Gift Baskets and the Silent Auction – Re Deux

Several months ago I wrote an article on the topic of creating Gift Baskets for Silent Auctions. There was such a great response to that article, that I decided to re visit the subject.

Non profit organizations are not the only ones who donation basket ideas are looking to raise funds by non traditional means. Every day I read a newspaper article or see a poster for fund raisers for individuals within the community who need assistance because a fire has left them homeless or their medical bills from an accident or illness are not being met by their insurance. I saw a poster recently promoting a spaghetti dinner to raise money to assist the family of a soldier wounded in Afghanistan. The family needed help with travel and living expenses. A silent auction is a great way to accomplish the goal of raising money for any good cause.

The first step is to ask local businesses for help. A retailer might be willing to donate an item from their store. For example, a book store may donate a book, a garden center a planter, etc. Ask business people like insurance agents or car sales people. They may not have a product they can donate but they may be willing to donate a few dollars or an item like a bottle wine.

Remember that most banks and the few larger companies in your area are always regularly approached for donations by large non profits and civic groups and they already donate thousands of dollars every year to community events. They have budgets too, so when approaching them for donations, keep your request simple. You can do a lot with a $25 or $50 donation when you are creating themed gift baskets.

When the first items start to come in, see if, by combining some of the items, you can come up with some ideas for themes. Did the bookstore donate a book about gardens or birds or flowers? If so, combine the book with the garden planter and start a “gardening” theme. If the bookstore donated a recent best selling mystery, you can still combine it with the planter but your theme could be a little different. It could be entitled “the weekend”, a little gardening, a little reading, you get the idea. Use any monetary donations to purchase items that will compliment the themes you have chosen.

Some easy themes to design are a wine basket, a pasta basket, a night at the movies basket, an arts or crafts basket and a game night gift basket.

You can buy everything you need to finish off the gift basket such as cello wrap and a hand tied bow at many local craft shops. If you have a gift basket company in your area, ask them to donate their time and expertise.