Constructing the Perfect Silent Auction Package

With the variety of valuable prizes contained in gift baskets, these silent auction items have become a much-anticipated item at charity events.

They can range from $50 to $1000 and offer sampling of products, experiences, and services that all fall under one enticing area of interest, making them a tempting purchase for donors.

For event organizers, a gift basket is typically easy to put together. The items vary in size, so many objects are easy to procure from sponsors. You can offer several different themed baskets to round out the appeal of the auction, tempting the tastes and wallets of virtually all bidders. Gift baskets also provide an excellent opportunity for an event organizer to cultivate a relationship with larger businesses they may want to work with in the future.

So, what goes into creating a great packaged gift basket? Let’s break it down.

Irresistible Themes

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A great gift basket should be based around one central theme. Food and drink are always a fan favorite, but other interests also make appealing prizes. A gardening basket or craft basket is great for hands-on, creative people. Electronics, car detailing, or home improvement baskets are a surprising idea that could reach people who don’t typically find items that represent their interest. There are an endless number of themes that would make stand-out baskets.

Consider creating a basket that is the highlight of the auction that draws attention to your mission as a way to keep your nonprofit’s mission in front of your donors throughout the year. Environmental groups could offer an outdoor enthusiast’s theme with information about the climate they’ll be experiencing. A nonprofit devoted to caring for animals could offer a pet-themed basket with products that give back to your organization, or an organization that works to help children could offer two toy-themed baskets, one for boys and one for girls, that are tagged with your nonprofit’s logo.

A Balanced Basket

There is an art to creating an enticing basket. Like a beautiful bouquet, you want to build a pleasing arrangement of items.

One option is to create a strong focal point, surround it with several mid-sized supporting items, and will in the basket with small items. The stand-out item could be an “experience” item or large gift, perhaps a travel package, or a high-end item, like a power drill for a home improvement basket. It’s easy to go over budget when creating baskets, so keep in mind the amount you expect could be raised.

Supporting items are meant to enhance the experience of the large focal point item. For instance, add a couple of bottles of wine and a few triangles of cheese to a travel basket that takes the winner to a wine region. For a home improvement basket, you could add a gift certificate to a hardware store and hand tools.

Fillers for the wine-themed basket could be wine enhanced candies or wine scented candles. Boxes of nails and work gloves can fill in the spaces in a home improvement basket.

If your basket is made up of several similar items, for instance, a selection of wines, model it after a bouquet of roses. Select several bottles that have their own beautiful identity and arrange it so that all labels can be clearly seen.

Beautifully Presented

Put the sparkle on the prize with an amazing presentation! There is a myriad of ways you can create an eye-catching gift package. Reinforce the basket’s theme with a container that represents what is included inside. Great examples of this is a carefully wound garden hose tied with a cute bow and finished with a sunflower for a garden-themed basket or a tent filled with camping goods.

Another option is to dress up an all-purpose container in a way that hints at what’s contained inside. A beautiful ceramic pot can be filled with a variety of candles, incense, and aromatic sprays. Filling a ceramic bowl with a variety of DVDs, popcorn, artisan sodas, and candy provides a family with a fun movie night and, later, the chef in the house with a new serving dish for their next meal.

Of course, it’s always fun to dress up a plain basket and give it its own personality. Picnic baskets are fun options for artisan foods, but you could just as easily create a cute camping themed basket that contains a cozy blanket, a bottle of wine, and- the makings for s’mores.

A Variety of Packages to Choose From

As you are speaking to sponsors, small businesses, and contributors, make sure you are procuring items that will offer your guests many different choices in types of packages. To ensure you attract a large audience think large and small, expensive and affordable, broad and niche interests. Doing this will allow you to capture your entire audience, create the buzz you want, and get them excited to bid.

As you begin your search for donations, keep in mind that offering only big, glamourous items isn’t always the best tactic. Smaller items are relatively simple to procure and can be less intimidating for new donors to purchase and smaller businesses to sponsor. Whether large or small, the ultimate goal is to present a strong theme, make them unique and attractive, and be an effective tool for fundraising.

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