The Best Silent Auction Items

by Melanie Eifling

Winston Churchill once said, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” When approaching fundraising focus on reaching a large group of people. Creative offerings will attract attendance and make the most money for your nonprofit. Originality will enable your group to raise funds while keeping expenses in check. Increased profits are the reward when you consider creative ideas involving sponsors, planners and beneficiaries. Including everyone multiplies the network and encourages attendance and participation.

Brainstorming

Have a committee meeting to determine your target market. Actively brainstorm ideas. Start by asking everyone in the room to list merchants, services, organizations or clubs in which they are involved. The basic network established with this exercise will generate an eruption of ideas. This inspiring session will gateway numerous suggestions for donors, sponsors, crafts, trips, club stays, volunteers, class projects and merchant participation.

Traditional Items

Traditional items that are new and in undamaged condition will be good staples for any table category. Retail donations such as jewelry, toys or appliances add variety to your selections. Donations from service professionals offer a service many bidders already utilize such as club memberships, hotel stays or vacations. Restaurant donations including fine dining, parties, gift certificates, coffee shop or bakery items can be stand alone donations or combined with other items. Entertainment and recreation can offer families inexpensive outings and may include sports, concert, event or theater tickets -- along with golf course, theme parks and museum admission.

Creative Auction Items

Vacation stays owned or time shared by volunteers makes a tempting and high profit donation.

Creative items can really boost auction profits. Especially if the fundraiser is for a family oriented group such as a school or church. Kid or family items can be an economy driven hit. Babysitting services, parties, birthday party entertainers, craft creation centers and local attractions are great donations. Talk with catering companies about backyard parties or catered family dinners. Donations for the home also work well since it is an expense most bidders already budget -- these can include yard services, pool cleaning, landscaping, painting and handyman services. Vacation and travel donations may be as simple as asking your volunteer if they have a second home or time share in a resort or neighboring town.

Specialty Auction Items

Appeal to bidders by adding uncommon adventure or

Once your committee is on a roll, consider reaching for the stars. Speciality items can be customized to include the event theme. Amusing items for sale to the highest bidder can substantially boost profits. Auction experts like to refer to these items as buzz bids. Celebrity items don't have to be "stuff" autographed by famous stars. A celebrity function can be an outing with a popular teacher or a memorable lunch date with the mayor. Coordinate the outing to accompany a food or service donation creating a double buzz, rewarding the donor with the publicity of the big date. A local cable network might host, "Be the Guest Reporter" allowing the winning bidder to broadcast the coverage of a local event on the air. Sell a valet key for an hour's drive in a demolition derby car. The best part of speciality auction items is they are limited only by your imagination.

About the Author

An auctioneer and public personality, Melanie Eifling began writing in 1983. Her work has appeared in “Horse Talk Magazine," she contributes to The Daily Document website and she is the featured voice editor for Auction Talk University. Eifling has Bachelor of Science degrees in animal science and agricultural business from the University of Arkansas.

Photo Credits

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