3 guaranteed ways to fill your silent auction!

UltimateDonations.org: 3 ways to fill your silent auction with stuff - guaranteed!One of the most challenging things about setting up a silent auction is finding the items to fill the auction. But with proper planning throughout the organizing process, even this can be a breeze. First and foremost, you’ll need to find a few committee members who are good when it comes to communicating with the rest of the community, who have free time on their hands and at least one or two who are good with computers.

When looking for items for any silent auctions try thinking about what items would appeal to people attending your event.

Here are a few items that make for great silent auction items.

~ Sports Memorabilia (autographed photos, baseballs, footballs, etc. as well as nicely framed photos that are not autographed)

~ Gift cards to local restaurants (TGIFridays, Outback, and/or small local restaurants)

~ Gift baskets (wine basket, beauty/spa basket, movie night basket, children’s basket, sporting goods basket)

~ Baked goods (baked cakes, baked goodies basket, and etc.)

~ Donated services (lawn services, hair styling, tanning, home improvement and etc.)

~ Sporting Tickets (local teams for either Major League sports or the Minor Leagues)

~ Organization experiences (experiences that are free to your organization such as “principal for the day” or “front row tickets to an upcoming event”)

Quick Tip! If you are looking for item donations for your auction or fundraising event, don’t forget to sign up for an account with UltimateDonations.org. Select any of our plans Bronze (free), Silver, or Gold. Once you have selected your plan that’s it. There is no risk, no additional costs, and no hidden fees.

Get Donations

Use UltimateDonations.org to help acquire donations online from major companies. UltimateDonations.org can help your group secure everything from theme park tickets, to gift certificates, to actual products like dolls and board games. Although you probably won’t get an item from every item you solicit, UltimateDonations.org will have all the information you need to solicit the companies, and help keep you organized and on track. With over 2000 potential donors for you to solicit, you can work whenever it is most convenient for you! Register for free today. Happy soliciting!

Additionally, you can set up wishlists for desired items, and ask your supporters to buy them for the event. Try websites like Amazon.com, BedBathandBeyond.com, and others, or just create a list or pinterest board and post it on your website. But be careful! The more your supporters spend before your event on items to be raffled or auctioned off, the less they are likely to spend at the event itself! Instead, try targeting those who are unable to attend the event so that they feel they are contributing as well, and you aren’t “double-dipping” with one group of supporters.


Try Consignment

Having donated items is of course a plus, but another (often overlooked) option is using consignment items to bring in some money. Not sure how consignment works? Here’s a quick rundown.

The basic idea is that consignment allows you to borrow an item for your event. You only have to pay for it if and when the item meets the minimum that you have set for it. So, let’s say that you are interested in getting some sports memorabilia to put in your silent auction. You call up ABC Consignment and they send you an autographed baseball for your event. The retail cost for the baseball is $200. The consignment company wants to be paid $100 for the ball. You ret the reserve price (and minimum bid) at $150. This means that if the ball sells for $150 you will pay the company their $100 and have earned $50 for your cause. If the ball sells for over $150, you will still only pay the company the $100 and you will have earned whatever the difference is. If the ball does not sell for at least $100, you will return the ball and not be out any money, so long as it is in the same condition as it was when it was sent to you. Depending on the company you may need to pay this money upfront and if the item does not sell you will receive a refund once the item has been returned. Consignment is available for many different items, not just sports memorabilia– trips, VIP event packages, and high-end jewelry are just to name a few.

While it’s not a requirement, our research has found that larger events (those who bring in a minimum of $10,000 profit) are best suited for consignment. If your event meets this criteria, and you are looking for a consignment company, UltimateDonations.org is happy to pair you with a trusted company who can help you with whatever you are looking for. Just contact us today and we will get you set up.


Buy Your Items

Your third option is to make purchase items at a discounted rate and use them to make great baskets. Consider looking for deals, sales and other promotions throughout the year to make a basket or auction item look a little better. Outlet stores are a great option to get quality goods at deep discounts.

That being said, however, if this is your first event, or your goal is under $5,000, it is recommended that your organization tries to get as many donations as possible as well working with companies that offer consignment items since these two options are no-risk, unlike the third option of buying your own items.

Media and Marketing at Ultimate Donations
Jaime is the conceptual mastermind behind UltimateDonations.org, a website that helps nonprofits find and request product donations for fundraising events. When she is not helping nonprofit events to reach their fullest potential, she's spending time with her two adorable girls, volunteering within her local community, and sneaking leftover Halloween candy when no one is looking.