Top 10 Charity Auction Item Ideas

ItemEaseBid AmountPopularityWho It’s Great For
1. Travel Package✓✓$$$+++++Jet Setters
2. Signed Memorabilia$$$+++++Movies, Sports, or Music Fans
3. City Bar Crawl✓✓✓✓$$++++Young Adults
4. Best Pizza in Town✓✓✓$+++Families
5. Gift Baskets✓✓✓✓✓$+++All Audiences
6. Custom Artwork✓✓$$$+++++Art Lovers
7. Reading from a Popular Children’s Author$$$++++Kids
8. 20 Hours with a Personal Assistant✓✓✓✓$+++Professionals
9. Golf Lessons✓✓✓✓$$+++++Sports Fans
10. Behind-the-Scenes Tours✓✓✓$$++++All Audiences
Note

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Charity Auction Item Ideas

1. Travel Package

Ease
✓ ✓

Bid Amount
$ $ $

Popularity
+ + + + +

What Is the Item?

Travel packages can include all types of getaways—from a weekend stay in a ski resort to a European tour to a South American hang gliding adventure.

All that matters is that the winner of this item is able to get away from their day to day life to enjoy some traveling, an adventure, or a novel experience away from home!

Why Is It Popular?

About 73% of affluent adults (the charity auction demographic) put away money for leisure travel each year. That being the case, travel-related items are widely popular, surefire sellers that can bring in big bucks to your organization!

And what better travel-related item to offer at your auction than an actual opportunity to travel?

How Do You Procure It?

Someone among your supporters might have flight miles saved up or a connection with an airline or travel agency.

However, many organizations look into consignment items. Consignment items are big-ticket sellers (including travel packages!) that your organization only has to pay for if you sell. It’s a no-risk way to raise more at your auction!

Travel packages are some of the most popular and profitable charity auction items.

2. Signed Memorabilia

Ease

Bid Amount
$ $ $

Popularity
+ + + + +

What Is the Item?

Signed memorabilia is anything that holds sentimental or nostalgic value and has been autographed by a celebrated public figure who’s in some way related to that item.

Depending on your supporter base, you could feature a movie prop signed by a famous actor, an instrument autographed by a big-name musician, or a piece of equipment sporting a beloved athlete’s John Hancock. And those are just a few of the possibilities!

Why Is It Popular?

If you can procure it, signed memorabilia is one of those auction items that could potentially spark bid wars. That’s because most memorabilia is rare, if not completely one-of-a-kind. After all, an item that’s in limited supply is in higher demand.

Plus, people have a tendency to idolize their favorite celebrities. If your organization can find an item and famous figure that will appeal to your base, this item has the potential to be one of the most sought-after items in your auction.

How Do You Procure It?

Since signed memorabilia is so rare and valuable, it can be harder to get donated.

See if any of your supporters or partners has a connection that you could leverage. If you’re able to get in contact, you can also reach out to a celebrity yourself and see if they would be willing to provide a piece of signed memorabilia for a good cause.

If not, you could always buy an item and try to sell it at a higher price, but this approach can be risky.

Signed memorabilia, like this signed football, can spark major bid wars at charity auctions.

3. City Bar Crawl

Ease
✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Bid Amount
$ $

Popularity
+ + + +

What Is the Item?

A city bar crawl is a night out on the town that your supporters will never forget!

To make this the ultimate auction item, your organization should map out a few popular nightlife spots in your area. Start with a restaurant, then send your supporters to bars, lounges, or clubs. See if the spots you select would be willing to donate free food, drinks, or other perks.

Make sure to provide transportation, so the winners can enjoy the night responsibly.

Why Is It Popular?

City bar crawls are a fun way for your supporters to get to know their city after hours. Who wouldn’t enjoy a night out on the town with tasty food and drinks, built-in transportation, and the company of their closest friends?

Plus, we’re willing to bet that, between work, family, and other day-to-day concerns, many of your supporters don’t get to enjoy a night out as often as they’d like.

A city bar crawl is an auction item that’s sure to please!

How Do You Procure It?

City bar crawls include many different components, so it will likely take some mixing and matching of donations to provide this item at your auction.

You’ll need to start by scoping out some bars and restaurants in your area who would be willing to donate food, drinks, and their hospitality.

You’ll also need to see if you can solicit the services of a professional chauffeur or someone with a nice car (and a clean driving record!) who can drive the winner and their friends around from spot to spot.

City bar crawls are a fun and profitable charity auction item idea.

4. Best Pizza In Town

Ease
✓ ✓ ✓ 

Bid Amount
$

Popularity
+ + +

What Is the Item?

Best Pizza in Town combines one of the most universally beloved foods (pizza!) with a fun, competitive challenge.

Basically, Best Pizza in Town is a package of gift cards (good for a family of 4) to local pizzerias. The winner will be granted the honor of trying out each restaurant’s pizza and deciding which wins the title of “Best Pizza in Town!”

Not only is this a delicious prize for the item winner, but the pizzerias who agree to donate gift cards will have the chance to receive some additional advertising (and bragging rights!).

Why Is It Popular?

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy a tasty slice of pizza. And the winner of Best Pizza in Town won’t only get to sample one delicious pizza; they’ll get to try a whole selection of your town’s finest offerings!

Plus, the game-like nature of this auction item is sure to appeal to many in your audience. It’s a special opportunity for one’s opinion to have so much authority. 

One might say it’s an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up!

How Do You Procure It?

Basically, to procure this item, you’ll want to get in contact with as many pizzerias in your area as you can. The more gift certificates you can procure, the more this item will go for at auction.

While chains are still a viable option, try to stick to local businesses to make this prize more unique.

When procuring, you should definitely emphasize the potential for additional advertising to each pizzeria. The chance of increased visibility can be a huge incentive to donate.

Best pizza in town is a fun and delicious auction item that can help organizations bring in plenty of funds.

5. Gift Baskets

Ease
✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Bid Amount
$

Popularity
+ + +

What Is the Item?

Gift baskets are popular auction items that bundle a bunch of various items under a common theme.

For example, you could create a Spa Day gift basket that includes mud masks, nail polish, pedicure accessories, and other relaxing goodies. Or, you could compile a coffee-themed basket that includes an assortment of beans and coffee accessories.

The possibilities on this one really are endless, so think about what your supporters would like and get creative with it!

Why Is It Popular?

Gift baskets have a grab bag feel that can spark your supporters’ curiosity. It’s fun to open up a basket and check out all of the small trinkets inside!

Plus, baskets are flexible items that can be customized to your donors’ particular interests. You can center them around practically anything to appeal to what your supporters enjoy most.

If you’re able to figure out just what exactly that is, you’ll definitely have a hot seller on your hands!

How Do You Procure It?

As your procurement team is soliciting auction items, have them throw out the basket idea to your donors and gauge who might be interested in compiling and donating a basket.

If your auction is themed, you can have donors relate their baskets back to your theme. If not, you can simply give donors a list of ideas that might appeal to your audience and let them choose which basket they would like to provide.

Either way, baskets will be easier to procure when the donors give them in their entirety, instead of having to mix and match from different donors.

Gift baskets can be customized to your donors' interests, making them a profitable and appealing charity auction item.

6. Custom Artwork

Ease
✓ ✓

Bid Amount
$ $ $

Popularity
+ + + + +

What Is the Item?

From paintings and sculptures to glasswork and jewelry, custom artwork can encompass all types of creations.

All that matters is that it’s been handcrafted and that the artwork is unique to your auction. While rare pieces that are in limited supply will likely still do the trick, this item is at its best when it’s completely one-of-a-kind and can’t be found anywhere else!

Why Is It Popular?

Custom artwork is a special item that often incites bid wars.

That’s because people won’t have the opportunity to purchase these one-of-a-kind pieces anywhere else. Plus, artwork is so personal and emotionally-charged; if your attendees find a piece that speaks to them, they’ll just have to have it!

How Do You Procure It?

Calling all artists in your midst! You’re definitely going to want to get in touch with local artists and creatives to ask if they would agree to create a unique piece for your auction pro bono.

As is the case for most of the procurement process, it helps if you have a personal connection to leverage. Start by seeing who among your supporters is an artist or knows someone who might be willing to donate a piece.

Custom artwork is a unique piece that regularly incites bid wars, making it one of the most profitable auction items for charity auctions.

7. Reading from a Popular Children’s Author

Ease

Bid Amount
$ $ $

Popularity
+ + + +

What Is the Item?

From Eric Carle to J.K. Rowling, there are tons of popular children’s authors out there.

Make one lucky kid’s day by having a children’s author come into their classroom and read a book to the class. To make the experience even more unforgettable, you can also provide popcorn, candy, or other snacks.

If you can’t find an author who would be willing to read, you can also opt for another type of celebrity. Robin Williams once donated his time for this prize!

Why Is It Popular?

If you’re hosting a family-friendly auction and need items directed toward the kids in your audience, too, this is the auction item for you.

Not only is it an exciting break from the daily routine of class (after all, what boy or girl wouldn’t want to skip class to eat snacks and do something fun?), but it’s also educational. 

You’ll have a hand in enriching the mind of today’s youth, and that’s pretty priceless! Not to mention, this is a unique experience that’s hard to come by, so it should see a lot of bid activity.

How Do You Procure It?

Getting a celebrity to donate something to your auction (especially their time) can be tough. It will be much easier if you can find an author who someone in your base has a connection to or who has previously supported causes like yours.

If you can’t find a big name who will donate their time, a local author will still do the trick!

While having a big name attached to it can make this prize more appealing, it’s more about having the opportunity to do something that differs from the normal day to day. Trust us—the kids in your audience will still think it’s pretty cool!

Featuring a reading from a popular children's author at your charity auction can help you raise more money.

8. 20 Hours with a Personal Assistant

Ease
✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Bid Amount
$

Popularity
+ + +

What Is the Item?

The winner of this item will receive 20 hours with a personal assistant who will carry out whatever tasks they need (within reason, of course!).

They can use their personal assistant to complete chores around the house, run errands, file taxes…you name it!

No matter what they use their assistant for, the winner will be able to save the time that they would spend taking care of business to spend time relaxing and doing what they actually want to do!

Why Is It Popular?

We all lead busy lives and have a never-ending to-do list of tasks that we need to complete but would rather not.

The winner of 20 hours with a personal assistant will receive something invaluable: more time. For those 20 hours, they won’t have to worry about completing all of those small, daily upkeep tasks that they’ve been dreading.

In other words, this item is truly priceless. We’re sure there will be tons of people attending your auction who would like to walk home with it!

How Do You Procure It?

Luckily, this item is very easy to procure. You don’t even need to find a professional!

All you need to find is someone who would be willing to give their time and isn’t bothered by taking care of someone else’s nitty gritty tasks. Emphasize that the time will likely be split, so they’ll only have to act as personal assistant for a few hours at a time.

It shouldn’t be too hard to find someone among your supporter base who’s willing to donate their time. Start with your volunteers—they’re already doing that anyway!

Having 20 hours with a personal assistant will save the winner of this auction item time, which is sure to make it a sought-after auction item at your charity auction.

9. Golf Lessons

Ease
✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Bid Amount
$ $

Popularity
+ + + + +

What Is the Item?

Leave the birdies behind and start scoring those holes-in-one! One aspiring golfer will win two months’ worth of lessons (one lesson per week) from a professional golf teacher.

Try to leave the lessons as open-ended as possible to account for a range of schedules and experience levels. You want this item to be as flexible as possible for it to have the biggest appeal.

Why Is It Popular?

Golf is a popular pastime with the typical auction crowd. In fact, golf tournaments are some of the most popular settings for silent auctions!

That being the case, chances are that golf-related prizes will really appeal to your attendees. Plus, lessons are a lifelong gift; the winner won’t just receive classes, but they’ll also walk away with new skills that they can use for years to come!

How Do You Procure It?

Are there any golf courses in your area that offer lessons? Get in contact and ask if they could donate two or so months’ worth of lessons.

If not, there’s bound to be someone in your supporter base who has a membership to a golf course and would be willing to teach the winner a few tricks. You should be able to make it work one way or another!

Golf lessons are an appealing charity auction item that will teach the winner lifelong skills.

10. Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Ease
✓ ✓ ✓

Bid Amount
$ $

Popularity
+ + + +

What Is the Item?

Behind-the-scenes tours can refer to a whole range of experiences: from shadowing the director on a movie set to getting an insider’s view of a local business to trailing the coach of your city’s professional baseball team for a day.

No matter the context, the winner of this item will get an exclusive look into what really goes on behind-the-scenes in a place where they’re usually not allowed to tread.

Why Is It Popular?

It’s been a common theme throughout this list: the items that offer the winner something rare or exclusive are the ones that tend to raise the most money during charity auctions.

This is especially true for experiences. Many donors would prefer to spend their money making memories than they would on buying a product. If you can find the experience that will most appeal to them, you’ll have a winner on your hands!

How Do You Procure It?

To procure the item that’s most likely to please, you should start by determining which type of experience would most appeal to your donors. Analyze your donor data to gain some insights.

Then, you’ll want to reach out and ask any connections that you have to donate the experience. So, for example, if you wanted to offer an insider’s tour of a popular local business, you’d want to get in touch with some hot spots in your area.

Behind-the-scenes tours are popular charity auction items, because they offer the winner something unique, and thus, receive a lot of bids.

Additional Charity Auction Resources

Extra Charity Auction Item Ideas

T-shirt fundraising is a unique charity auction item idea.

Need some more ideas for items to auction off during your nonprofit’s next charity auction?

We’ve found some of the best ideas out there! Check out this list of over 115 amazing auction item ideas for every type of nonprofit organization.

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Luckily, Double the Donation has compiled the top 14 charity auction software providers. Take a look and choose one of them for your next auction!

Guide to Charity Auctions

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You might need to learn a little more about charity auctions before you host one yourself.

If that’s the case, head on over to our guide to charity auctions! You’ll learn how to plan an auction successfully and gain some amazing insight.

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