What items will be going once, going twice at your next annual fundraising gala?
If you want to get incredible bids that will help your organization reach its goals, you’re going to have to put some fantastic finds up for grabs. The key to winning over the interest of bidders at a gala fundraiser is to auction off items that aren’t easily found.
From custom jewelry and backstage passes to private boat cruises, build a successful fundraising gala with these 20 silent auction ideas!
What is a Silent Auction?
A silent auction is a type of auction that doesn’t involve an auctioneer. Instead, the bidding happens silently and is typically written down or sent through an app, website, or text message. Note that it’s important to have a predetermined end point at which bidding closes and the highest offer wins.
Whether a silent auction is the main focus of your fundraising gala or just a part of the private event program, they are a great way for a business or nonprofit organization to involve their attendees and raise funds for a good cause.
Typically, the items up for auction will be displayed with a detailed description and a bid sheet in front of it. Using a bidding number to remain anonymous, attendees can write down or send their bid silently. If mobile bidding is used, they can enter their offer on the app, website, or through a text message. Throughout the event, they will have the ability to constantly check on the item and raise their bid as needed.
Encourage Guests to Bid With These 20 Items
When deciding on what items to put up for auction, it’s important to consider your mission, vision, and audience—and your gala theme if you have one. Browse this list of ideas to see which will work best for your organization:
Add some sparkle to your gala events by auctioning off eye-catching jewelry. Opting for vintage or custom pieces will make the items seem more valuable.
2. Designer Handbags
According to reports, more than 3,500 designer handbags were sold at auction in 2019. Today, many people call them a “better investment than art.” Making limited-edition offerings part of your auction can boost engagement beyond expectations.
3. Rare Antiques
From gold coins to vases, you’ll appeal to bidders with a penchant for history when you include rare antiques in the auction lineup.
Whether it’s old Japanese woodblock prints or modern paintings, your gala event silent auction simply wouldn’t be complete without works of art.
5. Professional Family Photoshoots
If you know a pro photographer, then consider auctioning off their services to help families capture some much-needed professional photos.
6. Family Portrait by a Recognized Artist
This is one of the silent auction ideas for a gala that combines both art and love for family. Who wouldn’t love to work with a recognized artist and have the beauty of their loved ones painted onto canvas?
7. Private Boat Cruises
Who says you can’t get some vitamin sea at formal events? Tug at the heartstrings of thalassophiles by offering private boat cruises.
8. Adventure Packages
There’s a whole world of adventure just waiting out there. With these types of packages, you’re encouraging guests to get out of their comfort zones and explore. Here are a few ideas that are sure to get bidders excited:
- rainforest tours;
- helicopter rides;
- hot air balloon rides;
- skydiving; and
- bungee jumping.
9. All Expense Paid Trips
With all-expense paid trips, you’re giving attendees a chance to escape their daily routines and land in a dreamy destination—minus all the stressful planning and booking (of course, you’ve got that covered already.)
10. Sports Game Tickets
Sports fans love sports, and you’ll no doubt have a few in attendance. Tickets to big games are sure to generate interest, especially if you include some swag, too.
11. Concert Tickets
By including these in the auction lineup, you can count on it that people will be talking about your gala fundraiser for a long time—and lining up for it in the years to come.
12. Wine Tastings
Tastings at vineyards are an incredibly immersive art experience. Visitors get a glimpse of the harvest field, hear stories from the people who make the wine, and see the equipment used in the process. Of course, they’ll also get a delicious glass or two.
13. Backstage Passes
If you have industry connections who can help you obtain backstage passes to concerts, musicals (or any other type of popular productions), then it would be such a game changer when raising funds.
14. Meet and Greets
Another way to give guests of your fundraiser gala access to VIP perks is by offering meet and greets with well-loved public figures—whether it’s celebrities, athletes, or media personalities. Leverage your connections!
15. Studio or Set Taping Tours
Who wouldn’t want a behind-the-scenes look at their favourite show? Count on this idea to generate some serious excitement.
16. Rare Sports Cards
In 2022, a Mickey Mantle card sold for 12.6 million dollars—not including these as part of your auction lineup would be a swing and a miss.
17. Signed Celebrity Memorabilia
Selfies are cool, but autographs will never go out of style. From signed albums to movie posters, dedicated fans are sure to want things signed by their idols.
18. Private Classes
For your fundraising event, consider collaborating with a local celebrity chef, athlete, or dancer to put up a series of classes for auction. Everyone loves learning new things.
19. Brewery Tours
Brewery tours are targeted toward the beer-loving crowd. They’re a fun and informative way for them to discover the beer-making process and try out various brews.
20. Long-Term Package Services
Long-term packages serve as an amazing opportunity to collaborate with local businesses. Some of the types of long-term packages you can auction include flower deliveries, landscaping services, or even spa/beauty treatments.
Bring Your Gala Fundraiser Ideas to Life
Thus concludes our list of amazing silent auction ideas. All that’s left to do now is plan your next successful fundraising gala event with The Concierge Club, the leading team in the experiential marketing scene.
Based in Toronto, we’re known for delivering luxury experiential campaigns and events for some of North America’s most notable brands. Whether it’s a fundraising gala or another kind of formal event, you can count on us to exceed expectations.
Seeing is believing. Talk to us today to discover more.