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.
- 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
Feedback Is Golden!
firstname.lastname@example.org on July 17, 2019:
Very much appreciated list! It would be helpful if there was a print version too. Thank you.
Isabel on March 06, 2018:
These are fabulous ideas! Running a silent auction in June and your ideas will help greatly!!
Terry Kinney on December 21, 2016:
I have not done a basket for a silent auction before and love your A to Z tips for baskets - well done and thank you!
Terisa Kimmins on November 02, 2016:
Awesome ideas for silent auction. I didn't know where to begin and I googled ideas for silent auction and ran across soapboxie.
Claudia Mathews on February 27, 2015:
You have included some very unique basket ideas. I used to make gift baskets and sell them in a few local stores. I should get back into it and suggest a silent auction event like this for a non profit group I'm involved in.
anonymous on June 04, 2013:
Angela F from Seattle, WA on April 16, 2013:
Well covered :)
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on April 05, 2013:
I love the idea of themed Silent Auctions. We have held many a Silent Auction but never thought to keep it with a theme. Good idea
makorip lm on March 12, 2013:
Have done the silent auction thing from both sides. You provided some really good donation ideas.
anonymous on March 10, 2013:
Thank you thank you! Just what I was looking for!
anonymous on March 04, 2013:
Awesome ideas! I will most def be using several of them, thanks for sharing!
anonymous on February 27, 2013:
This page is so helpful, I'll use a lot of the basket ideas. THANKS!
catwell2 on February 27, 2013:
Nice lens with a lot of great ideas. Thanks!
anonymous on February 19, 2013:
Thanks for sharing!
craig57 lm on February 18, 2013:
A great lens, thanks for sharing the information.
anonymous on February 18, 2013:
My vet and groomer always give me a gift certificate for a pet basket.
anonymous on February 12, 2013:
Loved your ideas! Great job putting this together thank you!
anonymous on February 08, 2013:
I can Not say how many wonderful ideas I got from this !! thank you so much from assistance league of Mobile and the children thank you too
rwknotts on February 04, 2013:
The only things missing in the Beach basket was some Carolina beach music maybe some JIM QUICK / COASTLINE BAND -BAND OF OZ
anonymous on January 28, 2013:
Appreciate your ideas greatly!
anonymous on January 19, 2013:
awesome ideas thanks!
anonymous on January 07, 2013:
Thanks for all the awesome ideas, very creative
raellevitt on December 24, 2012:
Some very nice tricks here,, Interesting stuff.
mariacarbonara on December 10, 2012:
some fantastic ideas here! Thanks
ZackBromberg on November 30, 2012:
I've got a silent auction at my workplace in December. Those ideas are gold!
JoshK47 on November 15, 2012:
These are some excellent suggestions! Blessed by a SquidAngel!
abigailsavenue on November 15, 2012:
I work on at least two silent auctions every year for a nonprofit and I plan to use some of your ideas and will share this page with my committee members. Thanks!!
anonymous on November 04, 2012:
Raena Chammartin! Great ideas! Thanks for posting!
anonymous on November 01, 2012:
I am planning a craft show/silent basket auction for my local FCCLA chapter and I absolutely love these ideas! So many themes I could never have thought up on my own. Thank you so much!!
anonymous on October 30, 2012:
Nice lens with lots of good ideas
BrendanSanlatte on October 27, 2012:
Those are some awesome ideas!
mschief18th on October 24, 2012:
awesome ideas. Thank you!
anonymous on October 18, 2012:
I was looking for new ideas for an annual event we host and I got them...thanks!
csk305 on October 13, 2012:
Feedback is golden and you deserve it. This was very nicely done. So many great ideas. Thank you!
philipcott on October 10, 2012:
tfsherman lm on September 26, 2012:
Our annual fundraiser is already rearing its ugly head and these lists will be a great help! Thanks for putting them together.
anonymous on September 26, 2012:
Thanks for the many ideas. We have lots of gift card donations for our events, but I just couldn't wrap my brain around how to present them. Your ideas will help a lot.
anonymous on September 24, 2012:
Loved your informative ideas... I am stuggling to get participation from our 4th grade parents.... 3 rooms of approx. 30 students and not one family stepped up to help me with our 4th grade basket for our upcoming Auction. I know times are tough (I have been out of work for 4 years now) but this should be a time to pull together for our students. Thank you for your information.
anonymous on September 19, 2012:
Awesome ideas! I was given a task to find ideas for the school fall fundraiser, but I'm new as a room parent for my daughter's class and I had no idea where to start ! Thanks!
anonymous on September 18, 2012:
I stubbled on your site by accident but LOVE IT! I have bookmarked it and will return often. Thank you for all the great ideas.
anonymous on September 17, 2012:
This is a huge help for our silent auction. Trying to make some sense of all the scattered donations. Now we can group things together and streamline a bit. Thanks.
anonymous on September 12, 2012:
suzy-t on August 25, 2012:
Thanks for a great lens. Our local elementary has an auction every spring, even though they do very well, fresh ideas for baskets are always welcome and I will be using some of your ideas this spring. Pinned and Blessed by a squid angel.
anonymous on August 23, 2012:
Thank you for sharing!
anonymous on August 08, 2012:
thank you so much! excellent ideas thanks so much for sharing!
anonymous on August 01, 2012:
Thank you for the ideas!
anonymous on July 25, 2012:
Thanks for all the great ideas!
anonymous on July 19, 2012:
Really great ideas for a Rett Syndrome Golf Charity I am working in the Fall. Thank you
karen-painter-560 on July 12, 2012:
Cheryl Kohan from England on June 03, 2012:
I'm baaaack! I am using this as a guide to put together a basket for a raffle for our Women Build (Habitat for Humanity) team. We're building a house...all women!...in our town this July/August and are trying to raise money to help with the costs. I'm either going to go with the "family night" idea or the "regional fun" idea. We're in tourist country here in Minnesota so that might be the best choice. Thanks for so many great suggestions!!
anonymous on June 02, 2012:
Thanks for the very interesting and helpful ideas
anonymous on May 16, 2012:
anonymous on May 15, 2012:
ResearchAddict on May 04, 2012:
Love the magic gift basket! Great idea!
anonymous on April 21, 2012:
Love the dog lovers suggestion! Wonderful ideas here!
anonymous on April 12, 2012:
Love the Yoga basket suggestion!
anonymous on April 07, 2012:
anonymous on April 01, 2012:
anonymous on March 31, 2012:
Thanks for your suggestions. Very helpful.
Cheryl Kohan from England on March 30, 2012:
Excellent ideas! I'm helping build a house for our local Habitat for Humanity Women Build Project and we could probably have a silent auction as a way to earn money. I'm going to present this at our next meeting! Squid Liked and Blessed!
GOT LM on March 19, 2012:
westinscott on March 18, 2012:
Great ideas! Nice lens layout!
anonymous on March 13, 2012:
Thank you so much - really neat ideas!
anonymous on March 12, 2012:
anonymous on March 07, 2012:
Thank you so much for these ideas. Great share!
anonymous on March 02, 2012:
Awesome ideas! Thanks so much!
wheresthekarma on February 26, 2012:
I'm doing a post on my Lyme Disease blog to help people put together fundraisers and will add this. THank you for a great lens!
anonymous on February 15, 2012:
Thank you so much for these ideas. Great list!!
anonymous on December 26, 2011:
@Franksterk: What he said!
Great ideas and thanks for your wonderful contributions to help fundraise for good causes!
anonymous on October 20, 2011:
Awesome ideas! Thanks!
Frankie Kangas from California on August 15, 2011:
Great ideas. Thanks for all you do to help charities learn to fundraise. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster
fluffyclouds on March 18, 2011:
Great ideas! A new favorite!
Vikki from US on February 14, 2011:
I love these ideas for a silent auction basket; esp. the yoga one.
Blessed by a squid angel;)
RobGrawberger on February 13, 2011:
Some great ideas here. Will use them for our next fundraising event.
joanv334 on January 27, 2011:
Thanks for sharing!
Jen from Canada on January 22, 2011:
Thanks for the prize ideas:)