1. Holiday spirit
Of all the United States’ widely celebrated holidays, Americans seem to get most enthused about decorating their home for Halloween and Christmas. How convenient for you that both of these holidays are in the fall! For your autumnal or winter auction, be sure to include some home decorations tied to these two events.
2. Shop ’til you drop
When it comes to wide-scale gift-giving, you can’t beat Christmas. This is the time for you to unabashedly target holiday shoppers. When a guest buys an item at your auction, your charity gets a donation … the guest receives a tax deduction … and their mother-in-law gets a gorgeous spa day gift basket. It’s a win-win-win.
Today I want to offer you some procurement ideas for the home decor silent auction table.
I should preface this by saying that home decor items are not usually a high performing section. But with holiday items, guests often take more of an interest.
I think it’s because of the aforementioned reasons: 1) Americans love to decorate for Halloween and Christmas, and 2) many of your guests are in the mindset of buying gifts because of the impending gift-giving season.
(I’ll be heading to Wisconsin for a school auction this Saturday. They do a great job of playing on this concept. They emphasize it to their community, saying, “This is where you should come to shop for Christmas presents.”)
Here are some holiday-themed home decor silent auction items to share with your procurement team.
You can put a number of these on your silent auction table, as long as they are different. Typically these will be on display for guests to take home, but sometimes the donation is a gift card. In that case, the guest often gets to have a wreath custom-designed, with their choice of colors and theme.
Sometimes these companies will including shipping as part of their donation, which makes the wreath an attractive gift to purchase for someone not living in the immediate area.
Holiday calendars and other “pretties” are in this realm.
Theme-inspired plates and serving utensils
It’s not necessary to have a 12-piece service. Four plates or some cool utensils with an appropriate theme will grab the interest of guests.
Remember that guests aren’t looking for fine china when they’re buying holiday-inspired plates. They’re really just wanting a little something fun that will dress up their cheeseball.
Got a handy Dad among your supporters? See if he’ll make a plywood cut-out of a pumpkin, angel, or Santa to stand tall in someone’s yard.
These might be concrete, plastic, wooden, or stuffed, like an oversized stuffed animal.
What is it about those oversized stuffed animals and extra large toy soldiers that is so appealing? They are as fetching in your silent auction as they are in a home.
A box filled with kids dress-up clothes
This is a great auction item for a school fundraiser held in early October (before Halloween), but it’s also a fun item year-round.
Many kids love to play “dress-up” and it’s usually easier to find costumes in October. Even if you have a spring auction, now is a good time to seek donations from costume stores.
Here in Washington, D.C., we seem to have a number of costume stores that sprout up overnight in strip malls in early October. They are usually set up in the same space as some other store that has just gone out of business. These stores seem to disappear on November 1! They vanish shortly after Halloween is over.
If they’re still open, you’ve only got a few days left! Ask and pick-up the donation now, before they close their doors.
Think small holiday trees with dainty lights, elegant sleighs, battery-operated jack-o-lanterns, and scary witches. The classier it looks, the better it will sell.
Knick-knacks might not sell well at spring auctions, but when they are themed to the impending holiday, watch your guests take more interest.
Pillows, candles, table runners, napkins, etc.
Guests can buy these for themselves or as gifts. Some make great stocking stuffers.
P.S. If this blog was helpful to you, you’ll also love my complementary Auction Item Guide™, which lists best-selling auction items, across various categories. It’s sent to you immediately, just provide your email address.