Wednesday, June 19, 2024




“There is nothing like this in the world of Rotary.” You can’t imagine this until you see it!” “Acres covered with everything you can think of.” “This event benefits thousands in our community and beyond.” These are just a few comments people make about the amazing Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale. 

This year’s Auction, held on July 8th, set a new gross revenue record of $824,365. ….for a sale open for just six hours. No one would have ever believed this when it was first conceived by a small group of Rotarians 63 years ago.

It has become more than just a fundraiser. It has become an iconic event for the Bainbridge community. The entire Island is involved in preparing, serving, and supporting the event. Residents save their “unwanted treasures'” for a year to donate to us. This year, we had over 2,200 non-Rotarian volunteers to support us in site preparation, sale day, and clean-up. Many have been volunteering for more than 20 years!

City Police and Fire provide support for traffic and medical needs. 

Bainbridge Prepares, the disaster planning arm of our city, provides support for communications, medical staff, video surveillance, WI-FI support, and emergency planning. 

Many non-profit organizations on and off the Island that have benefitted from our grants over the years provide teams of volunteers. Sports teams, local military units, and other clubs offer members to help with set-up and clean-up.

The entire event is centered around the idea of Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce and, at the same time, benefits scores of non-profits. When the event has concluded, we are passionate about reducing what remains. 

Each department’s goal is to sell all their donated goods by the end of the sale day, which starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. If that doesn’t happen, our Harvester Program kicks in – profit and non-profits who have registered with us may go in and take any unsold items for their organizations. The greater community is then invited to remove any of the remaining goods the day after the sale. Every item that leaves the site is one less we must dispose of and add to the landfill. 

When the Auction and Rummage Sale ends, then the fun begins. We get to spend the rest of our fiscal year giving away the net funds. The proceeds are divided between community grants (small grants for $15,000 or less), capital grants for large community projects, and grants for World Community Service. 

Want to see a little bit of the action? Consider joining us for the event by bringing a team of Rotarians and volunteering! People have joined us from around the world. It is a showcase for the true power of “Service Above Self.” 

Here’s our event by the numbers: 

  • 10 months of planning by the Auction and Assistant Auction Chair 
  • Recruiting 2000+ volunteers, which include managers of the 36 departments – including autos, boats, jewelry, holiday decorations, books, vacuums, and many others 
  • A marketing effort to appeal to 3 major groups: Donors, volunteers, and shoppers 
  • We take over an entire middle school – inside and outside 
  • We serve over 6,000 complimentary meals, lunch, dinner, and snacks to our volunteers for the 9 days they are working on campus 
  • There are many support departments critical to serving the sales departments: Finance, marketing, site management, grocery cart procurement, sponsorship acquisition, the “Green Team, “social media, traffic control among others
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