Silent auctions are a great way to bring in bids and raise money for your favorite charity or cause. But if you want to make sure your silent auction is a success, you need to have some eye-catching items for people to bid on. In this post, we will give you 75 ideas for amazing silent auction items that will have everyone who attends your event wanting to get their hands on them!
A Year's Supply of…
Reach out to local businesses and see who might be willing to donate or offer a discount on a year's supply of their services or products for a good cause. Consider both items that people need or use anyway (which, if they win, means they won't have to think about budgeting or shopping for it for a year!) as well as luxury items that would be nice to have a regular supply of.
Some silent auction ideas around this theme include the following:
- Car washes
- Dry cleaning
Themed Gift Baskets
Gift baskets can be put together by volunteers with items sourced from local businesses or donated by individuals. Basket themes can align with your cause or a fun theme all their own.
Silent auction ideas for gift baskets include:
- Rainy day games
- Spa baskets
- Picnic baskets
- Holiday baskets
- Favorite snacks
- Movie baskets
Lessons and Classes
Who doesn't like to learn something new? The great thing about auctioning classes and lessons is that it is sometimes easier to get local individuals or businesses to offer time donations than it is to get money or objects. Offering lessons on auction can also generate interest and boost their business simultaneously. You can make packages more enticing by getting local or national celebrities to deliver the lessons. How do cooking lessons with the best chef in the county sound?
Consider these lesson-based silent auction ideas:
- Cooking lessons
- Music lessons
- Ballroom dancing
Offer bidders the chance to offload their workload by putting services on the auction block. You can either auction off fixed dollar amounts worth of services or a set number of hours. For example, suppose you're raising money for a student group, or for a charity through your employer. In that case, you can even have students or coworkers volunteer to be the providers of the auctioned services.
Ideas in this vein include the following:
- House cleaning
- Mechanic service
- Pet sitting
- Put up/take down holiday decor
- Makeover with a local stylist
Auctioning off entertainment experiences lets people bid on something fun and exciting. It's also more exciting to "win" your experience than just paying for it outright, especially if the money is going to a good cause. Consider auctioning sets of tickets or passes on their own, or creating themed baskets that include tickets.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Movie passes
- Concert tickets
- Backstage passes
- Festival passes
- Sporting game tickets
You can create adventure packages for those who like their entertainment to come with an adrenaline rush. Consider varying the sizes of these packages, including experiences for individuals, couples, and larger groups.
Silent auction ideas for adventure-seekers include the following:
- Zip lining
- Hot air balloon rides
- Go-kart racing
- Kayak and canoe tours
- White water rafting
- Glider rides
If you'd like to offer some big ticket items with the hopes of bringing in some serious funds, consider putting vacation packages on the auction block. Making the packages all-inclusive (with travel, hotel, and meals) ups the enticement because trips are more relaxing when you don't have to spend extra time planning out the minute details. And if you can get your hands on difficult-to-book or quickly-sold-out experiences, even better!
Vacation packages can range from simple to extravagant and can include:
- A weekend away (these could range from a local bed and breakfast to a whirlwind trip to Paris!)
- Vegas escape
- Disneyland adventure
- National parks packages
- Staycation baskets (for those who'd like to vacation at home)
- Camping adventures (complete with a smores basket!)
Hobnobbing with the rich and famous is on many people's bucket lists. Keep in mind that the definition of "celebrity" can vary. Local celebrities may include politicians, public servants, or headliners at the community theater. But you can drive bids up by reaching out to big-name movie stars, singers, and more.
Consider the following:
- Dinner with the mayor
- One-on-one encounters (a meet and greet with the chance to talk and get autographs)
- Date with a celebrity
- VIP experience at an award show or event
- Behind-the-scenes tours with sports legends
If you can get your hands on high-end items via donation or discount, you can raise considerable funds when you auction them off. Items may be obtainable via a donation from philanthropic individuals or businesses, or you might score some great deals at local antique malls or thrift shops.
Here are just a few high-end auction ideas:
- Custom Jewelry
- Designer handbags
- Electronics (the latest iPhone, smartwatch, video card, and more)
- Top-of-the-line kitchen appliances
Memorabilia connects people to celebrities, historical events, or important fields of interest. Auctioning off memorabilia allows you to connect with collectors who are often driven to bid high on items for their personal meaning. You can even create a themed auction around a specific type of memorabilia.
Memorable ideas include the following:
- Autographed items
- Sports memorabilia
- Vintage clothing
- Coins and coin collections
- Music and film memorabilia
Family outing packages are great items for bidding. They fit that niche for those looking to get out and do something fun but without busting the bank and springing for a full vacation. You can even think outside the box and offer individualized opportunities that aren't available to the general public, such as private tours or lessons.
Other family-friendly silent auction ideas include:
- Amusement park packages
- Museum passes
- A trip to the zoo (with personalized animal encounters)
- Escape rooms
- Guided tours
- Farm visits
- Holiday encounters (a personal visit with the easter bunny, breakfast with Santa, and so on)
For the couple that wants to get away for an evening together, you can create all sorts of date night packages. Consider spicing it up by offering free babysitting for couples with children.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Limo and a live show
- Dinner and a movie
- Wine-tasting tour
- Dinner cruise
- Casino adventure
Bonus tip: Don't forget to promote your silent auction items leading up to your event on social media, through email marketing, and in person. The more buzz you can generate, the more successful your silent auction will be!
Make Your Next Silent Auction a Success with FrontStream
The key to success is having the right tools on board. When it comes to holding your next silent auction, that means using a platform with all the features you need to advertise and promote your event, display items being auctioned, reach bidders, and accept and process payment. For all this and more, FrontStream has you covered.
With FrontStream's easy-to-use tools and templates, you can create a unique branded homepage in under an hour, manage your auction items, sell tickets, promote your event and easily incorporate mobile bidding to raise more. You'll even have access to our online community of 1.7 million philanthropic shoppers to increase bids and help you gain new supporters. Plus, securely process payments with one click at the end of your event, thank your donors, and run comprehensive reports to analyze your results and build upon your success.
See the solution in action today and see why over 20,000 nonprofits have trusted FrontStream to help make good happen through better fundraising and donor experiences.