Ultimate Silent Auction Study

Learn the highest performing silent auction items by region and season

We pulled 880,000 lines of data from our own silent auction software platform to analyze silent auction item performance across the country and dove deep into the data to get answers to common silent auction questions.

With over 25,000 campaigns hosted on GiveSmart’s silent auction platform in the last 24 months, there’s plenty of variety to the events, organizations, and items that we analyzed, creating a robust nationwide study.  Insights in this study are based on real data from thousands of organizations across the country. We dove into 2020 and compared it to 2019 silent auctions and, boy, do we have some insights! From categories and regions, the trends are evident and we’ve done our best to track these by quarter, region, and by type of silent auction item, so you and your organization can utilize this data to strategically create a silent auction that is successful and stands out.

Choose the best silent auction items based on key information, including: 

  • Average Fair Market Value (FMV): The estimated value of the auction item or package.
  • Average Return on Fair Market Value (Ret on FMV): Calculated by dividing the Purchase Price by Fair Market Value for the item.  (Purchase Price/FMV)
  • Average Starting Bid Price: Price set by the organization to start the bidding
  • Items with 0 bids: Some items get no bids at all : (
  • Silent auction item performance broken down by geographical region
  • Why certain items perform better than others
  • How you can implement this data to enhance your next charity auction

Here are some of the insights from the study

best silent auction items for each season of the year

Through this research, we’re able to share insights and tips that will help make your next silent auction more successful and rewarding. This data is only an indication of the trends we found, not a formula, but can be used to guide decision making.  

Get insights specific to your region

Did you know that autographed memorabilia performs significantly better in the Northeast in the middle of the year, but provide no significant return in the Midwest at any time?  Or that you should focus on golf, meals, and food packages when hosting an auction in the Southwest in Q1?  Get insights specific for your region, to help maximize the impact of your silent auction fundraiser.

Silent Auction Item Performance by Region

Take a closer look at silent auction item performance for your region, and make better decisions about which silent auction items to prioritize for your next event.

Learn how specific categories of silent auction items perform

We broke silent auction items down into categories, to better understand how groups of auction items perform.  Our research here can help you focus your time and energy on the right types of silent auction items, those with the greatest chance to drive excitement, participation, and return for your silent auction.

Silent Auction Items By Category

Silent auction item categories include:

  • Alcohol/Wine
  • Art
  • Autographed Items
  • Baskets
  • Beauty/Jewelry/Personal
  • Entertainment
  • Family
  • Food and Meals
  • Golf
  • Health & Fitness
  • Home/Garden
  • Kids
  • School-Related
  • Sports & Tickets
  • Travel & Experiences

As just one example of the types of insights we gained from this study, we learned that on the West Coast, baskets averaged a strong 7.73 bids per item and a very strong 273.85% return on the starting bid in the 2nd quarter, but added almost no value in the 4th quarter.

These and many more insights are available for free when you download the Ultimate Silent Auction Study.

Silent auctions are tried and true ways to fundraise for your charity, school, or foundation. Wouldn’t things be a bit easier if you had data to help guide the curation of your items?

Would you rather hear us walk through these insights?
Tune in here.

Note: at the end of the study is a compilation of all of the free resources GiveSmart provides to help silent auctions.  

If you’d like to discuss your silent auction with us further, feel free to request a demo to get started. Our team is ready to help.

Related Webinars:
Unpacking the Silent Auction
Winning the Silent Auction
Turn Data into Donations

Related Blogs:
School Silent Auction Ideas
Top 5 Silent Auction Items
15 Silent Auction Items that Don’t Cost a Dime
Quick & Easy Silent Auction Checkout