Do you have questions about the River School Spring Benefit?

We have answers!

Table of Contents

General

what is the spring benefit?

The Spring Benefit is a fancy adults-only dance party where you can hang out with River School parents and teachers. It’s also one of the biggest fundraisers of the year, second only to the Family Fund.

how does it raise money?

Companies donate goods and services to our online auction, and everyone (parents, friends, even the general public) is invited to bid on them. The more items we have, the more money we can raise to improve our kids’ education.

How much do we need to raise?

Last year, the PTA membership voted on a budget that included $55,000 in revenue from the Spring Benefit.  So if we want to be able to continue all of the programs we pay for (coding and art enrichment, professional development, classroom supplies, and more), we need to make $55,000 in the auction this year.  Let’s get bidding!

Tickets

How much do tickets cost?

Early Bird discount (until 5/3): Single $65, Couple $120

Regular Price (5/3-5/16): Single $75, Couple $140

Sponsor a Staff Member: $50

Day-Of (5/17): Single $90 (no couple discount)

All River School teachers and staff attend for free.

How do I buy tickets?

Go to our BiddingForGood website and scroll down, then click the Order Tickets button.  You will need to login to the site and store your credit card information.  If you participated in the Spring Benefit last year, you can use the same login, but make sure to update your credit card and address on file in case they have changed.  If you don’t remember your password, just click Sign In and then Forgot Password and you’ll be able to reset it.

Do teachers and staff need to buy tickets?

We want all of our awesome River School educators and staff to be able to party with us, without having to dig into their own pockets!  But we need everyone to order tickets so we can get an accurate headcount.  So teachers and staff should use the same webpage as everyone else to order tickets, but use the Teacher/staff member ticket and the discount code provided by the PTA, so their tickets will be free.

To cover the costs for our beloved teachers and staff to attend, we encourage parents to add Sponsor a staff member tickets to their own ticket orders.

If teachers and staff have guests they would like to bring, they can use the Teacher/staff guest ticket price.

Will I be sent a physical ticket?

No, they are just electronic tickets.  If you have completed your ticket purchase through BiddingForGood, then your name will be on the guest list on 5/17.

Can I pay by cash or check for my ticket?

Unfortunately, no.  All ticket purchases must be made by credit card.  Because all auction purchases will be charged to your credit card on file, it is important to register with BiddingForGood to buy your tickets so you’ll be all set to start bidding on the night of the event!

Transportation

Where is the event?

Like last year, the Spring Benefit will not be held at the school.  Instead, a generous parent is hosting us at the beautiful Ravel Hotel in Long Island City!

The hotel is closer than you think; it’s just across the river near the Queensborough Bridge (aka Ed Koch Bridge).  You can get there in about 20 to 30 minutes by car, cab, subway, or ferry.

Here’s the address:
8-08 Queens Plaza South
Long Island City, NY 11101

How do I get there?

The NYC Ferry service on the East River line can get you to Long Island City in 6 minutes!  From the ferry terminal at 35th St and the FDR, catch a Wall Street/Pier 11-bound ferry on the East River line and get off at the first stop, which will be Hunters Point South.  There will be ferries leaving at 6:36 PM, 6:56 PM, and 7:16 PM.  You can buy ferry tickets via their website, app, or the machines at the ferry terminal ($2.75, just like the subway!) The hotel is offering a complimentary shuttle service from the Hunters Point South starting at 6:30 PM but please note that it is subject to availability.

The hotel is also about a 15-minute walk to the hotel from the following subway stops: Queensboro Plaza (7,N,W); Court Square 21st (R,M); 21st Street Queensbridge (F). 

Or, of course, you can call a taxi or rideshare (it usually takes about 20-30 minutes to get there and will cost about $20-30). 

Is there parking available at the hotel?

If you have a car and choose to drive to the event, the hotel offers valet parking for $25 for up to 4 hours, subject to availability. After 6 pm, there also may be street parking available.

How do I get back home?

The best ways to get back are by hailing a taxi or using a ride-sharing app.  You can also take the 7 train from Queensborough Plaza, which is about a 15-minute walk from the hotel.  Unfortunately, the last NYC Ferry from Hunters Point South leaves at 9:52 PM, so that probably won’t be an option.

Event

What can I do to prepare for the event?

  1. Log into BiddingForGood and update your email, address, and credit card information.  That way you won’t have to worry about it at the event!
  2. Call a babysitter.  Sorry, kids, it’s an adults-only event.  The party runs from 7-10pm, and you might want to stay a little later for the afterparty, so make sure your sitter doesn’t mind staying late!
  3. Install a QR reader app on your smartphone.  It’s not necessary, but will make it even easier to bid.  The Firefox browser includes a QR scanning function, or you can install a standalone QR reader app like this one.  Then just scan the code on the mobile bidding sheet, and it will take you right to that item’s page in BiddingForGood!
  4. Browse the auction items online.  Once you get to the event, you’ll probably just want to eat, drink, socialize and dance.  So take a few minutes before Friday night to find some items you might be interested in bidding on, and save them to My Items so you’ll be able to access them easily on the night of the event.  You will also get notifications from BiddingForGood when you’ve been outbid, so you can stay on top of those bidding wars!

The invitation says that the dress code is “cocktail or your finest 1920’s attire.”  What is that?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, chronicled the lavish parties of rich New Yorkers during the Roaring 20s.  Our Spring Benefit this year takes inspiration from this classic novel.  You can get some tips on 1920s style on this website.  If the 1920s is not your style, you can see this website for some guidance on contemporary cocktail attire.

What will happen at the event?

Music, dancing, food, drinks, and mingling with parents and teachers!  This is a chance for us grown-ups to celebrate our wonderful school community.  Throughout the event, there will be tables with information sheets representing all of the auction items.  You can use these sheets to find auction items on the BiddingForGood website using your smartphone.

What will there be to eat?

The Ravel Hotel’s catering team has prepared for us a mouth-watering assortment of hearty hors d’oeuvres to enjoy, including Pulled Pork Sliders, Risotto Balls, Mini Chicken & Waffles, Vegetable Spring Rolls, and more!

What will there be to drink?

Ravel Hotel’s mixologist has prepared two specialty cocktails for our event.  These will be free and unlimited for the duration of the event (please enjoy respectfully and safely!)

All other beverages will be available for purchase from the bar.  Ravel Hotel has kindly agreed to donate 50% of the sales back to the River School!

The River School PTA is also happy to be serving Mary Taylor Wines at the event, courtesy of co-founder Alec Sergeyev, a proud River School parent. Mary Taylor Wine (www.mt.wine) offers a selection of private-label wines that allows Americans to discover fine wines at a great value by curating and branding production from lesser known European growers and helping consumers decipher their origins and flavors.

When does the event end?

10:00 pm.  The auction will close at 9:30, and from 9:30-10:00 we will encourage everyone to pick up their winnings and leave the ballroom.  We absolutely need everyone out of the ballroom by 10:30 so we can clean up.

What if I still want to party?

History suggests that many River School teachers and parents will not be ready to go home at 10:00pm.  😉

Fortunately, we can take the afterparty upstairs to Penthouse 808, the fabulous rooftop bar and restaurant at Ravel Hotel!  Enjoy a breathtaking view of the NYC skyline and party ’til your babysitter threatens to quit!

What if I don’t want to go home afterwards?

Wow, you guys are really party animals!  OK, we got you covered.  The Ravel Hotel has rooms available, so you can make it a little staycation! We have secured a special discounted rate for River School parents – click here or enter the group code 051719RIV when making a reservation. You can also call Julissa Espinal at 718-289-6111 or email her at Julissa.e@ravelmgmt.com for more information.

How can I help out with the event?

We need help to make this event a success! Email us to let us know if you can help check guests in when they arrive, help partygoers bid on auction items, and award prizes to the winners.

Auction

What is a silent auction?

An auction is a way of selling something to whomever is willing to pay the highest price.  At a live auction, an auctioneer announces sequentially higher prices and bidders raise paddles to indicate whether they would pay those prices.  Once there is only one bidder with their paddle raised, the auction is closed and the item awarded to that bidder.

At an online silent auction like ours, there is no auctioneer or paddles.  All items are posted on the BiddingForGood website.  Before the event, you register online, providing your email, credit card number, and address.  Before and during the event, you can use the website to browse the MORE THAN 150 AMAZING products and services that have been donated.  Items include gift certificates for local restaurants, discounts on kids classes, exotic vacations, custom artwork created by our kids, fun outings for kids with River School teachers and staff, and other unique experiences!  These items were given to us as charitable donations by many generous River School parents and local businesses.  When you find an item you are interested in bidding on, the website will tell you the highest amount that someone else has bid for that item.  Then you enter how much you are willing to pay for the item.  You can either bid a specific amount, or give a maximum bid, and the system will continue making incremental bids on your behalf until either you are out-bid or your maximum bid amount is reached.

When the auction closes at 9:30PM, the items will automatically be awarded to whomever had the highest bid at that moment.  For items with multiples, the second, third, and/or fourth highest bidders will also win.

ALL BIDS ARE FINAL.  Your credit card will automatically be charged for any winning bids at 9:30PM.  There are no refunds or exchanges.

How do I bid on items?

All bidding will be done from your smartphone.  Visit https://bforg.com/riverschool from your smartphone to browse our auction catalog online and place bids.

There will be tables scattered around the ballroom with auction items and “mobile bidding sheets.”  You can peruse this selection, and when you find something you’re interested in bidding on, the mobile bidding sheet will contain the information you need to locate the item on the BiddingForGood website.

When you find an item you wish to bid on, you can locate it online via two means:

  • Scan the QR code on the mobile bidding sheet
  • Type into the BiddingForGood website the Lot Number from the mobile bidding sheet

There will also be several printed copies of the entire auction catalog available at the event.  You can also browse auction items in advance on your computer, and add them to My Items so that you can retrieve them easily from your phone at the event.

To learn more about mobile bidding, visit BiddingForGood’s FAQ.

I’m not great with technology.  Will I be able to figure this out?

Yes!  We will have dedicated volunteers strolling throughout the ballroom with buttons on saying “Ask me!”  They can help walk you through the mobile bidding process.  We’ll also have an extra laptop or two available for bidding if you don’t have a smartphone.  The hotel will provide free WiFi to all guests, so your connection should be fast enough to handle the BiddingForGood website.

What time does the auction close?

5/17/19 9:30PM.  It is automated, so at precisely 9:30PM all items will close and will automatically be awarded to the highest bidder (except for items designated as multiples, in which case the top 2, 3, etc. bidders will win).

Can I still win even if I am not the highest bidder?

Sometimes.  There are a few items of which we have multiples.  These items are conspicuously described as such on BiddingForGood.  The system will automatically award these items to the highest bidder.  However, we will manually award any multiples to the second, third and/or fourth-highest bidder(s) (as applicable) shortly after the auction closes.  You will be notified if you won a multiple.

Does the bidding work like eBay where you enter a maximum amount and it pushes your bid up to your max in increments as others bid? Or is it just a straight up bid for a specific amount and there’s no automatic moving your bid up during the process?

screen capture of BiddingForGood bid options

You can do either. When you click the button to bid on an item, it gives you the choice:

 

 

 

 

How to do I collect my winnings?

After the auction closes at 9:30, we will be hand out items to the winning bidders. You must take your items home that night, or you will be charged extra for shipping.

Can anyone bid in our auction?

Yes!  Our auction is open to anyone on the internet.  So be sure to send the link to your family and friends.  The more bidders we have, the more money we make!  And your family and friends will get some great deals on products and services!