Garage Sale or Auction? You Decide.

With thousands and thousands of quality items being offered and bid on at, we have a unique perspective on what sells and what bombs in online auctions. We have lots of tips on the best items to have in an online auction, but it’s also worth taking a look at items that aren’t likely to bring in much revenue online. There are some broad categories that can be a challenge: art, clothing, furniture, and jewelry, for example. It’s not that these items never sell, they just don’t consistently do well. But there are some items we can say, with near certainty, won’t receive many bids online.

Used items in poor condition: Used shoes, clothes, or kitchen appliances are a few examples of items you’ll want to stay away from. Bidders generally don’t come to BiddingForGood looking for used items like these.

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Outdated technology: VCRs, CDs, old cell phones, or calculators also won’t draw many bids. Bidders looking for electronics are seeking new smartphones, ipads, ipods, and e-readers. Older technology isn’t likely to get bidders excited and makes you look out of touch.

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Yard Sale items: Imagine the types of items you see at a yard sale. Old furniture, figurines, old toys, and puzzles come to mind. While it’s useful to clear out your garage or basement from time to time, your online auction isn’t the place to sell what you uncover there.

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This raises the question of how to avoid receiving these kinds of donations. For starters, don’t ask for them, but you can also send out a “wish list” to your supporters requesting the type of items that do well online: sports tickets, travel packages, hotel stays, dining certificates, and unique experiences. Then your supporters will know not to look in their attics or garages for donations. You can also let people know that you reserve the right to accept or deny items that are donated with the goal of creating the absolutely best auction catalog possible. That way people won’t be offended if you decline their donation.

One last note. We do often see unusual items or unique experiences do very well in our auctions. So put some time and energy into thinking about how you can create, solicit, and manage those kind of auction items. They will be the ones that will really drive up the revenue that you receive in your auction.


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