Auction Item Ideas
AUCTION ITEM IDEAS
Gathering auction items is the most time-consuming, tedious, and one of the most critical parts of planning an auction. Without items, you have nothing to auction off. Here, we provide you with some creative Auction Item Ideas. Including donation ideas from:
- Parents & Alumni
- Teachers & Principal
- Auction Items to Avoid
- Raffle Prize Ideas
- Auction & Raffle Items That Sell to a Budget-Conscious Audience
- Eversave's Daily Saves
- Unique Raffle Prize Idea
Fill those Auction & Raffle baskets...
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Sports Memorabilia: Mike Riccio Sports LLC serves CT, MA, and Southern NH. He can provide quality sports memorabilia, including beautiful signed photos, for your charity event. Items are available on a consignment basis with no cost to your organization. Multiple items make such an impressive display!
Mention this PTO Ideas site to Mike to receive special discount offers. Email Mike at MLRiccio@aol.com or call (203)331-5804.
Resorts & Hotels: overnight stays
Entertainment: tickets to a theme park, zoo, movies, museum. We have found service companies that are geared to family entertainment are wonderful supporters of charitable organizations. The thought being that if they donate two passes, a family is likely to bring four or more individuals, thus paying for the additional two passes and possibly spending even more on food and gift items.
Restaurants: gift certificates
Service Stations, Car Wash: gas cards, fill-ups on gas, oil changes, car wash or detailing
Landscaper, Garden Centers: Fall/Spring clean-up, a day of residential landscaping, shrubs, trees, flowers
Home Repair: A few hours of electrical work, interior painting, carpentry, plumbing. Work donated by a licensed, insured artisan in your state. Specify labor only, not including permits, how far the artisan will travel, and an expiration date.
Home Maintenance: Chimney sweep, oil tank cleaning, gutter cleaning, driveway sealant, exterior deck staining.
Legal: a lawyer could donate one hour of legal advice
Accounting: an accountant could donate personal tax preparation services
Celebrity Items: Signed sports equipment, photos, etc.
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Hair Stylist: free haircuts for each member of your family up to X number of haircuts
Home Decorating: a four-hour home decorating advice session
Guest DJ: on a local radio station.
Limousine: use of a limo for an evening out (approx. 6 hours).
Tour:Tour of a local business (factory, police/fire departments, amusement park, radio or tv station, State House).
Golf: One round of golf for four.
Mini Golf: One round of golf for four at a local mini golf course.
Museums: Passes for two or four.
Ski Areas: Lift tickets
Photographer: Photography services or a portrait.
Caterer: Gift certificate.
Gym Membership: 1-year Membership
Exercise Class: Yoga, pilates, karate. Specify number of classes.
Harbor Cruise: Harbor or lake cruise for four or six people.
Pet Store: Gift certificate, dog or cat bed.
Music Lessons: 6 weeks of guitar, piano, violin, or singing lessons.
Dentist: Home bleaching treatment for your teeth. Specify if includes impressions, fabrication of custom bleaching trays, and/or bleaching material for upper & lower whitening procedure.
Bank: Gift certificate to open a savings account.
Jeweler: Gift certificate or a man's and women's watch set.
Family Membership: 1-year membership to the local Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, museum, etc.
Ride to School: Ride to school in a police car or fire truck.
Car Dealership: Weekend rental of a car from Friday to the following Monday morning. You may need to specify car make/model/year, insurance details, lead time for rental, and expiration date.
Dance School: Dance lessons.
Home Center: Gift certificate, gas grill, tools, etc.
Police or Fire: Ask the Chief of Police or Fire to donate a 1-hour tour of their station and a 2-hour ride-a-long tour to experiece their day.
Chef: one evening of cooking for a 10-person dinner party in your home
Dinner: Dinner delivered to your home 1 night a week for 6 weeks for a family of four. Or, a four-course meal for 6 with wine brought right to your home (within a 10 mile radius fo the school and a mutually agreeable date).
Theme Birthday Party Planning: Offer to plan a child's birthday party including, the cake, decorations, party favors, party games. Specify the number of children. See Theme Party Ideas.
Pie of the Month: Someone that likes to bake pies, can bake and deliver one pie a month for 12 months. You may want to specify that these can be delivered for holidays, birthdays, or any special occasion.
Cookie / Dessert of the Month: Similar to the Pie of the Month, but the buyer can specify the type of dessert.
Fashion: a two-hour fashion advice session, modeling the session after the TV show "What Not To Wear"
Babysitting: Babysitting services for an afternoon or evening
Points: Donate credit card points for someone to cash in for airline miles. Be sure to check with the credit card company first.
Home Organizing: a 6-hour home organizing session (specify if supplies are included)
House Cleaning: a four-hour house cleaning session (specify vacuum, dusting, bathrooms, windows, and if supplies are included)
Theme Gift Baskets: Each classroom assembles a gift basket. Pick a theme for the basket and have each parent in the classroom donate 1 item. See Gift Basket Ideas.
Car Wash: Wash, vacuum, dust, and clean windows of one car once a month March through November.
Mowing a Lawn: Cut the grass at a local residential home once a week from June to July.
Golfing: If a parent is a member of a country club, they could take 3 additional people golfing for a day.
Tickets: Season ticket or annual pass holders could donate a pair of tickets to a sporting event, museum, or show.
Vacation Home: If a parent owns a vacation home or condo, they could donate a week's or a few days stay.
Electrical Work: 8 hours of electrical work donated by a licensed, insured electrician in your state. Specify labor only, not including permits, how far the electrician will travel, and an expiration date.
Artist: Paint a wall mural. Specify max room size or number of hours.
Principal for a Day: A student will shadow the principal for an entire day, making announcements, visiting classrooms, etc. For this item, auction off a single day. If two families continue bidding against each other, sell it to both of them for the last bid amount and have the principal take on this responsibility for two separate days. For example, if the bid is won by a family for $500, but another family continued to bid up to the $475 price, offer to sell two days at a $475 price point. In doing so, you've made $950 instead of $500. Do not announce that you plan to do this.
Gym Teacher for a Day: A student will shadow the gym teacher for an entire day, organizing gym class events. As mentioned under Principal for a Day, if two families continue bidding against each other, sell it to both of them for the last bid amount and have the gym teacher take on this responsibility for two separate days.
Assistant Chef in the School Cafeteria: A student gets to help cook & serve the school lunch.
Street Dedication: If your school is on it's own private street, name the street after someone for one year. Ask your city/town to donate the printed street sign. Winning bidder keeps the sign at the end of the year.
Reserved Seating: Preferred seating at school events (performances, graduation, sporting events, etc.). Specify quantity.
Discount Admission to All School Activities: Discounted admission (50% or 75% off) to all sporting events, fundraisers, performances, and graduation for the entire school year.
Basketball Party: Three-hour basketball party in the school gym. Pizza and custodian included.
No Uniform Day: Student chooses a day to for the entire school to skip the uniform and wear play clothes for the day.
Parking: Sell the prime parking spot at the school for the school year. A "VIP Parking" sign will need to be installed.
Fees: Offer a year without school-related fees. Specify exactly which fees are included and the dollar value of each - PTO dues, field trip fees, yearbook, school photo package.
Student Accouncer: A students gets to make all morning announcements over the loud speaker for a week.
Art: An art teacher can offer private lessons or paint a mural in your home.
Music: A music teacher can offer private lessons.
Tutor: Reading or math tutoring.
Bedtime Story:Teachers are wonderful, but there's always one that the kids absolutely adore! Ask this one to donate their time to read a bedtime story to a student one evening at the student's home. This item went for $1,500 at one school!
Food plus Activity: A teacher can take 4 or 5 students bowling or to the movies and out to eat one afternoon.
Classroom Party: A class pizza or ice cream party.
Free School Lunch: Free school lunch for one week.
Free Dessert: Free dessert from the school cafeteria for one week.
Tickets: Free tickets to an upcoming school event - golf tournament, auction, pancake breakfast, sporting event, etc.
Extra Recess Time: An extra 15 minutes of recess time once a week or month for the student's entire class.
Checkerboard: Paint a large, oversized checkerboard with black & white squares or stained natural & dark brown squares. Checker pieces can be made of a disc shaped piece of wood. You'll need two sets (one for each player). Here are some ideas for distinguishing each player's set of checkers:
Centerpieces: Have each class make a centerpiece to decorate the tables at the auction. Have an A-frame note card on each table announcing which class made that particular centerpiece along with a silent auction bid sheet. Again, you will find parents bidding for the centerpiece their child took part in creating.
- Paint one set white, the other black then affix small photos of each student on each piece; or
- Pick two themed items (one for each player) and have each student paint a similar item on each piece:
- One set may have trees, while the other has birds painted on it; or
- flowers & bees;
- beach umbrellas & beach balls;
- suns & moons/stars;
- boy stick figures & girl stick figures;
- yellow trucks vs. red cars;
Student Crafts: Utilize art class time and the expertise of the art teacher to create a class craft. See our Simple Craft Ideas. This is a way to make something inexpensively, but the value to parents is high because their kids talk about it at home and tell their parents to buy it. The idea is to have as many students as possible participate in a single craft. An item with a cost of $200 could sell for $1,000 if a few families are bidding against each other. This concept works best for the oldest class in the school that will be leaving the school because parents will want to have this momento from their child's school.
Vases: Glass or Clay, painted or decopaged using small squares of colorful tissue paper.
Furniture: Paint a piece of unfinished furniture (chair, bookcase, table, bench, toybox, bookcase, adirondak chair, picnic table, garden table, bird bath, child's rocking chairs)and decorate with student handprints or a wooden bench covered with poems and sayings written by the students. Or, have each child make three thumb prints in a row, then add eyes, legs, antenea, or wings to make catepillars, ants, or bees.
Garden Stepping Stones
Note Cards: Packs of printed note cards personally hand-drawn by the students. Include envelopes.
Ceramic Tiles: Ask each student to paint a tile, turn them into trivets or tile a tabletop.
Shower Curtain: Decorate a vinyl shower curtain using permanent Sharpie markers.
Rug: Paint a border on a 5'x7' or 8'x10' area rug (sisal or similar material). Make a decorative boarder using student handprints, student sayings, or ask each child to draw a similar themed item (bird, house, tree, flower). Tape off the border with blue painter's tape and ask the kids to stay within the lines. Use all one color (black or brown) to create a cleaner border or a variety of colors for a more whimsical look.
Frame or Mirror:Paint or tile the frame of a large mirror. The frame should be flat and wide enough to paint or create a mosaic tile instead.
Other: Painted cookie jar, ceramic platter, lamp bases.
Quilt: Squares to be cut and assembled by the students.
Shadow Box: Large shadow boxes to be mosaic tiled.
Frames: Very large frames matted and filled with several pictures drawn by the students.
Bird Bath:Painted or tiled.
Ceramic Planter: Painted or tiled along the top rim.
Tablecloth:Have the kids decorate one large tablecloth with their handprints along the border, or create several holiday-themed tablecloths and auction them as a set.
Beach Towels: Decorate with the kids names and handprints.
- Used Items that are not considered highly valuable
- Homemade Items
- Glassware, Figurines, Dolls
- Amateur Artwork
- Partial-value gift certificates
- Items with a high amount of restrictions
Use of Facilities: A few hours use of the school gym, pool, or ice rink for a birthday party. The auction profits would pay the custodial or lifeguard fees during the event.
Gift Certificates: Gift Certificates from all types of companies as mentioned above.
Principal for a Day: Print a coupon on your home computer.
First in the Lunch Line: Print a coupon on your home computer.
Tickets to Athletic Events: Ask for tickets to be donated to a college or professional football, hockey, basketball, or golf game. Or, offer free tickets to your local high school game.
50/50 Cash Raffle: See our Raffles page for details.
Home Appliances: Something for the Moms - High-end items in the catagories of vacuum cleaner, iRobot vacuum, coffee maker, blender, toaster, food processor.
Tools: Something for Dads - Chain saw, skill saw, lawn mower, snow blower, leaf blower, generator, air compressor.
I recently heard about a unique fundraiser where a father was raising money for his disabled son. Dad was a contractor and offered as the raffle prize a $20,000 bathroom makeover.
Now I don't have all of the details, so I'm winging it, but you'll get the idea...
Two thousand raffle tickets were sold at $20 each which meant they took in $40,000. If the Dad donated his labor (which let's assume was about $10,000 worth), and purchased $10,000 in supplies and product for the makeover, then the fundraiser would have profited about $30,000.
This same idea can be used for just about any service work - landscaping, painting, installation of an outdoor fence, etc. However, it's a good idea to ensure that the contractor performing the work is fully licensed and insured.
Get more info from BiddingForGood:
BiddingForGood can also help you obtain catalog items. They offer a catalog of items that you can place in your online auction. These may be items unavailable to you through your current list of donors (i.e. baloon rides, sailing, vacation packages, local & regional dining and attractions, sports memorabilia, etc).
In choosing items from cMarket's catalog, you will also reduce the time spent soliciting items on your own. If the item sells in your auction, a fee is paid to cMarket. If the item doesn't sell, there is no cost obligation to you, the item simply returns to cMarket.
Also see our article titled, Auction & Raffle Items That Sell to a Budget-Conscious Audience
FOCUS YOUR EFFORTS
Quality auction items will draw a larger crowd to your event and encourage guests to return annually. Designate several (5-8) of your committee members to focus solely on gathering auction items. However, before you send your committee volunteers off to randomly request donations, you should come up with a plan to focus on obtaining the types of donations that are likely to bring in the highest rate of return.
Be creative when seeking auction donations. Contact all types of businesses and ask for gift certificates, products, and services. Do not limit your request to the local area. Large companies from around the country are supportive of nonprofit fundraising efforts. Ask parents, alumni, teachers, and students to donate as well.
Every item to be auctioned off should be either a sponsored purchase or a donated item. And remember, no donation should be turned away. Even small items can be given away as door prizes (random drawings) or paired with another donated auction item. In fact, you will find that you pair several smaller items together to make a single, large auction item. Do not limit the number of auction items. Obtain as many as you can get in the time allotted.
Promotional Codes to be redeemed through the individual program providers. Please present promotional code at time of purchase. Not to be combined with other offers. Not valid for prior sales.