Silent auctions are oftentimes the most anticipated event on a fundraiser’s event schedule.
You want to engage all your participants in the silent auction and sometimes that means presenting a broad range of prizes and thinking outside the box.
Each year, the challenge to impress donors challenges event planners to find the latest, greatest items for their silent auction. Trendy items and the most consistently sought-after packages are expected, but it’s good to stay within a few popular themes that are always fan favorites. Stepping outside the normal channels to find new items can offer event planners solidify the nonprofit’s reputation in the public and form relationships with key sponsors, businesses, and donors.
Generating excitement in your silent auction audience isn’t as hard as you might think when you boil it down to these five most preferred themes.
1. The Great Escape
Travel themed gift baskets are always a top choice at silent auctions. Filled with exciting adventures, healthy retreats, or family getaways, these baskets are usually centered around a single type of experience.
Whether the escape is local or somewhere miles away, you can fill this basket with gift certificates for nearby experiences and items that will enhance the experience, such as top-of-the-line wool socks for a ski weekend or a bottle of champagne for a romantic trip to a seaside resort.
2. Culinary Cravings
A basket full of tempting goodies with new and exciting flavors as well as fan favorites are always a popular item at silent auctions. Food themed baskets are more than just the food contained within.
Food and drink themed baskets are also great options because the contents are usually easy to find and are not too expensive. This allows donors with smaller budgets the chance to bid on something they can enjoy. It also offers the nonprofit an opportunity to strike up relationships with local producers, restaurateurs, and retailers.
3. An Athlete’s Dream
A sports fanatic will look forward to your annual fundraiser knowing their favorite team will be represented in your silent auction. Stay close to home when you reach out to athletic organizations for contributions. Great options can either come from local sports teams or, for a more hands-on experience, find personal trainers, equipment retailers, and activities, like racetrack driving experiences or rafting rentals, to fill your sports themed baskets.
4. Sweet Serenade
Music lovers will groove on with gift baskets packed full of their favorite music. Several baskets that fall under this theme can be offered at your auction when working with the many different musical genres. Make a basket with concert tickets, autographed photos, or CDs even more enticing by including items that are normally associated with the type of music represented, like guitar picks for rock n roll fans.
5. Spotlight on Local Businesses
One of the most beneficial baskets to both the winner and the nonprofit organization are ones based around local businesses and experiences. Look for popular outings and events that your guests have already heard about or ones that are so unique that it is sure to excite your audience. It’ll excite the bidder, knowing they’ll be trying something new that they can return to on a regular basis, like a local brewery tour or a spa day at a local resort.
Working with local businesses to gather items for your business is the perfect opportunity to form beneficial relationships that can continue on for years. Invite leaders to your event and give them a shout out as their basket is introduced.