Charity Fundraising Blog

Utilize the Five Senses for Your Fundraiser Silent Auction Items

By Charity Fundraising - October 17th, 2017

Finding the perfect silent auction item for your fundraiser is easier than one might think.

What makes it so easy?

My answer: stick to the five senses.

Utilizing the five senses in your silent auction items will bring your fundraiser to life!


Let me show you!

VIP Experience and Vacation Packages help your guests Taste, Smell, See, Hear, and Touch.

1. Taste

Bring the flavors out!

Wining and Dining is one of our most popular VIP Experiences.


Who doesn’t love to spend a luxurious time experiencing some of the best food and drink out there?

Here are just a few options to consider:

  • Tuscany Culinary Escape
  • Become a Sonoma Valley Winemaker
  • South Beach Wine & Food Festival
  • Samuel Adams Brewery Tour in Boston
  • Napa Valley South to North Adventure
  • James Beard House Dinner Party
  • Le Cordon Bleu Paris

2. Smell

Breathe in the ocean air!

When someone says the words, “vacation” and “beach”, it doesn’t take much more for me to smell the ocean air and feel the sand beneath my toes.


A Beach Vacation Package is almost always a coveted silent auction item.

Listen to the sound of these trips:

  • Escape to Bora Bora & Tahiti
  • Maui Wailea Resort Vacation
  • Australia & New Zealand Exploration
  • Cabo San Lucas Ocean View Getaway

3. See

Take in the Beautiful Scenery!

International Vacation Packages give your silent auction guests the opportunity to go to the places they’ve always wanted to see!


What could be better than helping out a charity you believe in and going to a place on your bucket list?

  • Ireland Adventure
  • South African Safari
  • Tokyo Metropolis
  • Paris Renaissance
  • Escape to Rome

4. Hear

Hear the music!

Songs have a way of encapsulating seasons of our lives — memories, emotions, and even convictions.


Two perfect strangers can instantly feel a connection when they find out they have a favorite band in common.

The connection that music brings to one’s psyche is a powerful one. That equates to a powerful auction item!


Silent auction items related to music come in many different shapes and forms:

5. Touch

As a kid, how many times were you told, “Don’t touch that!”?

The joy of tactile sensations brings me straight back to being six years old in an antique shop with my mother.

Curiosity always got the better of me.

I may be older now, but that curiosity has never really left. I still feel misplaced when I walk into a retail store with delicate decorum.

Because let’s face it, we all are kids at heart!

One of the fun parts about having a family is being able to be a kid again yourself!

Here are some silent auction items for families that might peak your interest.

What could be more sensational than a roller-coaster ride or swimming with dolphins?

  • San Diego Theme Park Adventure – SeaWorld San Diego & LEGOLAND California resort admission
  • Kennedy Space Center Adventure
  • Orlando Theme Park Adventure
  • Disney World Family Adventure

Call or contact us today to learn more about our VIP Experiences & Vacation Packages!

The Best Ways to Showcase Autographed School Fundraising Items

By Charity Fundraising - September 21st, 2017

School fast approaches. August is here!

Schools need our support.

But do school fundraisers – especially with silent auctions with fancy fundraising items like autographed sports and celebrity memorabilia – actually support our schools?

Here are the facts…

Education causes makes up a little less than 20% of all charitable giving.

77% of all Americans have contributed to school fundraising, which primarily comes from friends and family

Nearly all schools participate in fundraising, with 1-5 fundraisers a year per school.

More than 2 billion dollars is raised through school fundraising per year.

Clearly, school fundraising is important.

It isn’t a question on “if it should be done”,  but a question of “how?”

An auction is a great way to school-fundraise because of its guarantee success rate. Autographed auction items have been a proven staple in an exciting and procuring event.

So if it’s not a question of “if”, but of “how and when?”, let us fill you in a couple of secrets of the trade!

The best time to showcase autographed auction items for a school is when the auction item list is….

  1. Small
  2. Relevant
  3. Convenient

1. Keep it small – 10-4, Roger!

Keep your school auctions following the 10-4 method.

10 items maximum, 4 items minimum.


An abundance of items will dilute the attention given to a priceless showstopper item.

The best school fundraising items are rare.

And when there is a long line of tables full of run-of-the-mill items, like most school fundraisers, it can begin to feel like a glorified garage sale or gift exchange.

A school’s team is comprised of a community who want to see their children and their district have supported education.

That’s great!

The problem that can often creep up is a shuffling around of products and services that are local.

You may be asking, “Why is that a problem? After all, my guests at school fundraisers are primarily the parents and friends of my students! The moms love to bid each other on a free spa day close to home. The dad’s love to fight over the chance to play golf at the local country club.”

While that may be true, and a very important aspect of a school fundraiser, those two antidotes are the better options out of the myriad of possible “local service exchanges”.

Additionally, How many years can you offer the same type of auction items and still keep your guests interested?

Having an abundance of these types of auction items will become tiresome and they will crowd the items that bring a buzz of excitement.

Keep your auction small by only providing the most relevant and the hottest school fundraising items.

This will keep your auction exciting and direct for all of your busy guests who don’t want to go through rows of tables chalked full of the “same-old items”.

Side Note: Don’t forget to rotate your local options/donations throughout the years! There is relevance to local product and service items, but you don’t have to use all the local showstoppers at once.

2. Tag it on! – Dual Purpose Events

Many schools hold more fundraisers than the average American is willing to participate in –

Not only that, add up the extracurricular activities, sports, music groups, religious affiliations, clubs, and volunteer projects and you have an exasperated parent with a ridiculous schedule!

It is then possible (and probable) that a family will be affiliated with more than one school at a time for their respective children.

This is an important factor to take into account because the timing in which you present your fundraising events matter to your audience.

In short, remember who is on your team.

Remember their needs.

It’s nonprofit 101 to understand that the team is a long list of people!

It is…

The organization itself: the employees, the board members, etc.

The volunteers.

The sponsors.

as well as the guests and donors that attend each event!

We can spend so much time thinking about putting on the perfect event for our guests. We can expend so much energy worrying about winning over our guests. But here’s the biggest secret to running a successful fundraiser: your guests are apart of your team by their very presence! They are on your side!

Remembering the needs of your team players includes making your auction event work for their schedule.

Considering tagging silent auctions onto already-scheduled events for parent and friends.

Perhaps an Autographed Sports Memorabilia at the next sports banquet?

Arnold Palmer Masters Flag?

Tickets to the Superbowl?

Maybe add an Adele signed Sheet Music to your next choir recital that fills the auditorium/gym with friends and family?

3. Make it Convenient – Go Mobile!

Family can take a lot of time. Parents want to do what is best by and for their kids. Education is important to them. But time is not on their side.

The double doozy about auction fundraisers (live or silent) is the upfront man-hours that are necessary for pulling one off! Event fundraising is profitable,  but they often take the most volunteers.

That’s why we encourage you to consider online auctions! Fast. Easy. And time effective for your busy audience.

Never run an auction event before?


Contact Charity Fundraising for all your needs. We have worked with hundreds of Schools – from offering the best school fundraising items to advice in running the event itself.

Bring Excitement and Interest to your Silent Auction through Celebrity Autographed Memorabilia

By Charity Fundraising - September 11th, 2017

We over complicate silent auction items and events in an attempt to find a “new idea” to create excitement and interest.

This can be through out-of-this-world expensive silent charity auction ideas, display strategies, venue choice, catering selecting, etc.

But at the end of all tricks, secrets, and helpful how-to’s,  there are two simple truths to charity silent auction events:

1. Your supporters are interested in helping you succeed in your mission! They want to help out.

2. Your supporters already are interested in life, which is already full of excitement.

Don’t believe us?

Exhibit A: Astronauts on the moon.

Exhibit B: Mary Poppins.

These people, their stories – they ignite our souls!

The giants of Space exploration went out and did the impossible.  Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyck exude wonder and childhood magic in Mary Poppins.

Life is already full of excitement, wonder, and cherished memories.

People of action – our heroes – are in a position of leadership.

They inspire us.

They remind us.

They encourage us to love the things we love!

Celebrities are influences on our lives in powerful ways.

Their voice matters to us.

So the question becomes: why not have their voices at your silent auction?

This is what autographed celebrity memorabilia does. It will inspire your audience, it will remind them of what they cherish, and it encourages them to love the things they love!

Is it expensive having these voices at your silent auction? Not at all! We offer our silent auction items with ZERO-risk! Learn more about our totally free guarantee.

So why not partner with these heroes? They bring life into your auction!

Life in Music: From Johnny Cash to Taylor Swift 

They both started out in the genre of country, but let’s look at a snapshot of their lives and success:

Johnny Cash – the King of Country – is considered one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Selling more than 90 million records worldwide, he is definitely one of the best-selling musicians of all time. His music was sometimes raw – calling it how he saw it – and sometimes soulful  – a deep belief in there being something more.

His life was full of challenges and hurt. Johnny Cash marks the atmosphere of life for a lot of Americans in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Taylor Swift, from an early age, has stolen the spotlight in the 21st Century. She is a powerhouse that writes the thoughts of her generation as well as her own personal narratives. Though she has moved from country to mainstream pop, drastically changing her style from album to album, her influence and success are due to her ability to connect with her listeners.

Swift is also one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 40 million albums—and has appeared in Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world, Forbes‘ 100 most powerful women (2015), and Forbes Celebrity 100 (2016).

Life in Sports: From Magic and Bird to LeBron James

A picture is worth a thousand words – and this picture of these two athletic giants sure does have a story. Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird’s rivalry on the basketball court and their friendship off of it is epitomizes the fierce competition and comradery of not only NBA basketball, but also sports as a whole!

LeBron James is arguably one of if not the best all-around basketball player we have yet to see! His stats are unprecedented. His stature and mass is a force unstoppable. His feet are quick and light. Some of his successes include winning three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, two Olympic gold medals, an NBA scoring title, and is the NBA career playoff scoring leader.

Life in Narratives: From The Godfather to Harry Potter 

Movies tell a narrative. Narratives are a funny thing – the specificity of them seem to show us more of the bigger picture. Movies have a tendency to take us outside of ourselves. They also can bring together all kinds persuasions that all care about its beauty and message. Two narratives that do this are The Godfather and Harry Potter.

The Godfather.

The movie is iconic.

It’s hard to imagine a world of present-day cinema without the presence and influence of Coppola’s masterpiece. The Godfather is widely regarded as one of the greatest films, now ranked as the second greatest film in American cinema by the American Film Institute.

This movie set a standard for modern films that is still being used today in gangster genre and beyond.

The references to the Godfather throughout pop culture are everywhere. “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” is imitated time and time again.

Harry Potter.

I’m not sure if there is a cult following as large and as deeply devoted as the Harry Potter fans.

From the books to the movies, from young to old, from bookworms to the socialites, the narrative of Harry Potter attracts the multitudes.

Songs have been written about and by fans, spoofs have been made, clubs have been formed.

The fight for good, the characters you grow to know and love – it’s what life is all about!

All of these heroes  – be it in music, sports, or narratives – are analogous to the support of a nonprofit. We follow the lead of the individuals who spearhead the way to inspire others, to remind them of what they cherish, and to encourage them to love the things they love!

So let these peers help you by lending their voice and bringing life into your auction. Let’s bring the interests of your audience to your silent auction fundraiser through Autographed memorabilia, be it sports, music, or movie celebrities!

Make Some Noise with Your Silent Auction

By Charity Fundraising - August 22nd, 2017

Silent auctions can be a little too silent.

Let’s be honest, when silent auctions are done poorly, they can be a real snooze.

So what makes a silent auction come to life?

Is it the venue?

Maybe it is the service provided – adequate food/drink menu?

An auction’s atmosphere, service and overall success vary greatly.

Any number of venues can become a compliment to a silent auction. The same can be said of the food and drink menu. Some silent auctions work best with drinks and hors d’oeuvres whereas some require a 3-course meal.

So what brings the spice to a silent auction?

It’s no surprise if you think about it long enough…

The answer is silent auction items.

Rope in your audience with quality auction items and will create buzz and excitement.

The lively atmosphere of a silent auction can be bolstered by additive components like a stunning venue or a fabulous catering service with the best wines and cocktails.

But without exciting auction items to foster competition, the event will be a flop (especially in regards to procuring high bids!).

So that settles it, right?

Procure exciting auction items!

However, acquiring a new set of auction items can be ridiculously difficult!

If the silent auction is annually, it can become even more difficult. Consistent sponsorship that have been built over time may help with this predicament, however, good but predictable auction items tend to loose their sparkle after a few annual events.

We can get tired of the wine baskets, gift card baskets, or “sports” baskets. Sometimes, people aren’t interested in taking a getaway vacation – they don’t have time for that!

So what will create buzz at your silent auction?


Now, we don’t mean, “hire a band to play at your next auction!” (Though, that might not be a terrible idea.)

Music memorabilia has been proven to make a lot of noise at silent auction events.


Music is timeless.

I remember listening to James Taylor in the car with my dad on lazy Sunday afternoon drives, coming home from football games in the early fall.

Music connects generations. In it’s own way, music is timeless.

Music is the shorthand of emotion, or so says Leo Tolstoy.

In music, we have felt our deepest pains and celebrated our fullest joys.

We express our inner angst and questioning.

Our universal desire to love and be loved is most palpable in song.

These minstrels, poets, and musicians, captivate, express, and ignite our hearts.

They are our heroes and our friends.

Music Memorabilia connects the fan to the artist further. It creates a tangible expression of one’s affiliation and attachment to music, and the artist in particular.

Showcasing music memorabilia at a charity fundraising event creates a unique and special blend of celebrating the arts while furthering a good cause.

We have seen first-hand how powerful that blend supports both parties involved. And we love it!

The autographed music memorabilia available from Charity Fundraising includes: autographed musician photos, record albums, drumhead displays, sheet music and guitars from all music genres.

Contact us if you are interested in adding a zero-risk music memorabilia auction item to your next fundraising event!

Celebrity Memorabilia: Silent Auction Items Taking Cues from the Movies

By Charity Fundraising - August 5th, 2017

What do movies and silent auctions have in common?

Both movies and Silent Auction Fundraising Events are built on three key principles that must be present for success.

What are these principles?

Let’s look at DC’s “Wonder Woman” for the answer…

Currently over $397 million in box office sales, Wonder Woman may very well become the biggest grosser of North American ticket sales this year.

This fierce and competitive world of movie production is quite similar to the nonprofit world. Nonprofits, like movies, are a dime a dozen. There is an endless amount of causes to support. There will always be charity events to attend. How does a nonprofit stand out?

Three principles are needed for Wonder Woman and your nonprofit’s next Charity Auction event to be a success.

Success is Shareable, Beautiful Milestones

Success is shared.

Success is beautiful.

Success is a milestone.

1. Success is shared.

Shared Success is relate-able. Shared success is collaborative. Shared success is based within a network and community… a team. Shared success brings people together from different walks of life. A built community does not discount diversity; they celebrate it.

A successful nonprofit event needs to be built on shared success.

A successful movie needs to be built on this community-based mindset. Movies bring us friends from different times and different places. Movies transport us to adventures, and they teach us through experiences that our outside of our familiar world.

Movies bring us friends. Characters are brought to life through movies. We laugh with them. We cry with them. We feel their joys and their sufferings. Movies, like books, become a dialogue between you and the characters. Forest Gump is a dear friend to many of us; he is always kind, always encouraging; always full of hope.

Movies are time machines. Want to visit the Roaring Twenties? How about the Roman Empire at the turn of the first century? A movie can take you back to the dawn of civilization or tell the stories of your contemporaries, giving you a deeper understanding of the world around you.

Movies transport us. Movies can take us to Urban Paris, the Tropical West Indies, or Desolate Deserts (the Sahara or Arctic) in a matter of seconds. It can take us around the world and places outside of our world.

2. Success is beautiful.

Life is beautiful. The celebration of life itself is beautiful. A nonprofit goal is to create more beauty and more goodness in this life. What an incredible commission! Take pride in that – see it beautifully.

The more a nonprofit sees its purpose as beautiful, that beauty will seep into the bedrock of the organization.

A successful nonprofit event needs to be built on an organization that is deeply committed to its purpose.

It may sound a bit flowery, but the movies get it! The point of life is larger than the humdrum of the day. A movie’s success comes from its ability to give us adventures that are larger than life so that we, too, can have the eyes to see life more beautifully.

Movies give us adventures, larger than life. We learn what life could look like outside of our own experiences. Movies can become the doorway into thinking and seeing differently. They are the epitome of imagination and excitement. The story of Mary Poppins came alive on the big screen, igniting the imagination of children for the decades to come.

3. Success is a milestone

The cliché saying, “life is not about a destination, but the journey” has a lot of truth to it. There will always be more that to do in support of a noble cause. So is there really ever an “end” point when it comes to nonprofit work? Because of this, nonprofits rely heavily on goals. Meeting “goals” is the way in which we manage event planning and shape our mission statements as nonprofits.

A successful nonprofit event needs to be built on goals. When these goals are reached, it is milestone in our journey that must be given its proper weight.

What is the weight of meeting a goal?

Realizing the weight of a met goal lies in realizing the impact your nonprofit organization can have in support of your cause. Own it. Treat each success as a milestone.

Milestones are important to recognize. You can rely on it when you jump for the next goal!

Successful movies are become milestones in our lives. The theme song from the “Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” is a staple in my childhood.

Focus on successes that are shared, that are beautiful, and treat them like a milestone for your organization! Learn from the movies.  

Why Not have both?

Learn from the successful movies that share with us, that bring us beauty, and that have become milestones in our lives. But why not also incorporate their success into your silent auction event in the form of autographed movie and celebrity auction items! These successful movies and stars have made an impact! Their success and impact can be celebrated at your next charity fundraising event.

Contact us to get started!