A Guide to Choosing Silent Auction Items That Sell

Impress your guests with these highly-coveted auction items

There are many factors that must come together in order to create a successful silent auction fundraiser. From the venue, to the check-out area, and managing your organizing committee, each aspect of your auction has to be well-executed in order to achieve your desired results. 

But perhaps the most significant factor of any silent auction fundraiser is the items your guests will be bidding on. 

The more appealing your silent auction items are to your guests, the more bids they will place and the more money they will spend— increasing the profitability of your event. 

But choosing silent auction items that sell isn’t as straightforward as you might think. To start, in order to select items that will boost bidding, it’s important to consider your audience.  

Thus, we recommend asking yourself the following questions before you begin your item search: 

  • What is the average age of the guests who will be attending my silent auction fundraiser? Will there be a high number of retirees? Young singles? Etc. 
  • Will a large portion of my attendees be parents? (Parents will be more interested in family-focused items they can share with their children.) 
  • Are there any interests that a significant portion of my guests share? Are they artists? Sports enthusiasts? Etc. 
  • If I were to estimate, what would the average income of my audience be? Are my guests middle-class working professionals? Or high-net-worth individuals?  
  • Do the majority of my guests live in an urban environment? Or rural? Etc. 

By carefully considering who will be in attendance at your event, you can gather auction items more strategically and offer a selection that will encourage friendly, competitive bidding. 

After you have identified any common characteristics that your audience members share, it is time to consider which items will be the most intriguing to them. 

And while there is no one-size-fits-all approach to deciding on silent auction items that sell, there are a few categories that have widespread appeal. 

Here Are A Few Of The Most Popular Silent Auction Items That Attract Bids:

1. Lessons and Classes

The opportunity to gain a new skill is something almost everyone can find value in. Whether it’s cooking, dancing, or learning to play a musical instrument— lessons are an excellent way to get your guests bidding. They can be used for both children and adults, and provide the winner with a skill they can benefit from long after your fundraiser is over. 

Plus, many of us have interests or hobbies that we’d love to develop further, but life can be hectic and they are often placed on the back-burner. Including gift certificates for classes or lessons at your silent auction fundraiser is the perfect way to motivate your guests to finally take the plunge and try something new— all while supporting a great cause!

2. Sports Memorabilia

Does your city have a local sports team with a huge following? Are you expecting a significant number of male attendees at your event? Is it possible to get your hands on a signed jersey or piece of athletic gear?  

Sports fans are some of the most devout and passionate people in the world. Thus, including sports memorabilia at your silent auction is likely to spark an interest amongst your guests. 

Of course, the more difficult your sports item is to come by, the more bidding traction it will gain. Trading cards are a great place to start, since 98 percent of sports collectors have spent time collecting trading cards at some point in their lives 

From there, jerseys are the most sought-after item, and account for 24 percent of total sports memorabilia sales. 

You can also increase the value of your sports items if they are autographed or if they are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

3. Travel Packages Or Gift Cards

There are few things in the world that appeal to almost everyone, but travel packages are one of them. After all, who doesn’t want to escape reality for a little while? 

Travel packages or gift cards are a fantastic option for silent auction fundraisers, especially if they allow the winner to be in control of how the prize is redeemed. 

This is important to consider, since most people work full-time and need to plan their vacations well in advance. Try to find travel silent auction items that offer flexibility, like a three-day stay in a luxury hotel room that can be redeemed at any time during down season, or airline gift cards that can be used at the winner’s discretion. 

Other options to consider include: spa packages, helicopter rides, guided tours, hot air balloon rides, and more!

4. Event Tickets

Is there an upcoming music concert your city is buzzing about? Or a championship game that is sure to be a nail-biter? Event tickets that are difficult to come by are always a sure-fire bet when searching for silent auction items that sell. 

But that’s not all— you can sweeten the pot by covering transportation costs to-and-from the event, or including a dinner for two at a top-rated local restaurant.  

Creating a full experience is one of our most recommended silent auction best practices, since guests are more likely to bid if they know their entire evening will be taken care of, from beginning to end. 

Be sure to consider all types of upcoming events, from comedy shows, to theatre productions and music festivals. 

And, of course, the more limited tickets are, the more fervently your guests will bid.

5. Trendy Tech Gadgets

Last, but certainly not least, it never hurts to include items like iPads, smartphones, wireless earbuds, and digital cameras. 

These tech gadgets often come with a considerable price tag, so being able to secure one while also contributing to a worthwhile cause is a win/win for your guests. 

Additionally, even if the bidder has no use for the item themselves, these devices hold their value well, and can always be sold later or re-gifted to family members who will appreciate them. 

We recommend checking out this list of the hottest tech gadgets of 2019 for ideas! 

With the help of these fundraising tips, you can exceed your goals and host your most lucrative silent auction to date. 

Plus, if you combine a flawless silent auction items strategy with the convenience and accessibility of the Bid Beacon app, your guests will be amazed at how enjoyable their experience is.

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