148 Silent Auction Ideas and More

148 Silent Auction Ideas and More

You can’t have successful school auctions without items for bid, and getting the right donations is key. You need to know what your community will find fun and exciting—and what they’re willing to pay for.

Not sure where to start? Need auction donation ideas? Worried about how to find donations? Want to know how to ask for donations? Relax and browse our list of 148 silent auction items—plus we’ve identified a few items that don’t work at school auctions, along with lots of helpful tips to make the process of securing items easier for you. (Bonus: Many of these ideas work for live and online auctions, too!

Inside 148 Silent Auction Ideas and More:

Ideas for Silent, Live, and Online Auctions
Almost 150 ideas sorted into experiences, student handicrafts, teacher/staff donations, always-popular items, general theme ideas for combining items together, and theme basket ideas with specific items to include.

7 Things To Avoid
These items usually tank; don’t waste your time.

Sources for Silent Auction Donations
Nearly 50 types of organizations and businesses that you can approach to request donations of items for bid.

Donation Request Tips
10 tips to increase your chances that a business will say yes when you ask for a donation.

Why Hold a Silent Auction?

Silent auctions typically round up some really special prizes for bidders—from theme baskets created by individual classrooms to vacation packages—and these special prizes can lead to significant profits for your group, particularly because most (or even all) items are typically donated. Plus, at a silent auction, supporters can purchase something they want while at the same time supporting the PTO or PTA.

Organizing a school auction is a lot of work, and its success depends on your level of pre-event organization, the venue, and most of all the quality of the donated items you can get. What you have available for bidding is really what will make or break your event. Start planning your auction up to six months in advance, and start promoting it soon after that.

There are lots of ways to make your school auction fun for everyone, organizers and attendees alike. Best of all is to add a theme to your event, such as island paradise or winter wonderland. Besides being exciting for the people attending, it gives your volunteers a chance to get creative with invitations, decorations, and more.

To maximize your profit potential, you’ll need at least a few big-ticket items, like passes to a popular sporting event or a stay at a vacation home. But equally important are those silent auction items that have sentimental value. These include student handicrafts, like painted tiles, patchwork quilts, and collages (either sold individually or combined as a class project), and can also extend to one-of-a-kind objects from school parents and staff, such as a painting or personalized comic strip from the art teacher.

Experiences also have a lot of earning potential because they get students excited. These prizes might take place during the school day (principal for a day, picnic lunch with three friends, ice cream party in the school gym) or not (reserved parking at school for a year, bedtime story from a teacher).

Still have questions? Call us at 800-644-3561; we’re here to help.

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