It is critical to have thorough, engaging descriptions for each of your silent auction items. The Fundraising Manager of Charity Fundraising shares some helpful tips for writing interesting, informative and legal descriptions for your silent auction items.

For professional assistance writing descriptions for your silent auction items, call or contact Charity Fundraising today!


Create a plan that can be applied consistently for every silent auction item. Think about each item and the questions you would have if you wanted to bid on the item. Item descriptions should be:

  • Designed in a clear, consistent format.
  • Easy to read and understand.
  • Contain only relevant information to the charity item being showcased.

Data & Creativity

Each charity auction item description should include the following 5 components.  Thinking and writing creatively can inspire bids:

  1. Be sure to include the retail value of the silent auction item.
  2. Provide the starting bid and the bidding increments.
  3. Craft a descriptive explanation of the item.  This description should include historical significance, rarity and any pertinent facts that could increase bidding.  The Fundraising Manager, “When Charity Fundraising offers an Eric Clapton autographed record album, we include important facts such as Eric Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He was inducted once as a solo artist and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream.  When “The Avengers” autographed movie poster was auctioned, we included some of the numerous box office records, including the biggest opening weekend in North America.”  These facts combined with the retail value of the item often engage people into bidding.
  4. Include details regarding a certificate of authenticity as well as the company name issuing the certificate.
  5. Though legal information is not terribly exciting, it is a necessity.  Be sure to provide bidders with information regarding restrictions, expiration dates, limitations on days/dates of use, exclusions, price caps, transferability, resale restriction and any other legal data.  This information is typically included in a statement provided by the donor.

Answer Questions Before They’re Asked

Imagine that you are a guest at your silent charity auction.  Think about each item and the questions you would have if you wanted to bid on the item.  For example, if the silent auction item is two tickets to a Major League baseball game you may want to know where the seats are located, is parking included, etc.  Often times, bidders will not search for answers on an item if they have a question and tend to look for another item to bid on.  Answering questions before they happen can prevent potential bidders from walking away from an item they would otherwise like to bid on.

Charity Fundraising Partners

When partnering with Charity Fundraising, fundraising consultants will provide you with item descriptions should you decide to use silent auction items on consignment. These firms may specialize in charity fundraising and will often have item descriptions on file to assist your charity.

If you would like to partner with Charity Fundraising, call or contact one of our fundraising professionals today. We look forward to working with you!