101 Ideas for Silent Auction Items
Silent auctions are a great way to raise additional funds at any event. Putting together the right basket makes all the difference. Themed baskets are the best way to accomplish this. While individual gift certificates for restaurants and local businesses are great, they may only appeal to a few individuals at the event. Combine them with other items to make the basket stand out and appeal to more bidders.
I love to buy silent auction items from Amazon. Not only do they offer free shipping on hundreds of items, but their prices cannot be beat! It is also an easy way to find off-season items that may be hard to find in local stores.
Silent Auction Basket Tips
If you want to try to get the most out of your silent auction baskets, here are a few tips to maximize results:
- Limit the value: Save high ticket items for live auctions. Keep your silent auction baskets under $200 in value. If you have a lot of items and a great theme, break them up into several smaller baskets. Ideal basket prices are in the $50–$75 range.
- Package it right: Keep the theme tight. A beach basket that has items for teens, tweens, toddlers, etc. may look great but may not appeal to a family with only toddlers. The same goes for a basket that has items for both boys and girls that may get passed over by a family with all boys or all girls. Instead, split up the baskets to focus specifically on one age group, gender, etc.
- Delegate: If you are fundraising for a school, ask the room parent in each grade to coordinate a "grade basket." Let them choose the theme and contact the parents in their classes for donations. Asking for help will produce a wider variety and more creative options.
- Combine donations: Some items do better in a package than they do standing alone. For instance, a gift certificate for pizza may work better in a "Family Night In" basket than on its own. People will sometimes try to get a deal on a gift certificate, causing the auction item to close lower than its face value. But, when you combine it with other items, you may get more bang for your buck.
- Require a minimum bid: Always set a minimum bid for any silent auction item.
- Collect cash: If you are hosting a silent auction for a school or organization with a large number of members, rather than asking for item donations, ask for a small cash donation so that you can shop for the baskets yourself. $1, $5, or $10 may be easier for a busy parent to dish out than shopping for a specific item. When I have used this method, I was able to shop on Amazon and create several consistent baskets while keeping the costs affordable.
- Know your audience: Is this an auction for a Little League team or a school? Is this a group of young singles or maybe a predominantly male audience at a golf tournament? By knowing your audience, you can appeal to local businesses for donations and design your auction baskets for the best result.
- Assign items: If you are not in a position to accept cash donations to shop, make a list of ideal donations. Be descriptive and specific in order to keep the baskets' themes consistent. Use tools like Evite and send out e-mail. Evite has a feature where you can make a list and participants can sign up to bring an item. Or use tools like SignupGenius.
Silent Auction Organizer Tip
Collect donations and then shop on Amazon. With free shipping on many items it is fast, affordable, and easy.
Through the Grapevine Silent Auction Basket
Wine Lover's Auction Basket Ideas
Create a wine basket with accessories, snacks, wines, and reference books.
- Wine (different varieties: red, white, dessert, etc.)
- Bottle opener
- Small wine refrigerator
- Wine reference books
- Day trip to a local winery gift card
- Ice bucket
Life's a Beach Silent Auction Basket
A beach theme is a fun and cost-effective way to make a silent auction basket. Several low-cost items can quickly add up to an incredible basket. It's also appealing for a school silent auction where there are families with small children. Package the basket in something fun like a beach cart or cooler.
- Beach towels
- Boogie board
- Disposable waterproof cameras
- Beach cart
- Pails and shovel
- Sandcastle molds
"Let's Get Physical" Auction Basket for Exercise Lovers
An exercise basket can be appealing to a diverse group. Pick items that are the latest in fitness to make it fun and inviting.
- Resistance bands
- Free weights/dumbells
- Yoga or exercise mat
- Exercise DVDs
- Certificate for personal training sessions
- Certificate to sporting goods store
- Trial membership at a local gym
Family Night Silent Auction Basket
A family night with games, movies, and popcorn is an appealing basket for any family type. Fill your basket with items such as:
- Family movies
- Board games
- Pizza gift certificate
- Movie candy
Spa-Tacular Silent Auction Gift Basket
A spa auction basket could work well in an event that hosts women. Start with a certificate to a local popular spa and embellish with a few items to dress it up.
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- Spa robe
- Cute flip flops
- Spa gift certificate
- Nail polish
- Pedicure kit
- Cute spa bag/purse
Golf Lovers Silent Auction Basket for Golf Enthusiasts
Create a basket with passes to local golf courses, golf items, and accessories. Basket items could include:
- Golf tees
- Soft cooler
- Oversized umbrella
- Club covers
- Autographed items
- Golf passes to local courses
- Tournament tickets
- Golf glove
Jewelry Silent Auction Basket
Save high-ticket jewelry pieces for a live auction, but unique costume jewelry or mommy-and-me jewelry sets are excellent for most silent auctions.
- Jewelry cleaner
- Travel cases
- Jewelry box
Parents' Night Out Gift Basket
Take restaurant gift certificates and combine them into a theme that would make any parents' night out a dream. If it is a school fundraiser, check to see if a popular teacher would donate babysitting services for the night or check with local groups that offer parents' nights out.
Local Fun Silent Auction Basket
Make a basket of regional books and local gift cards to allow the buyer to explore the local area.
- Gift cards to local venues/restaurants
- Park pass
- Museum passes
- Hiking book
- Family regional book
- Disposable camera
- Photo book
Yoga Gift Basket
A yoga basket is a unique basket theme. Items you could include in your basket are:
- Yoga mat
- Yoga DVD
- Yoga books
- Starter kit
- Gift card to local yoga studio
- Relaxation CDs
The Joke's on You Silent Auction Prank Basket
This basket of pranks is a hit for families with young boys. It is a perfect silent auction item for schools, clubs, or boys' sport events.
- Plastic insects
- Whoopie cushion
- Shock pens
- Dirty soap
- Joke book
- Handshake buzzer
Garden Gift Basket
Green thumb gift baskets work well for springtime auctions.
- Garden tools
- Gift card to garden center
- Gardening books
- Garden caddy
- Gardening gloves
Learn Your Lessons
Ever wanted to take piano lessons or become better at tennis? Many establishments will offer gift certificates for a free lesson at their place of business. This is one where you will need to know your audience. An auction basket for music lessons may go over very well at a school, while a series of tennis lessons may work better at a country club. Combine the gift certificate with a small basket or item to make it stand out. For example, include a small basket of balls and accessories with a tennis lesson auction item.
- Music lessons
- Tennis lessons
- All-star sports lesson
- Golf lessons with a golf pro
- Craft lessons
- Cooking lessons
I'm a Chocoholic
Fill this basket with chocolate galore! This is a fantastic option near Valentine's Day or Christmas where the basket can double as a gift.
- Fine chocolates
- Chocolate kits
- International chocolate varieties
- Gift card to local bakery
Magic Silent Auction Basket
A magician's basket works well for school silent auctions or events that attract adults with children. It is an affordable and popular auction item. Ask local magic stores for gift card donations or items in exchange for advertising to round out the basket.
- Deck of cards
- Magic paraphernalia
- Melissa & Doug magic set
- Book of magic tricks
Young Sports Fan Silent Auction Basket
Fill a basket with fun sports items for boys (or girls). You can target it to toddlers with plastic and soft sports equipment or an older age with more performance-based sports equipment. Pick a specific sport or mix-and-match. Top it off with a gift card to a local sporting good store or tickets to a local sporting event.
- Baseball bat, glove, and ball
- Hockey stick
- Hacky sack
- Fact books
- Indoor sports items such as an over-the-door basketball hoop
Throwback Gift Basket: Back in Time with Your Favorite Treats from Your Favorite Decade
Were you a child of the '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, or '80s? Do you miss that favorite candy or soft drink? These retro throwback gift baskets are full of decades of fun!
Pizza Maker Silent Auction Basket
Pizza is something the entire family can enjoy together. Layer your basket with a children's pizza kit, cookbook, pans, pizza cutter and sauce. Round it off with a gift certificate for a local kitchen store or grocery store to complete this fun basket.
Melissa & Doug Basket: Fun Fake Food for Little Chefs
High-quality Melissa & Doug wooden toys are keepsakes. Their incredible craftsmanship and unique design capture the imaginations of children. They have wooden sandwich-making sets, wooden pizza-making sets, wooden cookies, and wooden fruit. Pick a theme-based assortment, such as a group of food products.
Beer Making Basket: Make Your Own Beer
For hobbyists that love beer, a beer making kit would make a great gift. Keep costs low and simple on this one. No home breweries are starting here, you just want to draw in those who have an interest and keep your audience broad. Include mixes, ingredients, a beer brewing jug, beer brew books, and a certificate to a local beer barn (in the event their brew goes south!).
Sew Crafty Basket
Put together gift certificates from craft stores such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or Joanne's Fabric with a themed craft item to create a craft lover's dream. Your theme could be do-it-yourself thank you cards or make-your-own wreaths.
- Sewing machine
- Craft how-to books
- Material, beads, special papers, or other craft-related items
Young Children's Classics Silent Auction Gift Basket
Create a basket full of children's classics that will bring a lifetime of memories.
- Dr. Seuss books
- Nursery rhymes
- Soft books
- Shel Silverstein
- Beatrix Potter
- Eric Carle
Puppy Love Silent Auction Gift Basket
Appeal to dog lovers with an auction gift basket that makes their dog the crown prince.
- Dog toys
- Dog bed
- Pet store gift card
- Pet books
- Gift certificate to local dog groomer
Scrapbook Silent Auction Basket
A school, child care center, or other family-centered organization can have success with a scrapbook gift basket. Stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and even Walmart offer an array of unique designer scrapbook papers and accessories. A few ideas include:
- Keepsake scrapbook
- Scrap paper
- Paper punches
- Carrying bag/organizer
- Photo organizer
Spice of Life Gift Basket
Compile a basket of unique spices, spice racks, and cookbooks. Create a basket with unique hard-to-find spices and delicacies.
Coffee Lovers Auction Basket
Coffee is a hot commodity in many households. Homes with bare kitchen counters and condiment-heavy refrigerators still grace a coffee maker. A basket with unique coffees, syrups, and maybe even a Keurig will be a bit hit at silent auctions.
- Keurig Single Cup Home Brewing System
- Coffee flavors
- Starbucks gift cards
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2010 heidishome