3 Steps for Organizing Your Auction Item Wish List

A good old-fashioned brainstorm session is a great way to get the ball rolling to come up with ideas for unique no-risk auction items, although it’s important to take a second look at the list before your team begins the process of procuring these items. 

After holding a brainstorming session with your auction committee, your next step is to organize the long list of auction item ideas, adding or eliminating items as needed. Here’s how to make this process as effective as possible.

1. Organize your list into categories

It’s unlikely that your audience will share all of the same interests and hobbies. That’s why it is important to offer a varied selection of items at your fundraising auction. When organizing your list, separate ideas into four different categories:

  • Physical Items
  • Unique Experiences
  • Services
  • Sports

Separating the list into these categories will help you ensure you have a wide variety and also identify the areas where you’re lacking items.

2. Separate items into small and big-ticket items

Your auction should feature a variety of items in order to appeal to your entire audience. There should also be a good mix of small items, such as dinners or gift certificates, and big-ticket items like unique travel experiences and signed memorabilia. If you only have small to medium-sized items listed, you are lowering the amount of money that could potentially be raised. If, on the other hand, you only have big-ticket items, you are excluding many of your attendees who may be willing to spend a few hundred dollars.

3. Highlight target items based on audience interests

Once you’ve come up with a variety of ideas, look at the number of items on your wish list. Take a few minutes with your group to narrow it down and identify the items that you feel best characterize your audience’s interests. Highlight these ideas as targets for your auction committee to acquire and assign individuals from your team to obtain specific items. Only eliminate items based on your audience’s interests, not by difficulty of procurement. The idea here is to give your team focus by assigning them reasonable objectives instead of overwhelming them with too many targets.

As you are narrowing down the number of targets in each category, build a separate list with the ideas you remove instead of deleting them completely. These auction item ideas may come in handy down the road for future events or in case your team has trouble acquiring ttheir targets.

Before you send your auction committee on their procurement mission, it is essential for you to organize your list of ideas and develop a procurement plan to prepare your team for obtaining those items. Forget how difficult it may seem to obtain an item. Think instead how much your audience would enjoy bidding on it. 

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Winspire Communications Director

About Ian Lauth

With an extensive background in marketing and design, Ian’s role at Winspire is to develop external communications, brand expansion and product delivery processes to help Nonprofits maximize their fundraising revenue.

Ian serves as the Editor-in-Chief for Winspire News, creating and managing blog content,  newsletters, eBooks and other resources for Nonprofit fundraising professionals. You can also find Ian on Google+.

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