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40+ Unforgettable Live Auction Items that Sell Well

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Live auctions are exciting, fast-paced nonprofit events that can bring in a lot of revenue. However, a live auction is only as good as the items that are available for bidding.

The best live auction items are relevant to your unique event audience’s interests, hard to come by for the average person, and reasonably priced. 

With that in mind, we’ll review top auction item ideas, sorted into the following categories:

A live auction differs from a virtual auction in that it’s focused on in-person, on-site bidding. Auctioneers have to capture the audience’s attention with eye-catching items that spark bidding wars. This guide is a great place to start to generate ideas for items and packages that will captivate your audience at your next auction event.

Want to streamline auction planning with a unified fundraising platform? Learn about Bloomerang’s fundraising tools.


A man plays a guitar, representing the classic live auction items of concert tickets

Classic live auction item ideas

When you think of a live auction, there are probably several classic items that come to mind. Here are a few tried-and-true go-to items that will give your auction a solid foundation and appeal to all types of supporters.

Autographed memorabilia

Autographed memorabilia often becomes a cherished heirloom. These items can also be very rare, especially ones signed by ultra-famous individuals, making them exciting finds for your event attendees. Here are a few types of memorabilia that work well for auctions:

  • Sports jerseys
  • Sports equipment (footballs, baseballs, baseball gloves, etc.)
  • Musician’s clothing
  • Costumes
  • Musical instruments

Include a certificate of authenticity with the item to reassure donors of its credibility.

Celebrity meet and greets

It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to sit down for lunch or a video call with your favorite celebrity. Offer meet and greet opportunities with celebrities such as:

  • Musicians
  • Athletes
  • Comedians
  • Actors

See if you can ask the celebrity to send in a quick video showing support for your nonprofit’s mission to inspire more bidding.

Concert tickets

Buying concert tickets has become like a competitive sport, as passionate fans flood ticket platforms to see their favorite artist live. Help take some of this stress away by auctioning off concert tickets for famous acts coming through town. Donors especially value special seats, such as front-row tickets or box seats.

Major event tickets

Major annual events are bucket list items for many people, but that also makes tickets hard to come by. Tickets to these experiences would be enticing auction items for plenty of attendees:

  • The Super Bowl
  • Coachella Music and Arts Festival
  • The Kentucky Derby
  • The Indianapolis 500
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • The Masters Tournament


Attendees often participate in auctions to find a new mural or gorgeous piece of art to add to their collection or spruce up their living room. Recently, modernist and impressionist paintings have been selling particularly well in the art world. Art that has personal meaning for your community is also a safe bet. For example, if your town is known for gorgeous cherry blossom trees, offering paintings with these trees by a local artist can inspire bidding.


Jewelry is an appealing auction item for bidders looking to find the perfect Valentine’s Day or anniversary gift. Seek out rare jewels or valuable antique items that inspire collectors to get involved in the bidding.

Adventure experience

For the thrill seekers in your nonprofit’s audience, consider offering adventure experiences like:

  • White water rafting
  • Camping/glamping
  • Rock climbing
  • Skydiving
  • Caving

Partner with local adventure companies to see if they’d be willing to donate local experiences that are unique to your area.

A holiday table setting, representing a live auction holiday basket item

Auction basket and package ideas

Auction baskets or packages are intriguing because they allow bidders to win more than one prize at once. Here are a few creative packages and basket ideas to wow attendees.

Beach basket

The winner of your beach basket should leave with everything they need for a fun, relaxing beach day, including:

  • Nice beach chairs (backpack-style chairs with cup holders and cooler pouches are popular among beachgoers)
  • A cooler
  • Beach umbrella or tent
  • Voucher for free surfing lessons

Throw in a towel and some sunscreen to complete the basket, and the winner will be ready for the perfect day in the sun!

Sports basket

Choose one sport to focus on for the basket, and acquire several items related to that sport. For example, a baseball basket could include a ball signed by a famous player, a jersey, and season tickets to home games.

Tech basket

Many people prioritize keeping up with the latest tech releases or having the best new gadgets. Offer a basket for the techies at your event that includes:

  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • A tablet
  • A wireless speaker

Holiday basket

If your auction takes place around a holiday, offer a holiday basket to give one lucky winner the supplies they need to plan an unforgettable day.

For instance, a Thanksgiving meal basket could include a coupon for a free turkey, a bottle of wine, charcuterie ingredients, and fancy dinner napkins. A Christmas basket could feature rare ornaments, chocolates, a mug, and hand-knitted stockings.

Corporate sponsorship package

Your nonprofit may have strong relationships with corporate partners in your community, whether they’re small businesses, large corporations, or anything in between. Many of these corporate partners would likely be thrilled to support your auction (after all, 77% of consumers want to make purchases from companies that support charitable causes).

Leverage the mutual benefits of corporate partnerships by asking your sponsors to contribute a corporate package or basket to your auction. The package could feature free items donated by the business. For example, a local bike shop could donate a bike, helmet, and a voucher for a free tuneup. Or, a local auto shop could donate a package that includes a free oil change and tire rotation along with a free car detailing service.

Your corporate partners get more positive publicity for their businesses, while your nonprofit receives valuable auction packages for your event. It’s a win-win relationship!

Streaming service package

Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have millions of subscribers, but many consumers have been dropping these services recently, likely because of rising prices.

Consider auctioning off a streaming service package with one-year subscriptions to platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Max, Amazon Prime, and Disney+.

Bloomerang’s fundraising software helps identify prospective donors and corporate sponsors. Schedule a demo.


Gardening package

Appeal to supporters with green thumbs by creating a gardening package with items like:

  • Seeds
  • Gloves
  • A gardening book
  • A gardening hat

You could even include a free consultation with a master gardener who can help the winner ensure their garden is in tip-top shape.

Beauty package

The beauty industry benefits from major popularity worldwide, especially with the rise of online beauty and skincare influencers. Auction attendees would be intrigued by a beauty package with valuable products like:

  • Makeup
  • Skincare
  • Haircare products
  • Fragrances
  • Lotion

Many consumers, especially members of Gen Z, prioritize purchasing from socially conscious brands, so be sure to vet your products before including them in your beauty basket.

Coffee package

Create a basket with a variety of coffee products, such as an espresso machine, coffee mugs, and bags of rare or high-quality coffee. Throw in a few travel mugs so supporters can take their coffee on the go!


A cruise ship in a tropical paradise, representing a popular live auction item 

Travel-related live auction items

People often attend auctions to discover unique experiences or opportunities that help them check off bucket list items. Many attendees are also excited at the prospect of accessing valuable deals on trips they may not otherwise spend money on but choose to bid on because they know it’s for a good cause.


Around 35.7 million people are expected to set sail on a cruise in 2024—6% more than the pre-pandemic year of 2019. People are ready to get out and explore the world, all with the comforts of an all-inclusive buffet and leisure activities at their fingertips.

Offer cruise packages as part of your auction lineup to appeal to travelers. Popular destinations include the Caribbean, Alaska, and New Zealand.

All-inclusive resort

All-inclusive resorts allow people to relax on a nice vacation without the hassle of having to figure out where to eat or what activities to do. All-inclusive resorts offer lodging, food and drink, entertainment, and recreational activities all on-site. Choose intriguing warm-weather locations like Belize, Jamaica, Australia, or Greece.

Theme park passes

Theme park passes are a great choice if you’re looking for auction items that appeal to families. Search for passes to the most popular theme parks like:

  • Cedar Point
  • Disney World
  • Disneyland
  • Universal Studios
  • Six Flags

You can offer one-day, multi-day, or season passes, depending on availability.

Ski passes

Skiing and snowboarding can quickly become expensive. Season passes can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and day passes can cost over $200. Add on the costs of renting or buying the proper equipment, like boots, skis, and poles, and you’re looking at an expensive day out on the slopes!

That makes ski season passes or all-inclusive stays at popular resorts enticing auction items. Ask for donations from ski resorts or partner with a charity concierge service to help find resorts willing to donate free stays.

Bed and breakfast stay

Staying at a bed and breakfast is a unique experience that many travelers crave when they visit a new city. These lodgings are typically within private homes and have fewer guests staying at one time, leading to a more personalized experience. Look for B&Bs in unique locations, such as beachfront or mountaintop locales.

Guided fishing trip

In a guided fishing trip, an experienced professional takes participants out on a boat to catch fish with the help of their expertise. These trips often include all the equipment needed, such as fishing poles, nets, and bait. Guided fishing trips can be very appealing to hobbyist fishermen who want to visit a cool location and catch some fish they might not have been able to on their own.

A charcuterie board with meats, cheeses, crackers, grapes, and more, representing a food-themed auction prize

Food and drink auction items that sell

There are plenty of “foodies” across the country who would be interested in food and drink auction items—surveys show that 69% of Americans cook regularly, and 74% of people who have traveled in the past year do so for the food. Food and beverage items are a great way to capture the attention of the foodies in your nonprofit’s audience.

Private cooking classes

Connect with a professional or celebrity chef to ask if they’d be willing to donate their time to a private cooking class. Specify what the cooking class will entail. For example, perhaps the winner of this item will be able to participate in a class that covers three courses and includes wine pairings and dessert.

Private chef experience

The lucky winner of this prize could be treated to a private chef experience at their home, where an experienced professional cooks a five-star meal and shares information about their process.

Looking for donors and corporate sponsors to donate auction items? Our guide to finding the best hidden prospects can help. Get the guide here.


Wine tasting

Wine tasting is extremely popular among experienced connoisseurs and casual enthusiasts alike. In a wine-tasting experience, participants sample a variety of wines while evaluating them using criteria such as appearance, smell, and taste. In the United States, areas like Napa Valley in California and the Finger Lakes in New York are popular regions for wine experiences.

Culinary tour

Sometimes one meal or a day trip isn’t enough for enthusiastic foodies to get their fill. Culinary tours allow people to explore a region known for its food over a few days or weeks to get a broader understanding of the culinary background of the area. Search for experiences in countries known for their cuisine, like Italy, France, China, and Mexico.

Charcuterie basket

Charcuterie boards are elevated appetizers that typically include a variety of meats, cheeses, and other snacks laid out on a board. Gathering all of the ingredients for a stellar charcuterie board can take a lot of work and become pricey. By offering a charcuterie basket at your auction, you can provide a convenient option for one lucky winner to create an enviable charcuterie board.

No charcuterie basket is complete without:

  • Wine
  • Meats
  • Cheeses
  • Jams
  • Crackers
  • Olives
  • Nuts

Be sure to also include an elegant wooden board to present the items. Connect with a local woodworker to ask if they’d be willing to donate a board to your worthy cause.


A golf club about to hit a golf ball, representing a popular live auction item 

Arts and leisure live auction items

Many supporters would love nothing more than to spend a Saturday relaxing or participating in something that sparks their creative energy. Consider adding the following arts and entertainment auction items to your lineup.

Tickets to a musical or play

It can be tricky to get tickets when popular musicals like Les Misérables or Hamilton come to town. Wow auction attendees with close-up seats to musicals or plays at your local theater. See if you can acquire season tickets to give theater lovers access to a wider selection of shows.

Spa day

Plenty of people would love to relax at a spa day but don’t feel like they have an opportunity to do so. Offer a spa day package at a local spa for a lucky winner to unwind and receive some pampering.

Museum passes

Offer a local museum bundle for those looking to explore more of the cultural and historical opportunities your city has to offer. For example, you could create a bundle with art, history, and science museum passes.

Art or pottery class

Anyone can be an artist—all it takes is a spark of creativity and a few artistic materials. Art or pottery classes can be popular auction items for attendees looking to get in touch with their creativity. Sip and paint classes in particular have become quite popular as a great way to create while socializing.

Private sports lessons

Around 95% of Americans participate in sports and leisure activities daily, meaning it’s highly likely that many auction participants would be interested in private coaching to help advance their skills. Search for trainers or instructors who would be willing to give private lessons in sports like:

  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Pickleball
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Dancing
  • Kickboxing

Consider throwing in some sports equipment as well, like a tennis racket or snowboard, to make this offering as appealing as possible.

Golf outing

More Americans are playing golf than ever before. Appeal to the popularity of this sport by offering a golf outing for bidding at a prestigious golf course. You could also offer equipment like clubs, golf balls, and gloves.

A hot air balloon soars above a river, representing a unique live auction item

Unique live auction item ideas

In addition to classic auction items like autographed memorabilia and travel experiences, offering a few unique items can elevate your event and create a more memorable experience for attendees.

Custom artwork

You may think it sounds unwise to sell an auction item that doesn’t technically exist yet, but attendees will be on board when you offer custom artwork. Connect with a local artist who can provide a custom piece for the auction winner, whether a painting, mural, or sculpture. This is a unique opportunity for auction attendees, and the opportunity to purchase custom artwork is very appealing to art aficionados.

Hot air balloon ride

Hot air balloon rides are the perfect activity for any time of year, as long as there are sunny skies. Participants can fly over the city or stunning landscapes, like local mountains or hills.

Zero-gravity experience

Not many people can say they’ve ever experienced zero gravity before. Give auction attendees the chance to experience what it’s like to be an astronaut through a zero-gravity or indoor skydiving experience. These opportunities simulate the experience of being in space, all without having to leave the atmosphere!

Mystery basket

Sometimes the element of surprise can be just as enticing as seeing a physical auction item. Create a mystery basket that remains covered during the bidding process. The winner will have the added excitement of seeing what they’ve acquired when the basket is unveiled.


High-quality instruments can get pricey, so attendees might be enthusiastic about the prospect of getting a new instrument for a deal at your auction. Consider acquiring popular instruments such as:

  • Acoustic guitar
  • Electric guitar
  • Violin
  • Flute
  • Piano
  • Drum kit
  • Saxophone

If you can acquire instruments signed by famous musicians, like an electric guitar signed by Prince or a drum kit signed by Dave Grohl, that will make them all the more enticing for auction attendees.

Movie or TV extra experience

Have any Hollywood connections? Leverage them to offer one fortunate attendee the opportunity to participate in a movie or TV show filming as an extra.

Private concert

Connect with a local or famous musician to auction off a private concert to be held at the winners’ home. Search for someone who your audience would be excited about. Consider your target audience’s age to find a musician who appeals to their interests.


A car can be an exciting big-ticket auction item, especially if you can get your hands on a vintage model. If you have a large venue, dazzle the audience by driving the car out to the auction area (if you can do so safely, of course!).

How to Choose Live Auction Items

We’ve just reviewed plenty of options to consider for your live auction event, but how can you narrow down the list? Take these steps to help choose and secure the right auction items for your audience.

The steps of choosing effective live auction items (explained in the text below) 


1. Conduct audience research

Reference data from past auctions about what items sold well. Also, survey your audience to get their input on the types of items they’d like to see. Supporters will be more excited to bid on items they had a hand in choosing.

2. Connect with corporate partners and major donors

Your nonprofit may not have the budget or connections to procure and pay for all auction items on your own. That’s where corporate sponsors and major donors come into play. Connect with these partners ahead of your auction to ask if they’d be willing to donate or sponsor items at your event.

For your corporate partners, be sure to outline the benefits of partnering with your nonprofit. For example, almost half of all Americans believe it is very important for a company to “make the world a better place” than “make money for its shareholders.”

3. Select the right number of items

Silent and live auctions differ when it comes to the recommended number of items. At a silent auction, attendees can browse available options at their own pace, and it’s recommended to offer a wider range of items (typically one item for every two bidders).

On the other hand, live auctions involve bidding on just one item at a time. Therefore, we recommend no more than 12-15 items to ensure you hold your audience’s attention.

4. Choose the right software to stay organized

Balancing tasks like item procurement, live auction event planning, and impact reporting can become challenging. That’s why it’s essential to have the right fundraising software by your side to stay organized and reach your funding goals.

For example, Bloomerang + Qgiv is a donor management and fundraising platform that empowers nonprofits to build genuine donor relationships. Bloomerang + Qgiv helps nonprofits tackle the most common auction-planning obstacles by:

  • Eliminating data silos. With Bloomerang + Qgiv, organizations can view and manage all constituent data in one place, whether for donors, event attendees, or volunteers.
  • Stewarding sponsors effectively. Make your event sponsors feel like VIPs with custom packages, sponsor pages, and personalized sponsor experiences.
  • Improving time-management. Save time with dynamic campaign and event dashboards that feature pre-built and custom reports.
  • Offering a better guest experience. Streamline the event experience for attendees with QR code check-ins, discount options, and flexible ticketing. Avoid paper bids and long check-out lines with software custom-built to manage nonprofit auctions.

Clients value Bloomerang + Qgiv for its ability to increase productivity, efficiency, and revenue.

Juggling item procurement, event planning, and impact measurement can be hectic. Bloomerang’s fundraising software streamlines the auction process. Schedule a demo here.


Wrapping Up

By adding these exciting items to your auction lineup, you can plan a memorable event that keeps supporters coming back year after.

Interested in leveraging Bloomerang to make your auction a smashing success? Check out this video highlighting the top features and benefits of our giving platform:

Want to dive into more auction planning? Start with these additional resources:

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