Photo by Daniel Warn: Jill Gallagher shows off auction items from the University of Washington that will help her raise money for Australian bushfires relief.
Photo by Daniel Warn: Jill Gallagher shows off auction items from the University of Washington that will help her raise money for Australian bushfires relief.

Queen Anne resident Jill Gallagher had no way of knowing just how successful her Facebook auction would be.

I’m raising money for the wildfire relief for Australia, the bushfires,” she said. “Both helping with the animals and the firefighters. And then some of the relief that they are going to need for the next probably decade, based on how much of their county has burned.”

At first, she donated $50 herself, and then thought that, with an auction where people donate items and then others bid on them, she could increase that number tenfold. Her actual results speak for themselves.

As of Friday, Feb. 21, Gallagher had raised almost $48,000 since Jan. 4.

There is still time to participate in the auction. Simply got to www.facebook.com/groups/2464020217043588/about/ or search “Aussie Fire Auction” on Facebook to participate. The auction ends Saturday, Feb. 29.

They way it works is every day Gallagher puts a new batch of items up for bid — usually about five items per day.

Sometimes I do themes, just for fun,” she said. “And sometimes it’s kind of a random day.”

Next, she puts up a description of the item, complete with a photo of what people will be bidding on.

I have a very kind of snarky sense of humor, so I usually post something dorky and snarky in the descriptions, so that people are… enjoying themselves while reading it,” she said.

She includes where the items can be picked up and any restrictions on them. People then bid in the Facebook comments of the item’s post until the auction time for each item runs out.

I’m doing it from my computer, from my phone,” Gallagher said. “I get Facebook notifications every five minutes. I have alarms going off every time an auction is going to end. It’s been pretty constant, and amazing.”

When somebody wins an item they directly donate to an organization. Gallagher provides the following links for people to give to:

- wildlifewarriors.org.au/support/united-states

- donate.zoo.org.au/donation

- www.savethekoala.com/adopt-a-koala

- www.wires.org.au/

When the final bid is done, I let them know that they’ve won,” she said. “They show me their donation receipt and then I hook them up with whoever donated the item to do the hand off.”

Some of the items up for bid have been rally car racing, cooking classes, cases of wine, wine tasting parties, tickets to the Seattle Storm and jewelry, to name a few.

Gallagher said she got involved after seeing some of her friends go through the pain of the fires.

I have a few Australian friends, and they were really hurting because of what was going on,” she said. “I felt a lot of desperation coming from a lot of their Facebook posts.”

One such friend is a professional basketball player in Australia.

She was donating $50 for every three-pointer made during her game,” Gallagher said. “She even said it’s not just her three-pointers, or her team’s. It was anybody who made a three-pointer. So I thought that was a really cool way to get people involved in donating.”

Then Gallagher had the idea for the auction, so she put the word out to see if she could make a difference.

The first person to respond in a big way to the auction was the artist Henry.

He brought over 30 sets of signed books,” she said. “And people were donating $100, $200, for these signed books. I realized that this was really impactful, that people really wanted to donate to Australia, and be part of something that really felt like they were helping.”

The auction has even been a way for Gallagher to get her kids involved in the effort.

She said it is helping her instill good values about how to be good human beings, a invaluable aspect of parenting.

They are helping me,” she said. “They’re like: ‘Hey an alarm’s going off. Mom’s got to close an auction,’ so it’s become fun and a little bit inclusive for them.”

She said the process has been rather fun. The unintentional benefit of the auction — a natural consequence — Gallagher said, is that her family is discovering some really cool restaurants and attractions in and around Seattle.

For instance, she didn’t know there was a kangaroo farm up in Arlington, until they they contacted her.

How did I not know there was a kangaroo farm and hour north of here?” she said.

Most of all, “we’re discovering people’s really giving nature,” she said. “It has been heartwarming. Im on the verge of tears like half of my day right now.”

 

Businesses that have donated include:

- Chefshop: cooking classes

- Henry (artist Ryan Henry Ward): signed copies of his books, clothing

- Bar Cotto: dinners and pizza-making classes

- Terra Plata: dinner for four

- Vivid Root Rare succulents: 10 sets of four succulents

- Queen Anne Chiropractic: Two massages

- Seattle Storm: tickets and autograph passes

- Ma'ono: chef's tasting dinner

- Seattle Reign: Signed Megan Rapinoe jerseys

- Subpop records: tours and subpop swag

- Dandylion restaurant: gift card

- Zundel Law: legal help

- Hopgarden restaurant: gift cards

- Campanula Design: Floral delivery

- Revel: gift card

- QFC: gift card

- Hilltop Ale House: gift card

- Kangaroo & Kiwi: dinner with visiting Storm player

- Hudson restaurant: gift card

- www.Snooter-Doots.com: stuffed felted kangaroo

- Restoring Connections Counseling Center: weekend seminar

- Smarty pants restaurant: gift card

- Seize the foundation- www.seizetheoar.com: rowing lessons

- Studio Jensen: haircuts

- Design2Scan3D: handmade bowl

- Enumclaw Wine & Chocolate Festival: tickets

- Pure food fish market: gift card

- West Seattle Electric & Solar: electrical work by certified electrician

- Elementary Innovators: birthday party

- http://tracymadisoncreative.com: large ceramic bowl

- Pinewood Baking- http://Pinewoodbaking.com: cake

- Iutback Kangaroo Farm: visit with private tour

- Lisa Worrell Healing: 2 sessions

- Woodland Park Zoo: passes, artwork from archives

- Dirtfish: rally racing session

- Styleshimmy: session with stylist

- Elizabeth Friesen Interior Design, LLC: design consultation

- Taste envy- https://www.taste-envy.com/: custom menus

- Structure salon- Ryan Stone: haircut

- Rain City Therapy: counseling

- Icicle Camp Leavenworth: three-night stay

- Windermere agent Liz Petrillo: home valuation

- Mondello - gift card