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How to Create a Gift Basket For a Silent Auction

Updated on May 12, 2012

My Toastmasters club is having an auction fundraiser/membership drive later this month. As a member of the club – and especially as a club officer – I’ve been tasked with coming up with at least one gift basket we can use for our silent auction. Because it’s close to Halloween, we’re using that as our overall theme, along with a “Taste of Toastmasters,” a truncated Toastmasters meeting to give guests an idea what Toastmasters is all about.

Silent auctions are very popular ways to raise money. If you aren’t familiar with this fundraising method, it’s easy and fun.

Rather than have each basket be a hodge-podge of items, pick a theme to make it easier to collect items and assemble. For instance, if your theme is “movie night” your basket could be a cute popcorn bowl you found at a thrift store, new or used DVDs, coupons to a video store, microwave popcorn and soda pop. Or a “home spa” basket could have aroma therapy candles and oils, a loofah, a pumice stone, facial mask and scrub and a CD with soothing music.

Be creative. You don’t have to use a basket to hold the items. You could use a fancy wine bag to hold a bottle of wine or a plastic trick-or-treat bucket to hold Halloween items. Also, we asked members not to spend a lot of money but rather to find gently used items around their home or to “regift” items they received and didn’t want.


Spooky basket

For my Halloween basket, I purchased the bucket and pumpkin carving tools for $3 at a dollar store. I already had the black, white and orange filler from a previous project. Because my kids are grown up and I don’t have little ones around any more to decorate for, I donated the hanging skeleton and haunted house luminaire.

As I started to assemble my basket, I realized the bucket was pretty deep. If I put enough filler in it to get the luminaire to sit high enough to be seen, I would end up using it all. I didn’t want to do that. So I found a piece of cardboard, cut it to fit inside the bucket, folded it down and set the haunted house on top. I stuffed filler all around it, stuck in the tools, and arranged the skeleton so it was propped up, taping its hanger to the back of the package.

Later, I’ll cover it with transparent packaging wrap. I’ll also make a list of the items in each of the baskets I assemble and include an approximate value of the basket. This is to give people an idea what the starting bid should be. You don’t want to have a basket filled with items worth $50 to have a starting bid of $1 and end up being sold for $15. The point is to make some money, right?



Another basket I’ll be donating is one centered around meditation. I asked the yoga center I frequent if they would be willing to donate a candle. I had lots of unopened packages of incense at home and a meditation tape I no longer listened to.

Tips on assembling your auction basket

  • Have a theme – it makes it easier to come up with items and lends continuity to them instead of being a mishmash of ‘stuff’
  • Think beyond baskets. For a garden theme, use a large flowerpot. Or if it’s for Halloween, try a trick-or-treat bucket
  • Use cardboard to raise items up instead of using up all your filler
  • Put taller items in the back, shorter things in front
  • To keep items from spilling out of the basket, wrap it in transparent wrap
  • Make a list of items in the basket with an approximate value to help determine starting bids

You're limited only by your imagination when it comes to creating a gift basket. Have fun with it!


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    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Mythicalstorm273. It's great when you can find something useful to use as a container for the other gift items. Makes it do double duty. Thanks for reading!

    • mythicalstorm273 profile image


      6 years ago

      I've never made a gift basket for an auction, but I do them a lot for family and friends. For weddings, baby showers, or sometimes even for Christmas I will put together a random assortment of stuff. An example my family likes to do is to get a baby bathtub and fill it with towels, washcloths, maybe a robe, and basic bathroom needs for a baby including soaps and lotions as well as thermometer and first aid stuff. It all depends on our budget and they are always a hit when we do it! I was the Maid of Honor for my sisters wedding and I even did a gift basket for her... of course hers was quite different because it was wedding presents, but it was still a lot of fun and a huge hit! You gave some really good tips and advice! Great hub :-)

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Glad I could be of help Eloise. Good luck to your friend on her auction.

    • Eloise Hope profile image

      Eloise Hope 

      7 years ago from Portland, Oregon, USA

      Exactly what I needed tonight ! A friend just sent me a request to donate a gift or gift basket for her silent auction, and I was considering without any real direction. I am now armed with a plan! Thanks! Your specificity is much appreciated.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks, we had a very successful evening and raised $974. We were thrilled.

    • gottaloveit profile image


      7 years ago from MD

      Love the Halloween basket. What a creative idea for a silent auction!

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Giselle, thanks for reading and the comment. Tonight's our fundraiser and I'll find out how well our baskets do. We have some gorgeous ones lined up, wine, kids, holiday, men's, etc. I already have my eye on one I plan to use as a Christmas gift.

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 

      7 years ago

      A must-read hub for anyone involved in fundraising! Silent auctions are a fun way to raise money for a charitable cause. Thanks for this much-needed practical guide about how to put together a gift basket for this type of event.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Danette-I've been to a doctor's office three times (today being the last time) and have two kind of medicine to take...hopefully it will improve soon.

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Dee, I hope you are feeling better by now. If not, "get thee to a doctor!"

      Christmas is coming, maybe a different kind of basket is in your future.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Yay! 50 Hubs accomplished.

      I love this hub. I love gift baskets of any kind and any tips on constructing them is very helpful. Voted up and 'awesome'.

      Cool meditation gift basket...hmmmm if only someone would send me a get well gift basket ! hint hint LOL

    • Danette Watt profile imageAUTHOR

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      hey bizzymom, thanks for stopping by to read and comment. Appreciate it.

    • bizzymom profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      These are good ideas. Thanks for sharing.


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