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Nonprofit Strategies

Boost bids with these 15 silent auction basket ideas

Explore creative silent auction gift basket ideas to bring in your biggest bids yet.

Rachel Ayotte
December 1, 2023
May 26, 2023
Nerd Mr Butter

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Silent auction baskets are a favorite for nonprofit fundraisers. Fun and simple, baskets combine smaller value items and group your donations around enticing themes to attract bidders. 

Whether actual gift baskets get hand-delivered to the winners, or prizes are styled more as “virtual baskets” in an online auction, this list of auction gift basket ideas will get folks excited—no matter what kind of silent auction you're hosting. 

1. Homemade gifts 🧺

Call on your craftiest volunteers to create auction gift baskets around an appealing theme. Homemade gift baskets can be full of goodies like:

  • Homemade socks or mittens
  • Homemade candles (tea candles, long candlesticks, etc.)
  • Freshly baked sweet treats (homemade brownies, cookies, etc.)

⭐ Extra credit: Invite businesses to put together gift baskets to showcase their own handmade offerings and list them as auction sponsors for some free advertising in return for their generosity.

2. Book worm basket 📕‍

Have a few book lovers in your midst? A book basket might be the perfect fit for your silent auction. Put together a little library based around different genres:

  • Rom-coms 
  • Memoirs
  • Science fiction 
  • Picture books

⭐ Extra credit: Create a basket full of books that relate to your cause—a great idea for a curious donor who wants to better understand your work.

3. Family-friendly fun 👩‍👩‍👧‍👦 

Plenty of families could use help unplugging for an evening—and this basket might just do the trick. A basket full of family activities could include:

  • Board games
  • Candy and popcorn
  • Trivia questions
  • Craft kits

⭐ Extra credit: Gear this silent auction basket idea toward specific age groups for even more targeted bidding.

4. Taco Tuesday 🌮‍

This one’s pretty self-explanatory—I mean, who doesn’t love tacos? Create a delicious basket with all the ingredients needed for a perfect taco party:

  • Tacos shells
  • Toppings
  • Margarita mix
  • Salsa and chips

⭐ Extra credit: Have a cuisine that’s more meaningful to your community? Make a basket around that foodie theme instead!

5. Red wine and dark chocolate 🍷

Another silent auction gift basket idea you just can’t go wrong with. Combine all the sweet and savory into one basket with:

  • Some uncommon wines (full bottles or tasters)
  • Local or artisanal chocolate
  • Other special snacks (cheese, nuts, etc.)

⭐ Extra credit: Market this silent auction basket idea as the perfect package for an anniversary or as a solo night of self-care. 

6. Adults only 👀

This basket idea is clearly only appropriate in certain circumstances and with the right crowd, but a sex-positive basket will undoubtedly create some buzz and draw in more than a few bids. Curate a sexy silent auction gift basket with:

  • Adult toys
  • Bath bombs
  • A gift card to local lingerie boutique

⭐ Extra credit: There’s a entire universe of erotic literature out there… need we say more? 

7. New parents’ survival kit 🐣‍

And now for a slightly different kind of grownup basket! Offer families of little ones some much-needed items—for both babies and exhausted parents. From cute gifts to must-haves, this basket could include:

  • A quality sound machine
  • Healthy, easy-to-grab snacks 
  • Frozen meals
  • Cute outfits

⭐ Extra credit: Gift cards to local restaurants are a great addition so parents don’t have to think about the logistics of feeding themselves. 

8. Hobby starter kit 🪗‍

This one’s all about knowing your audience and what they’d like to learn. Though the items for this silent auction basket idea are endless, some of the best are made around themes, including:

  • Gardening
  • Rock climbing
  • Embroidery
  • Fly fishing
  • Baking
  • Painting

⭐ Extra credit: Include a gift card or subscription to a local supply store or even classes to sharpen their new skills.

9. Travel package 🌎

People love the opportunity to escape everyday life and make new memories. In this case, winners are whisked away to a beautiful destination and get to contribute to your cause at the same time. A “basket” of travel packages can take a variety of forms:

  • Sightseeing cruise
  • Fun day trip
  • Relaxing weekend package
  • Multi-day hiking trip

⭐ Extra credit: Instead of spending hours tracking down and then coordinating with someone who might be willing to “donate” their second home for a weekend, you can take advantage of new platforms like Inspirato for Good that enable you to add high-value vacation stays to your auction with no commitment and modest reserve pricing.

10. Staycation gift basket ⛱‍

Even if you can’t secure someone’s beach house in Tulum, you can still create a relaxing vacation in a very biddable basket! Items in a staycation basket can include:

  • A pair of cozy bath robes
  • Passes to a local museum or attraction 
  • A light-hearted beach read 
  • Slippers

⭐ Extra credit: Create a theme for these baskets (e.g., Maui Magic or Spring Break) even if they’re enjoying them from home. 

11. Movie night 🎞 

With so many streaming services, DVDs won’t be as enticing for bidders these days. Still, you can create a perfect movie night or TV show binge-fest experience basket with a few simple items:

  • Gourmet popcorn
  • A gift card to rent a new release
  • A cozy blanket
  • Other cinema-specific sweet treats (lookin’ at you, Raisinets!)

⭐ Extra credit: Include a not-as-common membership to a streaming service like the Criterion Channel. 

12. Spa day in a basket 🧖‍

A little R&R, anyone? Health and wellness treatments are more popular than ever, so this silent auction basket idea will be too. Create a pampering gift basket that features:

  • A selection of face masks
  • Mani-pedi supplies
  • Body scrubs
  • Hair treatments
  • Soothing candles 

⭐ Extra credit: Include a gift certificate to a local spa that offers a variety of treatments for bidders to pick and choose from so they can do some pampering outside of their home, too! 

13. Seasonal favorites 🎃‍

Depending on the time of year you hold your auction, consider including a basket or two related to upcoming seasons or holidays relevant to your community. Some fun seasonal basket themes to consider:

  • Back to School
  • Summer Fun
  • Be My Valentine
  • Spooky Snacks

⭐ Extra credit: Include tickets to festive events in your local community (spooky walks, water parks, etc.)

14. Fanboys and girls 🖖 ‍

Know your nerds! If you have collectors in your community, this auction category can be super successful. Collectible items might include memorabilia from:

  • Star Wars 
  • Batman 
  • Star Trek
  • Lord of the Rings

⭐ Extra credit: Include basket themes around more off-beat cultural sensations like Schitt’s Creek or cult-favorite Adventure Time.  

15. Lottery basket 🔮

Have a few supporters willing to test their luck? This might be the perfect solution. A winning lottery basket might include:

  • Scratch-offs
  • Powerball tickets
  • Gift card to a casino

⭐ Extra credit: Think you’ll have some winners? You could even include a very nice note requesting the winner donate a portion of their jackpot to your organization. 😜

The more silent auction gift baskets, the butter  

Still looking for a few more silent auction basket ideas for your next event? Don’t worry—we have a few more popular ideas to get your gears turning: 

  • Fitness basket 💪
  • Picnic basket 🧺
  • Jewelry basket 💎
  • Caffeine basket ☕
  • Spicy basket 🌶
  • Snow day basket ❄️
  • Beach day basket 🏖
  • Carnival basket 🎪
  • Candy-making basket 🍭 
  • Mystery basket 🕵

Whatever your next silent auction basket idea is, go with one that’s relevant to your supporter base, within budget, and gets bidders excited and engaged. 

Set your silent auction gift baskets up for success

Great silent auctions aren’t just about offering stellar items (though that is pretty important). To make sure your next big fundraising event comes with more fun and less stress, check out Givebutter’s free auction software for nonprofits. You can get started in just minutes with user-friendly auction tools that are fully integrated with all of the free features in Givebutter’s all-in-one fundraising platform. 

Seamless silent auction software at your fingertips

Get started
Set up your peer-to-peer fundraiser for free in just a few minutes →

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