How to Host a Successful Fundraising Auction

How to Host a Successful Fundraising Auction

There are several key ingredients that will determine the success of your fundraising auction.  They are products and promotions

Products – Where to Find the Auction Items

1) Always start by asking your friends, family and your organizations members for items to put in the auction.  They may have some high quality items that they would be willing to donate to the auction. They may be willing to buy an item to put in the auction. They may know other retail outlets that would be honoured to donate some items. Have them ask for donations where they do a lot of business to see if they will donate. Let them know you will be promoting their business in your auction.

2) Post on social media that you are asking for donations.  Reach out to everyone you know to see if they will donate.  Always let them know the reason why you are hosting a fundraising auction.

3) Contact other businesses in the community that you normally do not deal with to see what they will donate.  Many businesses are willing to donate to your cause if they know their name will be promoted.

4) Ask all of your members to reach out to everyone they know to see if they will donate.

5) Ask your members to create something for the auction.  Many of your member are very talented and they would be honoured to have one of their creations in the auction. Your members can also offer training/teaching session on almost everything.

6) Ask for donations on your home auction page.

Products – What are the Top Selling Items

1) Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter vacation rentals are very popular.  A weekend, 5 day or 7 day vacation rental is always popular. It can be waterfront, water-view, rural property or a winter sunny destination rental.  They are all very popular.

2) Outings and experiences will bring a lot of attention to your auction.  Items like spa days/weekends, weekend stays at popular resorts, dinner and dine sunset cruise are just some of the popular items.

3) Sports Tickets, Memorabilia and Activities perform well on online fundraising auctions. Game tickets, signed memorabilia, golf outings, ski passes or yoga classes.

4) Food is always a popular item.  It can be food made by your members,  gift certificates, food baskets or catering services.

5) Do not overlook the possibility that friends and members may be willing to donate high quality items like classics cars, art, jewellery, collectibles, tractors or home accessories to your fundraising auction in exchange for a charitable taxable receipt.  Check with your Accountant for details.

6) Outdoor furniture, BBQ’s, home entertainment items, exercise equipment and bikes all prove to be popular.

Starting Price of Items

There is no right or wrong price to set as a Starting Price.  Setting a Starting Price that is too high may scare away bidders.  Setting a Starting Price too low will require more bidding to get the item to its maximum value.  You want a Starting Price that will get as many bidders as possible excited about owning/winning that item. It has been shown that once a bidders starts bidding on an item, it is hard for them to stop bidding on that item.


1) Tell everyone you know about your auction.  Use the full extent of social media.

2) Tell everyone you know to tell everyone they know about your auction.  Motivate them to use social media.

3) Ask all the donors to share the important details of our fundraising auction.

4) Invite all of your fellow identical organizations in your region or district to come to bid.

5) Invite other local organizations in your community to come to bid.

6) Send out press releases to your local community papers, TV and radio stations.

7) Post the details in your local community and coming event calendars.

8) Post flyers everywhere in your community.  Send each of your members a copy of the flyer and ask them to post it on local bulletin boards close to them.

9) Promote, Promote, Promote.

Online silent auctions are fun and entertaining.  It will bring your members together for a fun time as they try to outbid each other.  There is also a large following of online auction shoppers. will help you every step of the way to make sure you have a successful online auction!