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12 Best Silent Auction Items That Will Be A Hit

Author: Adie M.
silent auction success

When it comes to putting together a silent auction, you want to be sure that you include both exciting items and experiences for people to bid on. One study found that 74% of Americans valued experiences over products. This doesn’t mean you should only offer experiences, but it’s important to keep your selection varied. 

When it comes to choosing experiences, this can be a good opportunity to partner with local businesses rather than major international chains. Of course, you should explore both options to find the best solution for your specific needs but don’t neglect the importance of building relationships with local businesses. 

Lastly, while this is an extensive list, it’s important to consider your specific target demographic. Certain groups will be more interested in things like golf, educational items, or designer handbags. It’s a good idea to mix general and niche items to ensure a successful silent auction. 

12 Top Silent Auction Items To Consider

1. Luxury Hotel Or Resort Trips

An absolute staple of silent auctions, trips are an excellent choice for auctions. While there are many auction items to avoid, this is not one of them.

Holidays are an exciting prospect and are very likely to spark a (friendly) bidding war. Don’t forget to consider both exotic and local destinations for some fun variety. 

2. Airline Gift Certificate

As a slight variation on hotel visits, you could opt for something still travel-related but more open-ended. An airline gift certificate or voucher could be used to purchase a ticket to anywhere. However, you’d need to make sure that the value of the voucher is more than the asking price at auction. 

3. Cruise Experience

As another travel-themed item, you could auction off a cruise trip rather than a hotel stay. There are lots of options within this idea. You could offer a specific night on a party ship, a private cruise around the harbor, or a traveling cruise. This option is also great for everyone from families with children to single people. Who doesn't love the idea of setting sail in luxury?

4. Concert Tickets

Cultural experiences are a nice idea for auction items, and tickets to an upcoming, highly-anticipated concert can be a hot-ticket item. There are numerous variations of this, such as comedy shows, museum exhibits, movie showings, or even live tapings of shows. 

Also, if your audience is full of sports fans, tickets to a big game or even season tickets are an appealing choice. 

5. Sports Memorabilia

When it comes to products rather than experiences, they need to have either monetary or sentimental value. Signed sports memorabilia is an excellent choice for an auction item. 

Because of the broad popularity of sports, it’s likely that you can choose some items of sports memorabilia that will appeal to your demographic. Local sports teams are also likely to be happy to help out for a good cause. 

6. Winery Tour

For a bit of classy fun, a winery tour with an included wine tasting is an excellent auction item. You can even combine it with other ideas, like a stay in a hotel or dinner if the wine farm offers those amenities. This is the sort of thing that appeals to both enthusiasts and the general public. 

silent auction item wine tour or tasting experience

7. Yearly Subscription

This is another option that has near-infinite variations. You could offer subscriptions for anything from gym memberships to online series or music subscriptions. Be careful with specific services where people might have an existing preference, but there are a lot of options that will be widely well-received. 

For a twist on this idea, you could offer your crowd a ‘year of coffee’ subscription, perhaps from a local independent coffee shop. 

8. Technology

High-value items definitely have a place at silent auctions, and technology is a great example that goes down well. You can offer a wide range of things, from laptops and tablets to speakers and sound systems. 

Don’t forget some less standard options, like e-readers and smartwatches. These are all tech items that are desirable to a broad group of people.

9. Fancy Dinner

Another option that involves partnering with a local business, a good-quality dinner at a nice establishment is a great auction item. This is a great treat and appeals to a wide range of people. When doing something like this, it is best to have flexibility about when it is redeemed, and for the voucher or certificate to not expire too soon after the auction. 

10. Florist Services

Something a bit more outside of the box, you could partner with a local florist to auction off a year’s supply of flowers. Whoever gets this item would then get regular flower deliveries. Because this is a unique item that people are unlikely to get themselves, it has a lot of appeal. 

11. Sponsorship Of Park Bench

A bench sponsorship is certainly not a good fit for every auction. But if your auction is centered around a civic organization or a specific community, people might love the idea of getting their name on a plaque on a bench. This item works if your audience is thinking about their legacy, and is more focused on supporting a cause than getting a free holiday or laptop. 

12. Group Activity

This is more of a general category, but there are many group activities that can make great auction items. For example, if your auction is related to a school, auctioning experiences designed for kids, like laser tag, paintball, or a waterpark would be a good idea.

And it works for adults too. Things like cooking or painting classes are fun experiences that people are less likely to decide to do on their own, but that they might enjoy. 

Silent auction group activity painting class


This list covers the best items and experiences that you can use for your next silent auction. Because of the diversity of options, you’re guaranteed to find something that works for your specific audience. 

Now that you’ve got a great selection of items for your silent auction, you can think about other things, like getting media coverage for your fundraiser and understanding pre-bidding