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Chinese Auctions are becoming more and more popular with nonprofit fundraisers, and for good reason. They can be inexpensive and easy to execute because Chinese Auctions create a fun and competitive atmosphere where donors tend to spend more on tickets in order to increase their chances of winning an auction. And when that happens, your nonprofit can raise a lot of money for the cause.
But, like all fundraisers, the success of a Chinese Auction really hinges on the raffle basket ideas and the quality of the items up for auction.
The first step in figuring out what types of raffle baskets and auction items to procure from donors is to analyze the size and demographic makeup of your attendee list. There are a few things to consider during this stage:
Because Chinese Auctions are considered unique and kitschy in the world of nonprofit auctions, the items and baskets that are up for grabs can be somewhat out of the box. Many times, sponsors will provide a cash donation to a nonprofit and have them build the actual auction basket themselves.
This guide will walk through the most coveted, innovative, and easy Chinese Auction basket ideas out there.
These Chinese Auction raffle baskets are high-end, exclusive experiences and prizes that deliver auction attendees the thrill of excitement upon bidding.
One of the number one auction basket ideas out there right now is the Date Night Basket for many reasons. It’s easy to pull together, can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want, and is fun to bid on for donors.
Plus, if your team combines multiple donations into a single basket you can really create a top-notch, high-end date night that is truly one-of-a-kind.
Date Night Baskets usually include:
Everything a couple would need for a romantic date night in your area.
An Adventure Travel Basket is a big-ticket item that will draw crowds, regardless of the demographics of your event audience. These are multi-day travel packages that include everything from airfare to lodging to all activities.
Because Adventure Travel Baskets are usually the ‘hot ticket’ items at Chinese Auctions, save this drawing for the end as a grand finale to cap off your event.
Your team can work with a sponsor or with a consignment partner to book a travel package for your next Chinese Auction. Get creative with this package – think:
Everyone loves live sports, and tickets to the big game are always a hot seller at Chinese Auctions. The trick is finding the right donors and sponsors to approach about donating tickets. If you can procure tickets to an event that historically sells out every year, then you’ll definitely have a winner on your hands.
When figuring out what kinds of tickets to auction off, your team should again start with your audience profile. Popular items include:
These items require a little extra time to procure, so keep that in mind when planning.
Technology Baskets are a good idea, and they can appeal to a wide ranges of attendees. From young to old, everyone loves gadgets and the newest in tech!
Because there is always a new toy or new tech trend on the market there shouldn’t be any shortage of items your team can include. Start researching new or upcoming items a few months before your event to ensure your Tech Basket is as up-to-date as possible.
To make your tech basket a must have include items such as the latest:
Another popular tech item on the market now are drones, which make a perfect auction item that many attendees wouldn’t necessarily purchase on their own.
Staycation Baskets are great for Chinese Auctions because they can appeal to families, friends, and couples alike. You can have multiple Staycation Baskets available at your auction depending on your audience and, of course, on your donors.
When pulling together a Staycation Basket, ask around to local vendors to provide the different components of the basket.
Free night vouchers at local hotels (look for ones with fun pools if you’re targeting families), gift vouchers to local restaurants or popular food trucks, and fun things to do around town.
Unique Chinese Auction raffle baskets offer outside-of-the-box, exciting experiences or products to auction attendees that they wouldn’t ever think to purchase on their own.
Sometimes, the traditional Date Night Basket needs a little touch of originality, which is where the Romantic Dinner Basket comes into play.
This basket gathers together everything a couple would need for a romantic dinner made at home. These basket can be fun to pull together!
Be sure to include:
Include a candle or two and a voucher for flower delivery to round out the romance!
Professional Lessons Baskets combine some of the most traditional parts of auctions (sports, competitions, etc.) and add another layer of excitement. Unique ideas for these types of baskets include:
If you’re working on a school auction, a fun idea is to auction off time with your school’s athletes and aim the prize at a younger group to bring the message home.
If your audience is gearing up for warmer months, why not make it easier with a Summertime Adventure Basket?
You can include everything your audience (a family or individual, depending on donor demographics) would need to have fun in the sun. The key is to include fun items that boost bidding, including:
This is a truly unique basket idea that combines technology, adventure, and a fun activity for all ages.
Everyone loves the idea of watching a movie in the backyard, but the logistics often make it hard to know where to get started.
Your Outdoor Movie Basket should include:
These Chinese Auction raffle baskets are straightforward, easy to pull together, and the perfect solution to filling an open space in case a basket falls through last minute.
Most Chinese Auctions now include a basket or two focused on drinks, and many highlight one specialty cocktail.
There is the traditional Wine and Cheese basket and the fun Margaritaville basket with everything you need for a fun tequila fiesta. One way to take this basket to the next level, however, is with a Stock the Bar Basket.
The best part about the Stock the Bar Basket is that it should be relatively easy for your team to gather together.
If you have all of your volunteers or a group of donors donate one or two bottles, your basket will come together in no time. You can look for high-end bottles of bourbon and scotch or keep it widespread by adding in one bottle of every type of liquor possible.
Subscription Baskets are a great last-minute Chinese Auction item because they can literally be procured with a few clicks of a button.
Once your team sees how many items are up for auction, they can fill the extra space with subscriptions to some of the most coveted services out there, including
Again, subscriptions are a quick and easy way to fill the space and give Chinese Auction donors a chance to bid on items they both want and would actually use.
Spa Day Baskets are considered an easy Chinese Auction item because they’re easy to throw together and are always a hit with any audience.
Nobody ever really feels like having a spa day until they have all the items to make it possible, which is where the At-Home Spa Kit Basket can help.
Your basket should include everything a person needs to relax and indulge themselves at home:
You can take your basket to the next level by including a gift certificate to a local day spa in there as well.
This is a quick and easy Chinese Auction basket idea because it is easy for a procurement team to secure a membership at a local institution.
Depending on your audience, build a basket (or multiple baskets) with memberships to:
These baskets are a great last-minute idea that can appeal to a wide range of donors. Depending on your audience, you can bundle memberships together or have them all be separate packages with other items.
The ultimate Chinese Auction basket might be the Lottery Ticket Basket. It is relatively inexpensive to pull together, can be visual exciting and engaging, and, of course, stands to be a huge windfall for the winner.
Lottery Ticket Baskets are always a huge draw at Chinese Auctions because donors can often justify bidding a few tickets on an item that could win them thousands!
Before your auction, send a volunteer to buy as many lottery tickets as you would like. A best practice is to include a wide variety of tickets from all different levels of games. Then, arrange the tickets in your basket in a visually appealing way.
While this is definitely an easy basket idea, it is also a big-ticket item that is sure to be one of the highlights of your evening!
Now that you’ve read through these 14 creative ideas for your next Chinese Auction, it’s time to talk to your team and brainstorm even more ideas.
Once you decide on which baskets you’ll be offering at your fundraiser, the fun begins! Divide and conquer the outreach to businesses, individuals, and other sponsors who will donate items or contribute dollars towards a basket (or a few!).
Remember: look for ways to automate your Chinese Auction with auction fundraising software and find ways to get rid of paper bids sheets for donor ease and maximum engagement!