Worker Auction

3.5 stars

This is primarily a fundraising activity but does bring the added benefit of being great for team building and helps your young people get to know others in the group.

A worker auction basically involves auctioning your young people (and leaders) off as workers to the highest bidder. 

Start by getting a list of kids and leaders that are willing to auction themselves off.  You can group some together if that makes them more comfortable... or more sell-able! :)  

For each person (or group), get a list of tasks they are willing to do (for example, gardening, cooking, cleaning, etc).  If your leaders have a trade they do as a profession, make sure that's listed (graphic designers, painters, etc can fetch a lot of money!). 

Schedule a night a month or so in advance to auction everyone off.  If you can, publicize the list of kids (and tasks) in advance so people attending can plan their 'purchases'.  Make sure in your publicity that you specify where the money is going - if it's a good cause it encourages people to be generous.   They key is making sure this night is well attended by parents or others from your church or group, as they are the ones that will be doing the bidding. 

Setup a cat walk so those being auctioned can come out and strut their stuff in front of the crowd.   Have music, lights - anything to set the atmosphere. Make sure you get a charismatic MC and auctioneer - it's important they encourage those attending to bid high.  This person is key in keeping the night entertaining. 

Encourage the kids to be creative - for example we once had one group of five kids create a package which they titled "have a hot date at home".  It involved them coming around to your house, cooking the winning bidder a meal, setting a table with candles, and serving dinner.  One was a violinist so she played music in the background during dinner.  They dressed up formally and made it a great night.  The kids did the washing up at the end of the night - the couple that won the bid were rapt! 

If you can convince the senior minister to offer their services, they often fetch a pretty high price in the auction as well!


Note: Just to explain the context of the comments below, this was originally titled "Slave auction" but was changed to avoid offending anyone.

  • Night
  • Fundraising
  • Team Building Teamwork
  • Indoor
  • Large area
  • Teens (Age 12-15)
  • Teens (Age 16-18)
  • Young Adults

Group Size
  • Small Groups (1-9 people)
  • Medium (10-29 people)
  • Large groups (30+)

  • Longer (30-60 mins)
Submit your vote:



I think the name for this game is highly offensive and should be changed immediatly
- Emily (14 Oct 2008)

Hi Emily
Apologies if you are offended - the name is certainly not meant to be insensitive or make light of the issue of slavery. Do you (or does anyone) have any suggestions for a more suitable name for this game?
- admin (14 Oct 2008)

here's a few ideas...
*Trade Off
*Mad Skills
*Will Work 4 Camp
*Trade Day
*Skills 4 Funds
*Bargain Town
*Golden Opportunity
- melissa (26 Nov 2008)

I do agree with Emily that the name is offensive especially to people who have experienced such things as slavery
- Tumi (14 Jan 2009)

We do this every year with the teens. its a really good idea and it brings in a lot of money. we call it a buddy for a day auction.
- Amy (8 Sep 2009)

I do not find it offensive. It is a way to raise money for your church. I believe most have moved on when it comes to slavery and the buying and selling of human beings. I have done this for years and it is great way to gain needed funds.
- Harmon (22 Jan 2010)

Offensive? That is the MOST ridiculous thing I have ever heard! How in the world do you compare the two??? Salvery and Raising Money for the church??? People like that sure do rub me wrong. Get over yourself!
- Independent (12 Sep 2010)

Independent - note the title for this game was previously "Slave Auction" which was what some of the people above took offense, not the actual game itself
- Youth Group Games (12 Sep 2010)

My youth group is preparing for one of these auctions in March! We can't wait!
- Tanya (30 Jan 2011)

LOL you guys take so much offence to a name... grow up
- Ellis (23 Jun 2011)

Which one you "experienced" slavery? You must be the oldest living person alive since that was well over 100 years ago. We will keep the name as it was. I think everyone in my church has enough common sense to know that this is all done in the spirit of fundraising. And if there are one or two that find is not to their liking--stay at home and do not participate!!!
- Cindy (10 Oct 2011)

Thanks, Mellissa, for the suggestions! I think one thing I would adapt for this is finding a way for the youth to be this would mean also finding an adult, to be paired with them...for those auction pieces of "labor"...those might be better as a group project. We auctioned off 3 hours of labor this last summer and had 11 kids. What are some ideas that you've used for trade items?
- Jenn (28 Feb 2012)

Slavery is actually much more prevalent now than it used to be!!
- Anthony (28 Oct 2012)

You all wanna be mad and offended at something, use this energy to get mad at the devil!
- staffy (22 Oct 2013)

What planet are you on Cindy? Are you not aware of the current slavery issues of today (2013). I'll give you a tip: Chocolate, diamonds, sex. I'm here to tell you that 'words' play a very important (political) roll in the way someone may hear, see or simply feel about themselves or the world around them and/or how the world see's them. Please don't be so ignorant. I am actually surprised that such a churchy would comment such a thing; "I think everyone in my church has enough common sense And if there are one or two that find is not to their liking--stay at home and do not participate", Cindy 10th Oct,2013).
I am not religious by any means, I am a very proud spiritual Australian Indigenous women. This type of 'terminology' usage would indeed be highly offensive for not only my 'black' communities but more so embarrassing especially for my white (mainstream) communities. Slavery is still very much alive to many unfortunate people, especially children. Try to understand from someone else's, perspective apart from YOUR churches. Sounds to me like YOUR church is the one left back in the dark ages, 'Shame my Godley friend'.
- rachel (29 Oct 2013)

I love the idea of this fundraiser. Just a thought to mention, if the bidder is a new member of the church or from the community, you might not want to send a youth alone. Send them with a parent, leader, or another youth. It is better to be safe than sorry. Actually, as a leader, I would be very reluctant to send any age youth alone for a youth sponsored event. There are powers in numbers, even if it is just 2.
- Kaylah (28 Jan 2014)

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