The Best Charity Auction Items for Your Event
Building charity auction items is a process that comes with ups and downs. Selecting auction items that bolster your organization’s image is the fun part, but swimming through that initial sea of options can easily be overwhelming. A silent auction operates on a separate set of guidelines than the traditional live event. Understanding and capitalizing upon these differences with your auction items will propel your event from good to great. Of course, we recommend using mobile bidding for your charity auction. Learn why here.
Auction Items: The Basics
Similar to building a financial portfolio, diversification is the first place to start. As you assemble your list of items, expand your appeal to a wider variety of donors. We recommend:
- 70-120 Auction Items
- A price range of $50-$1,000
Yes, the unique needs of a charity may vary, but 70-120 auction items is a helpful ratio to use as a rule of thumb. The case it argues for is that while a greater variety of items increases the likelihood of donors finding something that peaks their interest, that shouldn’t be a reason to flood your event with subpar or ill fitted items.
Secondly, many silent auctions today will exceed the price range of $1,000, which is not a problem. However, if planning to have a live auction we recommend saving the “Top Ten” items for that live event.
A Silent Auction Rooted in the Community
While choosing your auction items, the end goal should be equal parts raising money and building future connections. Meeting with local businesses about packaging gift cards to their establishment is an excellent way to deliver memorable experiences to your donors as well as further your organization’s relationships in the community.
Even if a small donation such as a gas card, a meal for two, or tickets to a high school football game, we advise combining these items into one succinct package. This will allow the donor themselves to consider the worth of the experience as a whole, instead of pinning a set monetary value to the individual item. This strategy strengthens the incentive behind individual pieces. Having a free dinner and a gas card bundled into the high school football game will whistle a more convincing tune to the donor who had initially been interested in only one of the items.
Local communities also fill the need for what are called “intangible items.” Contacting the local school about class art projects or similar pieces allows a donor to play an added role in their support. These are items which can’t be assigned a set value and as such do an excellent job of adding a personalized touch to your auction and exciting further interest.
Auction Items That Advertise Themselves
Returning to the dual purpose of an auction item, it’s important to include higher ticket items. Web sites such as Winspire offer unique and fun themed pieces for your event. While they may not be the items with the highest return for the price at the auction, they build appeal both before and after the event. An auction that raises more than $5,000 dollars is a success because of the connections and experience created. As such, both of these factors deserve heavy consideration. Higher ticket pieces allow diversification of the portfolio from not only focusing on community-based items but also nationally based pieces as well.
Don’t think of these items as an expense, if used correctly, they can be your driving force in raising donations. As the talking pieces that they are, highlight the inclusion of these items on a landing page or in emails leading up to the event. A commitment to items that deliver real value and memorability to donors is what will keep them coming back. Assembling items with a focus on the guests will move them from attendees to willing participants.