Silent Auction Strategy #5: Silent Auction Basket Ideas

Posted by Amanda Foran on April 13, 2012

As you cast your procurement net, it’s likely that you’ll receive donations that won’t stand on their own or fetch their full value at your auction. In these cases, consider combining them with other items into packages, or baskets.

Below you’ll find a list of silent auction basket ideas that I’ve gleaned from our customers’ auctions. This list is in no way exhaustive, but more a way to help spark your own creativity. The contents of your baskets will, of course, depend on the items you’ve received as donations. Just remember, no matter how obscure a donation may be, there’s always a theme to be found, a way to create a fun, appealing package that has a perceived auction value far beyond the sum of its parts.

Some Useful Tips Before Getting Started

  1. As everyone in retail knows, people are drawn to appealing displays. So take your time when arranging the items in your baskets. Use cellophane, big bows, and a nice container.
  2. Baskets work great to hold the items; but whenever possible, use a container that reflects the basket’s theme. For a basket with a gardening theme, use a pot. For a movie basket, use a popcorn box. For a knitting basket, use a canvas bag.
  3. Garage sales are a great place to pick up nice baskets inexpensively. Also keep your eye out for other pieces that can be useful for displaying items, like the dessert plate mentioned in the first package idea below.
  4. Have extra CD jewel cases? These too can be found at garage sales. Since gift cards can be easily overlooked, place them in jewel cases so they stand out better among the other items.
  5. Attach to or display alongside the basket a list of its contents. Your bidders will be more enticed when they know exactly what they’re getting.
  6. To fill out the baskets’ contents, set aside a little money to purchase some small embellishments, many of which can be picked up at a dollar store.

Basket Ideas for Your Silent Auction

  • Dessert Lover’s Basket: smaller denomination restaurant and cafe gift certificates displayed on a cute dessert plate
  • Day to Be Pampered: manicure, massage, haircut, home cooked dinner delivered to your door
  • Head to Toe Makeover: eyebrow shaping, massage, Pilates lessons, acupuncture, pedicure
  • Do-It-Yourself Spa Basket: bath products, CD of relaxing music, candles
  • Wine Basket: bottle of red wine, chocolates, night at a hotel
  • Date Night: restaurant gift certificate, movie tickets, babysitting
  • Golf Package: round of golf, cart, swing lessons, golf balls
  • Honey-Do Package: hammer, work gloves, hardware store gift card, massage
  • Car Wash/Care Basket: big bucket, gift card for oil change, car wash mitt and soap, tire brush, rags for drying your car
  • Birthday Party Basket: gift card for family fun place, like a local pool, climbing facility, video game arcade; bakery gift certificate for purchasing the cake, streamers, bag of balloons, Happy Birthday sign
  • Picnic In The Park: picnic basket, gift certificate for local cheese store or bakery, bottle of wine, table cloth and napkins
  • Chocolate Obsession: hand-dipped chocolates, fudge, hot chocolate, anything chocolate, mug filled with more chocolate
  • Yoga Lover’s Delight: Yoga classes, Yoga mat, health food store gift card
  • Beach Book Basket: Romance or mystery novels, sun glasses, sun screen, margarita glass
  • VIP Graduation Night Package: VIP seats at graduation, gift card for nice restaurant
  • Knitting Basket: yarn, knitting needles, knitting book, knitting lessons, box of tea
  • Gardener’s Delight Basket: landscape designer consultation, gift certificate to local nursery, load of compost delivered, bag of bulbs, watering can, seeds, gardening gloves, wheelbarrow, kneeling pad
  • BFF Shopping Extravaganza: matching shopping bags, smaller denomination gift cards to local stores or stores at the mall, manicure, coffee shop gift card
  • Baseball Lover’s Basket: signed baseball, bat, tickets to a professional baseball game, jersey
  • Baker’s Delight Basket: cookbook, apron, cookie cutters, cookie decorations, measuring cups and spoons, rolling pin
  • Family Night at the Movies: movie tickets, giant candy bars, bottles of water, bag of un-popped popcorn
  • Coffee or Tea Lover’s Basket: bag or two of coffee beans, travel mug, biscotti, tea pot, tea cup, loose leaf tea infuser, loose leaf tea, book
  • Teacher Story Time: teacher’s time, bookstore gift card, bakery treats
  • Mommy and Me Date Basket: mommy and me haircuts, toy store gift certificate, restaurant gift certificate (for lunch), temporary tattoos
  • End-to-End Dog Lover’s Basket: vet check up, grooming, dog biscuits, safe dog toy (ask at the store), dog waste bags
  • Try Your Luck Lottery Basket: basket of lottery scratch tickets

If you have some basket ideas of your own to suggest, please share them by leaving a comment below.

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