A lot of our customers are planning amazing auctions, and they want some good silent auction ideas to help them make their event all that it can be. That’s great! We are glad that you are really putting everything you have into this. And we want to help.
To do so, I am writing a two part series on silent auction ideas. Today’s is all about potential items to get for your silent auction. Next week, we will talk more about how to package and run your silent auction.
For this post, I came up with 150 different things you could auction off. I broke them up into 15 categories, and I included things that should fit any budget or bidder base. From a toolkit to tickets to the Emmy’s, there are silent auction ideas in here that match what you are thinking your guests would bid on.
Once you have an idea of how many items you would like (figure this out by taking into account how many guests you will likely have and the size of the venue) and what you would like those items to be:
- Work with local businesses to get items donated.
- Look into companies that offer auction items at a wholesale cost - even though you have to pay for them initially, they tend to be big auction drivers, helping you raise more overall.
- Network and see who you know that can get you in touch with local, national, or international personalities who may be willing to donate some time to help a good cause.
- Ask your board or usual volunteer/donor base if they can donate something for the auction.
Now that we have all of that out of the way, here are 150 things that could make good items for your next silent auction:
Arts and Crafts
Paintings, sculptures, crafts, you name it. These are almost always good silent auction ideas.
- Made in the moment art - have local artists and/or craftspeople make something right there.
- Local artists - have local artists make one-of-a-kind art pieces for your event.
- Oldies but goodies - have reprints of classic art - especially if you can find collector’s items.
- Paint night - have a package for the super popular paint and wine nights that are popping up everywhere.
- Art for kids - offer art lessons for kids (or get art that matches a kid’s decor).
- Art sets for kids - finger painting kits, tie dye kits, etc.
- Pottery - have local potters make unique items.
- Designers - have local designers make one-of-a-kind outfits.
- Other crafts - get local crafts people to donate an item.
Think about offering packages to the big events you have going on in the cities around you (or bundle this with a travel package and have a big event in any city). This is especially helpful if the packages you have are hard to get.
- Sporting events
- Dinner theatres
- Comedy Clubs
- “Cons” - Comic Con, Dragon Con, Book Con, Etc.
- Shows - bridal shows, craft shows, antique shows, etc.
Your guests probably already love the concept of your organization. That is why these silent auction ideas focus on the heart of what you do.
- Pet products, grooming, or sitting for an animal organization
- Bras or lingerie for a breast cancer organization
- “I Support [Fill in the Blank]” t-shirts or other items at a political event
- Books at a literacy event (especially if the books are rare)
- Religious items (Bible, Koran, signs with religious quotes, etc.) at a religious event
- Sponsor a child(ren) for a children’s rights organization
- Green appliances for an environmentalist charity
- Medical tests (eye, dentist, etc.) for a health organization
- “Back to School” kit at a school event
- One-of-a-kind, behind-the-scenes tour of museum/venue when held by an arts or cultural organization
Some people live for the thrill. If your guests fall into that category, then use these silent auction ideas to set them up with chances to bid on adventure.
- Bungee jumping
- Fly a plane
- Helicopter (flying or riding)
- Drive a racecar
- White water rafting trip
- Scuba diving training
- Motorcycle lessons
- Shooting range package
- Hot air balloon ride
Once in a Lifetime Experiences
If your guests have the budget, then some of the best silent auction ideas are those items that they actually cannot get anywhere else.
- Emmy/ESPY/Oscars/Grammy, etc. tickets
- VIP/Behind-the-Scenes concert or show experiences
- Unique sporting event tickets (Masters, Super Bowl, etc.)
- Meet and greet with a celebrity (star, athlete, artist, author, etc.)
- Have a meal cooked by a celebrity chef
- Collect memorabilia from a movie or famous athlete
- Extra role on a show or movie
- Seats to a televised event
- Fighter pilot experience
- VIP vacation packages
You can’t go wrong with items. There will be no misunderstandings about what they are getting, and guests get to take it home right when they win.
- Software and technology packages (such as a tax services software)
- Movie tickets for a year
- Clothes or retail gift cards
- Gift baskets
- Kitchen gear
- Technology (phones, music players, TVs, etc.)
Sometimes it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. That is why great silent auction ideas reside in service packages.
- House cleaning
- Professional organizer
- Life coach
- Lawn and garden services
- Interior design appointment
- Fashion consultant
- Driver for the Day
- Family portrait session
- Home improvement services
- Design for a website
If your organization is in a small town, then chances are town pride is high. Many great silent auction ideas get you to work with local venues to create unique packages that anyone in town would love.
- Venue rental or event help (see if the vendors you are using are willing to donate their services for a good cause, or at least lower their usual prices.)
- Gift certificate to a local shop
- Gift cards to top X local favorites
- Entry and packages to local events - such as fairs or festivals
- Guided tours of local historical sites or tourist attractions
- Books, guides, or merchandise about the local town or a local favorite vendor
- Stay-cation packages
- Tickets to local attractions, such as Escape Rooms, ice skating rinks, arcades, etc.
- Meet and greet with local ‘celebrities’
- Reservations at the hardest spot to get in town
Health and Fitness/Active Lifestyle
Staying healthy is a lot of work. That is why offering packages to help out that active, fit guest is such a good idea. Silent auction ideas that improve their health and raise some funds all at once can’t be beat.
- Dancing lessons
- Golf outing
- Gym membership
- Membership to a class, such as yoga or Zumba
- Food service, such as Blue Apron
- Personal trainer sessions
- Boxing lessons
- Nutrition consultants
- Class bookings - certificates to exercise classes all over town
- Gym equipment
- All-inclusive resort trip
- African safari
- Weekend in the big city (pick a big city)
- Flight to wherever (national or international)
- Private residence rentals
- Trips to theme parks, such as Disney World
- Ski trip
- Wine weekend in Napa Valley
- Weekend at the beach
Beauty and Spa
People like to be pampered. So give them a chance to bid on items that will allow them to indulge and still feel good about how they spent their money with these silent auction ideas.
- Hair cuts, styles, and/or colors
- Mani/pedi appointments
- Spa gift basket (filled with lotion, face masks, etc.)
- Professional make up consultant
- Waxing (eyebrows, lips, body, etc.)
- Chiropractor appointments
- Spa resort packages
- Teeth whitening sessions
Food and Beverages
Who doesn’t like to eat and drink (even if only the non-alcoholic beverages)? That is why items food and beverage-centric are such perfect silent auction ideas.
- Dinner party for X amount of people
- Food/wine/fruit/whatever of the month subscriptions
- Food delivery
- Brewery tour
- Cooking lessons
- Groceries or grocery gift card
- Tastings - wine, cheese, whiskey, etc.
- ‘Professional chef at your home’ package
- Food tasting tours (like NYC’s Cupcake Tour)
- Wine, just bottles of wine
Everybody loves to improve, so make bidding easy with mental improvement silent auction ideas. Work with online sites, local community colleges, and other organizations that offer courses, and get packages for enrollment in classes such as any of the following:
- New language
- Professional development
- Creative writing
- Public speaking
Your guests are attending your amazing event, and the kids are stuck at home. That’s why these kid-friendly silent auction ideas are so great.
- Bouncy castle rental
- Trampoline park entrance
- Go-karting, paintball and/or laser tag
- Swimming lessons
- Babysitting or daycare
- Party packages (like a princess party or circus party through a party planning company)
- Tickets to the zoo, circus, etc. (even better: annual memberships)
- “Mommy and Me” (or “Daddy and Me”) packages
There is a good chance that most people at your event have a vehicle. So help them help you by offering things for their automotive. This list of silent auction ideas has everything from the big ticket item (a new car) to the smaller, easier to get things that everyone needs (gas).
- A car
- A gas card
- Maintenance package (like oil changing)
- Car upgrades (such as installation of a remote starter kit)
- Car wash service
- Car detailing
- Driving lessons
- Safe driving class
- Interior car accessories gift basket
- Roadside emergency kit
Hopefully this list gets your creative thoughts flowing and helps lead you to a great set of bids that are really going to bring in the money at your next fundraiser.
A couple of salesy type points:
- If you want more ideas about what items to put in your auction, take a look at the GiveSmart Emporium brochure, where you can get big ticket items at wholesale prices.
- If you want more ideas about how to package, promote, and run your silent auction, then come back next week.
- If you want more fundraising and silent auction ideas then sign up for our monthly newsletter here: