Did you know that you can turn your spring cleaning efforts into a fundraising event for a charity? When you clean out your closets, toy boxes, book shelves and your garage, collect the items you no longer want. Then host a family yard sale to raise money for your favorite charity. Planning, organizing, advertising, and selling are the keys to your success.
Planning your Yard Sale
- Contact the nonprofit you want to work with first. Get their approval and ask for brochures, a letter to display during the sale so buyers believe that the money you raise will go to them. Some charities are willing to have a representative attend the sale.
- Choose a day of the week that works well for these types of sales in your area. In some places, Fridays are the best days for rummage sales. In others Saturdays are more common. Then choose a specific date. Be sure it isn’t a holiday or close to one.
- Parents help children choose which toys or other goodies will be donated to the sale.
- Ask for items from friends, neighbors and relatives. Also ask if they would be willing to volunteer their time.
Organization will help your Garage Sale Run Smoothly
- Secure the items that are needed for the sale in advance – tables to display the merchandise, chairs for the sellers, a secure place to store the money, change, signs for advertising, bags, an outlet for buyers to test out electric equipment, aprons with pockets or fanny packs for sellers, price stickers, etc.
- Set up a schedule for any volunteers.
- Clean, dust or iron the merchandise for sale. Then organize them by categories.
- Price the products with stickers. Decide if you will bargain and if so, who will be the one to make the final decision on how low to go on prices.
- Be sure that children have opportunities to help. They can make posters, clean items, categorize them and tell their friends about the sale
Advertising will bring in Customers and Money
- Advertise in local newspapers, especially those that offer free ads.
- Use signs along the road, especially in high traffic areas. Be sure the signs are of high quality so they don’t blow down, that the writing is large enough to read and the important information is included, such as address, date and arrows. Readymade signs can be used as well.
- Some local radio stations advertise yard sales for free. Make use of that opportunity.
- Put up signs in stores and community centers about a week in advance of your sale. Ask for donations, too.
The Art of Selling at a Yard Sale
- Think like a buyer – what would you pay for a particular item? Then price it with room to bargain. For example, if your lowest selling price is $20, the price tag can be $25 – $30.
- Consider that buyers will resell what they buy. Many buyers are going to sell on eBay or at their own sale. Check the going rates for unusual and collectible items online.
- Talk about the history of the item. Make it personal.
- Get your child involved in talking about why they liked a toy, game or book.
- Sell merchandise in bulk, especially books, CDs, DVDs, comic books, etc.
- Remind people about the charity and what type of help it provides. (Yes, guilt can work wonders.)
- Include a table of homemade cookies and cakes, and other snack items like hot dogs. Sell cups of coffee, lemonade, etc. This will bring in extra money.
- Have a donation jar with the charity’s information on it in a prominent place.
Family yard sales can raise a great deal of money for a nonprofit when the work is done in advance and everyone pitches in. It can be a teaching moment for children who will learn about dealing with the public, advertising, selling, and helping those in need.