Thursday, March 05, 2015

Project: A New England Gift Basket and Gift Baskets for Auctions

Jon and I went to a local fundraiser for the Rotary Club. There was a silent auction and I made a gift basket to be part of it.
We came up with the theme of "New England Breakfast" and then spent a few hours running around Florida trying to gather "New England" goodies. Living in NH, these things are easy to find at the grocery store and even the local pharmacy, but being 1300 miles away poses some unexpected difficulties. So, we did the best we could and came up with some yummy alternatives.
Jon found a fabulous chicken wire basket that he thought conveyed a New England farm feel. It was perfect and a great size to hold everything.
No basket would be complete without real maple syrup and we found some made in Canada, some Vermont honey, delicious French preserves, gourmet coffee, and pancake mix. We found linen dishtowels, two adorable owl mugs, and a lantern. Perfect! I bought 3 bags of basket filler, cellophane wrap and burlap ribbon to dress the basket up.
I made three toppers, because let's face it, "presentation is everything"... 
And a gift tag that explained the contents of the basket.
Here's the complete basket... a generous size.

Tips for making a successful gift basket for an auction:
1. Don't limit yourself to a basket.. almost any container will work well, just keep your theme in mind. If it's a beach basket, a beach bag works well!
2. Keep the overall value of the basket "mid-range" $50 - $100 usually receive a lot of bids. Baskets with too high values don't usually work well, and neither do "cheap" goods. (The "mid-range" value varies by location and event.)
3. Label the basket contents and be as specific as possible. People want to know what they are bidding on.
4. Keep themes fun. Themes can be almost anything: color, region, food, ethnic, sports, girlie, manly, little baby, child, etc.
5. Make it look attractive and portable. You want to be sure that nothing inside the basket will get broken or "clink" together. Be sure to budget in enough $ for wrapping, ribbon, etc.
6. Deliver the basket early enough to the event that the organizers will have room for it. It helps them to know what to expect, in terms of size and value for their own publicity.
7. Laugh off any mix-ups and remember that you are doing this for a cause. If someone says something negative about your contribution, dismiss it. It there's a mistake with the basket, quietly correct it. (I had a situation where my gift basket was mistaken for a wine basket. I don't know how the mix up happened, but people make mistakes. I calmly pointed out the mistake and joked about how someone bidding on wine was going to be very disappointed if they got maple syrup instead. The organizer was so apologetic and glad to clear up the error.)

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