How to host a fundraising yard sale to raise money for your nonprofit organization
Looking for fundraising ideas for your nonprofit club, organization, school, or team? How about holding a garage sale?
Garage sales, tag sales, used item sales, garage sales. Whatever you call them in your part of the country, we’ve all been to them and we all know that people love to find a bargain at a garage sale. Some nonprofits hold an annual “spring cleaning” yard sale. Or, your club could also hold a sale twice a year, once in the spring and then again in the fall. Members of your organization can save things throughout the year and accumulate many items to donate to the cause. Most members are very happy to get rid of their unnecessary items.
Anyone who’s ever held a yard sale knows that it takes a lot of planning and work, but the rewards can be substantial. Your club should plan well in advance and allow about a month to gather all the donations and prepare for the sale.
Tips for a Successful Fundraising Yard Sale
Check with your city to find out if you need a permit to hold a yard sale. Ask if there are regulations on when and where you can put up signs to advertise your garage sale. For example, some cities prohibit putting signs on utility poles.Announce the sale to the group. Tell them when and where it will take place and when and where to drop off donations. Decide whether the prices of the items will be set by the donor or the organizers. Designate a person in charge of receiving the donations and choose a place to store the donations
Advertising – Plan your advertising well in advance to place classified ads in your local newspapers. Send press releases to your local newspapers and radio stations. Post brochures in public places such as supermarkets, libraries, bookstores, schools, and churches. The night before the sale, put up posters and signs on the street advertising your sale. Be sure to remove your signs and posters after the sale.Contingency plans – It is better to plan to carry out the sale in any type of weather. Try to keep the sale indoors or under tarps. You will have placed advertising and hired the services of your volunteers for a specific day. If you have to cancel your sale due to the weather, you will have lost your advertising and your volunteers may not be available for a later date.
Garage sale item prices – Prices must be in round numbers. This will make pricing and selling much easier. You can buy pre-made price stickers at office supply stores or make your own on a printer. Generally speaking, undamaged items should be priced at one-third of their retail price. Of course there will be expectations. For example, you may want to price hardcover books at $ 2.00 per piece, regardless of the retail price. Or you may want to price CDs, DVDs, and tapes at $ 2.00 each. You should group similar items together during the sale and sell them all for the same price, unless otherwise noted.
Supplies Needed – Tables, chairs, umbrellas, extension cords, coat racks, boxes, plastic bags.
The day of the sale
Have as many volunteers on hand as possible. You will need people to help buyers and to keep things running smoothly. You will need people to take the money and provide security. You may want to offer to deliver items if your group has access to a willing person with a truck. Be aware that “early risers” will appear, so try to be ready to sell up to an hour before the advertised start time. To attract vehicular traffic, you can have volunteers post signs on nearby streets.
Have an exit table with chairs so your volunteers can sit. On the table, have plastic bags, boxes, scissors, a measuring stick, tape measure, and wrapping items such as newspapers. and masking tape Make sure you have access to electricity so that buyers can test the items. Display valuable items like jewelry at the checkout table to prevent them from being stolen. You can use a cash box or fanny pack to store money. A fanny pack is recommended for safety reasons. Make sure your money is never left unattended. Have lots of change in small bills at the beginning and during the sale. You will undoubtedly receive many twenty dollar bills. Accept cash only, unless you are willing to accept a check from a person you know.
If the sale takes place in a personal residence, take precautions against theft by buyers. Never allow buyers to enter the home and make sure outside items that are not for sale are not stolen. Pets must also be locked up. As your money accumulates throughout the day, take it inside to keep it safe.
Selling tips to maximize your sales and raise more money
Let your buyers know that your garage sale is a fundraiser. Make sure your posters indicate what you are raising money for. You may want to make a display board at your checkout table that provides information about your organization and cause. Have your volunteers wear your club jerseys or uniforms, if you have them, so buyers know who is working on the sale.
Decide in advance whether you will negotiate prices. Expect your buyers to want to negotiate. You may want to tell buyers that they can’t lower their prices until the afternoon. Let your buyers know that your garage sale is a fundraiser and tell them how the money from the sale will be used.
Additional ways to earn money during a garage sale
Have a donation jar at your departure table to collect donations.
Run a raffle for a special item. You can display the actual item or a picture of the item you are raffling. Sell tickets during the sale and hold the drawing at the end of the sale. Or, sell raffle tickets for a raffle that ends at a later date.
Sell baked goods, hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, sodas, coffee, tea, bottled water, candy, etc.
Sell products Your organization has produced cookbooks, calendars, CDs, T-shirts, or other spiritual items.
Sell fundraising products like cookie dough, candy bars, wrapping paper, and more. There are a wide variety of items available from fundraising companies that clubs and nonprofits can sell to raise money.
In addition to raising money, garage sales are a great way to raise awareness of your cause and nonprofit organization. Who knows, you might even recruit some new members during your yard sale.