The Complete Fundraiser's Guide to Auction Consignment +Top Consignment Items | LuxGive

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What is Consignment Auction?

Ever wonder how some nonprofits seem to have the most jaw-dropping items to auction off? Like a luxury villa stay in Turks and Caicos or front-row seats to the Super Bowl? 

Chances are it’s not a secret celebrity sponsor—it's consignment! 

Consignment items are exclusive, high-value, and desirable items that are hard to procure anywhere else. Think luxury travel experiences, unique events, art, memorabilia, and more.

Nonprofits partner with third-party sellers—known as charity auction consignment companies—to offer these items in their raffles, live, and silent auctions.

benefit auctioneer auctions off art at a live auction

How Does Consignment Auction Work?

Each auction consignment item has a set "reserve price” or "nonprofit cost". That’s just a fancy way of saying the "minimum bid amount" required to sell the item. 

Consignment items are typically priced far below the item's real worth or "fair market value". The generous margin gives nonprofits lots of room to raise funds above the minimum bid. 

There's no upfront cost to place or "reserve" consignment items for auction. Payment is only made if the item sells, and all additional funds raised above the "reserve price" go straight to your cause. 

More of a visual learner? Here’s a simple breakdown:

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Tuscan Villa Stay with Wine Tasting

Reserve Price: $2,000

Winning Bid: $5,000

Subtract Item Cost: $5,000-$2,000

Funds Raised: $3,000 🎉

Who Pays for Consignment Auction Services?

It should never cost your anything to use consignment! 

By starting bidding at or above the "minimum bid amount", your donors cover the "reserve price" of the item—meaning you never have to foot the bill. 

After the auction, simply collect payment from your winners then settle the bill with the consignment company. All remaining funds are yours to keep! 

What Happens if an Item Doesn't Sell?

Ever heard the term "risk-free consignment"?

Simply put, if no one bids the "minimum bid amount"—aka the "reserve price"—the item doesn't sell. You don't owe any money to the consignment company and you both go on your way. 

(Or in our case, fundraising consultants work with you post-event to analyze your results and help you succeed the next time around.)

How to Place Auction Consignment

Most consignment companies have online nonprofit consignment stores where you can browse and select items. Some consignment auction services even offer event consultations and fundraising marketing to help boost bidding.

Here's a step-by-step look at how our consignment process works.

what is auction consignment and how does it work

What Are the Benefits of Consignment?

Donated items play an important role in fundraising events. They keep expense ratios low and can help you fill up your raffle baskets and silent auction tables. But when it comes to engaging audiences and driving higher bids, you may need some extra muscle. 

Here are some of the most popular reasons nonprofits use consignment auction services:

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Exclusive Items

Chances are, your Board member doesn't have a multi-million dollar home they're willing to vacate. NPOs partner with nonprofit consignment stores to source exclusive, high-value items they can’t get donated. Consignment also allows you to tailor your auction item lineup to your target audience.

fundraiser event donor engagement

Attract Audiences

Which do think will generate more buzz—tickets to the Paris Olympics or a weekend at a local B&B? Auction consignment items give more prestige to an event and entice audiences to attend. That means more ticket sales, more bidding opportunities, and more prospective donors.

live auction fundraising event paddles

Drive Bidding

Auction baskets are a donor favorite, but they can only raise so much. Exclusive, desirable, and high-value items fuel more bidding and drive up winning bids. Tailoring your items to your audience is also proven to raise more funds than auctioning off donations that don’t resonate with your guests.

wine auction packages for donors

Sell Multiples

Unlike a donated timeshare, travel consignment can be sold unlimited times—yes, unlimited! Have a bidding war? Sell the item to all competing bidders to instantly double, triple, or even quadruple your revenue. (One of our experiences recently sold 20x at a single event!)

auction travel packages with chef service

Turnkey Items

The last thing you need is to plan trip winners' vacations—or put your NPO on the line for guest satisfaction and service. Auction consignment companies like LuxGive handle stays from start to finish, including guest services, reservations, itineraries, and activities. 

What To Look for in Auction Consignment Companies

With so many nonprofit consignment stores out there, knowing which to use can be challenging. Use this handy checklist when you're researching and comparing auction consignment companies:

✅ Risk-Free Consignment: 

Make sure your nonprofit is never on the hook for any funds if consignment items don't sell. Better yet, look for fundraising guarantees.

✅ No Hidden Fees: 

The "nonprofit price" or "reserve price" should be stated clearly before placement with no hidden or extra fees.

✅ Pre-Event Services: 

Look for fundraising consulting services. Your provider should also include fundraising marketing materials to convert interest into bids.

✅ Post-Event Services:

Auction consignment companies should handle all item fulfillment. For travel, that should include hospitality, reservations, and trip planning.

✅ Trusted by NPOs

Is your consignment company trusted by other nonprofits? Look for success stories, reviews, and partnerships with recognized charities.

✅ Stellar Donor Reviews

Trip winner reviews are crucial. You want to know your donors will be in good hands after dropping thousands of dollars at your event.

luxgive reviews

Top Consignment Items for Nonprofits

1. Travel Experiences

Travel experiences are by far the most popular auction consignment items due to their desirability and broad appeal. They also allow you to capture donors' existing travel budgets and convert them into charitable funds.

luxury villa auction travel packages

2. Unique Events

Unique events fuel bidding due to their exclusivity and high demand. Whether it’s Grand Prix tickets, Paris Fashion Week, or Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, these items are highly prized and difficult to procure anywhere else.

Note: LuxGive exclusive events are offered on a custom and individual basis. Please contact us for inquiries. 

grand prix travel packages

3. Memorabilia

Rare and collector-worthy pieces remain extremely popular at auction. Because memorabilia is one-of-a-kind, you'll want to offer items that appeal specifically to your audience, whether it's a signed jersey, guitar, or piece of Americana history. 

music and sports memorabilia for auction

Top Consignment Travel Experiences

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disney auction packages for fundraising events

1. Tuscany

This timeless Italian region has been the #1 consignment travel seller for the past two years. Its world-class wines, enchanting landscapes, and artistic and cultural treasures make it a bidding magnet. 

Top Consignment Items

2. Mexico

Puerto Vallarta and Cabo are top donor destinations thanks to their sun-kissed sands, mouthwatering cuisine, and easy accessibility. For donors seeking barefoot luxury, look no further than the azure Caribbean waters of Tulum. 

Top Consignment Items

3. Disney

Families make up an important part of your audience (that includes grandparents too!). Disney is the top family vacation experience thanks to its broad appeal, attractive price point, and bucket-list status.

Top Consignment Items

Take Action

Planning a fundraiser for your nonprofit? LuxGive offers a wealth of resources to help you plan and execute a successful benefit event.

At LuxGive, we believe in the transformative power of travel. Our mission is to help nonprofits raise more funds at auction through once-in-a-lifetime home and villa experiences.

Our travel experiences feature Premium Guest Services for trip planning and access to an exceptional portfolio of over 1,500 stunning private properties across the world. 

Whether it’s a luxury Caribbean villa, an enchanting Tuscan apartment, or an alpine lodge steps from the powder, we have something for all your clients' needs.

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