For our public evening event with Riley Gaines on Friday, November 17th at Mountain City Church, we’ll be having a Silent Auction. You can participate by contributing something we can place in the Silent Auction. We’d be honored to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas ! To get the creative juices flowing…here are some ideas below from funraise.org
Experiences for auction
After spending so much time at home, everyone’s all about making memorable experiences these days. Give the people what they want by offering an array of unique real-world adventures.
- Foraging dinner: Guests can have their fiddlehead ferns and eat them, too, with a local foraging outing followed by a delicious meal using the fruits (er, mushrooms) of their labors.
- Cooking lesson: An oldie but a goodie. Ask a local chef to auction off a private cooking lesson followed by a private meal. If they can hold it at their restaurant, all the better.
- Drink tasting: Whether bidders are sipping their way through the wines of the Rioja or sampling an array of Kahlúa cocktails, everyone loves a guided beverage tasting.
- Guided rafting or kayaking trip: Get the adrenaline pumping and the bidders buzzing with a family-friendly, all-inclusive rafting or kayaking experience.
- All the tickets: Concert tickets, game tickets, event tickets, season tickets, airline tickets, more event tickets, tickets that don’t expire, tickets to wild and unusual events, tickets to once-in-a-lifetime experiences… just all the tickets you can get your hands on. Bonus: you get to hold all of them at once and fan yourself with them as a way to gain auction attention.
- Try a package deal: Put together a travel package with a gas card, snacks, earplugs, and a neck pillow. Or a fitness package with weights, a yoga mat, and a gym membership. Maybe a vacation package with sunglasses, a beach chair, cozy robes, and even more snacks?
VIP perks for auction
We all like to feel special—it’s human nature. By offering exclusive high-end items that make anyone feel like a VIP, your donor base will raise their paddles as they dust off their suits and crowns.
- Reserved seats: From seats at a sold-out show to a skybox at the big game for the local sports team, exclusive seats are sure to attract a crowd. Add in a limo ride to and from the event, and you’re taking VIP to VVIP.
- After-hours experience: When the doors close at 5:00, the party’s just beginning. Auction off a private after-hours tour of an animal sanctuary or a late-night shopping trip at a boutique (don’t forget the coffee!).
- Private lesson: From ikebana to candle-making, kombucha to macrame or music lessons with a rock star, private lessons with an expert are a great way to bring in the bids and build your supporters’ skill sets.
- First-class airline seats: Shockingly, first-class seats are a lot nicer than economy seats. Maybe your attendees can’t get behind a $2,000 plane ticket, but we bet they’d give those warm nuts and unlimited mimosas a try for a good cause!
Special trips for auction
Travel is always popular, and what’s more exciting than having the winning bid and getting that sweet sense of anticipation for the next few months? One tip: now that we’re pandemic experts, it’s wise to offer a range of trip types, near and far, by bike and by plane.
- Weekend getaway: Do your board members have a beach house or a lakeside cottage just a short drive away? Auction off a few days away from the hustle and bustle, being sure to mention any special amenities to up the bids. Hot tub, anyone?
- Local staycation: Encourage your guests to be tourists in their own town by planning a dream staycation package. Include a hotel stay, meals, and tickets to local activities (could be time-sensitive concert tickets or more general tickets to the local botanical gardens). Include a few made-here treasures, too, such as locally made chocolate.
- Road trip: Road trips are great, but they take a lot of forethought. Instead, plan out an incredible road trip for your guests and take care of every detail. Map stops along the way, pre-purchase the tickets, and book all the lodgings. Don’t forget a AAA membership and a playlist!
- Luxury trip abroad: If you offer international travel, make sure it’s flexible and make sure it’s incredible. After all, bidding on a $10,000+ trip is a big commitment. Include reviews of the property, lots of photos, and a list of activities so bidders can feel confident in going big.
Gift baskets for auction
While you want to save your big-ticket items for a live auction, gift baskets—especially themed baskets—are perfect silent auction items. Guests can ogle the many goodies, and smaller items are much more appealing when there are lots of them—especially if you add bows.
- Spa day: It’s been a stressful year. Longer than that, actually. Ugh, and remember 2016? The point is: everyone needs to de-stress and focus on wellness these days, which makes a spa-day-in-a-box a sure-fire hit. Plus, you can use up a lot of odds and ends. Candles, mugs, individual face masks (the non-pandemic kind), chocolate, a bathrobe… anything’s spa-worthy with enough twine.
- Dinner for two: Who doesn’t want to break out of their dining rut with all the ingredients needed for a romantic dinner for two? You can also include any specialized equipment (perhaps a mortar and pestle for grinding spices) and a bottle of good vino. And instead of a basket, how about a pot? One more idea: switch it up and make it a brunch basket in an ice bucket!
- Wine cellar: Wines do great at auctions, and a basket of excellent wines from around the world is sure to sell. You can choose wines from a single region, or really mix it up and procure all different kinds of whiskey. Add some glasses, a couple of snacks, et voilà! (We love French wines, what can we say?)
- Puppy love: There are bound to be some fur-parents in your audience, so put together a wonderful assortment of goods for their lucky (but deserving) pups. Treats, toys, and accessories galore, and put everything in a cozy dog bed. Throw in a gift card for a grooming session and nail trim, too.
- Mystery boxes: Put small or out-of-place items together in mystery baskets. Donors have no idea what they’re getting until they buy one. Make sure that one box includes a high-value item, like a piece of jewelry or even cash.
- Golf clubs: You may be thinking that you’ll need an XXXL basket to hold golf clubs, but we say you’re thinking too hard. Just look at the golf bag and squint; do you see what we see? It’s a silent auction basket of sorts. Put a bow on it, and it’ll get bookoo basket bucks
Jim Minnery – President