Image: Doris Barber of Blessedbaskets.com with baskets she designed for a silent auction.
I’m a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) consultant with 15 years of experience in charge of many fundraising activities including fundraising events. I have learned over the years that you have to be very selective with the auction items you put in your silent auction. Why? You want to impress your guests and have them bid with frenzy on your great items and feel overwhelmed with joy. I have learned some auction items give silent auctions that “WOW” factor, while others fall flat.
Here are my top 5 types of silent auction items that “wow” people:
- Men love to hang signed sports memorabilia in their offices or in their home “man cave.” An auction item signed by a sports hero that’s currently in the headlines or a retired sports legend is bound to get you the funds you want to raise.
- Think about the age range of your auction donors. Everybody loves rock stars or pop stars. Include signed memorabilia from classic rock stars if your age range is older, and even include some current pop stars signed memorabilia for your baby boomers and millennials to bid on for their children or grandchildren. Now you’ve got a winning combination of auction items that satisfy everyone.
- Wine baskets. Yes, that simple. Baskets with fine wines with items to complement the wine perhaps some snacks, a box of pasta with sauce, a wine opener and some wine glasses. These items are always a big hit and are not expensive to assemble. Many of your donors or local wine shops will probably donate these items to you in advance if you ask them so you don’t have to spend much at all. Grab some cellophane from the party store put it all in an inexpensive yet chic looking basket, wrap it with the cellophane, tie it with a big bow, and there you go!
- Jewelry. What woman doesn’t love jewelry? It doesn’t have to be fine jewelry; it can be costume jewelry that’s fashion-forward and chic, donated by a local designer or boutique in need of visibility. A nice big statement piece like a necklace hung on a necklace prop with matching earrings can bring you huge bids!
- Restaurant certificates. Contact the high-end restaurants in your town and ask them for a dinner for two, four, or six. You’ll be surprised at what you can get. You can even package multiple certificates and call it “Five Date Nights” or “Italian Restaurant Sampler” or something catchy like that. Your savvy donors will be happy to bid on that auction item so they can have date nights or a night on the town with friends!