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

4 Things We Learned about Silent Auctions from a Hit ABC Sitcom

Posted by Summy Lau on Mar 2, 2017 9:06:09 AM

4 things we learned about silent auctions from a hit ABC sitcom

With spring fundraising season upon us, many nonprofits are hustling to procure quality items for their charity auctions. How can you generate higher bids on every item and make the silent auction worthwhile?

In popular ABC sitcom Last Man Standing, funny guy Tim Allen plays Mike Baxter, a marketing director for sporting goods retailer Outdoor Man. His wife, Vanessa, is a revered geologist doubling as leader of the PTA.

See below as Vanessa and Mike attend a fundraiser for the school that includes a silent auction - and one hilarious pen-and-paper bidding war. Then see if you can spot the 4 best practices we found in the clip, plus get free downloads for your next auction (like customizable bid sheet templates).

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Topics: Silent Auction Ideas, event-production, silent auction bid sheets, silent auction items, silent auctions

26 Creative, Attractive Basket Ideas for a Silent Auction Fundraiser

Posted by Summy Lau on Aug 30, 2016 10:28:28 AM

Silent Auction Gift Basket IdeasIf you're planning to host a charity silent auction, you're probably looking to include at least a few gift baskets. These can range anywhere from $50 to $500 in value, depending on the quality and exclusivity of the items inside.

While we recommend procurement teams think outside the box when curating an auction catalog, baskets are silent auction go-to's for good reason: The contents are well within reach of getting donated, plus provide an easy way to bundle excess or smaller items.

Read on for 26 creative silent auction basket ideas you can quickly and easily put together for a silent auction fundraising event, plus best practices to maximize bidding.

  1. Sample Silent Auction Gift BasketTrusty Traveler: Everything business travelers need to jetset in style. Include a suit bag, leather briefcase, Bose headphones and travel pillow into a carry-on roller with wheels. Up the ante with a gift card for flights or hotel stays. (Pin source: House Party)
  2. Mixologist's Wheelbarrow: Stock a wheelbarrow full of alcoholic beverages, plus mixing tools and cocktail recipes. This is one big "basket" that's guaranteed to get plenty of attention and bids.
  3. Fitness Guru: Tools to stay in shape at home and at the gym. Include a home gym package, yoga mat, dumbbells, resistance bands, a "smart" water tracking bottle, fitness DVDs and a membership to the local gym. Up the ante with at-home gym equipment like a treadmill or weight system.
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Topics: Silent Auction Ideas, event-production

13 Proven Ways to Raise More Money at Your Fundraising Event

Posted by Summy Lau on Aug 23, 2016 10:50:09 AM

Lightbulb_sketch_small.pngStudents heading back to school, Labor Day plans and preseason football can only mean one thing: Fall fundraising season is upon us.

Here at Winspire, we are gearing up for this month's "Ask an Auctioneer!" webinar. We have already received a slew of thought-provoking questions from fundraising professionals and volunteers across North America.

Along with questions on auction best practices (how many items to include in the live auction, bestselling silent auction items, setting minimum bids and so forth), we've also gotten these:

How do we address those who say, "I don't go to the auction and never will."?
Are auctions really worth the time and cost?
How do I refresh my 14-year event? Is it time to give it up and move on to another type of event?

Perhaps you can relate.

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Topics: fundraising-ideas, Silent Auction Ideas, event-production, charity auction, email marketing, sponsorships, event-promotion

Fishing for Bids? The Best and Worst Silent Auction Items to "Bait" Donors

Posted by Summy Lau on Jun 21, 2016 8:30:00 AM

What sells best at a silent auction? We get this question all the time, and for good reason. As certified benefit auctioneer Danny Hooper noted in our recent webinar, one of the "10 deadly sins" of charity auction events is choosing the wrong items...

"My son is a great fisherman. One day last summer, we'd been fishing together all morning long with live bait. Hours later, we did not have a single bite. So my son suggested switching to a different lure. Lo and behold, two minutes later, we snagged this fish:


The moral of the story: The more distinct hooks you can throw into the water, the more fish you'll catch. I've gone to many events that have been run for over a decade, and year after year I see the same 10 auction items: the autographed hockey jersey, the dinner at the president's house... Successful auctions are be able to mix up the "bait" to entice virtually everyone in the room.

This is a real conundrum for a lot of committees. What are the right hooks?"

Indeed, not having the right bait can kill your revenue-earning potential. The best silent auction items suit your audience, work with your event theme, and have a high potential for income generation.

While every charity auction is different, sales in years past are one good indicator of what to expect from your audience. But what if your event is relatively new? Or better yet, you're looking to keep donors engaged and surprised with new and buzzworthy items?

As experts in event fundraising, we have discovered certain categories sell better than others. Read on to find out which are proven bestsellers, and which tend to be duds.

Best Sellers:
Sell often and get high bids

Food & Wine

Private dinners, vintage wines, brewery tours and sushi-making parties make Food & Wine a guest favorite. Does your silent auction selection channel your donors' inner "foodies"?

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Topics: procurement, Silent Auction Ideas, event-production

The Insider Strategy that Triples Revenue from One Auction Item

Posted by Summy Lau on Mar 15, 2016 10:00:06 AM

consignment auction items

Consignment travel packages can be extremely lucrative for your nonprofit, and one of the biggest reasons is the ability to sell incredible trips multiple times, at no risk to you.

Doing so benefits your event in three ways:

  1. Increase revenue: Double, triple or quadruple your profit on a single package.
  2. It's a win, win, win: More happy bidders, but the biggest winner is your nonprofit.
  3. Capture secondary bidders: For every successful bidder there are typically one or two people who may have been bidding on the same item, but were unsuccessful. What happens to the money they were prepared to spend moments earlier? Doubling up enables your auctioneer to capture additional revenue from more people.

Best of all, it's easier to pull off than you might think! There are virtually unlimited ways to sell multiple no-risk consignment travel packages at any point of your event timeline—before, during and after—that don't take any extra procurement on your part and cost nothing if they don't sell.

Is your nonprofit reaching out for this low-hanging fruit?

Read on for the strategies our nonprofit clients have used to double, triple, even quadruple their revenue on a single package to raise a lot more for their cause.

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Topics: fundraising, Silent Auction Ideas, live auction, selling multiples

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

Competition for Charitable Donations Requires Creative Silent Auction Ideas

Posted by Ian Lauth on Sep 4, 2013 4:42:00 AM
Creative Silent Auction Ideas

Charitable giving in 2012 was nearly stagnant, with a rise of 1.7% over the 2011 donation levels[1].  So far, 2013 looks to be maintaining this stagnation as giving is on average increasing 1%-3% in a year-to-year comparison with 2012[2].  What this means for charities is that the competition for charitable donations will remain very high. As a result, it is important for charities and nonprofit organizations to develop unique fundraisers that distinguish their group from the otherorganizations that are competing for the same donor dollars.

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Topics: Fundraising Tips, Industry News, Winspire News, fundraising, Latest News 4, Silent Auction Ideas, event-production, auction item procurement

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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.