Auction Item Ideas That Will Rock Your Event

Auction item ideas and procurement

The Latest (Most Awesome) Auction Item Ideas

Get started early when putting your procurement target list together and think outside of the box for auction item ideas. The list below will give you a starting point for your brainstorming:

Travel – Tie a travel package to a popular film, book, current event, or even the theme of your event. For example, a “Wild” movie travel package could include backpacks and camping gear, a chance to hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail, and a stay at a “semi-roughing it” campground such as El Capitan Canyon. Or, tie a trip to a popular event, like a travel package to the Toronto Film Festival or to Aspen for skiing and the Food and Wine Classic.

Adventure – An adventure experience appeals to any age group and can be physical, intellectual, or spiritual. Look to local attractions for ideas. Live near a racetrack or an Air Force base? Offer a racecar driving class or the chance to become a fighter pilot for a day. Maybe a behind-the-scenes-tour of your local zoo or local sports team facility. Are you located near a leading university or Fortune 100 company? Set up a lunch with a leader in education or business.

Celebrities – Who do you or your team know who is a celebrity willing to support your cause? Consider not only individuals in the spotlight, but those behind the scenes who may be able to provide access to a ‘spotlight celebrity’. Maybe they can provide access to unique items, such as a script or a prop from a popular movie or TV show. Perhaps a back-stage pass to a local newsroom. And remember that celebrities come in many flavors—there are those in the media (entertainment and news), but also consider celebrities in business and sports.

Miscellaneous – the sky is the limit for this category. Here’s a brief list of auction item ideas you might want to consider:

  • Head Table: a chance to sit at next year’s Head Table with extra wait staff, special menu, special wine, valet parking, and gift bags.
  • Tails Table: next year, sit at the fun and crazy table at the back with party favors, noise makers, distinct decorations, and maybe even costumes.
  • Ride Home in a Fire Truck: a lucky kid gets picked up from school for a special ride home in a ladder truck.
  • Famous for a Day: offer a walk-on part in a local play or a chance to be a guest conductor in your local orchestra.
  • Group Dine-Around: 10 to 12 people get chauffeured to top restaurants every Friday night for a month.
  • Date Night: plan 12 pre-paid dates with activities (once a month for the whole year).
  • Night with the Chef: you & some of your friends get a personal meal cooked by a local chef (does not have to be famous).
  • “Best Pizza in Town, you decide”: get local pizza places to donate gift certificates and put them all together.  Create an award that says “The Best Pizza in (name of town, city, or area) is _______.”  The buyer gets to go to all the pizza places and decide which is the best. Then they give the award to that establishment.  A lot of families really enjoy doing this and it lets the restaurants know that their donation is getting some extra attention, rather than just a part of a “grab-bag”.  It also makes it more of a competition for the restaurants.
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides.
  • “Leap of Faith”: this package is geared towards a school where a famous/beloved teacher, parent, or principal agrees to sky dive with 7 other willing participants. (At one school, each spot went for $1,800!)
  • Instant Dessert: flaming dessert created by a local chef auctioned to one table only that same night – bananas foster or baked Alaska. (This also works for table-side specialty cocktails such as Spanish Coffee.)
  • “Kiss the Beagle”: this was used as a fund-a-cause item, where participants bid for an opportunity to kiss a beagle.
  • “Send Your Child to the Principal”: a hot item at one elementary school was the opportunity for a student to spend the day with the principal.
  • Name a street.
  • Judge at a county fair.
  • “Animal Encounters” at a local zoo.
  • “Design-your-Own” Halloween costume: designed by your child, working with a costume designer and built by a local theater costume staff.
  • Commission a customized painted mural or graffiti wall.
  • Dance classes.
  • Tour a local fine art collection.
  • Become a named character in a novel, movie, or TV show.
  • Water balloon fight: balloons filled and stocked, and all clean-up provided.

In a pinch for auction item ideas? Grab an Auction Booster package.

The more unique, interesting, and clever your auction items or packages are, the higher the revenue each will generate. Keep in mind the demographics and interests of your audience and get creative about what will intrigue them.

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Now that you found a starting point for auction item ideas that will rock your event, don’t miss this revenue enhancers lookbook featuring examples of the most successful revenue enhancers for your event.

3 Responses to “Auction Item Ideas That Will Rock Your Event”

  1. Theme items/packages based on current to popular TV shows or movies also do really well and create excitement. (Example Duck Dynasty, Game Of Thrones, Walking Dead) Since they already have a following people recognized them. These historically do better in a silent auction then in a live.

  2. Chandi Owen

    I am wondering how the auctioneer did the skydiving with the teacher? We have 7 teachers willing to skydive so we are trying to figure out the best way to do this. Thank you!

    • Dathan Montes

      Hi Chandi. Great question and great opportunity to raise more at your event. One option that works well is to have the auctioneer drive up bidding on the package, then declare a winner or winning bid price. At that point, they will offer to reduce the price to the amount the second highest bid – on the condition that the second highest bidder agrees to purchase the item. This now establishes the “price” of the item. The actual winning bidder gets the package at a reduced price, the second place person gets it their price and others can purchase at this “special reduced price”.

      Another option is after the winning bid is announced, to reduce it even more, to allow for multiple purchases. The key is to have an experienced auctioneer available to explain and encourage the audience to join in. Hope that makes sense and thanks for reaching out! 7 teachers willing to skydive? Wow, sounds like a fun school!


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