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5 Ideas for Live Auction Items


What are good live auction items to be considered, and why does a benefit auctioneer work the best at events?

Our clients often ask us, “What items should I have at my live auction?!” With so many options, it can be hard to know where to start, and even more difficult to know what your audience is looking for. To make the planning process a bit easier, we’ve put together five ideas to get you started on the right path. We’ll also discuss the value of having a Benefit Auctioneer at your event, and how these individuals influence the bidding process.

  1. Identify Your Audience – For success at your live auction, you must know your audience. Begin brainstorming items to offer by creating a profile of your average supporter. Consider their lifestyle: Do they have families? What kind of jobs do they hold? Do you have more male or female supporters? What do they do in their downtime? What are their hobbies? A high-end auction will not be as successful if you are giving your guests low-end items. On the other hand, a public school auction may not do well if you are auctioning off trips to the wine country that might be out of your bidders’ budgets. Knowing your audience allows you to plan for success. Figure out what they want and find a way to deliver.
  2. Create Your Item Roadmap – Now that you’ve identified your audience, make a roadmap of items you predict will be most successful at your auction. This is where a wrap-up meeting after your events can come in handy. After every auction you hold, make a summary of the items that went fastest and those that took more “selling.” If there were items that didn’t get any attention, make sure you avoid those and similar items for future events. If this is your first event or your first year acting as an organizer and you are unsure of the outcome of previous auctions, it may be helpful to speak with past committees or a few of your supporters you have good relationships with. They can help point you in the right direction.
  3. Offer Unique and Cause-specific Items – One of the most successful items that we see for smaller auctions, such as schools or small nonprofits, are items specific to the cause. We have often witnessed “Once-in-a-lifetime” experiences going for the most money. For school fundraisers, you may auction passes for “Principal for a Day” or the prime parking spot right in front of the school. These are items that cost you nothing and are ONLY available at your fundraising event.
  4. Leverage Your Locale – The next most successful items are those connected to popular spots in your city. For example, Auction Frogs is based in Boise and many of the events we support are centered here, as well. That means that the guests at our local charity events are very interested in Boise items, such as Boise State University Football packages, staycation/date nights in downtown Boise, or nearby adventures in our beautiful outdoors.
  5. Give Them An Experience – For larger auctions with elite attendees, we often find that trips are hot ticket items. Vacation packages perform amazingly well because the bidder is often getting a great deal on a getaway while supporting their favorite cause. It’s a win-win situation! While trips are hard to solicit, we do have resources to help. (Ask us how you can utilize our consignment partners, Winspire.)

Keep in mind that these items only perform well if they are being auctioned off properly. This is where skilled and experienced Benefit Auctioneers can make all the difference in the success of your auction. These professionals know your crowd and how to work the room to get bids moving out of pure experience and enticement. Benefit Auctioneers are perhaps the single best investment to ensure the success of your fundraising event. Not only do they add an element of fun and entertainment to your live auction, but they are especially talented at reading your audience, encouraging bids, and increasing your revenue.

If you have any questions about items specific to your auction or need a good recommendation for a Benefit Auctioneer, please reach out. Our team is always willing to chat via phone at 208-321-5515 or email to [email protected].



About the author

Auction Frogs
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Auction Frogs streamlines your fundraising process by giving live and silent auctions a digital backbone. Reduce hassles, save valuable volunteer time, and increase your revenue raised. We deliver unique technology to simplify the experience of hosting a successful fundraiser.

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