The right live auction packages can turn a fun gala into a truly exciting one. Your most loyal supporters deserve the best, right? After all, your nonprofit’s annual gala is the event of the season. Your community looks forward all year to the festivities — the dinner, the music, the ceremonies — but most of all, the live auction!
We know that in-person galas aren’t possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but when it comes down to it, live auction packages are an essential and successful fundraising tool to use in the virtual world as well! See how a OneCause customer pivoted their silent and live auction event online, here.
These live auction package ideas can be tweaked and modified to fit any fundraising plan. For now, we are going to cover the top 25 live auction packages that have always performed well in any auction. And together, we will continue to be hopeful that we get back to the ‘ballroom’ together very soon.
Live auctions are among the most popular and reliable fundraising events for nonprofit organizations. They’re a perfect way to raise financial support while hosting an unforgettable night that will keep your donors engaged with your work for years to come.
We’ve selected the 25 top live auction packages and ideas for your next fundraiser!
These auction item ideas are some of the most popular and reliable choices for nonprofits hosting live charity auctions. These favorites span a range of budgets, making them adaptable for organizations of all sizes.
They all fall into one of these 5 main categories:
Remember that high-performing auction items tend to have a few characteristics in common:
When planning any type of charity auction, it’s important to draw from a wide range of auction item ideas! Use this list as a launching pad as you continue to plan and procure all the items and packages you’ll need. By considering your supporters, their needs and abilities, you can find the perfect items to get them excited and engaged.
Think about your major donors and event attendees. What are their interests? Their hobbies? Think carefully about what will get them really excited and eager to place their bids.
This section will cover the top 5 live auction package ideas. These ideas will be:
The king of all live auction packages — a luxury vacation to an exotic or exciting destination.
All-inclusive trips to the Caribbean, Cancun, or the South Pacific are guaranteed crowd-pleasers.
If you’re offering a bundled vacation or experience package in your auction, consider adding an excursion to increase its value. Think scuba diving or parasailing.
Added excursions can be fairly expensive, so if you can secure donated services, you stand to offer your guests an exciting and extremely valuable auction item!
The key to securing an amazing luxury vacation package for your next live auction or gala event? Partner with an experienced booking and concierge service like Winspire.
What better way to get your gala attendees excited than offering them to chance to live out their dreams that they couldn’t get anywhere else? Give your donors the adventure of a lifetime with an incredible VIP experience package.
Unique auction item ideas are a great way to boost revenue and guest engagement, and VIP items will generate a lot of competition.
Think of places you can incorporate VIP moments into. For example:
Generate some buzz with these very important packages (VIP)!
Sometimes it feels like electronics rule our lives. We do so much with our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, it can be a major inconvenience to use outdated or broken electronic tools. Why not offer your donors the chance to win a new high-quality tech tool in your next live auction or gala event?
Electronics make for very reliable live auction packages. New tools and trends are always emerging, which means that demand for the newest tools and toys remains extremely steady (and high).
Consider offering these sorts of electronics:
Solicit items from local vendors or partner with a procurement service to help find electronics items on consignment.
Next, create some auction packages! You might bundle a new TV, speakers, and wine and cheese basket as the ultimate movie night package. Or maybe a fancy new camera, gift certificate to local a sporting goods store, and a trip to a national park could be the perfect wildlife photography package!
Unique experiences are another great idea for generating interest (and competitive bids) at your live charity auction.
You can find unique experience packages, like special tours or backstage passes with included travel arrangements, through consignment item providers, but event tickets themselves are some of the easiest ways for organizations to offer amazing experiences to their bidders.
Any sort of live, ticketed experience that your donor base would be interested in attending is fair game:
Your auction item procurement team should be on the lookout early in the planning process for any upcoming live events that generate a lot of interest.
A hit Broadway musical is a great example; if your organization can afford to secure tickets early, you’re guaranteed to raise plenty of support once the show’s been sold out for a few months. Don’t forget to explore your options with consignment package providers, or even consider soliciting donated tickets from artists or venues, too.
Offering a family experience rather than a physical product reaps great rewards. Think about pairing it with gift cards and restaurant certificates to complete the experience.
Tickets to any event that is popular in your community or worldwide is always a reliable live auction performer.
They are one of our favorite live auction packages for a reason; they highlight your sponsor as well as raise money for your cause!
Your corporate sponsorship packages must be compelling and engaging with effective messaging to catch the eye of a guest in a lineup of live auction packages.
In this package, you could include:
It has been proven time and again that people love branded products. It doesn’t matter if it’s a coffee mug, stickers, a t-shirt, or anything else you can slap your logo onto, people will want it.
Branded products are so effective because they’re walking advertisements for the organization they feature and typically serve a functional purpose as well. These make perfect auction items because they’re guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.
You already have the relationship with your corporate sponsor, so maximize it even further and offer a mutually benefiting corporate sponsor package!
Big-ticket travel packages are classic auction items because, well, they work! They’re extremely effective at:
With the help of consignment packages, these amazing auction items are within reach for auctions of all sizes. By partnering with a consignment item or package provider, your organization pays only for what sells.
This section will cover 5 auction package ideas for vacation getaways. These ideas will be:
If you’re using charity auction software to help plan and execute your event, ask your vendor about their preferred item procurement partners! Partnerships like these can save your nonprofit time and money while boosting donations and engagement!
The right vacation package will be a major attraction of your gala, sure to increase attendance and engagement. The thought of winning a luxurious escape to somewhere they’ve never been before is the perfect way to get the crowd buzzing with excitement right before your auction begins!
Your donors might jump at the chance to win a guided an Irish getaway or Tuscan culinary tour.
Exotic getaways are always popular, so explore your options, and get ready to heavily promote your big-ticket live auction travel package!
This package is a surefire way to please any adventurers in your audience, especially those with children.
Elevate this live auction package with:
Exotic getaways are always popular, but family-friendly vacations and packages geared towards either older or younger donors might be a smart move depending on the demographics of your audience.
You’ve seen the movies when a family piles into the car for a cross-country road-trip, so give your donors the chance to bring that movie script to life with this family-friendly road trip experience.
The winner will walk away with a spring break to remember that is already planned and unique!
You could even display this package as a basket! Include all the sunny summer items to set the winner up for success:
This would be a hit at a school auction that is guaranteed to spark a bidding war on a spring break getaway.
Give your guests the treat of a vacation getaway with a unique glance into that areas culture and history!
If you’re not historically inclined, here are some ideas to make sure to attract the big history buffs at your auction:
You could even keep it local and give your guests a new experience and historical background in their hometown!
Like other silent auction basket ideas or themed packages, a staycation package is a flexible way to offer your guests exciting items and generate more bids.
Think about what your city or area has to offer and build a package that gives your winner the perfect vacation weekend that doesn’t require them to travel. A few popular items to include might be:
Alternately, you might choose to take a more “relaxing rainy weekend at home” angle when designing your staycation package.
In this case, try including various beauty and bath products, candles, snacks and drinks, movies or books, and gift certificates for food delivery services.
You can take a flexible approach to this auction item idea, but just be sure to consider what sorts of items will best catch the attention of your organization’s donor base.
A classic auction item idea for nonprofits of all missions and sizes, the tried-and-true themed basket is an old favorite.
Themed baskets are an extremely flexible way to offer live auction packages. You can fine-tune the right level of luxury or practicality to suit your donors and the nature of your event.
Then get creative to come up with the perfect themes to catch their attention! These packages can make great items for both your live and silent auction events.
Fancy (or not-so-fancy) auction nights are a classic fundraising idea for schools, too! Creating live auction packages for school and family events, though, requires that items have a broader or more kid-friendly appeal than many traditional auction packages typically do.
Consider these popular themes, and brainstorm all the items, gift certificates, or vouchers you might include:
A top-of-the-line tent with sleeping bags, water bottles, maps, and lanterns might get your donors very excited.
Life can be a crazy time for families with younger children, so if you’re hosting an auction, bring a fun family activity to your guests with a Picnic/Camping basket. Fill it with fun ideas to get your audience excited for family time. Think about including:
Feel free to cater it more toward either camping or a picnic. You could even reach out to your local park and have them donate a shelter for a day to really make it a party for this live auction package winner!
One of the number one school auction 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.
All parents love a night out (no matter how old their kids are). Luckily, the ideas are endless with parent’s night out packages – popular items include:
If it makes sense for your audience, take your date night package to the next level and offer arranged childcare for the night!
Silent auctions offer a great way for your school to get involved with your local business community. A great way to qualify potential leads here is to ask yourself which local businesses would be connected to your cause and eager to increase their awareness with the demographic that will be attending your event.
Then ask if they’d be willing to make a donation! When looking for local businesses, think about:
It’s a win-win for all parties involved—the local business builds community awareness, you increase fundraising dollars, and a luck guest will be the winning bidder!
A classic item idea for charity auctions, wine is an old stand-by for a few reasons. You can find nice wines that suit a wide range of budgets, tastes, and audiences, but competition will really kick into high gear if you’re able to secure a particularly rare vintage.
Charcuterie goods and local food plus fine wines make for an extremely appealing basket.
For live auctions, creating a package of several bottles can be a good idea, and including wine in one or two of your themed baskets or food-related packages is an easy way to boost their value and appeal. Especially valuable bottles can typically stand on their own for bidding, though.
If you have enough bottles on hand, you might even create an additional activity for your accompanying silent auction event. They’re called “wine walls” or “wine pulls”, and they’re one of our favorite ways to increase revenue and guest engagement at events. Learn more about wine walls with our guide.
Think soaps, facial masks, robes, and maybe even a “massages for a year” package!
Who could resist?
Have your donors feeling relaxed, recharged, and refreshed with a spa day package. With a themed spa day package for your auction, your guests will be excited to win their own assortment of relaxation and beauty products.
There are two approaches you might take when curating a spa day package:
Whichever approach you choose will depend on the specifics of your event and your audience, but the main idea is tap into your donors’ desire for a quiet, relaxing, and luxurious experience.
Depending on your budget and the scale of your auction, consider presenting some of your big-ticket live auction packages within baskets. For instance, your local winery tour could be packaged in a wine and cheese lover basket or incorporate a yearly benefits package as discussed above in Idea #3.
Artwork and culture-related items are old standbys when it comes to live charity auctions. They’re an especially reliable way to attract the attention of more traditional major donors.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean your arts and culture live auction packages have to be “highbrow.” Just think about what your donors and attendees enjoy. Remember, pop culture is culture, too! Get creative to find the right packages for your event and audience.
Arts and culture items make excellent cornerstones of larger live auction packages. Tickets to a major exhibition opening at the local art museum could be paired with dinner reservations and transportation for the night. A signed football goes great with season passes! Get creative to package your items in ways that generate more excitement, but make sure they still remain reasonably-valued for your event’s target donors.
Consider offering experience packages like these top performers:
Talk to your local theaters and find out if they would donate a ticket package as an auction item at your next event.
It’s a win-win situation—the winner will most likely bring their friends (more business for the movie theatre) and the winner gets to see a handful of the hottest new movies!
You can even make pre-show a part of the perk! A 3-course meal, VIP tickets to the hottest show in town, and a backstage meet-and-greet are sure to generate some buzz.
Another classic live auction item includes a regional artist spotlight!
Depending on your core base of support, your mission, and the scale of your auction event, focusing your procurement efforts on art and culture live auction packages might be a very smart move.
To get started, work within your community network and reach out to a local artist to gauge their interest in partnering for a charitable cause. The positive promotion that auction events provide is often a strong motivator!
Plus, remember that art makes great online auction items, too! Find a top mobile bidding software that lets you fully customize your listings and packages.
A year-long membership to a local museum is another great school auction idea because it provides long-term value. Consider reaching out to:
These institutions are typically nonprofits themselves and will likely be eager to form a mutually supportive partnership.
Auction items, like museum memberships, that provide long-term value are perfect for school auctions because they can be easily adapted to stand alone or be bundled in a package.
With auctions, it can sometimes be more difficult to maintain high energy across the entirety of the event.
This means organizations might need to bundle more of their items together in order to prevent creating a buyer’s market in which some items might not receive much attention on their own.
All the bookworms in your donor base will be ecstatic with this live auction package. Offer everything you would need for a cozy weekend of reading is offered in this book club package!
Beef this live auction package up with:
This would be great for a school auction or if you know book clubs are popular in your community!
Contact a local music venue — rock or classical, your pick — and discuss setting up a 12-ticket bundle package. Your donor will have an exciting new musical experience to attend each month for a whole year.
If you’re looking for an attention-grabbing auction item idea, make sure to consider concert tickets.
You know your audience best, so decide which concerts would sell the best at your school auction. You can even put multiple tickets in a package to increase the fundraising potential.
Tickets to see Celine Dion or Justin Bieber in concert are irresistible—use that to your advantage for a great cause!
Your team might need to get a little creative with this one, but live auction packages that provide year-long benefits are extremely popular with donors! Plus, this idea is more flexible for organizations of all sizes than more luxurious packages might be.
A number of settings and venues are tailor-made for live auctions. However, one of the most popular spaces for live auctions is a gala.
Galas are large parties filled with many different types of entertainment and events. An auction can easily be incorporated into the program to provide organizations with an extra opportunity to fundraise.
This section will cover 5 auction package ideas perfect for gala events. They include:
Would your donor base be interested in golf-related auction items? If yes, a country club membership package may be just what you’re looking for.
Have your procurement team explore your area and see if any current or retired pro golfers live nearby. Like other professional athletes or celebrities, pro golfers are typically eager to help support good causes in their communities.
Some perks to a country club membership include:
The main idea, though, is that this live auction package will be extremely popular among the right donors with a passion for golf. You’re bound to generate some healthy competition with this one!
Celebrity meetups are a classic auction item idea because they reliably generate a lot of interest from guests. If you want to offer a celebrity meetup, like a lunch or dinner at a popular restaurant, have your procurement team start by carefully considering your audience.
If your organization or charity has partnered or worked with a celebrity in the past (or if you have any famous names on your donor list!), start by reaching out to them or their managers to discuss donating some time.
Partnering with charities is excellent publicity for celebrities, and many are eager to contribute to causes that they hold dear. Medical research and educational causes, for instance, regularly offer celebrity meetups to their auction donors.
Think about which public figures your donors would love to meet, or which celebrities your donors’ kids would love to meet. For the best results, make sure that the celebrity is interested in your mission and that their work is as relevant as possible to your donors’ interests.
Wondering what this experience may look like? Here are some ideas to get you started:
For your sports enthusiasts, this could be a rare opportunity for them to spend time with a sports legend and have an athletic experience beyond their wildest dreams will be wildly popular at your event.
If you can secure it, signed memorabilia is a live auction package idea that can really generate gamification in your live auction!
Signed memorabilia from current house-hold names: Bring a personal aspect to your auction and auction off items from living legends (known world-wide or just local)!
If your procurement team can find memorabilia and the 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. What does that mean for your auction? An item in limited supply is an item in higher demand!
Fashion stylist consultations are bound to be a winning live auction package with the ladies in the audience.
If you want to offer a fashion consultation, have your procurement team start by carefully considering your audience. If your organization or charity has offered a similarly female-driven item in the past with success, start by reaching out to someone at a local boutique, or if a professional fashion stylist is in your circle, ask away!
Partnering with charities is excellent publicity for local boutiques and fashion stylists. For many of them, this could mean new potential clients in the right audience.
Fashion is always changing, along with your donors’ wishes to be up to date with the latest trends!
Honor a longtime supporter of the school and a well-respected member of the community with a legacy gift that lasts forever.
If you’re planning on adding onto a building or simply want to place a plaque in someone’s honor, give your community the opportunity to support that person through your live auction. Your audience will see the exponential value of a name dedication.
Some unique name dedication ideas include:
It may seem simple, but a name can bring to light the passion and pride of the community they live in.
Perfect your next auction strategy with these resources: