Holding a silent or live auction at your fundraising event can help to bring in lots of additional funds. The guests at your event already support your organization, and chances are they would be happy to bid on items to help you raise much-needed funds.
Offering unique auction items, things ideas for silent auction items that people cannot typically find in a store, will help create interest in the auction. People will be more eager to bid because they will realize this is literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them. So it is a win-win situation for them, they get something they are very excited about having, and they also help to support an organization they really care about.
You probably have connections to obtaining unique items that you may not have thought about before. Consider your board members and volunteers: what interesting jobs and connections might they have? A great unique auction item could be lunch with an important business leader in your community. Another great idea could be an afternoon spent in someone’s office – perfect for that high school or college student considering a career.
A similar experience would be to be named a “Policeman for a Day” or “Fireman for a Day.” This could be a fun day designed for a child, a whole classroom or a family. You would need to contact the local police or fire department to see if they would give a tour to the winner and perhaps let them have a ride in a car or on the fire truck and maybe put on a hat. (Imagine the look on a seven-year old boy’s face having that adventure and you can see this would be a great auction prize!).
Other ideas could include having your name or message put up at the local movie theater for a day or a week, getting your own day declared by the Mayor and walking in your town’s Fourth of July parade.
To come up with unique “experiences” it can be helpful to begin by thinking of who you know and have a connection to first. Then ask this person if they would like to help your organization by making a donation to the silent auction with an “experience”. Let the person come up with an alternative idea if they have one, remember sometimes people get excited about participating and they will come up with an even better idea.
Make sure to put any “rules” the person gives you about winning the prize (i.e. – must be completed within three months, can only be done Monday through Wednesday, etc.). This person you have connected with may even have other people or organizations that they know that would be happy to help your organization.
Another idea is to suggest a theme when soliciting donations, such as Family Fun, Sweets or Travel and to obtain items that focus on your theme. When you give some suggestions and ideas for auction items it often helps stir up ideas in someone’s mind. They may come up with a creative auction item that even you or your committee wouldn’t have thought of!