Choosing the Right Auction Items

ticketsThere’s no doubt about it. Silent auctions are fun.  There are events of all size, shape and cause. They add an element of fun and friendly competition, while exposing guests to local businesses and raising some funds in the process. However, soliciting, packaging and displaying these items can be a tall order — especially without a plan.
Blanket solicitation is not a smart way to approach your auction. Frequently, you’re left with many items at the end of the event that either didn’t appeal to your audience or were not packaged appropriately. Brainstorming the types of items your group has gravitated toward in the past or items the committee themselves would desire. Also it’s a good idea to consult performance reports of previous auction items in years past.
From there, choose a variety of thematic packages. For example, a date night package featuring a dinner certificate, bottle of wine, and movie or event tickets. Your committee can still target individual items that would stand on their own like a quality piece of jewelry or an iPad. Creating a variety of vignettes, however, is a current trend that helps bring more value and is ultimately less work to put together.
So far in the 2012-13 season, Auction & Event Solutions has seen the following categories receive the highest revenue. Also included are some interesting items within these categories that seem to resonate well with a variety of guests:

  •  Electronics: iPads, accessories, mp3 players, laptops
  •  Nearby getaways: Rocky Point, golfing destinations, Santa Fe, Las Vegas
  • Women: Designer bags, customizable spa services, organic beauty products
  • Sports: Tickets with flexible dates, box seats for a group, golf foursomes, memorabilia, local events like spring training, Phoenix Open, NASCAR
  • Entertainment: Chef’s table dining, theater or event tickets, wine packages of any kind, top-rated restaurant dining
  • Family: Trampoline parks, dine-in movie tickets, pet packages, ride-a-longs
  • Outdoors: Biplane flight, hot air balloon breakfast, flying lessons, bicycles

Lastly, a note on art and jewelry: If you’re not representing an art-based organization, the best sellers in this category are quality, but affordable pieces or something designed by your service population.
Happy hunting!
Robyn Broshears is the owner of Auction & Event Solutions Arizona.  Robyn has helped the Phoenix nonprofit community build their fundraising events as owner of Auction & Event Solutions Arizona since 2004. Her proven ability in full-circle event planning, streamlining event night processes and cost-consciousness has made AES Arizona a strong partner for more than 80 organizations.
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