Three Ways to Procure Auction Items

A great way to increase your chances for fundraising success is by procuring auction items with donors’ interests in mind. You’ve spent time cultivating donors, establishing positive donor relations, and learning as much information as you can about your supporters – so why not use that information to your advantage for auction item procurement?

There are a number of ‘donor cues’ you can use to match items to your audience. Here are three you’ll  want to consider:

1. Hobbies/Interests – What do your donors like to do in their spare time? Ask questions of your donors and find out what they enjoy, and then cater your offerings to them! If many of your audience members are active and you live near a popular ski resort, find a way to get your hands on some lift passes.

Are any of your donors passionate about wine? Offer tickets to a local wine tasting event or winery tour.

Maybe you have donors who love to travel and take a yearly vacation, in which case it’s best to try to find exciting trips, such as a European getaway, that are outside the scope of their typical vacation.

2. Budgets – There’s no point in auctioning a trip to Australia if nobody in attendance can afford it. Before you decide what big-ticket items you will procure, first take into account your donors’ donation budgets and incomes. 

3. Families – If you have a large family contingency in your donor base, take that into account when procuring auction items. Some donors might want to bid on items that their kids or entire family can enjoy. On the other hand, other attendees might appreciate a day, weekend, or week with their spouse or a friend, so seek trips for couples, like a cruise or trip to New York. 

Include a mixture of items that both families and individuals can enjoy and be speicific about who each experience is designed for. Promote the items by painting a picture that gets donors thinking about either the family getaway or escape aspect of an experience. This will help transport the audience so that potential bidders are actually picturing themsleves enjoying the experience. 

When you know your donors well, you’ll have a better chance at procuring auction items they will actually want to bid on. Carefully consider your audience while brainstorming no-risk auction items and make this year’s benefit auction a success.

Auction Item Procurement Starter Kit Auction Item Procurement
Starter Kit

A free resource with helpful templates to get the auction item procurement process off the ground.

We’ve created two general templates for the Procurement Letter and Donation Form to get you started. The Start Kit includes:

  • Donation Form TEMPLATE (.docx)
  • Procurement Letter TEMPLATE (.docx)
  • Procurement Letter Example (PDF)


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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