Charity and fundraising auctions are a wonderful way to get your organization and cause noticed. Better yet, online and virtual auctions work well with social distancing. If you are resourceful, you will be able to acquire auction items and services without much issue and then use them to propel your organization into the eye of new supporters. Here are the easiest and best ways to find auction items.
First Things First…
Let’s go over the basics that need to be in place before you head out on auction item procurement endeavors. Organization is vital in any fundraising auction or event mission, so to prime yourself for success, ensure that you have all these steps in place first.
Get The Auction Committee Together
It’s imperative that you get a good team of people together to run the charity auction. Ensure that these are dedicated people who are invested in your cause since you will need passion present in every member in order to achieve your goals. You’ll find that having the expertise of others on board will significantly ease stress in the execution of your auction. The earlier you set out to form the committee, the better.
Come Up with a List of Auction Items You Want
Your efforts will be far more fruitful if you have plans laid out for what auction items you hope to procure. Figure out a wish list of sorts for the project. It helps immensely to have the auction items you wish to procure written down, even if they seem difficult to get at first. Setting up this wish list early can help you in your brainstorming sessions. Having everyone on the same page will allow more ideas to flow as to where to acquire these types of auction items.
You don’t need to wait until the auction is live to start advertising and promoting it on Social media. Start early by letting supporters know you are planning an auction and looking for auction item donations. You may be surprised at the offers that come your way.
Auction Procurement Strategy
There are plenty of ways to procure charity auction items. Organizations generally rely first on in-kind donations from businesses and community members to supply auction items and services to auction off. While asking for donations alone can work wonders, don’t limit yourself to donations only. Think about purchasing items, consignment deals, and partnerships with sponsors to further amp up your catalog.
Look Around You
Always start with your network of supporters. Remember when we said that forming a team was imperative? Oftentimes you will find that not only will some of your team members know who to contact for the benefit of the auction, but they are local business people or work in offices or businesses where they can ask for donations. Be sure to include your Board of Directors in auction procurement strategies.
Send It in a Letter
If you’ve determined local businesses or corporations that you’d like to sponsor your auction, it would be best to rev up those writing skills and send them donation request letters. We’ve created auction letter templates for this purpose. Simply change them a bit based on the context at hand and be specific about what you want.
Having a list of charity auction items that you want to receive is always important because you can match them with each potential donor on your list. This makes it easier for both parties to reach an understanding of giving you the items that you need.
Identify key community players who are outside your direct network but may be interested in your mission. It could be the friendly neighborhood cafe, the couple who runs the local thrift store, or a large corporation with offices nearby. Find out what local businesses have to offer, and demonstrate how support for your charity can also help them. Companies benefit from sponsorship, and you need to show them this.
Some Great Charity Auction Item Ideas
When looking for charity auction item ideas, it’s good to think of items of varying value so everyone can bid. A few high-value items should serve as the auction fundraiser’s highlights.
Here are some great ideas for items you can use in your next online charity auction.
Gift baskets are a classic item to offer at any charity or silent auction. Baskets, especially themed ones, make for an attractive item to auction off. Having multiple items in the basket provides more appeal to participants instead of auctioning things off one piece at a time. It also saves time and adds value to the event. Play around with the themes that appeal to your attendance – think craft baskets for the creative types, culinary baskets for those who love the kitchen, wine baskets for the connoisseur, a spa kit for those who need to relax, and more.
Opportunities for Learning
If you have any organizations or establishments in your community that can sponsor free lessons for the highest bidders at your auction, then you’re in luck. Offering opportunities to learn a new skill – be it art, cooking, music, or a sport – is a highly attractive option many people would bid on. Everyone wants to enrich their knowledge and skills, so this is worth investing your time in procuring.
Dinner for 2 (or More)
Gift certificates to local restaurants and fine dining establishments have always been popular charity auction items. Most people love to dine out and will use a good percentage of their disposable income to do so. So why not cash in on this for your fundraising auctions? Another take on dinner that has become popular is offering dinner for a group in someone’s home. So a winning bidder can invite 4 or 6 or even 8 of their closest friends to their house, and a private chef or catering service manages the rest.
A Relaxing Day at the Spa
Everyone loves an invigorating day at the spa. Create a package like manis and pedis for the girls, couple’s massages, or a full day of pampering, and you’re sure to get some nice bids. If you can’t get these donated, you may be able to find a spa that will work with you to significantly discount packages for your organization. The benefit for them is bringing in new clientele.
Get your donors excited about bidding on signed sports and music memorabilia such as sports shirts, records, guitars, and basketballs. These can often bring a premium, as they are unique and one of a kind items that cannot be bought everywhere. Even better if you can entice a celebrity into endorsing your charity auction. By lending their face to your fundraising event, you’ll generate more interest in the bidding and awareness of your cause.
Tickets for concerts, festivals, the theater, and sporting events are among the most favored charity auction items. Why not see if you can get a behind-the-scenes tour of a football stadium or a backstage pass to a music concert donated to your charity event and watch the bidding war that ensues?
Technology and Gadgets
Everyone wants to get their hands on the latest technology and electronic devices, so they make great charity auction items. Smart speakers, Kindles, Smart TVs and watches, and even new phones are all in-demand products and will attract all people of all ages to bid on your auction items. Streaming subscriptions for a year, such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney Plus are also popular auction items.
Private Club Memberships
Imagine winning a membership to one of the best local golf clubs or an exclusive private member’s club in London, where you could mingle with elite business leaders, influences, and innovators. This is a unique prize that is sure to draw in crowds.
Private Dinner Parties
Throw an extravagant party for a group in the top bidder’s home, including catering and entertainment. You could add a theme to the evening, such as cheese and wine tasting or a colorful Mexican night fueled with authentic food, tequila cocktails, music, and a piñata for fun!
Who doesn’t like the idea of taking home a basket of delicious homemade goodies? Cakes, pies, donuts, cookies, and artisan chocolate are all great auction ideas for the bidder with a sweet tooth. Be sure to offer gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free options to cover any special dietary requirements.
One of a Kind Travel Packages
Travel packages tend to be some of the most popular items at charity auctions, so acquiring a great travel getaway means your organization could really supercharge your auction’s success.
While it’s always great to get donated items from local businesses, there is another way to raise even more money on your fundraising auction. That is to provide unique or absolutely stellar items that cannot be easily found elsewhere so that your constituents are happy to pay a premium for these items.
We provide one-of-a-kind travel packages that can be used in live, silent, and online charity auctions and fundraising raffles.
Here is how it works….
How Our No Risk Auction Items Program Works
Your organization selects a package (or packages) that best fits your constituent base – we offer domestic as well as international travel, family packages, virtual experiences, and unique opportunities. Then, simply contact us to place a reserve on the package. We will put you in touch with our trusted partner, who manages the program and can answer any questions.
Only after you successfully sell the item for an amount above your designated reserve amount do you buy it. You are not obligated to purchase the package if you cannot reach the listed nonprofit price at your auction.
Your organization takes on no risk and gets to keep all funds raised above the listed ‘nonprofit price.’ For example, say your organization wants to auction the Tuscany Culinary Escape package with a nonprofit cost of $3,400. If you can auction it for $5,000, your organization has just raised $1,600 with minimal effort.
Be sure to keep your audience and their budgets in mind here. Luxury vacations to someplace exciting and new will be a winning auction item for many organizations but could fall flat if your constituents cannot afford them.
Promoting Your Auction Items Online
Charity auction software is essential to help event planners organize and manage the details associated with hosting successful fundraising and online charity auctions. Once you’ve made the effort and assembled a great auction catalog, you’ll need to be sure the items are highlighted on a beautiful charity auction website. Our auction software allows auction organizers to set up a fundraising auction and get started easily, with no up-front fees. Securely take online and mobile bids and promote those hard-won charity auction items widely.
Conclusions and More Fundraising Auction Resources
As long as you are organized in your plans for your next auction, procuring charity auction items should be a breeze. Organize a team and work smart, having all your goals in a concrete format, and ensuring you use your network wisely. Represent your cause with humble confidence and advertise wherever possible. Keep your eyes and ears open for ideas you can use to be creative in the items you will auction off, and you’re sure to find success. We wish you all the best in your charity auction endeavors and would love to host your auction website.