Homemade Auction Items: Ideas to Wow Bidders

Homemade Auction Items: Ideas to Wow Bidders

Fundraising events are a great way to unite people for a common cause. Auctions can be a significant part of these events as they help raise funds and attract donations. In particular, having a diverse and compelling selection of silent auction items is critical in running a successful silent auction.

In this article, we provide several fantastic homemade silent auction ideas that will impress bidders and make your event successful. Plus, using Paybee will streamline your auction process.

With Paybee, you can manage your auction, track bids, and collect payments in one convenient location. The platform is simple to use, making it accessible for all levels of technical proficiency.

Whether you're fundraising for a charity or a non-profit organization, these homemade silent auction item ideas and Paybee's tools can take your silent auction to the next level.

Homemade Auction Item Ideas

When fundraising, offering unique and exciting merchandise can be challenging; however, homemade products are an excellent option. Not only do they provide bidders with something special that another organization may not have, but it also helps to give your event a personal touch. Plus, supporters love to donate items they make themselves. In this section, we discuss some outstanding homemade ideas you can make for your next fundraiser or event.

1. Basket Ideas

Baskets are an attractive option for events and fundraisers as they offer a way to show off the local culture, products, and businesses. Not only that, but donors can also feel good about supporting their community. Consider making travel, golf, cigar, or other themed baskets. If you're wondering what do you put in a silent auction basket, the good news is that ideas are practically limitless — you can make a silent basket auction collection of anything from craft supplies to wine glasses! Each person who attends your event is bound to have individual interests, so crafting local baskets that appeal to a broad demographic is a great idea. 

Travel Baskets

Travel baskets are versatile and popular, and they can attract many bidders. They appeal to people who love to travel or have plans for an upcoming trip. A travel basket makes a perfect gift for a friend or family member, and it's a great item to sell at fundraising events.

When creating a silent auction travel basket, include products useful for a buyer's journey. Here are some examples:

  • Road Trip Adventure: a scratch-off map, travel guides for your destination, a travel journal, car games, a portable phone charger, and a gas gift card.
  • Beach Getaway: a beach towel, sunscreen, beach bag, flip flops, beach hat, and a waterproof phone case.
  • Wine Country Tour: wine glasses, a wine aerator, a wine bottle opener, chocolates, crackers, and a wine-tasting tour pass.
  • Ski Trip: hand and toe warmers, ski goggles, a travel blanket, hot cocoa mix, and a ski lift ticket pass.
  • European Vacation: a passport holder, luggage tracker, travel guidebook to your destination, a city map, and a language phrasebook.
  • Cultural Exploration: a history book, a travel guidebook, a souvenir from the location, such as an artisan food or small piece of art, and tickets for cultural activities such as festivals or museum visits.

Try to think outside the box to create a customized and personalized basket. Instead of traditional objects, consider adding handmade articles, such as hand-knitted or crocheted blankets. You can also add unique souvenirs such as local spices, teas, or crafts from the region.

When pricing your silent auction baskets, consider the overall cost, including any objects or materials that went into them. It is also essential to factor in the value of the donors' time. Setting starting prices attractively yet appropriately can lead to competitive bidding among donors, bringing in more funds for your nonprofit organization.

Overall, baskets make a fantastic addition to any silent auction. They're versatile, easy to assemble, and can add a unique flair to fundraising events.

Golf Baskets

A golf basket is a specific and valuable silent auction idea that will be highly sought after by golf enthusiasts. Including golf fundraising baskets at your event can attract more bidders and increase the success of the silent auction. Here are some items you can include in the baskets:

  • Golf balls, tees, and gloves
  • Golf towels and water bottles
  • Custom golf club covers
  • Gift certificates for golf lessons or rounds of golf
  • Putting mats or other putting practice equipment
  • Snacks and drinks that are typically found on golf courses

To create a unique and appealing golf basket, consider incorporating different themes. For example, create a putting practice basket with a putting mat, a golf putting aid, and a book. Alternatively, your organization could create a golf course snack basket with things like trail mix, protein bars, and energy drinks.

When pricing your golf baskets, consider the total cost of everything in the basket and any materials used to make them. Also, check out pricing for competing baskets to ensure yours is attractively and competitively priced.

Golf baskets are a valuable and niche item that can add excitement and interest to your fundraising. By including different golf themes and quality products in your baskets, your nonprofit organization can run a successful silent auction to attract bidders and raise funds.

Cigar Baskets

Cigars can be a unique and luxurious silent auction item that will impress cigar aficionados. Cigar baskets offer a variety of cigars and accessories that can appeal to different tastes and be a great addition to any fundraising event. Here are some examples of items that you can include in cigar theme baskets:

  • High-quality cigars
  • Cigar cutters and lighters
  • Humidors and cigar cases
  • Trendy cigar ashtrays and accessories
  • Cigar books and magazines

When creating your baskets, consider incorporating different types of cigars into each basket to cater to different preferences. Some ideas you can try are:

  • Including mild, medium, and bold cigars in each basket
  • Creating baskets with cigars from various countries
  • Including limited editions or rare cigars that are difficult to find

Adding luxurious touches can also enhance the appeal of the cigar basket. For example, you can include a leather cigar case or unique cigar ashtrays to make the basket more elegant.

Before including cigar items in your silent auction, check your area's legal smoking age requirements to make sure your offerings are appropriate for your target audience. When pricing your baskets, consider the cost of all products and any expenditure that went into the materials used to construct them.

Cigar theme baskets are a unique and luxurious silent auction item that can be a great addition to any fundraising activity. Consider incorporating different types of cigars and accessories to cater to different preferences and create high-end and luxurious baskets.

Other Themed Baskets

Theme baskets are a fun and creative silent auction item that can attract a wide range of bidders. They offer endless possibilities to showcase things in unique and exciting ways that can add some excitement to your silent auction. Here are some theme basket ideas to get your supporters excited to donate:

  • Movie Night: include a variety of snacks and candy, giftcards for movie streaming services, popcorn, beverages, and cozy blankets.
  • Spa Day: include a set of relaxing bath salts, face masks, candles, cozy slippers, robe, and a certificate for a local spa.
  • Coffee Lovers: include a selection of gourmet coffee beans, a French press, or coffee maker, mugs, a travel mug, and a coffee table book.
  • Gardening: include gloves, gardening tools, flower seed packets, a small watering can, and a gardening book.
  • Book Club: include a few new popular titles, bookmarks, a reading lamp, tea or coffee.
  • Wine and Cheese: include a bottle of wine, a variety of cheese, crackers, wine glasses, and cheese knives.
  • Camping: include portable camping chairs, a tent, a sleeping bag, and small camping lights.
  • Barbeque: include a set of BBQ tools, a grilling apron, sauces, and seasonings.
  • Baking: include baking sheets, measuring cups, whisks, and your favorite baking recipe book.
  • Tea Time: include a variety of teas, a teapot, teacups, sugar and creamer, and biscuits.
  • Game Night: include a selection of board games, popcorn, and soda.
  • Pet Lovers: include toys, treats, a leash, food bowls, and a pet bed.

When incorporating items and themes into baskets, have fun and let your creativity out. Consider adding unique, handmade items or local products from your area. The sky's the limit when creating and personalizing your themed baskets.

2. Handcrafted Auction Item Ideas

Handcrafted items make excellent auction offerings. They provide a unique and personal touch, and bidders can feel good about supporting local crafters and artisans. Plus, handmade items are often one-of-a-kind pieces you won't find anywhere else!

Here are a few handcrafted ideas you could ask people to donate for your next fundraiser:

  • Fine Art Paintings, Sketches, and Sculptures: These can be unique and stand out at your event. You could feature local artists and host a mini-gallery show.
  • Knitted Scarves or Hats: Handmade accessories like scarves and hats can provide comfort in the colder months while making great offerings for auctions. Offering different colors or styles will appeal to a wider range of bidders.
  • Hand-Painted Pottery: Hand-painted pottery can make for a beautiful and functional item that bidders can use every day. Consider offering different pieces, such as mugs, plates, or bowls, which can be paired with similar designs.
  • Wooden Cutting Boards or Bowls: Wooden cutting boards and bowls can add an earthy, natural feel to your event. Your organization could also ask local donors to carve or burn designs onto them to make each piece unique.
  • Quilts or Blankets: Quilts or blankets can provide a cozy addition to a home. Consider offering different sizes or themes to appeal to different bidders.
  • Jewelry: Jewelry pieces can be unique and valuable, particularly if they feature unique gemstones or metals or unusual or popular designs. Your organization could also consider asking donors for matching jewelry sets.

Hand-crafted items provide a personal touch that makes your auction stand out, and supporting local crafters and artisans can help strengthen your community. When setting prices, remember to factor in the cost of materials and the time it took to create the art. And remember, a tiered system can help appeal to a wider range of bidders with different budgets.

Hand-crafted objects can add a unique, one-of-a-kind element to your silent auction while supporting local craftsmanship. Consider incorporating some of these handmade ideas into your next event, and see how they can elevate your auction to the next level.

3. Other Homemade or Handmade Silent Auction Item Ideas

Hand-made items can be a great addition to your silent auction. Here are some other home-made auction item ideas that you can consider:

Food Items and Sauces

Home-made jams, jellies, and salsas are popular food items that can be auctioned. You can also package homemade sauces with pasta or other complementary foods.

Hand-crafted Dolls and Toys

Dolls or stuffed toys that have been created by hand can be a hit with both children and adults. Consider including blankets, clothes, accessories, or other connected goods. 

Leather Goods

Leather wallets, belts, and bags are useful items that can be both stylish and functional. Your organization could even consider stamping the leather with designs or initials to make them more unique.


Soy or beeswax candles can provide a spa-like experience at home. Consider asking donors for candles in different scents and sizes.


Handmade wreaths can be decorative items for various seasons and occasions. Think about making wreaths with natural materials like pine cones or flowers.

Homemade items can offer one-of-a-kind items for bidders and drive up the fundraising value. Consider using these homemade items to supplement other auction goods, create baskets, or provide specialized categories.

Tips for Running a Successful Auction

A successful silent auction requires careful planning and organization. By leveraging the right strategies, you can maximize your fundraising efforts and create an enjoyable experience for all involved. From setting a budget to scouting out donors, here are some tips to help ensure that your silent auction is a success.

Finding Donors

One of the most critical aspects of a successful silent auction is finding donors who are willing to create and/or donate high-quality items to the event. Here are some tips for finding donors:

  • Reach out to Local Businesses: Local businesses are often more than happy to contribute items to a fundraiser. Reach out to local  companies and ask if they would be willing to donate items or gift cards to your silent auction.
  • Leverage Your Community Network: Talk to friends, family, and acquaintances about your silent auction and ask if they have any items they would be willing to donate. Posting on social media can also be a great way to reach a wider audience and find potential donors. You may be surprised at how many people are willing to donate once they learn about your organization and its needs! 
  • Offer Incentives: Consider incentivizing donors by offering them free tickets to the fundraising event, recognition at the event, or even a corporate sponsorship package. When you make it appealing to donate, more people are likely to participate. 

When approaching potential donors, explain how their contribution will make a difference for your nonprofit organization and emphasize the exposure their donation will receive. Remember to thank donors for their contributions after the fundraiser, which can help foster a long-term relationship.

Finding donors is essential to running a silent auction successfully. Reach out to local businesses and community members, and consider offering incentives to encourage contributions. Don't forget to show gratitude to your donors, which can establish positive relationships for future fundraising.

Pricing Items

Setting the right price for each silent auction item is crucial for a successful silent auction. Here are some tips to sell for a good price:

  • Step 1--Research Comparable Items: Research comparable items to ensure your prices are competitive. Look at current market trends, and keep any unique qualities in mind. This will help you identify the value and set the right fundraising price.
  • Step 2--Consider the Value of Hand-made Items: Prices should be based on the value of the materials and the amount of time and effort it took to make them. Look at the cost of supplies and the number of hours it took to make, and then factor in your desired profit margin.
  • Step 3--Create a Tiered System: Consider creating a tiered system to appeal to more bidders. For example, you can set a starting bid and a "buy it now" price, with a lower and higher option based on the fundraising item's value. This will attract different bidders, from bargain hunters to those with more generous budgets.
  • Step 4--Get an Appraisal: For high-end items, consider getting an appraisal from a professional appraiser to ensure accuracy in valuing these things.

Ensuring the item's value is proportionate to the asking price is paramount when setting prices. Overpriced items may not sell, while underpriced items may result in missed fundraising opportunities. Taking a step-by-step approach will help with this. 

Proper prices are essential for a successful silent auction. Consider researching comparable items and carefully valuing hand-made items. Create a tiered price system and consider getting an appraisal for high-value items. You can help ensure a successful silent auction event with the right strategy and research for your prices.

Hold a Silent Auction

Silent auctions can be a highly effective fundraising tool for nonprofit organizations. Here are some tips for running a successful silent auction where you sell everything:

  • Organize Items by Category: Grouping items by category can make it easier for bidders to find what they're looking for and generate more interest in the silent auction as a whole. Consider organizing items by themes such as home décor, travel, or recreation.
  • Display Items Clearly: Arrange items in an attractive and easy-to-navigate display to showcase each item's unique features. Your organization may also choose to display photographs or graphics to draw people's attention to each item.
  • Incorporate Mobile Technology: Incorporating mobile tech can make the entire process more accessible and convenient for bidders. One solution is to use Paybee, which allows bidders to bid from their smartphones or other mobile devices, eliminating the need to walk around to auction tables and wait for updates on bid status. Paybee also offers real-time tracking and instant checkout capabilities, streamlining the fundraising auction process for everyone involved.
  • Engage with Bidders: Encourage engagement from bidders by having volunteers available to answer questions and provide additional information about each item. Consider also having printed information next to each item, including the item's value, suggested starting bid, and a brief description.
  • Create Urgency: Creating a sense of urgency can help drive bid prices up. Consider setting a deadline for bids and, if possible, providing incremental price increases as the time window nears its end so you can sell for as high a price as possible. This is good for everyone, since when supporters donate to your organization, they will want to see that their merchandise will be popular and sell for as much as it can. 

Setting a Budget

Planning for a silent auction requires establishing a budget. Consider the cost of the merchandise you will sell, any fees associated with mobile technology, and other overhead costs that may arise from hosting the fundraising event. Determining how much you would like to raise with the help of your local donors is essential. This will help you establish how much you need to generate in revenue and can help guide your pricing decisions.

Increasing Bidding with Mobile Technology

Bids are the heart of fundraising with silent auctions, and ensuring that bids reach their maximum potential is a priority for any charity or nonprofit organization. Mobile technology is a great way to increase bidders and maximize revenues from silent auctions. Solutions like Paybee allow bidders to follow the auction, place bids, and track their progress from any smart device.

By incorporating these tips and Paybee's mobile technology, you can help ensure a successful silent auction event that maximizes fundraising opportunities for your nonprofit organization.


Hand-made goods can make a significant impact at fundraising events. Not only are these ideas for a homemade item fundraiser unique, but they also have a personal touch that can attract bidders, allowing you to enhance your silent auction while supporting local artisans and crafters.

In addition to incorporating hand-made commodities, there are several tips you can follow to ensure you run a successful event. By using mobile technology such as Paybee, organizing donations by category, engaging with bidders, and creating urgency around bids, you can maximize fundraising opportunities for your nonprofit organization.

Overall, hand-made objects offer an excellent opportunity for nonprofit organizations to raise funds for their cause while providing distinctive and memorable articles that bidders will cherish. 

And for seamless silent auction management, use Paybee's mobile bid technology. With Paybee, you can streamline your silent auction while providing a convenient and accessible  experience for bidders. Try using Paybee to assist your organization in your next auction fundraising event!

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