Procure Smarter for Online Auctions


If you live and breathe the management of fundraising events then you know there is one thing that sets your auction apart from the others—unique items and experiences which you can’t buy anywhere else.

But did you know that the types of items which fly off the tables at a live event might not be suited for an online auction?

Online auction items are different than live auctions because you cannot physically see or touch them. Being aware of the items that don’t sell well online can improve your online auction success. To help you out with which items to avoid selling online, here’s a list:


Artwork such as, photographs and paintings, tend to be hard to view online. People like to be able to look closely at art and visualize how it might look on their walls. Try to minimize the amount of artwork you have in your online auction (with the exception of art organizations), and perhaps replace them with autographed framed posters or sports memorabilia. Then showcase the donated paintings and/or photographs at your live event in an area where the hanging and lighting complements each piece.

Jewelry and Clothing

Jewelry and clothing also tend to sell better at live events, because bidders can touch and feel the items. A pair of diamond studs or a gift certificate to a well-known boutique would be a better choice for the online offerings. At the live event, consider having models walking around wearing the clothes and jewelry for sale to generate excitement amongst the crowd—it’s like having a mini fashion show at your event!

Household Items

Sure, we all need a new vacuum cleaner or hammer from time to time, but these types of items are too easy to buy locally and are boring. Try to stay away from putting these types of items solo online or at a live event. What you can do is be creative with packaging these items. For instance, create a “Cinderella” package which includes a new vacuum cleaner, a gift certificate for a eco-friendly cleaning service and tickets to the symphony (or ball!). Or a “Handyman” package which includes a tool kit, a gift certificate for a house repair contractor and a local hardware store. The more imaginative you are with packaging household items, the better chance you have of selling them.

Consignment Items

I am not saying that consignment items should not be in your catalog. They tend to be higher priced items, and can really beef up your catalog. However, the amount of consignment items you have in your auction catalog should be small and precise. Having all consignment items in your catalog makes your auction look very expensive, and most people won’t spend time on your auction. Vary the items and make people want to stay on your auction page longer.

Procuring smarter for online and live auctions ultimately results in raising more funds for your organization. So, before your event starts feeling like a garage sale, take a step back and consider the list above to make sure your items stand out in the crowd!

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