15 Last-Minute Fundraiser Basket Theme Ideas for Your Nonprofit Event + 10 Bonus Items

15 Last-Minute Fundraiser Basket Theme Ideas for Your Nonprofit Event + 10 Bonus Items

When it comes to hosting a successful fundraiser, having well-stocked auction baskets is key. But finding the right theme for your baskets can be tricky. Planning a nonprofit fundraising event involves so much detailed planning that it’s easy for things like coming up with fundraising basket ideas to turn into last-minute tasks. But now it’s time to throw out your stress and start working on a solid plan. Here are 15 ideas for baskets you can put together in a relatively short time:

15 fundraising basket ideas

MaxGiving Basket Ideas

1. A day at the spa

Can you think of a single busy person in your life who couldn’t use a day at the spa to relax, recenter, and rejuvenate? Fill a basket with items like scented candles, bath salts, lotions, and face masks. Feel that tightness between your shoulder blades or that soreness running up both sides of your neck? Now imagine how incredible it would feel to have an expert masseuse knead out all those knots. This basket is so attractive you’ll be wishing you could win one, too. Upgrade it even more with a couple’s massage.

2. Wine and cheese tasting

This is a great option if you have access to a local vineyard or winery. Talk with a sommelier or cheese expert who can lead the tasting and add a gift card for the tasting to the basket. Then, fill the basket with a few bottles of wine, some cheese, crackers, and grapes from the local vineyard or winery. Add a cute wine opener and stopper set, and you’re good to go!

3. Movie night

Everyone loves a good movie night. Fill a basket with popcorn, candy, and DVDs (or gift cards to a movie theater). Add a couple of DVDs or gift cards to a streaming service, and you’re all set. You could even make it a theme basket and include DVDs for only comedies, only chick flicks, or only action movies, etc.

4. Cooking class

The first ingredient in your cooking class basket should be a gift card to a reputable class — of course. Ask the instructor if there are any useful utensils you should drop in the basket that would be helpful to someone participating in the class. Also add a few fun extras like an apron, chef’s hat, and oven mitts. And if you want to add more to the basket, include a cook book — especially one that’s recommended by the instructor — so your basket winner can try out their new cooking skills at home.

MaxGiving Golf Fundraising

5. Golf outing

Can you partner with a local golf course that offers gift certificates? Toss in a few branded golf balls, tees, and a hat or visor, and you’ve got yourself a basket. A golf outing can be a great day for any avid golfer or someone who has been looking for the right opportunity to try it out for the first time or get back into after a long time away from the greens. Most golf courses offer gift certificates that can be used for green fees and cart rentals, too, to help make the basket all-inclusive. Go for an eagle and toss in a gift certificate for lunch at the clubhouse or a nearby restaurant.

6. Game night

Do you have a favorite board game? Why not put together a basket with that game, along with some snacks and drinks? You could even add in a few other games for extra fun. This is a great option for families or groups of friends. Fill a basket with some classic board games, like Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, or Ticket to Ride, and some snacks to munch on while you play. Be sure to include some healthy and gluten-free snacks. You could also add a gift card to a local pizza and salad place that delivers. Throw in some cheap coffee gift cards to be used as prizes for the winner of each game.

7. Date night

This is the perfect basket for couples. Fill it with things like dinner vouchers, movie tickets, and a bottle of wine. You could even add in some romantic items like candles and chocolate. If your donors are all local and it’s a nice time of year, include a picnic blanket and a map to the best places in the area to sit and watch the sunset.

8. Gardening class

If you’re looking for ideas, why not try a gardening-themed basket? Obtain a gift certificate for a local gardening class. Determine if the focus will be flower gardening, vegetable gardening, or both. Next, you’ll need a gardening book or two to help fill up the basket. Add some gardening tools: A trowel, gloves, kneeling pad, and a few seed packets should do the trick. Use a cute basket or planter to put everything in. Ask the instructor of the class if there are any other basic items you should include in the basket. As much as possible, make sure everything you put in the basket is color-coordinated. Gardening has been growing — no pun intended — in popularity these past couple years, and along with that has come an increased concern about garden aesthetics as new gardeners post photos on social media to impress their friends and family.

MaxGiving Dance Fundrasing

9. Dance class

A gift certificate for dance lessons is a thoughtful and unique present that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. You can include a variety of different styles of dance in your basket, such as ballroom, swing, jazz, or hip hop. Be sure to include a note explaining what each style of dance is so that your recipients can choose the one that interests them the most or create a different basket for each style of dance. You can also add other items to your basket that relate to dancing, such as a DVD of a famous dance performance or a book on the history of dance.

10. Fitness class

Here are some tips on how to create a fitness class gift basket that will be bring in the bids:

  • Start by finding a local fitness class or personal trainer that you can donate a gift certificate for. Or purchase one.
  • If you have a gym membership, see if they offer any type of trial class or day pass that you can include.
  • Put together a list of basic fitness items that everyone can use regardless of their level of fitness. This can include a water bottle, yoga mat, towel, and resistance bands.
  • Add a few healthy snacks to the basket so that your winner can refuel after their workout!

11. Art class

Most people want to create at least a little art, but few people have the confidence to do so without some helpful instruction. Make it easy for your donors by putting together an art class gift basket. You can include a gift certificate to a local art or paint and sip studio, along with all the supplies needed for the class.

  • If it’s a drawing class, this can include a sketchpad, charcoal pencils, erasers, and some how-to books.
  • For a painting class, you’ll need to include a canvas, paintbrushes, and acrylic or oil paints. 
  • For a pottery class, include clay, and tools. Check with the instructor to see if there are any other supplies you should include.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of the types of art classes that may be offered in your area. Make sure to check with the instructor to see if there are any other supplies you should include. When you’re putting together your basket, make sure to add a note explaining what each item is for. That way, your recipient will be able to jump right in and start creating

MaxGiving Beach Fundraising

12. Beach day

We could all use a day at the beach. Or two. Or three. Think about what you would want to have in your picnic basket for a perfect day at the shore. Consider including things like sunscreen, a beach towel, and some snacks. You could also add a book or two about the beach, or even some fun jewelry. Look for gift cards for beach rentals, such as beach cruiser bicycles, lounge chairs, beach umbrellas, and stand-up paddle boards. Take a look at gift certificates for nearby restaurants overlooking the water.

13. Knitting class

Get the image out of your head that knitting is only for old grannies. It’s a creative, relaxing activity that even NFL stars enjoy. To put together a knitting basket, all you need is a gift certificate for a knitting class and some basic knitting supplies, such as yarn or needles. Make sure the basket you choose works well for carrying knitting supplies to class. If you want an alternative to knitting, consider crocheting, stitchery, embroidery, weaving, needlepoint, rug hooking, macramé, tatting, or latch hooking. Or intrigue donors with a class for nålebinding (if you can find one), also known as “viking crochet.” Seriously, doesn’t that sound awesome?

14. Cheese-making class

Did you know that most states in America have at least one place where you can learn how to make cheese at home? Self-sufficiency is a growing trend, and imagine how impressed your donors’ friends will be when they discover that they know how to make their own cheese wheels. Aside from a gift certificate to a local cheese-making class, add a food thermometer and cheesecloth to your basket. Also include a bottle of local wine and a box of crackers to enjoy with the cheese. And instead of putting everything in a wicker basket, place it in a large pot and tie the lid on with cellophane and a bow.

MaxGiving Beach Fundraising

15. Family fun day

The possibilities are endless for what you can put in this basket, especially if your donors are hyper-local. For older donors, these are fun-filled ideas to do with grandkids, too. Here are some gift certificate ideas to get you started:

  • Amusement park or waterslide park
  • Zoo or aquarium
  • Escape room
  • Movie tickets — especially IMAX, 3D, drive-in, or dine-in
  • Family restaurant
  • Trampoline or parkour gym
  • Rail bike adventure
  • Stand-up paddle board lesson and rentals
  • Horseback trail ride
  • Ropes course
  • Dune buggy adventure
  • National park pass and a picnic basket with a food gift card to fill it
  • Bounce house for a backyard party
  • Family fun center
  • Mountain roller coaster
  • Miniature golf
  • Go kart racing
  • Farm tour and dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant
  • Indoor rock climbing gym
  • Riverboat day cruise
  • Paintballing
  • Whitewater river rafting
  • Steam locomotive train ride
  • Guided bicycle tour
  • Kayak tour
  • Mushroom foraging tour
  • Ski passes and equipment rentals
  • Beekeeping and honey tasting tour

Have we given you enough fundraising auction basket ideas yet? If not, we’re going to give you 10 more! That’s how important it is to us that you find the right baskets to bring in the bids and help you meet — and exceed — your fundraising goals.

Bonus: 10 more fundraising basket ideas

1. Homebrewing kit

If your donors are fans of craft beer, they’re sure to love this basket. Include a ready-made home brewing kit, a book of instructions on homebrewing, and some local craft beer to get them started. While homebrewing is legal in most states, check local regulations for restrictions on it.

2. Cake decorating kit

This is a great basket for bakers or would-be bakers. Include a book with basic cake decorating instructions, along with some basic supplies, such as icing, fondant, piping bags, and tips. You could also add a book on cupcake decorating.

3. Sushi making kit

You know what stinks about good sushi? Everyone seems to know the best place to find it, which means waiting in line to get a seat or making reservations ahead of time — and hoping the time and date you picked matches up with your next sushi craving. Or, you can learn to make it on your own. Offer your donors an at-home sushi making kit. These ready-made kits are very inexpensive and easy to find. Be sure to include a fun book or two on sushi making, as well as a package of sushi wrappers (seaweed).

4. Photography class

Since smartphones make decent-quality cameras ubiquitous, that means we’re all photographers, right? Perhaps, but our skill-levels vary immensely, and just because we have 7 lenses on our phones and enough megapixels to show the hairs on a fly’s leg, we’re still going to make all kinds of amateur mistakes without a little instruction. In your photography class basket, include a gift certificate for a quick course that allows smartphones and add a photography book, a clip-on smartphone camera lens, and a smartphone tripod or selfie-stick.

5. Zip-lining tickets

Ever wondered what it’s like to soar through the trees like a bird? Or wondered what would happen if you ran into a bird at high speed? Your donors might be wondering that, too, so give them the thrill of a lifestyle with two tickets for a zip-line course.

6. Hot air balloon ride

Here’s an activity few people have done but most people want to do. Put two tickets to a hot air balloon ride in a raffle basket. Want to catch everyone’s attention with the basket? Purchase a miniature hot air balloon gift basket (with miniature, inflated hot air balloon attached) and put the tickets inside it.

7. Helicopter tour

While we’re on the subject of feeling the thrill of being high in the air — or taking your fear of heights head-on — drop two tickets for a helicopter tour in an auction basket. It’ll be the ride of a lifetime. 

8. Murder mystery dinner party kit

This is a great basket for dinner party enthusiasts or amateur detectives. Include a murder mystery game kit, along with all the necessary ingredients and supplies to host a dinner party. Don’t forget the wine!

9. Concert, play, or musical tickets

Is there a big-name concert coming to town? Why not snag a pair of tickets and throw them in a basket. If you’re looking for a more cultured experience, select tickets to a play or musical.

10. Skydiving trip

For the truly adventurous, consider a gift card for a skydiving trip. This is definitely not for everyone, but those who are willing to take the plunge will love it.

Fundraising basket ideas are a great way to add excitement to your fundraising event and grab your donors’ attention. With a little creativity, you can put together baskets that will appeal to a wide range of interests and provide something for everyone. So get planning and have fun!

Do you need a nonprofit event fundraising platform to help you run your event? MaxGiving leads the way in innovative, easy-to-use software for helping make your event a success. Learn more at MaxGiving.com.

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