Silent auctions are an excellent way to generate money for your nonprofit. Auctions are held online or in-person, and attendees can secretly shop all the fun goodies on display. You need top-tier items that people get excited about to maximize your fundraising efforts.
Let’s explore the top 11 silent auction ideas and jumpstart a successful fundraising event!
1. Vacation Packages
Every hardworking person needs an excellent vacation to unwind and spend quality time with loved ones. So make this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and offer a package no one can refuse. Companies like Disney will give nonprofits a four Park Hopper pass as a donation. Bundle the Park Hopper with a hotel stay. Destination by Hyatt, for instance, can donate a room for your silent auction item by filling out a request form.
Increase your earnings and make a travel gift basket that includes a travel neck pillow, road trip snacks, a travel playlist, and games to keep everyone entertained.
2. Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences
Let your auctioneers choose between unique experiences, such as an African safari, a dream beach experience in Tahiti, or enjoying the exciting culture in Tokyo. Adding foreign experiences is an easy way to ensure you get the most out of your auction because of the appeal. They are relatively easy to plan, and the tour companies who donate the experience will provide promotional materials that you can use.
Promote the destinations before the silent auction to ensure this package is successful. Get your attendees excited about what they can bid on and prepared to open their wallets.
3. High-End Local Artwork
Not only can you support local artists by spreading the word, but you can offer a desirable one-of-a-kind piece! Contact various major artists and see if they have artwork to donate towards the auction and support your cause. You are not limited to paintings. Find famous photographers, sculptors, and glassblowers for fun and creative pieces.
Approach the local library for old maps of the town to frame old-time portraits of the past. These make great conversation pieces.
4. Fine Dining Experiences
Fine dining can heighten your experience at a top restaurant. The chefs are highly trained and often come table side to chat. There are broad local wine selections and mouthwatering meals that you can’t find anywhere else.
Offer a fine dining experience for 10-12 people so the package can get shared with loved ones. You can even pair it with private cooking classes. Approach high-end restaurants and sell them on your nonprofit and why they should be part of your cause. Talk to the chef and see if they are willing to promote themselves and the restaurant by donating an hour or two of cooking classes.
5. Hot Air Balloon Rides
Hot air balloon rides are romantic and exhilarating. Fundraising Rides are well-known for donating hot air balloon rides to charities in over 200 cities around the US. The company provides displays and descriptions of their exciting rides to help promote the package. There are two and four-person packages to sell at the auction, and you’ll only have to pay if they sell.
6. Hunting Trips
International hunting trips make great silent auction items. There are over 15,200,000 hunters in the United States. A decent percentage of those hunters desire and have the resources to hunt in countries like Africa, New Zealand, or Argentina.
Charity Safaris will accept your hunting donation request to these destinations if you are a nonprofit or conservation organization. The trips are 100% donations (not consignment) which means the charity keeps 100% of the proceeds from the silent auction.
7. Music Memorabilia
Music memorabilia is a great auction item for music lovers. Collectors or fans will find autographed CDs, posters, or other items priceless. Sometimes handwritten notes by the artist will also attract a lot of attention.
To be successful with music memorabilia, it needs to get promoted effectively. Consignment companies will help with displays and authenticate the signatures for the event. However, if they don’t sell, you might have to pay the return shipping, so be selective on how much you buy.
8. Sports Memorabilia
Contact local sports teams, player agents, and stadiums to find out if they can donate any sports memorabilia. You might even find high-end items from auction consignment companies, and some local sporting groups will donate an item to nonprofits each year.
Maximize your profits by combining sports memorabilia with a jersey from the local team or tickets to the next game. Sports fans will love to get into a bidding war on this item!
9. Luxury Vacation Rentals
Get luxury vacation rentals through consignment firms at sought-after destinations. This is minimal work for you as they provide all the paperwork, photographs, and descriptions while pulling in thousands of dollars in donations. You can reserve dates around the holidays to make it even more appealing. For example, if Christmas is around the corner, reserve dates at a place known for skiing or well-decorated for the holidays.
These companies have various properties across the country, so they’ll provide you with several destinations for you to choose from for the silent auction.
10. Experiences for the Kids
Kids love experiences just as much as they love toys – maybe even more so! You can offer a zoo package with a behind-the-scenes tour or animal encounter. The silent auction item can include year passes to a local museum or tickets to Legoland. There is so much to entertain kids!
Contact local sports teams and see if there are a few players who can donate an hour of their time to play ball with the winning bidder. What kid wouldn’t want to meet their hero?
11. Exciting Day Outings
There are countless day excursions you can offer as an item, and each can get paired with a gift basket. For example, do a spa day with self-care items in a gift basket. Also, offer a group tour of a local brewery or vineyard followed by a lunch gift certificate.
Other ideas include tickets to whitewater rafting, day cruise, or comedy shows. They are easy to acquire because many companies love to give back and partner with nonprofits.
Sign up for DonationMatch.com and see if there are items you can get for the silent auction. Follow the prompts and enter your nonprofit’s information with what kind of event you are hosting. Then, get matched with donors effortlessly!
Step outside the box and find unique silent auction items and experiences that your audience hasn’t seen before and bundle. Don’t be shy about hitting the pavement and talking to local businesses to collaborate with. It is a great promotion for them and an opportunity to make lots of money for your organization!