The Easiest Way to Set Opening Bids on Live Auction Items

Posted by Summy Lau on Aug 22, 2017 9:50:49 AM

Starting bids main img.png

The easiest way to set opening bids in your live auction, is to leave it to the pros! Check out these real-life submissions from recent webinar Q&As...

"Do fundraising auctioneers typically know how to start the bidding in a live auction, and do you have any recommendations as to what amounts to start at?"

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Topics: no-risk-auction-items, event-production, benefit auctioneer, consignment

6 Reasons Consignment Auction Items Help Raise More Money

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

6 Reasons Consignment Auction Items Help Raise More Money

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.

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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 setting minimum bids

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.  

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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


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 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.

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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.