Part of our Virtual Fundraising Event and Gala series, view more articles here – Virtual Fundraising Events
Every fundraising auction should have a few items that are unexpected or so special they illicit a “WOW” from your audience.
Virtual auctions are no different. Bringing in an item that stands out as unique or unexpected will make bidding a fun experience for your online guests and brand your auction as a “can’t miss” event that attendees will enjoy from their own homes. But your choice of items is limited when travel and entertainment is discouraged.
We recently asked our Greater Giving event specialists to tell us about the hottest selling items they’ve seen at virtual auctions, and their answers did not disappoint.
Home Cooked Meals for a Week/Month
Give your bidder a break from cooking with a week, or even a month, of home-cooked meals. Whether you retain a well-known local chef or a team of volunteer home chefs, they can book days to have pre-packaged, delivered meals to the family. Details can be adjusted to the situation but be sure to note special dietary needs on the orders.
Baker for the Month
Not matter in what form, baked goods are always a special treat. Offering a baker’s menu will give carb lovers a special treat without the work that goes into it. Look for a talented home baker or a professional bakery to create a menu for each week, then provide a variety of choices that will supply the basic recipes as well as a few lesser known choices to try. Deliver them fresh to the winner’s home on a specified day. It could include breads, pies, cakes, cookies, and various other treats.
Catered “Tailgate” Party
Help your sports loving winner celebrate their favorite team’s return to the court, pitch, or field with a catered party. They can bring their dedicated fan-friends together for the first game of the season and enjoy the best tailgate food and beverages. This can be adapted for inside a home or in a backyard. Include a big screen TV rental, catered food and beverages, fan swag, setup and teardown. It’ll free up their time to enjoy the game with their friends and provide a memorable time gathering together.
A Visit from Santa’s Elves to Decorate Your Home for Christmas!
Leave the stress behind and focus on holiday fun with the help of a team of “elves.” The decorating experts will visit a home, delivering a pre-selected Christmas tree and take on the task of setting it up, complete with Christmas tree lights. Another elf will deck out the mantel and staircase with garlands that will complete the look, while a third elf will create a beautiful custom wreath that matches the décor.
Another group of elves will go to work on the outside of the winning bidder’s home can be added to the package, too. Leave the difficult job of stringing lights to the festive folks who have all the tools and expertise ready for the task. (Restrictions can depend on the size of the home.)
After the home is ready for the holidays, the elves will leave a tray of holiday cookies, a classic movie, a CD, and hot cocoa in decorative mugs for the family to enjoy as they spend the rest of the evening decorating their Christmas tree with their own ornaments. This package will often go for $1000 to $2500 and is typically always a hot item.
Christmas Shop & Wrap
Extend the Christmas package, or make it one of its own, to include a shopping and wrapping service. The elves could watch the winner’s kids while they escape for a pre-holiday spa day or date night, while another elf tackles their shopping list. Your winner will have most peaceful Christmas Season ever! They will then wrap the gifts and only leave behind hot cocoa & Peppermint Schnapps to boost the winner’s holiday spirit.
The most beautiful holiday wreath in town – created by YOU!
If your attendees enjoy doing the decorating themselves they can bid on a holiday wreath decorating party. Join a group or bring your own friends, (sitting six feet apart) and create a holiday wreath that will fit perfectly into a home’s Christmas theme. The donor will provide the wreath and a professional florist will to assist you in creating the masterpiece. All the decorating supplies are provided for, so deck it out with beautiful ribbon, ornaments, and accessories to make a one-of-a-kind wreath for the holidays.
This package could include wine, hors d’oeuvres and plenty of laughs all for $100.00 per person and a limit of ten people.
A Brush with Celebrity
Do you or does someone on your team know a celebrity willing to support your cause? Go beyond looking for individuals that are in the spotlight and find those behind the scenes stars who may be able to provide access to an insider’s view of the entertainment world. Maybe they can even offer unique items that will bring in high bids from collectors or uber-fans, such as a signed script or a prop from a popular movie or TV show.
Celebrities can be found outside the world of entertainment, too. Consider recognizable people from the sports or business world. During a “shelter in place” the celebrity could do a “Private Zoom Party” online for a group of twenty selected people, and if your state has lifted some restrictions the winner could meet the celebrity in person during an intimate dinner party or a cocktail hour for ten people or less. This type of experience could easily translate into either an online experience or an in-person “meet and greet” with only a few days’ notice.
Offer a “spooktacular” package that will magically transform a home into a haunted house. This Halloween package could include decorating teams for the inside and outside of a home, pumpkins for carving, a batch of chili with all the fixin’s, and maybe even wine for the parents! You can fill the package with candy for the kids and a few artisan gifts, like caramel corn or candied apples for a special treat at the auction. For high-end baskets, you could add a professional photographer and pre-scheduled photo session on the bidders decorated front porch on Halloween night.
Put Your Pet in the Spotlight
Let your winner give their pet the star treatment! Offer a package that includes a modeling shoot with a professional pet photographer and a featured spot in a local advertising campaign. The bidder’s four-legged friend will be smiling on ads throughout your town, in billboards, newspapers, and local traditional and digital media. Add in a copy of the portrait for the bidder’s home, a bunch of pet supplies, toys, treats, leashes, and more, and your bidder will go home to a happy cat or dog.
Another Amazing Fundraising Option
If you are looking for an out-of-the-ordinary way to raise funds consider hosting an online talent show in the format of your favorite TV competition show. Have the talent email clips of their best performances that you can play during your virtual event, then have your judges select the winner. The winner could be featured on a local broadcast or be featured at a local event. Charge a $20 fee to participate (solo acts or more). Offer judges seats for $100 each, and a hosting spot for $100. This is a favorite for kids at school fundraisers.