At smaller charity auctions, you can get by being a little “loosey-goosey” in the way you present your baskets in the silent auction. At larger fundraising auctions, you need to step up your game. Stepping up means wrapping up your baskets.
Here are some advantages of wrapping a school or charity auction basket in clear plastic / cellophane.
1) prevents the contents from falling out. Sometimes items are dropped. Sometimes items get tipped over. Sometimes it happens.
2) prevents auction items from being swapped between baskets. Whose to stop sneaky Sidra from slyly exchanging the $50 Shell gift card with a $50 Best Buy gift card from a nearby unwrapped basket?
3) prevents theft. If your silent auction is in a large hotel where hotel guests — or anyone — could meander by, theft can become a concern. It’s easy to pocket something small from a basket; it’s trickier to walk out with the entire auction basket. An example of a valuable and easily portable as well as concealable basket item is gift cards. In an unwrapped basket, gift cards would be very easy to swipe.
4) allows you to “freeze” the basket contents in place so the auction items don’t move. This has two sub-advantages. There is less silent auction ideas chance for items to move around. They don’t move easily. Breakable items become less so.
Second, you can make the auction basket look more attractive. You can display it in such a way that it appears that there is more stuff in the container than there really is.
This is the same concept professional photographers use when they shoot the contents of, say, a fruit basket or popcorn bucket. The container is filled with filler, and the good stuff — the stuff you are interested in buying — is bursting from the top. It looks tempting. “Wow,” you think, “Mom will get all that for $50?! That looks impressive. I’ve just found her gift.”
5) keeps the contents clean. People just can’t keep their hands off some items. I worked a school auction with a basket that had an adorable stuffed hippo with a squeezable nose. I admit it. I grabbed and squeezed this hippo’s adorable nose every single time I walked by. Keep germy hands from squeezing the plush toy or smearing a white t-shirt when you wrap the basket.
6) makes the basket more portable for pick-up and carry-out. In the rush of pick-up, you’ll appreciate the “grab-and-go” convenience of a shrink-wrapped auction item.
Incidentally, shrink-wrapping auction baskets or putting baskets into cellophane bags is usually an activity reserved for the decor committee overseeing the silent auction. The committee can organize a “basket making party” during which all volunteers can attend and complete the task.