31 Ideas for Unique, Buzzworthy Silent Auction Baskets

Posted by Summy Lau on Apr 25, 2017 7:11:00 AM

If you've ever been involved with a charity silent auction, you know gift baskets are a given. They can range anywhere from $50 to $500 in value, depending on the quality and exclusivity of the items, and are popular for a few reasons:

  • The contents are relatively simple to procure. It may be less intimidating for new donors, smaller businesses and individuals to sponsor part of an auction item or a basket rather than the big-ticket items in a live auction. (Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't ask!)
  • You can bundle smaller donations into one package greater than the sum of its parts, especially if the baskets are well decorated and displayed.
  • Putting out a variety of themed baskets ensures the auction will appeal to virtually all bidders. There's something for everyone, at all spending capacities.

Last year we curated a list of 26 creative, attractive silent auction basket ideas sure to make a splash with donors. The post generated a huge response from our readers - so much so, we went back to the drawing board for even more ideas!

Without further ado, here are 31 brand new ideas for unique, buzzworthy silent auction baskets, plus free resources and downloads to assist with the procurement process.

Category: Food & Drink

Tea Basket-617630-edited.jpg1. A Spot of Tea. Combine a pretty tea pot with plenty of tea (both bagged and loose leaf) in a variety of flavors: fruit, herbal and black. Include a tea steeper, honey, crackers, cookies, biscotti, truffles and a tea towel. Spruce up the package with fresh decorations to complement the color of the pot and teas, like lavender flowers, lemons or peppermint sprigs. (Pin source: Allison B.)

2. Chocolate Celebration. Who doesn't love chocolate? Curate an assortment of gourmet chocolates, caramels and chocolate-covered fruits, nuts and coffee beans from around the world (check this guide for fair-trade artisan chocolate). Add antioxidant-rich hot cocoa powder and a chocolate fondue set (complete with skewers and melting chocolate) for good measure. Finally, consider including a cocoa-factory tour or tasting to top off an all-around luxurious basket.

3. Cheers to Beer. Craft beer is hugely popular right now, and any basket stocked with high-quality, full-flavored global beers is sure to be a hit.

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Topics: Silent Auction Ideas, event-production, auction item procurement, silent auction items, auction displays

When to Display Retail Values, Set Minimum Bids and More in a Silent Auction

Posted by Summy Lau on Nov 10, 2016 10:09:20 AM

christmas shopping gifts.jpg

Silent auctions are a great way to build momentum for a fundraising event, supplement live auction revenue, engage local donors and delight supporters. And as the holidays draw near, people will be interested in buying unique gifts for friends and family (and treating themselves!) while supporting your cause.

As we noted in a recent infographic, most items bring in 40 to 60 percent of their retail value. So you want to follow silent auction best practices that spur final bids to the higher end of that range. If you're new to organizing auctions, you may have some of these common questions on pricing, bid sheets, timing and more:

  1. Should we put the retail value on bid sheets?
  2. How do we determine minimum bids?
  3. Do you see value in Buy Now prices?
  4. What are best practices in closing the silent auction?
  5. How do we expedite checkout?
  6. How can we avoid miscellanous problems?

Read on for expert answers and practical tips for turning your auction into an exciting, lucrative shopping spree.

1. Displaying retail values

Should we display the values on bid sheets? Is it illegal not to put the value? Are there any times when you would put a value on items?

This is a very common question among auction organizers—is it wise to display the item's retail value in marketing materials such as bid sheets, display materials, the auction catalog and online auction site?

Our take: It's typically not a good idea to include prices in your auction catalog and here's why.

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Topics: event-production, silent auctions, auction displays

Displays 101: Impress Your Bidders with Better Silent Auction Displays

Posted by Summy Lau on Feb 25, 2016 10:02:33 AM

Impress Your Bidders with Silent Auction Display TemplatesSilent auctions are your organization's "one night only" storefront. And just like a brick-and-mortar retailer, creating an immersive shopping experience is key to generating revenue.

Part of the process is setting up the overall decor, like tables, lighting and decorations. But the highlights of the night are those great silent auction items.

Do your silent auction item displays encourage people to stop, look and buy?

Attractive silent auction displays can have a dramatic effect on the item's perceived value and thus bidding. Using the same colors, fonts and layout on all your display sheets also gives the event a professional, polished appearanceand saves hours of precious time.

Fortunately, creating great silent auction displays is easier than you might think.

Below are 6 elements of an effective item display sheet, plus a link to receive our Silent Auction Item Display Templates bundle, our easy-to-use, 100% customizable templates (with instructions) that will take your upcoming event to the next level.

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Topics: Silent Auction Ideas, event-production, silent auctions, auction displays

Writing Item Descriptions for a Silent Auction is Easier Than You Think

Posted by Ian Lauth on May 19, 2015 11:14:00 AM


Vibrant tables filled with unique and exciting auction items are the focal point for many nonprofit fundraising events. These silent charity auctions offer guests a fun social activity that also facilitates spending money, which can turn out to be very profitable for your cause.

Attendees of most charity auctions possess a shopping mentality as they circulate through the silent auction tables, browsing items and vying for the top bid spot on the things they want. For many, the combination of competition and shopping can provide an exhilarating experience. Not to mention... it's for charity! So many of the normal shopping barriers such as, "I don't really need that..." don't exist.


As you work on your next silent auction, remember to think of it as your "one night only" storefront. You are setting up a temporary retail store, and just like any retail store that sells merchandise, you must create enticing displays that encourage people to stop, look and buy. A crucial part of creating this shopping experience is the silent auction item description.


Save Time. Keep it Simple. 

Don't waste your time coming up with a unique display for each and every item. It's best to figure out a single item display template that you can use for all your items. Develop a template with the same colors, fonts, layout, look and feel that will work for 95% of your items and then replicate it. 

This not only saves you time but also keeps your displays consistent throughout the event. Your auction tables will have a professional, polished appearance that is attractive and easy to navigate - which lends itself to a smoother shopping experience for your guests.


Download Silent Auction Item Display Sheet Templates


Auction item displays should be clear, uncluttered and easy to read quickly. Following are a few things to keep in mind before you start creating displays for your next silent auction: 

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Topics: event-production, auction displays

3 Tips for Displaying Auction Items to Attract Fierce Bidding

Posted by Jeff Cova on Feb 19, 2014 12:59:00 PM

3 Tips to Attract Fierce Bidding at Your Next Charity Auction Fundraiser

If you are hosting a silent auction at your charity fundraising event, it’s important to strategize the best way to present items to your guests. Presentation can have a huge impact on how much donors bid and directly affects how much money you raise at your event.

Use these 3 helpful tips for displaying items in a manner that will encourage fierce bidding from your audience.

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Topics: event-production, auction displays

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Winston & Winnie love to help Nonprofits raise money for amazing causes. They also love to travel and have a bucket list of amazing Experiences they are determined to complete in their lifetime. Winspire News is the result of this shared passion, offering fundraising advice, industry news and insight into charity fundraising with travel.