6 Reasons Consignment Auction Items Help Raise More Money

Posted by Ian Lauth on Jan 13, 2016 10:34:43 AM

consignment auction items

A successful charity auction relies on your ability to procure exciting and appealing auction items for your donors to bid on. Even with a dedicated and knowledgeable auction committee, this can be a daunting task. 

One way to simplify your procurement efforts and boost the overall revenue of your event is by presenting your guests with a generous offering of both donated and consignment auction items

consignment auction itemsWhat is consignment? These are items offered by a third party vendor that cost nothing for a nonprofit to reserve and sell at their auction. These items typically have an established cost the nonprofit is aware of prior to placing it in their event, and any money that is raised above the item cost goes directly to the charity. If the final bid doesn reach high enough to cover the item cost, then no transaction takes place - so you only purchase items that actually raise money. 

Consignment auction items are typically high in value and difficult for the average auction committee to procure. Types of consignment items include:

  • Vacation Travel
  • Sporting Events
  • Entertainment (Concerts, Award Shows, etc.)
  • Autographed Memoribilia
    (Sports, Music or Celebrity)
  • Jewlery

One of the most common reasons organizations turn to consignment auction items is because they can be reserved last-minute and zero cost, but committees can use consignment items much earlier in the process to avoid this panicked scramble altogether. 

Try reserving a few consignment items first, then wait to see what kind of donations come in. This will reduce your stress level and give you resources to leverage while you wait for your procurement team to bring in donated items.

Consignment items can have a positive impact on your workload, donor relationships and the overall revenue of your event. Below you will find 7 reasons consignment auction items are an increasingly popular tool that many Nonprofits are turning to in the early stages of event planning.

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Topics: event-production, consignment, consignment auction items

4 Reasons You May Be Skeptical of Consignment Travel Packages

Posted by Ian Lauth on Apr 9, 2015 11:31:00 AM

Why you should use consignment travel packages in your fundraiser auction

Successful charity galas rely on strong auctions. At most auction events there are the usual suspects – gift baskets, hair removal services (..ew), and dinner at a fine restaurant in town. Unique travel experiences, on the other hand, continue to be one of the most-anticipated and best-selling auction items in the industry.

However, while offering unique excursions is important to an event’s overall profitability, charities are sometimes hesitant to partner with a consignment travel company. Explore these four common concerns about using consignment travel to better understand how this service can benefit your charity:

1. The trips seem too expensive for our donors.  

Underestimating your donors’ spending capabilities is one of the quickest ways to dampen your auction results. Big donors are sophisticated buyers who come to your event with a spending budget in mind.

We hear this repeatedly from the thousands of winning bidders who redeem Winspire Experiences every year. In fact, we survey each of them when they return from their trip – primarily to gather feedback about their experience - but also to learn more about event fundraising dynamics from their perspective. 


Our surveys show that 76% of donors attend at least four charity events annually, and 42% of the winning bidders budget at least $10,000 each year for vacation travel. These are savvy auction veterans!

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Topics: fundraising, consignment travel, consignment

4 No-Nonsense Reasons to Invest in Consignment Auction Items

Posted by Ian Lauth on Sep 9, 2014 1:46:00 PM

Investing in Acution Items

In a perfect world, auction committees would have no problem getting unique and exciting charity auction items donated for their fundraising events. Anyone who has served on a charity auction committee knows this is rarely the case.

Securing a variety of exciting items purely by donation is much easier said than done. Making a ton of calls, sending out hundreds of emails and pulling favors may produce a handful of adequate items, but all too often the resulting selection of auction items is missing those jaw-dropping items that really get crowds excited about bidding during an event.

At the end of the day, what's most important is raising significant funds for your organization - and most patrons understand that there are costs associated with fundraising.

This is why consignment is a secret weapon for the charity auction committee. The process is simple: reserve a unique item or incredible experience at no cost upfront and then offer it to your audience in the live or silent auction. If it sells above the package cost – great! You’ve raised money and delighted your donors in the process. If the item doesn’t sell above the package cost, no problem! Your organization pays nothing, making it an entirely risk-free proposition.

Pretty simple, right? Well, not everyone agrees. Our Event Consultants speak to thousands of Nonprofits about their events each year and they sometimes hear comments like: “No consignment… Sorry, we only use 100% donated items… We’re pretty sure we can get something like that donated.”

Some organizations are not comfortable with consignment items because they are worried that not all the money donors pay is going to the cause. Others feel like they are losing money when they have to pay for auction items they could otherwise potentially get donated.

It’s these misconceptions about consignment items that may be costing Nonprofits thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Here are four reasons why it makes sense to invest in better auction items:

1. Takes Money to Make Money

Anyone who has been in charge of planning a fundraiser auction items event understands there are costs associated with raising money, and when planned strategically those investments can really pay off. An event's logistics alone add up, and most development teams realize that investment is necessary to attract interest, sell tickets and create an enjoyable atmosphere for attendees that will encourage donations. Advertising, catering, entertainment, venue rental, etc. all of these costs are incurred in hopes of producing dividends in the form of bids and donations. Investing in valuable big-ticket auction items serves the same purpose.

2. Atmosphere of Big Spending

Hosting an event with quality auction items creates an atmosphere of spending that will translate into bigger bids on other items. Just like an amazing venue and an entertaining emcee will hopefully drive more bids during the live auction – so will the excitement of bidding on an incredible travel experience. It's not your basic gift certificate or dinner at a local restaurant, it's something that will really get people pumped up. When people are excited and have high-end items to bid on, the bids will be higher and happen more often.

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Topics: fundraising, charity auction items, consignment

The 5 Golden Rules of Consignment Auction Items

Posted by Ian Lauth on Aug 5, 2014 10:57:00 AM

5 Golden Rules of Consignment Auction Items 

Successful Nonprofit auctions engage attendees and inspire fierce bidding. The amount of money that can potentially be raised is directly correlated to what is up for auction, and baskets and gift cards can only go so far – these types of items will quickly reach their max value and bidding will cease. Plan and design your event to raise more money by keeping bidders interested with fewer high-value, attention-grabbing items.

The Roadblock: Big Visions, Limited Connections

"Wowing" the attendees is often easier said than done. There will be times when members of the procurement team will be able to get some big-ticket items, but too often the team doesn't obtain what’s on their wish list. That’s why consignment is a smart option for ensuring a well-rounded auction with exciting items that can pull in higher bids.

The Solution: Consignment Auction Items

The consignment process enables Nonprofits to partner with an outside company who specializes in unique items, trip packages or Experiences - offering these auction items at no risk because the Nonprofit only pays for what actually sells.

Popular types of consignment items include event tickets, travel packages, sports memorabilia, art and even vehicles (motorcycles, cars, etc). Typically there is a set reserve price the Nonprofit must meet before the auction item can be awarded to a bidder. This ensures that the consignment company gets paid and money is raised for the organization’s mission.

How can you put consignment to work at your next auction event? Consider these Five Golden Rules for consigning Nonprofit auctions items.

1. Start early and advertise

Auction item procurement teams are always racing against the clock, especially as auction day approaches. Getting quality auction items quickly is critical, and by finding the right consignment items early on, you can relax knowing the big ticket items are secure. The auction committee can then work to fill in the holes with other quality auction items and focus on other essential event details.  Another benefit of starting early with consignment items is that it allows you to advertise the auction’s most unique items prior to the event date, which can help persuade people to attend and motivate them to bid.

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Topics: fundraising, consignment

3-Step Guide for Setting Minimum Starting Bids on Charity Auction Items

Posted by Jeff Cova on Jul 1, 2014 11:18:00 AM

Charity Auction Items - 3 Step Guide for setting starting bid prices

Setting the minimum starting bid at a low, fair price can help your Nonprofit raise more money per item. Here are some guidelines for setting a minimum bid that will attract and encourage more donors to participate at your next charity auction.  

1. Determine Fair Market Value (FMV)

In the auction industry, the fair market value (FMV) describes the estimated value of an item based on similar products in the market and what the buyer is willing to pay. In order to set a reasonable starting bid for each of your charity auction items, you first have to determine each item's FMV.

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Topics: event-production, charity auction bidding, charity auction items, top3-event-fundraising, consignment

6 Reasons Why Consignment Items Raise More Money and Make Life Easier

Posted by Ian Lauth on Nov 25, 2013 8:24:00 PM

Consignment Items for Benefit Auctions Make Life Easier

The Scenario: You and your auction planning committee hold a successful wish list party and your procurement team leaves pumped and excited, with a long list of ideas for unique auction items to go retrieve. Fast-forward a couple months to a few weeks before your event and you realize no one has had success acquiring any of the items on your wish list. 

Sound familiar? Then it may be time to consider the possibility of reserving consignment items for your benefit auction.

"Consignment" literally translates to the act of placing an item in the hand of another, but retaining ownership until the goods are sold. In the auction world, this means a company will lend you an item to include in your auction with no upfront cost. Then, if the item is actually sold, you buy the item from that company using a portion of the proceeds, and the remaining difference is your profit.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Why offer consignment items if I don’t get to keep all of the money?”

The answer is because consignment items can make your life a whole lot easier and still generate a lot of money for your cause. Here are a few reasons why:

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Topics: event-production, auction item procurement, consignment

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Meet Winston & Winnie, the Winspire Twins

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.