ours in in April and you just reminded me of the licensing!
8 years 3 months ago #145673 by patman
Am I correct that "Tricky Tray" is the same as a Penny Party/Chinese Auction? Makes you wonder about the origin of all these names. Anyway, I too am in charge of our Penny Party. First I request that all parents donate a "Themed Basket". Our parents have come up with great ideas and gorgeous baskets. Next think about what products you and your parents use everyday or buy as gifts. Look up these companies on the internet and you can usually find how to request a donation. This year I received donations from American Girl dolls, Stampn' Up, Panera Bread and Scholastic Books. Also check the websites for your sportsteams, tv and radio stations. We are located in Philadelphia and I have received an autographed picture from the Eagles, limited edition picture from the Phillies and tickets for Philly Soul. Local bars donate bottles for our basket of cheer while neighborhood restaurnts donate gift certificates. I try to get the Fast Food operations (McDonalds, Burger King etc) to donate paper goods to cut down on my expenses. Hope this helps. Good Luck
8 years 3 months ago #145691 by LovinDisney4
Hi Icasazza,
First off, do you have a form letter which states school information, contact information, info on the fundraiser, who will benefit, your school's tax exempt #, etc.? You need to leave these behind for managers to review, they will call you back. This will benefit you greatly, for local stores, restaurants, etc.

Do you have some parents lined up just for Corporate Sponsors/Donations? It helps to have a team out there, each should have a list of local and national companies they are willing to contact. Do you have any parents who are really friendly and maybe in sales for a living? It is vitally important to start far in advance especially with National companies, they need lead time.

I just finished a large fundraiser and found that walking into our establishments and asking face to face gets you a "Yes" most everytime! I also found some companies like to work via e-mail, try this as well. Ask for coupons (win win for everyone), product, parties and services. If you do get a "No", do not be discouraged, keep trying for the next event. Walk out with a smile on your face and understand that companies can only donate certain times of the year, for certain functions, etc. Maybe they can't donate right now, but they will hopefully remember your friendliness and smile for the next time. :)

List of my local nationwide companies who gave to our fundraiser:
Subway, Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, Sports Authority, Best Buy, McDonalds, Harley-Davidson, The Jump-Zone, Papa Johns, Superbowl, Oberweis Dairy,

Other places to ask for donations: local grocery store, local Hospitals, banks, ortho, dentist & doctors, landscaping companies, home party buinesses, local library, car dealerships (Just bought a BMW not long ago, went back and asked our salesman for a donation from the BMW store) any place you think would benefit by donating to you, be open minded and get your name out there.

Lastly, do you have a school business directly, which shows either parents who own companies or friends of the school who advertise in your directory? This really helps...lets you know who does what in your school and who better to ask than them. Ask around for anyone with brother lives next door to Ozzie, Manager of the Chicago White Soxs, of course I ask him all the time to get stuff for us! :) You never know who has connections, just don't be afraid to ask.

I hope I have given you some ideas...most of all, have fun with it, it will show in your enthusiasm and people love to see a smiling person walk into their establishment. Good luck!
8 years 2 months ago #146331 by lcasazza
Great suggestions, thanks so much for the help.
8 years 2 months ago #146521 by jenvance
These were great suggestions anyone have anymore? or an idea of what companies typically give?
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