Silent Auction Basket Ideas
Is it time to give your silent and/or online auction packages an update? Likely! Many of us spend a lot of time at home these days, and we’re thinking of our home spaces more in terms of “busy nest” as opposed to “crash pad.” Folks are still hungry for easy-to-procure deals and DIY tips. So give them what they’re hungry for! Here are some fantastic silent auction basket ideas.
1. Master Chef’s Must-Haves
Create a basket with special tools for the SERIOUS chef. Include an air fryer or pressure cooker, a high-end blender or food processor (or both!), maybe a Dutch oven. A micro planer. A salad spinner. (Did you know, you can use those for more than just drying your greens!?) Throw in some spices,a bottle of top shelf organic extra virgin cold pressed olive oil and perhaps a cooking experience or party. Bon appetit!
2. In the Kitchen with Kids
Turns out, there ARE benefits to having kids in the kitchen! A basket full of curated baking supplies has consistently sold well in silent and online auctions. Tailor it towards the kiddos (especially for school auctions) with colorful measuring cups and other utensils. Cooking and/or baking with kids is a great family activity. It gets them interested in making their own food, which might just pay off big time for YOU in the not-too-distant future! Include a kid-friendly cookbook (or two) along with those colorful utensils, oven mitts, maybe a bag of flour and sugar and you’re ready to sell!
3. Chocolate City
“I don’t like chocolate,” said no one ever. Make it your gift basket theme and go crazy for chocolate. Put together a variety of gourmet chocolates, chocolate-covered fruits and nuts, some fancy hot chocolate mix, delicious chocolate-covered coffee beans. Include milk, white and dark varieties. Because we all know, dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants! It’s practically a health food. If you want to invest a little more on this package, include a chocolate fondue set. Or even better, a chocolate fountain! You can build a party around a chocolate fountain! No kidding. Your guests will be like moths to its flame. You can also raise the value of this basket by adding a certificate for a chocolate factory tour, with all the sweet treats. Chocolate is awesome so let’s have a chocolate celebration.
4. Gourmet Happy Hour
Since we’re thinking with our taste buds, how about pulling together a gourmet happy hour? Start with a couple of nice bottles, then include a variety of delicious amuse-bouches that pair well with wine. Lavish cheeses like camembert, gouda, aged cheddar.. Is your mouth watering yet? (Fun fact: Ever wonder why wine and cheese go together as well as peanut butter and jelly? It’s because the fat from the cheese coats your mouth, making white wine less citric and red wine less astringent.) Include charcuterie or some smoked salmon, fancy nuts and dry salami and your happy hour will be fit for a queen! If you like, round out your happy hour silent auction basket with high quality olive oils and vinegars and display it all in a lovely, reusable serving tray. Irresistible!
5. Homebrew + Homemade Wine
A basket full of delicious craft beer is sure to sell well, especially in the Pacific Northwest, where we are passionate about quality brewskis! Take it to the next level by adding a few bottles of high-end beer to a beer-making kit. Ever brewed your own beer? It’s not that hard! It’s a bit of a process, but it’s also a lot of fun, especially with a friend or two on hand. Best of all, a few weeks later (after the fermenting process), you can toast yourself and your helpful friends with your very own creation! Homebrewing kits are not super expensive, and often you can find recipes, too. So see if you can re-create your own Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Or if you prefer darker brews, try your hand at a stout. Bonus: You WILL save money on beer!
You can also try this with wine. Make-your-own-wine kits are generally about $60-$100 dollars and are good for producing around 30 bottles of wine. Again, another fun activity with friends, and you can invite them back over when it’s ready. Then everyone can enjoy the fruits of their labor. Pun intended.
6. Vintner’s Delight
Maybe your guests would prefer to leave the winemaking to the experts. In that case (another pun intended), if you know you have a lot of guests who appreciate wine in your crowd, go with the tried-and-true wine basket. There are so many ways to do this – it’s primarily dependent on how much your guests will spend. Keep it simple, with a few bottles, a unique opener and maybe a wine rack. You can make it a higher-end basket by including some custom-labeled bottles, a wine fridge, and maybe some nice wine reference books. Or if you REALLY want to go for it, send your guests to wine country! Offer airfare, lodging and a winery tour/tasting experience. Wine not?
7. Karaoke Night
This is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! Private room vs a public experience? Food? Drinks? A veritable party package this could be! Consider including donated voice lessons to sweeten this online or silent auction package. Voice lessons can be fun for both the songbirds AND those who are, shall we say, musically challenged.
8. Concertgoer’s Dream
Perhaps you’d rather leave the singing to the pros? Then let’s put together a fun music-themed package! Concerts are BAAACK! Procure tickets to a local concert and build this package around them. Include earbuds or headphones, add an iTunes gift card and maybe a gift card to Ticketmaster. What about a VIP upgraded experience with food, drinks, a ride (or a parking pass). Yes, please!
9. Hooray for Holidays!
Is it summer yet?? Get in the spirit by putting together packages with Holiday themes – perhaps an Independence Day theme celebrating summer. Red, white and blue napkins, candles, placemats, tablecloths. Maybe a few sparklers. If you can procure a barbecue, the price on this package will shoot up like fireworks! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) How about tickets to a local fireworks display, with parking included?
10. Get Wild
We didn’t get to observe wild animals by visiting zoos and animal parks during the pandemic, so now’s the time to catch up! How about a package offering a variety of animal activities – Oregon Zoo passes, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the West Coast Game Park Safari in Bandon – think of it as an all-access pass to Go Wild! The animal lovers in your crowd will fall all over each other to snag this one.
Doesn’t it seem like serious campers are always eager to upgrade their gear and experience? Take advantage of this attitude with a camping-themed package. Now before you start the procurement process, first and foremost – KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! Are they car campers, or do they like to hike in and out with huge backpacks on their backs? Are they glampers? Glamping is becoming more and more popular and there are a ton of products tailored to this crowd. For example, a unique stay (treehouse? dome? yurt?) paired with a solar shower system so you can take a HOT SHOWER anytime. Now that’s luxurious glamping! So whether it’s for the big items (the aforementioned shower system, a super sweet camping mattress that’s as comfortable as your home mattress, a roll-top kitchen), or the small items (those ubiquitous blue cups, headlamps, binoculars), it’s pretty easy to build a fantastic camping-themed package. And have fun with a display that’ll work for both high end items and modest ones. Set up a small tent or cooler and fill it with camping gear. Let’s get out and enjoy the great outdoors!
12. Hot Air Balloon
Here’s an idea for a silent auction basket that will have ALL your guests talking, and a lot of them bidding! Offer up vouchers for an unforgettable hot air balloon ride. You can make your own paper mache model of a hot air balloon to display this item. Or find a model of a hot air balloon at a craft store. Spice it up with food and/or wine pairings and you’re sure to generate lots of buzz AND revenue.
13. Date Night
Date night packages are always big hits. Think of unique experiences you’d want to try and build this package from there. Concerts. Theater. Distillery Tours. Wine Tasting. People Watching. Escape Rooms. A nice dinner and a movie. Throw in an Uber or Lyft gift certificate or maybe even a limo, if you think that would be suitable for the folks in your crowd. You can also be a little unconventional and include an activity in your date night package, like a gift certificate for a rock climbing adventure. You know what they say about the couples that play together.
14. Get in the Garden
Garden-themed baskets sell consistently well. Whether it’s for flowers OR food, encourage folks to get their hands dirty with a garden-themed online silent auction basket. Seeds and/or starts. Potting soil. Gardening gloves and clogs. These are all inexpensive little touches that help build up your garden basket.Get creative with your display and setup, too – keep in mind, people will most likely be looking at a picture of your basket for an online silent auction. So think of how it will look and make it pretty! Maybe display the items in a watering can? Or wrap a coil of hose at the bottom, serving as a makeshift “basket” to display the gardening gifts. What can you come up with that will look irresistible to your online silent auction shoppers?
Your supporters will REALLY want to get in the garden if it’s in the midst of a lovely new landscape! People want their home spaces spiffed up, and outdoor living areas are a top priority. So a gift card for landscaping services will sell very well right now. Put it in a small planter – or anything, really, as long as it follows the outdoorsy theme.
16. Outdoor Living Spaces
Is it time to spruce up your outdoor living space? Maybe add a gazebo, a covered porch, a new deck and/or patio? The pandemic made a lot of us want to give our outdoor living areas a makeover. Whether it’s just a minor improvement, like adding a firepit, or a major overhaul, outdoor living areas are getting a lot of love and attention. If you can procure contracting services, you’ll net your org a lot of money!
17. Home Office Away From Home
Many folks may never go back to the traditional office 9-5 Monday through Friday. Enter stand-alone office and backyard builds. Whether it’s a prefab setup for the backyard or garage, or a permanent home addition, home office setups, design and builds are HOT sellers right now. How to display it? Assuming you don’t have an architect on speed-dial waiting to build you a model, you can always put together an assortment of generic office supplies with a nice picture of the stand-alone office build. Potential bidders will be more likely to bid, if they can envision it in their own backyards.
18. Handyperson Package
Keeping with the theme of improving home spaces, see if you can procure a handyperson package, where all of those little projects you haven’t found the time or energy to complete finally get done! Dripping faucets, running toilets, that garbage disposal that’s not working… Pretty much everything having to do with home improvement, whether it’s indoor or outdoor, will likely sell very well.
19. Car Detailing
Seriously. What driver WOULDN’T want this? Have you ever had your car professionally detailed? It’s like you’re driving a brand-new one. If you already keep your car tidy and have a “no eating inside” rule, you can give a car detailing service as a gift. (Trust us – your friends with children would LOVE to receive this one!) Procure a gift card for detailing services and surround it with the works! Car wash mitts and/or microfiber towels, car wash gift cards, wax, windshield wipes, air fresheners (or not. Some of those smell SO gross).
20. Spa or Self-Care Day
Pamper your guests by offering a spa day at home. Fill a basket with a soft bathrobe, cozy slippers, and an assortment of facial masks (the kind to pamper your skin, not the kind we had to wear for so long), cleansers, lotions and creams. Add some fancy shampoos, conditioners and bath bombs and you’re well on your way to creating a luxurious at-home spa day basket. To raise the bar and the package value, add a gift certificate or two for salon services of your choice. These could also be great items with which to fill a “she shed” or a man cave.
21. Man Cave/She Shed
Appeal to the cave dwellers in your crowd – AND their partners – with items for a she shed or a man cave. Think cigars, whiskey, snacks. You might also include a dart game and a poker set, complete with cards and poker chips. Add some golf balls, tees and a gift certificate for a round of golf and you’re all set! Spiff up a She shed with gorgeous lighting, decor, accessories, yoga or self care items.
INDULGENCE is the name of this game. Calories don’t count on vacation, right? So don’t count them on staycation, either. Put together an assortment of delicious treats. Don’t forget the candles – lots of candles! They’re relaxing, special and add plenty of atmosphere. Maybe a couple of novels or magazines. You can also purchase a temporary subscription for a streaming service. Ramp this package up with gift cards to local eateries, accommodations, museums, brew pubs, tourist attractions. This is another one where it’s important to know your crowd, in order to put together the staycation-themed silent auction basket that will fetch the highest price possible for your demographic.
23. A Day’s Drive
Some want to stay relatively close to home. Vacations you can drive to might just be a perfect fit. Check out Airbnb or VRBO and procure something within driving distance. Or reach out to your supporters who have vacation homes in nearby travel destinations. See if they’d be willing to donate some nights. You’re on your way to building a silent auction basket around a regional adventure! Driveable vacations to private homes are akin to dipping your toe in the pool to see how cold it is before you jump in. If it goes well, you might just be ready to hop on a plane…
24. Ready to Fly Away?
“Fly, scatter through the country – go to the Great West,” wrote New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, way back in 1837. Flights to the west remain popular today in our PNW market. Hawaii, San Diego, Palm Springs, Scottsdale – we’re getting warmer, aren’t we?! If you think it’s right for your crowd, build a silent auction basket around a plane trip that’s not halfway across the country. Or maybe your guests DO want to fly halfway across the country (or farther). If so, there are oh so many fun destinations to choose from!
25. Fly FAR
What part of the country is calling? New York City? Family vacation to Orlando, for a visit to Disney World? Maybe your guests would like to experience early American history through Boston’s Freedom Trail, followed by a tour of the Sam Adams brewery. A consignment vendor like our trusted partner, Auction Packages, can help with the details, planning – even concierge services. Start thinking about how you want to set up a travel-themed silent auction basket. Travel pillow, headphones, snacks, disinfectant wipes?
26. Fly FAR, FAR Away
Grab your passport! National AND international trips are super hot right now. How does Bali sound? Or Tuscany? We work with some amazing consignment companies like Sojourn Ventures and Mitch Stuart. We can help you procure an incredible international adventure, if you think it’s something your crowd would go for. Let us know!
27. Raffle Basket Ideas
Raffle baskets have a place in silent auctions (assuming your local laws allow for them). They sell especially well when they meet these two benchmarks: Widespread appeal and high (ish) value. So if you can procure a consignment package for a special trip, your silent auction is a great place to sell it. Think family vacations to desirable destinations, whether they’re drivable or flyable. And as always, know your audience before you brainstorm raffle basket ideas for your silent auction.
Finally, review the data. What did your donors go wild for in last year’s silent auction? Which items garnered the most attention and/or bids? Were they travel-related, service-related, hobby and/or activity related? Let data from past years guide your decisions regarding raffle baskets. We saw an org have great success raffling off a donated car. They sold one thousand tickets at $100 a pop – netting $100,000. Now THAT’S serious ROI!! Pro tip: Remember to get your hands on local code and licensing first.
It’s time for a new strategy when planning and procuring items for your silent and online auctions. The categories themselves probably won’t look dramatically different to you. Food/drink, activities, services and travel are still selling well and likely always will. We hope you enjoy and are inspired by these silent auction basket ideas. Maybe you’re ready to come up with your own gift basket themes. Reach out – we’d love to start working on a successful silent or online auction with you!