A school auction is a great way to add fuel to your fundraising engine and drive forward your mission. As we continue to evolve past COVID-19, and into a new normal, schools are seeing an increased need to bring donors together – not just for fundraising, but for community building too!
Schools have a built-in culture of strong support and networks to power their fundraising. All you need is the right auction ideas to set your next school auction up for success.
We’ve put together a list of 50 auction items that are bound to be an A+ with your guests!
This guide will walk you through our favorite school auction ideas that are sure to rock your next auction. Let’s dive into the top 50 best school auction items.
Some auction items are true veterans that perform well in almost every school auction. By featuring certain proven auction winners at your school fundraiser, there’s a high chance that they will be get bid on, drive revenue, and get taken home at the end of your auction.
These tried and true auction ideas are PTO approved and ready to impress your school community. Supercharge your auction with these amazing school auction ideas.
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 ensures that your big-ticket items, like travel packages, can excite guests and generate more bids without risking your event budget. They’re an excellent solution for schools who hope to auction off upscale items but might not be able to procure them otherwise.
When your audience is interested in education, a ‘Donated Lessons’ package makes perfect sense.
Have your procurement team scour your community for professionals in an area of expertise and look for unique or valuable services you can include in your auction. The sky is the limit on how creative and lucrative these school auction items can be.
Popular donated lesson or service items include:
The talent in your community is endless, so take advantage of your network for a package that would cost you next to nothing. Whether the lesson is sports, music, or arts, you will see bids climb for this auction item.
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 your building or simply want to place a plaque in someone’s honor, give your community the opportunity to support that person through your school auction. Your audience will see the exponential value of a name dedication.
Some unique name dedication ideas include:
Wine pulls are a fun additional fundraising strategy you can incorporate into your charity auction or another fundraising events.
All you need is well, wine! In your school auction, you sell supporters the opportunity to choose a random bottle of wine from a wall or table. The wine can be valued anywhere from $10-Priceless. It’s good to have a few really great bottles in your collection, to entice people to purchase.
Follow these steps to execute an awesome wine pull:
A wine pull is a game of chance with a tempting prize that not many of your guests will be able to refuse.
Unique experiences are another great idea for generating interest and competitive bids at your next school auction. Thrill the entire family with a package of theme park tickets.
Disney, Universal Studios or Six Flag’s may seem like a distant dream to your supporters and their children—but it doesn’t have to be.
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 a theme park is always a reliable school auction performer.
Sometimes the coolest, best days of school came from someone in your class winning an auction item.
Put yourself in the shoes of a kid —what did you think was legendary when you were 10 years old?
Try to think of items that parents will want or that their kids will want. Offering special perks is a reliable way to generate interest and bids. Best of all, these ideas won’t cost your school a cent to offer.
We’ve complied the best auction item ideas for elementary and middle schools. Give your community the option to be able to give a great experience to their kids
Think back to elementary school. What would you have given to be principal for a day?
This winning item is a go-to for any school auction. No matter how old your kids are, they will love being named principal for a day, and getting to run the school.
Get creative with your principal for the day package by adding “fun perks” to include along with it. Think about offering:
Ask beloved teachers or staff members donate special experiences for students. Winning a unique experience with a teacher they admire will make the students in your audience feel special.
Plus, this school auction item offers something one-of-a-kind, so it’s sure to spark some bid competition!
Popular ideas include:
Surprise field trips spark excitement and energy throughout the school. Securing this auction item is as easy as working with the teacher to ensure the trip fits within the lesson plan and finding a location!
You can really get creative with these school auction ideas and create fun experiences that drive auction proceeds too.
Themed gift baskets are probably the most classic of all our favorite auction item ideas. So why not put together one that’s perfect for teachers?
Baskets are appealing auction items that are fairly easy to procure and assemble. They’re also perfect smaller-ticket sellers for schools that wish to provide a wide range of items to accommodate various income levels.
A teacher appreciation gift basket is an incredibly versatile way to offer your teachers items they’ll love all in one package.
If there’s a particularly popular or critically-acclaimed movie in your area, consider reaching out to your local theater’s general manager and soliciting a donation of a special movie package.
Nothing beats being able to see the movie everyone’s been talking about—especially when movie ticket prices seem like they get more expensive every day.
Give adults and children alike the opportunity to watch the worlds of fantasy, romance, action, and thrill on the big screen.
For animal-loving kiddos, this is the perfect set-up to learn and have fun. Bring the zoo to your students to offer a meaningful animal encounter that will broaden their animal horizons.
You are guaranteed to have at least one set of parents that has a child crazy about all things animals. Even if you don’t, your guests will see the value in offering students this day of exposure to the animal kingdom.
Everybody screams for ice cream! An ice scream social gives a one-of-a-kind experience for a class, a grade, or the entire school.
Have your procurement team chat with the popular ice cream shops in your community and solicit a donation.
Give your donors the gift of letting the kids cool out (before school is out) with an ice cream social.
Touch-a-truck events are interactive events that allow children to see, touch, and learn about their favorite trucks and cars. They also get the chance to meet the people that own them and use them.
Reach out to your city departments and local businesses that car-loving kids would crave to meet and learn about. Think about reaching out to your local:
You can offer the best day possible for a kid obsessed with speed, thrill, and machinery. Turn this auction item idea into a reality in your next school auction!
Give the gift that keeps growing to honor a friend or celebrate an event that also adds to the landscape around your school.
Parents want to give back to the school that gave their kids such an invaluable education, so let them use the tree dedication auction item to communicate their gratitude.
Each time the parents drop off their kid at school, they will be able to see a visual representation of what the school means to them.
For a high school auction, elevate your auction item ideas for a little bit older demographic. Think about days that you socialized with your friends in high school and try to replicate that in an auction item with the help of your community.
If it’s not an experience you’re after, perks and material things are the way to go. We’ve put together the following auction item ideas with the most fundraising potential that high schoolers will love.
In any school community there are hopefully at least one or two families with lake or vacation houses (beach, ski, mountain houses, etc.) that can be offered up as an awesome school auction idea.
To truly take this item and your school auction to the next level, consider packaging it with a nice welcome basket for the winner. Include:
Finishing high school can be hard for students and parents alike. Make the transition easier with a college prep basket at your next school auction.
Swap the traditional basket out with a laundry hamper and fill it with:
Remember, even without a single main attraction item like a luxury getaway, your auction can be a huge success with a few perfectly developed themed baskets that pack tons of value into a single package.
A great way to ensure you hit the nail on the head is by offering items that are totally specific to your school.
If your school doesn’t allow students off-campus for lunch, this is a great auction idea. A student and a friend can go down the street to whatever lunch spot is closest for a fun mid-week break.
Think about offering:
You can even increase the value of this item by adding in gift cards to any popular restaurants by your school.
Many high schools, even public schools, now implement some sort of uniform to keep students in line and respectful in class.
If your school has a uniform, give parents the chance to bid on spirit wear days where students can wear whatever they want. These usually come in a pack of 4 or 5 so the family really gets the biggest bang for their buck.
High school seniors will especially appreciate college spirit wear days. Let them strut their future school pride and offer an auction item that overrides the school uniform and gives them some freedom with their new spirit wear.
This is a go-to school auction item for good reason. It’s fun, out of the norm, and a real win for the highest-bidding family.
If you’re a fan of seeing the most recent movies, you know the prices can add up quickly. Give your guests the option to give back to their school instead of paying $15 for each movie they go see.
Talk to your local movie theaters and find out if they would donate a movie ticket subscription 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 differentiate your movie packages with these ideas:
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!
What would be better than rolling into the high school parking lot on an electric bicycle? If your audience is a small community that lives close to the school, consider an electric bicycle as an auction idea for your next auction.
A huge perk of this auction item idea is that if you can display it the night of the event, it’s sure to draw a crowd and infinitely raise the fundraising potential. Not to mention it’s a green (and cheaper) alternative to buying a 16-year-old a car!
Believe it or not, parking spots lead to the most competitive bidding wars. Whether it’s a parking spot on the school property or a parking pass for downtown city living folks, the convenience of pulling into a spot with your name on it is tough to beat.
Creative add-ons to this package include:
One lucky supporter could walk away with a great gift to give to their driving high schooler.
Summer break can be a crazy time for families with younger children, so if you’re hosting an auction, bring summer to your guests with a ‘Day at the Beach’ basket. Fill it with fun ideas to get your audience excited for warm weather. Think about including:
Parents need a chance to relax, connect, and have FUN! Your auction must contain items that get parents excited for a night out on the town, day or relaxation, or an experience of a lifetime.
Your auction is sure to be a wild success with these top 9 PTA/PTO auction item ideas.
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:
Take your date night package to the next level and offer arranged childcare for the night!
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.
If your donor base largely consists of parents and young families, free childcare packages might be excellent and unique school auction ideas to consider. Everyone wants some time away!
Reach out to local, reputable childcare services – including daycare centers, after-school programs, and professional nanny services. Discuss arranging a donation of their services or a reduced rate that your nonprofit could pay once a minimum bid has been reached on the childcare package.
Make it a win-win and include a few things for the kids to do as well:
Give parents a well-deserved day or night off and you’re bound to generate some healthy competition.
Would your donor base be interested in golf-related auction items? 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.
Aspiring golfers are sure to spark a bidding war on a golf package. Some of the most high performing auction items are lessons. The winner will walk away with a new skill that they can use for years to come.
In this package, offer two months’ worth of lessons from a professional golf teacher in your area. Set the winner up for success by including some additional items to use as well:
Want to take this package to the next level? Use a golf bag as the auction item basket!
Fine dining experiences have long been one of the most reliable school auction ideas for nonprofits. Restaurants are often happy to donate special reservations and meals to good causes because it generates great publicity, building stronger relationships with the community at large.
If there’s a particularly popular, cutting-edge, or critically acclaimed restaurant in your area, consider reaching out to its general manager and soliciting a donation of a special package or reservation. There are multiple ways to offer special dining items and experiences to your auction attendees. Consider these options:
Dining-themed auction item ideas are great for filling out your auction with reliable performers. They’re not typically the big-ticket items that get donors in the door, but they’re excellent for driving revenue across the event as a whole.
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.
Wine is a tried-and-true staple of charity auctions. Trips to Napa Valley, winery tours, cases of vintage wine, and more have always been magnets for bids.
There’s another drink that’s catching the eye of donors: craft beer!
This school auction idea is as easy as combining these two items:
Craft beer is hugely popular right now, and any basket stocked with high-quality, local beers is sure to be a hit.
How many times have you heard “There’s just not enough time in the day”? We all dream of having our own personal assistant – someone to help us check off things on that never-ending to-do list.
Make that dream come true for some of your members by offering up time with a personal assistant! The winner can use their personal assistant however they choose (within reason of course) such as:
We all live busy lives. The winner of the 24 hours with an assistant would receive something truly invaluable: more time in the day.
That means this item is truly priceless! Bidding wars are sure to spark over this school auction item idea.
Create the perfect basket to bring out the chef in any donor. The winner of this auction item can learn to cook like a pro with local chefs!
Reach out to local professional chefs or cooking schools and see if one will offer two free spots in one of their cooking classes.
Bundle the lessons with a few extra items to sweeten the deal, such as:
If your donor base is full of die-hard sports fans, you need to wow them with your auction items. Grab their attention with the following items and experiences.
These auction items for sports fundraisers are sure to be a slam dunk, hole-in-one, and home run!
If you’re looking for auction items that will grab your donors’ attention, look no further than game day tickets! Event tickets are some of the easiest ways for nonprofits to offer amazing experiences to their bidders.
Your procurement committee should be on the lookout early in the planning process for any upcoming sporting events that generate a lot of interest. Think about:
Do you know someone in your area with season tickets? Ask if they would be willing to donate a pair of tickets to your cause! Grabbing game day tickets at little to no cost will allow for more money to go towards powering your mission.
If you can secure it, signed sports memorabilia is a school auction idea that can really spark a bidding war! Your organization can go about this in two ways:
Imagine giving one lucky winner the chance to play 1v1 with their basketball hero! There’s no denying that a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet a sports super star would drive your auction bids higher and higher.
Wondering what this experience may look like? Here are some ideas to get you started:
For your sports enthusiasts, this rare opportunity 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’re looking for a unique school auction idea, new sports equipment is sure to be a popular one! Parents are sure to be excited to get their kids outside to play, and these items are sure to bring in the bids. Think of including:
There’s nothing a sports fan loves more than a fun-filled tailgate. The fresh air, the smell of the grill, and the excitement of the game is something you can’t beat!
Give your sports-fans the gift of an unforgettable tailgate experience. In this auction package, be sure to include:
We all are in need of a good car wash. And nothing says team bonding quite like a team carwash! Team up with your school’s football team to shine up the wheels of one lucky winner.
Make sure their car stays squeaky clean and throw in some extra goodies by including a car kit in this auction package. Some ideas include:
Take best seat in the house to a whole new level! For parents and fans, this item will be a hot commodity. Offer a reserved spot for the BEST seat in the stadium.
Don’t stop there though! In your auction package, be sure to include:
Amp up the excitement for this package! There’s sure to be a bidding war over this priceless experience.
There’s nothing like the pride a parent takes in their child’s team. Put a personal touch to the auction and include home team jerseys that are signed by each team member.
The package should contain the following:
Whether it’s a signed jersey or a customized plates or plaques, quality framing and display cases are highly valued among sports fans.
Give your donors the unique opportunity of a framing service to preserve their most prized sporting possessions.
Framing services aren’t just limited to jerseys! Think outside of the box with specialty or autographed:
While your organization should focus on bringing in a few high-ticket items, low-cost school auction items are exactly what you need to drive proceeds toward your mission.
These 9 school auction ideas come at little to no cost to your organization, leaving you with more money to use for your school’s initiatives.
If your school skews younger, a school art project is a low-cost, high-performing auction item idea. Parents with younger children are completely enamored with things their children create. This poses the perfect opportunity for your school auction!
Easy items include:
Photos from school picture day are memories that will last a lifetime. Why not give donors a chance to bid on the ability to win free school photos for the rest of their child’s school career?
Winning school photos that they can share with the whole family while also giving back to the school? It’s a win-win for your school and your donors!
Throw in a few picture frames to make this low-cost item even more appealing.
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:
We all know the way to a person’s heart is with four paws! As a meaningful auction item idea, offer a pet-a-pup experience.
You can go about creating a pet-a-pup experience in two different ways:
This top item for a school auction is ideal where parking spaces are limited. Offer your donors an auction item that is sure to drive up bids: the ability to drive in directly to the parking place in front of the entrance – the spot belonging to none other than the school principle.
The winner of this school auction idea will find that morning drop-offs or evening pick-ups are a breeze. (And it’s sure to score some major points with the kids as well).
What better way to celebrate fun in the sun than with a water balloon fight? Everyone will appreciate the opportunity get outside, have fun, and cool down during a hot summer day.
Offer to have it at the school to avoid the mess at home and include:
A water balloon fight is a school auction idea with a great potential return on investment. All you need are balloons and water and you have one happy donor. (And lots of happy kids!)
Why hold off on the spookiness of Halloween when you can have Halloween in Spring? When looking for inexpensive silent auction items, this is your go-to.
Offer your donors the ability for their child’s class to dress up for the day and go trick-or-treating around the school!
Package up this Halloween in Spring with:
Once the leaves have fallen and it starts to get chilly outside, donors will be eager to find some help for their yard.
Offering a yard clean up service is sure to get the bids rolling. To make sure the winner’s yard stays beautiful, include:
Around springtime, it’s very popular for people to do garden work around the house and around the church. Why not include a garden tool set as an auction item for donors to bid on? Ask the local home goods store if they’ll donate:
Parents who are tired of waiting in the school’s lengthy student pick-up line soon will LOVE this item! Start massive bidding wars with the chance to skip the crowds for the rest of the year.
This auction item will hold the ability to skip the carpool line and travel straight to the school’s doors to pick up your children at the end of the day.
Use this infographic to help your event planning committee decide between different school auction ideas. The best auction items are those that are very popular with your community and have the potential to raise a lot of money for your cause.
When planning your fundraising event, don’t forget to maximize the donations that you receive through different avenues. Either during the registration process or when following up after the event, ask your supporters about the matching gift eligibility and provide them with a way to look up their employers’ programs if they don’t know.
Including corporate philanthropy in your fundraising strategy allows you to raise more from the supporters that already care for your mission without having to ask them to dig deeper in their own pockets. Plus, companies appreciate the opportunity to support a good cause when it aligns with their values.
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Check out these additional resources to make sure your school auction is the best yet: