This is the Blackbaud Community Best Practices blog.

High-demand Auction Items That Are Low-or-No-Cost To You!

Community member, Kristine Lemons, offers great tips for your organization's next auction. Give this blog a "LIKE" to vote for it to win the bbcon blog contest!
At Lincoln Children’s Zoo, we look for gala auction items that offer our guests unique Zoo experiences or items that have little or no cost to us, but offer huge intangible benefits to donors. Here are some categories we consider, with examples:

Naming Opportunities
When new animals arrive, the gala is a great place to auction off an animal name. Each one includes a behind-the-scenes tour and meet-and-greet with that animal. In 2018, animal names sold from $5,000 to $18,000!


Historical Items 
Donors have a sentimental streak for your history! Sample items we’ve auctioned off: an antique wood display case ($1,500), a watercolor painting of a well-loved play area ($1,350), two cast-iron street lamps ($10,000 each) and a bronze lamb statue ($29,000!).

Unique Experiences
A Penguin Painting Party for 20, where guests enjoy a meal, penguin-themed gifts AND the chance take home a canvas painted by penguins? The winning bid was $15,000! The event was on-site and costs for table decorations were minimal. We even approached the event caterer about donating the food!


What amazing experiences does YOUR organization have to offer your donors? Leave a comment to spark our imaginations!
Posted by Crystal Bruce on Sep 3, 2018 8:00 PM America/New_York

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Good luck, Kristine Lemons‍ !
  • Posted Tue 04 Sep 2018 09:44 AM EDT
Thanks so much, Crystal Bruce‍! This is a fun contest!
  • Posted Tue 04 Sep 2018 12:44 PM EDT
Love the "naming" opportunity for donors!  And who wouldn't love a penguin party???
  • Posted Tue 04 Sep 2018 02:54 PM EDT
Debbie Hayes, the penguin parties have been THE most fun parties I've done in my fundraising career! :)
  • Posted Tue 04 Sep 2018 04:46 PM EDT
I volunteer with a no-kill cat shelter, and naming the kittens is one of their top auction items because everyone likes the opportunity to name kittens during kitten season. =^..^=
  • Posted Fri 07 Sep 2018 03:33 PM EDT
We have a ton of board engagement who are willing to give up primo sporting tickets (GO BIG BLUE!) and weeks at their vacation home. It's an easy ask and very popular with our event guests.
  • Posted Thu 13 Sep 2018 06:12 PM EDT