Grouping Auction Items for Higher Bids


What would you do with one hundred Barbie dolls that were donated to your upcoming benefit auction?

These days procurement is getting more difficult, as individuals and businesses are cutting back on both monetary and auction item donations. One of the smartest ways to more fully leverage what you do procure to generate higher bidding in your auction is to group items together. Grouping auction items together creates one-of-a-kind offerings and experiences.

Grouping Auction Items

Your procurement team’s efforts may yield one item per request, such as a spa certificate, a custom cake, a bottle of wine, etc. The easiest route would be to put those items in your auction and hope for the best. But, if you invest time and creativity into placing these single items into meaningful, appealing groupings, it will be well worth the effort in the dollar return.

As your teams procure items or donations, add them right away to a spreadsheet or your Fundraising Event Software. This approach makes it easier to track all donations and donors, making tasks like procurement, packaging, reporting, and even thank-you’s much easier to execute.

Timing is everything when it comes to grouping auction items, so make sure to give your team ample time to begin the process. Stick to an item donation cut-off date of four weeks prior to the auction—or earlier depending on the number of items. Then segment and print a list of all your items by category and brainstorm with your team on item grouping ideas. If you’re procuring for an annual event, look at last year’s bid sheets or reports to see which items or packages were the most popular and sold for the highest amount. Can you offer that item or package again (with a refresh to interest returning guests)? When you’ve completed that process, review the remaining items for new packaging ideas.

Once you have a strategy for what items to put together, what items to sell individually, and what items to store for future use, you are ready to assign package numbers and create compelling descriptions.

By the way, which choice to the question about the Barbie donation would bring in the most bidding dollars for your organization? A Barbie themed party! Why? Assuming there is no collectible value, creating a themed party is unique, and something you can’t buy in a store.

Have other ideas? Leave them below in the comments!

7 Responses to “Grouping Auction Items for Higher Bids”

  1. Love the multi-sale idea. Maybe make the Barbie an object bidders get when a multi-sale is purchased.
    Example: sometimes when people purchase heads or tails they get a flashy button light to be used as proof of purchase/showcase those who have opted in. The Barbie could be the object you get when you purchase the daddy/daughter tea party.

  2. What about using them in a raffle? Procure a large ticket item that would go with a Barbie theme – jewelry, wardrobe/makeover, convertible, camper, vacation home rental, etc. When you purchase a chance in the raffle, you receive a Barbie. One of them has a special outfit or necklace or marking that only you know signifies the winner. When it’s time to announce the winner, you show them the winning Barbie instead of announcing a winning ticket number.

    • Great idea! Thanks for sharing. Raffles are always a fun way to get everyone engaged and build excitement at your event.

  3. I would love for local artists and designers to create a barbie for the auction. Similar to the cow parade many cities have done. Themed barbies from local artisans….I think it has the potential to pull in some cash.

  4. I would use them as raffle premium for a Glamour Barbie spa day for you and your daughter or niece! $30.00 a chance or 8 or $100.00


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