Curating your fundraising auction prize list is something of an art.
The prizes need to whet bidders’ appetites, have broad appeal and cover a range of price points. Although it can be time consuming, curating a great prize range is worth the effort. It means lots of healthy bids and, ultimately, more funds for your cause.
But how do you know what prize items will sell best? With over 20 years’ helping charities and non-profits manage their fundraising auctions we know which items always generate a bidding frenzy.
Here’s our guide to six auction prize items that will boost bidding activity:
Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like taking a holiday? While our destination and experience choices will differ, most of us are either planning our next trip, enjoying the current one or reliving the memories from previous holidays!
Incorporating holidays and getaways into your silent or live auction is guaranteed to ignite bidding activity. From marquee holidays in far-flung locations to cosy B&Bs closer to home, it’s easy to include experiences that will appeal to a range of budgets and tastes.
Over the last decade food and wine have fired our collective imaginations. Many of us now have developed a healthy appreciation for great produce and artisan producers. It’s why you can’t go wrong putting food and wine on your auction menu.
While quality hampers will always be popular, look to experiences as well as physical items. Restaurant vouchers (particularly current hot-spots), cooking classes, vineyard excursions and wine tasting are interesting and unique ways to tap into everyone’s love of eating and drinking.
Experiences have that I’ve-always-wanted-to-do-that factor!
Offering guests the chance to tour a brewery, watch the sunset from a luxury harbour cruise or skydive is a unique opportunity to try something new.
Experiences are always great shared, so think about offering them on a group basis as well as individual. A skydive with work colleagues, for example, could be perfect for team bonding.
Providing auction guests with the opportunity to get hold of rare or hard to find items is exciting. Signed and framed football jerseys from a local sports star or instruments signed by popular recording artists are always a hit with auction bidders.
Generally the rule is the bigger the star the more sought after the prize, but don’t be afraid to go niche if the audience is right. If you’re organising a fundraiser that has a specific focus, such as supporting young and disadvantaged hip-hop artists, memorabilia from record labels or artists that may only be well known in hip-hop circles is absolutely appropriate.
And on the subject of music, exclusive packages that offer tickets to sold out concerts, backstage passes, meet-and-greet opportunities will get bids soaring.
While general concert tickets (particularly to see major artists) are popular, the experiences that bidders are unable to access ordinarily have an extra appeal.
Direct donations are one of the most popular ‘items’ for people to bid on at a live or silent auction. Fundraising organisers will often include specific cause related projects, equipment or resource in their auction. For example, if you’re running a school fundraiser you may include new library books as an item on your auction. Bidders compete to raise the most money for that particular item.
Another popular donation item simply encourages bidders to make the highest single donation to the cause. Aided by a great MC this can generate huge excitement as guests outdo each other (all in good spirits) to claim the status as most generous donor!