Packaging Your Items is the Key to Making Money

Your Guide to Finding Fair Market Value for Auction Items www.UltimateDonations.orgPricing auction items to make the most money for your organization starts long before the day of the event. In fact, it starts with the packaging of the item or basket (if not even earlier in the procurement phase!). Here’s our guide to getting the most money out of your attendees. It takes a little math, but it’ll be so worth your time.

You’ll need to estimate and figure out (on average) how much your event attendee is willing to spend at your charity auction.

On average, the final sales price of silent auction items hovers around 70% of fair market value (FMV). Because of this, you’ll want to make sure that a large majority of your items have a FMV of 40-45% higher than that number you estimated earlier.


Confused? Here, let’s work it out on paper.

You estimate that an average attendee will be willing to spend $100 on an item. You also know that items typically sell at 70% of their value. Therefore, it reasons that if you have items with a $100 FMV, your items may only sell for $70 and you will lose a potential $30 from each winning bidder.  Wow, that can really add up! Conversely, if you have items with FMVs at $250, you may price out a majority of your donors who are only willing to spend $100.

Your Guide to Finding Fair Market Value for Auction Items


BUT, if your items have FMVs of $140, and you receive 70% of that as your high bids, you will be maximizing the amount your donors are willing to pay with respect to the items they are receiving.

Your Guide to Finding Fair Market Value for Auction Items

Keep in mind we’re talking about the majority of your items here. It’s always OK and encouraged to have some items above and below what you think your attendee will spend on average. Still confused? Send us an email and we’ll see if we can help you out!

Media and Marketing at Ultimate Donations
Jaime is the conceptual mastermind behind, 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.