25 Simple & Unique Silent Auction Basket Ideas for Nonprofits

Silent auctions are money makers, but coming up with unique and these silent basket ideas isn’t always easy. Putting together the best silent auction basket to entice audiences and raise more money is often a frightful task for nonprofits. In this article, we’ll discuss the best silent auction basket ideas to raise money.

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25 Simple & Unique Silent Auction Basket Ideas for Nonprofits

silent auction basket ideas

Silent auctions are money makers, but coming up with unique and themed silent basket ideas isn’t always easy. When you reach out to companies or businesses, most provide you with gift certificates or single items. From there, putting together the best silent auction baskets to entice audiences and raise money is often a frightful task for nonprofits. Not any more!

In this article, we discuss the best ideas for silent auction baskets that you can easily implement to raise money with your next silent auction event.

  1. Sports team basket
  2. Golf baskets
  3. Travel baskets
  4. Summer fun
  5. Movies-themed baskets
  6. Spa baskets
  7. A basket for wine lovers
  8. Beer-themed baskets
  9. A basket with camping items
  10. Baskets for art lovers
  11. A basket to entice foodies
  12. Pet-lovers’ basket
  13. Pop-culture-themed baskets
  14. A basket promoting family game nights
  15. One for the adventure lovers
  16. Baskets for the local techies
  17. Cigar baskets
  18. A basket with car detailing items
  19. A mystery basket
  20. Gift certificate bouquets
  21. A basket from the farmers’ market
  22. A basket promoting parents’ night out
  23. Craft lovers’ basket
  24. One to help donors meet a local celebrity
  25. An all-access pass for families

But first, let’s see how you can create the best silent auction basket for your nonprofit.

4 Tips on Creating The Best Silent Auction Basket for Nonprofits

1. Use your volunteers

Supporters are always looking for ways they can help. One area nonprofits must use volunteers in is finding silent auction basket items.

Most of your supporters have personal relationships with local businesses and individuals. These relationships can bring in unique and worthwhile gifts you won’t be able to find on your own.

When planning your next silent auction event, be sure to ask members of your event committee to create a list of potential in-kind donors and split the list, so each member has a few companies to solicit. If a specific volunteer has a connection with a company, let them make the ask.

2. Create themes

Silent auction baskets are all about themes. Nonprofits need to create themed baskets that match their audience. If your event is a gala and most guests are professionals, your silent auction baskets may need to have a higher value. Themes like travel, spa days, and wine lovers will inspire higher donations. If you’re holding a family-friendly event, movies and parent’s night-out themed baskets will be more popular.

3. Combine smaller gifts

When soliciting silent auction baskets, your nonprofit is likely to receive more than a few items that don’t seem to fit. This does not mean you should throw these items away or put them on a dusty shelf to ignore.

Silent auction baskets are all about creativity. A pair of gloves or small toy won’t fetch much on its own, but if you combine it with something else, it’ll increase the value or design of the basket. Try combining these small items to create a unique and fun basket of its own.

4. Add minimum bids

Nonprofits host silent auctions to raise money. It can feel disheartening when a basket doesn’t bring in as much as it’s worth. But it’s even worse when it makes less than you paid. Minimum bids are a must-have for all silent auction baskets. Plus, donors are not always well informed about the worth of all silent auction items.

Be sure to share the minimum bid online when you promote the basket to ensure guests bring enough for the item they want.

25 Unique, Simple, and Effective Silent Auction Basket Ideas for Nonprofits

Now that you’ve collected in-kind donations from local businesses and individual donors, it’s time to create themed baskets that fit your event audience.

1. Sports team basket

The first basket on this list may seem odd, but this type of basket can start a bidding war with the right donor base. If you live in a city with a popular professional or college sports team, a basket that includes the gear and clothing of the team are exciting items. Gear baskets can also benefit people interested in the sport even if they don’t love the team.

You should check out the below online campaign and their silent auction gift baskets. They have added gift cards and rowing items to entice donors. This goes with the overall theme of the event. People participating will be interested in these baskets, thus naturally gaining attention from the right audience. You should check out this page to gain inspiration for your own sports team basket and also to explore how to raise more money with a simple online donation page like the one below. But if you’re willing to sell tickets to an event similar to this, we’d suggest that you check out Donorbox Events, a simpler way to sell and manage tickets (and also accept donations).

silent auction basket ideas

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2. Golf baskets

Golf baskets, like team baskets, are worth more because of people’s passion for golf. Nonprofits must have a golf basket if they’re holding a golf outing or other male-dominated event. Items that increase the value of a golf basket include:

  • gift certificates for a foursome
  • golf balls
  • golf tees
  • Gloves
  • trendy golf gadgets
  • and other clothing items

If you’ve received a foursome gift certificate from a private club, you may want to auction this item by itself. Donors pay more for private clubs and don’t need all the extras.

3. Travel baskets

Travel baskets are an excellent option for any event. Luxury travel items will raise significant amounts. Family-friendly events are also ideal places for travel baskets.

Travel baskets can include:

  • Gift certificates
  • Artwork
  • Travel books
  • Specific city-themed items
  • Airplane eyemasks and pillows

4. Summer fun

Who doesn’t love a day at the beach or pool? An affordable summer-fun basket is one that your donors can use at the beach. Include a gift certificate or two for lunch and summer accessories along with other summer needs like:

  • Beach blankets
  • Sunblock
  • Picnic plates, cups, and silverware

5. Movies-themed baskets

Movie baskets are another popular silent basket idea. Movie tickets aren’t cheap, so gift certificates for a family of four will catch your donors’ eyes. Add a few other items to this basket, and you may earn a hundred dollars or more.

  • Popcorn
  • Cocoa
  • Soda
  • Candy

Gift certificates for Netflix, Amazon, or other streaming services are equally exciting for families these days. Especially people with young children would love these baskets.

6. Spa baskets

silent auction gift basket ideas

Most women love a spa day. That’s why spa baskets remain a common and popular theme. If you’ve received a spa gift certificate, you must create a basket to produce even higher revenue. Donors will bid on a quality basket (with/without a gift certificate) if it contains a few high-end items:

  • Lotions
  • Bath scrub
  • Nail care
  • Bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • Massage products

7. A basket for wine lovers

Wine lovers are always looking for a new wine type or company to try. A basket for wine lovers should include a few wine options along with quality wine glasses and corkscrew.

Here are a few other items you can add:

  • Gift certificate to a winery or restaurant with an exceptional wine collection
  • Cookbooks for wine lovers
  • Wine reference books
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Ice bucket

8. Beer-themed baskets

Beer has become even trendier than wine. A specific crowd highly seeks outings to ale houses and breweries. Beer lovers will pay a lot for a basket with the right stuff. Remember to use higher-quality food items when creating your basket.

  • Craft beer
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Gourmet Cheese Spread
  • Mixed Nuts and Pistachios
  • Chips

9. Camping baskets

Have you noticed how many van lifers and car campers there are on YouTube? Some of the more popular camping sites have millions of followers. Camping has always been popular, but the trend is growing and doesn’t show signs of stopping.

Camping baskets are an excellent option for couples, families, and young singles. Here are a few things you can add to a camping basket:

  • Hammock
  • Camp kitchen
  • Survival kit
  • Tent
  • Gift certificate to a local campground

10. Baskets for art lovers

If your nonprofit is into creativity and art, dance or music, etc., your creative supporters will be drawn to a basket highlighting their passions. Art baskets can include items like:

  • Paintbrushes
  • Oil or acrylic paint
  • Inspiring art books
  • Gift certificates to an art museum
  • Gift certificates to a music concert
  • A free dance class in a local club

11. A basket to entice foodies

ideas for gift baskets for auction

Most foodies want to try new and unique recipes and mouth-watering snacks. Nonprofits can have a lot of fun with this theme and create an exceptional basket that matches their mission, location, or donor base. US-based nonprofits raising funds for another country can make a basket with gift certificates to try out different cuisines.

Some suggested items include:

  • Recipe books
  • Food items you can’t find locally
  • Chef tools
  • Snacks
  • Pictures of beneficiaries eating the same meal

12. Pet-lovers’ basket

People spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on their pets. Nonprofits with animal-focused missions should always include a pet basket in their silent auction. Depending on your organization’s mission and donor base, your pet basket should include:

  • Pet bed
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Bowl
  • Gift cards from local pet stores
  • Invitation to spend a day at your shelter with animals
  • A branded animal calendar from your organization

13. Pop-culture-themed baskets

Pop culture is constantly changing, but some movies, tv shows, games, and celebrities stick around. Star Wars and Marvel followers will wait in line for hours to get the latest toy or movie ticket. Some highly popular pop culture items can include:

  • Movie tickets
  • Toys
  • Coloring or drawing books
  • Recipe books
  • Cosplay items
  • Themed goodies
  • Tickets to parks and cruises

14. An auction basket promoting family game nights

Game night is a family tradition. Whether your family loves Monopoly, Trivia, or Pictionary, the time spent with loved ones is what really counts. Game night baskets can include:

  • A few popular board games
  • Card decks
  • Dice
  • Chips and pretzels
  • Candy
  • Popcorn

These baskets do really well for family events involving parents and young kids.

15. One for the adventure lovers

ideas for silent auction baskets

Some people would rather play outside than in. These individuals are drawn to adventure and jump at the chance to try something new. If your event audience is younger, you may want to include an adventure basket targeted to their desire for experiences.

Adventure baskets can contain gift certificates for skydiving or ziplines, or they can focus on exploring your local china town and learning a new culture. It depends on the kind of gifts you can acquire from businesses for the event as well as how much donors will be willing to spend.

16. Baskets for the local techies

Techies are another group of passionate individuals. Bluetooth and Apple items will always bring in a crowd. Your tech basket should combine a few high-priced items with lower-cost fun tech toys and appeal to older and younger tech gurus.

17. Cigar baskets

Cigars may bring memories of your grandfather and his buddies to mind, but many young men are drawn to the cigar culture and everything it involves. Cigar baskets can combine a few different cigars with a bottle of hard alcohol. Other items you can include in the basket are:

  • Drink glasses
  • Nuts and chocolate
  • Stainless steel flask
  • Cigar humidor
  • Cigar cutter and lighter

18. A basket with car detailing items

You’d think the cost of gas prices would eliminate America’s love of cars, but the car culture keeps going strong. Anyone who loves cars knows they take a lot of care.

Car baskets that include air fresheners, polish, polishing cloths, floor mat sets, and oil change certificates will appeal to car lovers. A first aid car kit may be more enticing for those not as obsessed with their car. Some other items can include:

  • A blanket
  • Ponchos
  • Flashlights
  • Escape hammer
  • Jumper cables
  • Reflective triangle

19. A mystery basket

Now’s the time to combine all those items you received that don’t fit in the other baskets. A mystery basket can bring fun and excitement to your event, especially if you promote it the right way.

A few weeks before your event, you should start sharing a few hints about the items in your mystery basket. Make sure there is at least one item worth the donors’ trouble and money. Find a way to hide the things in your basket at the event. That may mean a paper bag or wrapping paper. Just make sure it draws donors‘ attention.

20. Gift certificate bouquets

A gift certificate bouquet is another way to auction a collection of gift certificates that may not bring in high amounts on their own. A collection of gift cards to major retail shops may encourage donors to spend more. Inspire your event attendees to check out the bouquet by dressing it up in a vase or planting pot.

21. A basket from the farmers’ market

auction basket ideas

One of the best things about farmers’ markets is you can find items you can’t get anywhere else. High-quality food items, spices, handmade soap, quality crafts, and more! Almost every town has a farmers’ market, and your nonprofit probably has at least a few farmers’ market groupies. Ask for in-kind gifts from local vendors and have fun collecting a few more items to create a basket that your donors will love.

22. A basket promoting parents’ night out

Parents want a date night, but options for most are few and far between. A basket including everything a couple needs for a night on the town without the trouble to plan it is exactly what parents want. Start with a gift certificate to a popular restaurant, and add a night at a hotel, comedy night, or movie. The point is to help them feel pampered and childless for one night.

23. Craft lovers’ basket

Craft baskets are another idea you can match to your audience. Do you have donors who love to knit or scrapbook? A craft basket that includes quality yard and needles, ribbons, ink pads, stamps, stickers, and cards will appeal to crafty individuals. If you have a variety of crafts in your basket, more attendees will be interested.

24. One to help meet a local celebrity

Does your town have a local celebrity, or does your nonprofit have any famous donors? Depending on how famous they are, you can offer the chance for lunch, a one-on-one lesson, or a tour of their office, movie set, or locker room. You can also include signed pictures or memorabilia and items or activities they’re known for. Be sure to choose a celebrity that fits your donor base.

25. An all-access pass for families

This basket can also be called a staycation package. Your nonprofit must include enough tickets for a family of four to local theme parks, zoos, and museums. You can also add tickets to a concert or local theatre for more interest.

Your target market for this basket is families, so you can also include items to make car trips easier with young children. Parents and children will appreciate a car seat organizer with games, books, and easy-to-clean art projects.

Final Thoughts

As popular as silent auctions are, there are many ways your organization can create baskets that stand out from the crowd and bring in a new audience. Silent auctions require a lot of work, and finding the right tool to raise funds with the event is essential.

Thousands of nonprofits use Donorbox, the all-in-one fundraising solution, to raise funds online with events like silent auctions and others. Here are some noteworthy silent auction events and campaign pages by nonprofits using Donorbox –

Donorbox is free to start and has no monthly contracts. You can sign up and get started in minutes!

Learn about our other features like Crowdfunding, Peer-to-Peer fundraising, Text-to-Give, Recurring Donations, Memberships, QuickDonate, and Donor Management on the website.

Donorbox Premium helps nonprofits with expert fundraising coaching, high-performance tools, a dedicated account manager, and a team of tech wizards. This success package comes with personalized pricing for each nonprofit and can help make your next silent auction a success. Book a demo today!

Read more nonprofit tips, fundraising ideas, and resources on the Donorbox Nonprofit Blog. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a list of our best resources in your inbox every month.

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Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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