Community Yard Sales
Garage Sales, tag sales, rummage sales, yard
sales. Whatever you call them in your
part of the country, we've all been to them, and we know
that everyone loves to find a bargain at a garage
sale. Some nonprofit organizations hold a
yearly "spring cleaning" garage sale, or you can also hold a
sale twice a year.
Members of the organization can save things all year
long and accumulate lots of items to donate
to the cause. Most members are usually very happy to get
rid of their unneeded items.
Anyone who has ever conducted a
garage sale knows that they require a lot of planning and labor
but the rewards can be substantial. Your club should plan
for it well in advance and allow about a month to gather all
the donations and prepare for the sale.
Tips for a successful Fundraising
Before the Sale
with your city to find out if you need to have a permit to hold
a garage sale. Ask if there are
regulations concerning when and where you can place signs to
advertise your garage sale. For example, some cities
forbid placing signs on light poles.
Announce the sale to the group.
Tell them when and where it will be held and when and where to
drop off donations. Decide on whether items will be
priced by the person donating them or by the organiizers.
Designate a person in charge of receiving the donations
and choose a place to store the donations
Advertising - Plan your
advertising well in advance in order to put classified ads in
your local newspapers. Send press releases to your local
newspaper and radio stations. Place flyers in public places
such as grocery stores, libraries, bookstores, schools, and
churches. The night before the sale place posters and
signs on the street advertising your sale. Make sure you
take down your signs and posters after the sale.
Contingency Plans - It's best to plan
to hold the sale in any kind of weather. Try to hold the
sale indoors or under tarps. You will have placed
advertising and engaged the services of your volunteers for a
specific day. If you have to cancel your sale because of
weather you will have lost your advertising and your volunteers
may not be available for a later date.
Pricing garage sale items - Pricing should be
in round numbers. This will make pricing and selling much
easier. You can buy pre-made pricing stickers at office
supply stores or make your own on a printer. Generally
speaking, items in good shape should be priced at one-third of
their retail price. Of course there will be
expections. For example, you might want to price hard
cover books at $2.00 a piece no matter what the retail price
was. Or, you may want to price CD's, DVD's, and tapes at
$2.00 each. You should group like items together during
the sale and sell them all for the same price unless otherwise
Supplies needed - Tables, chairs, umbrellas,
extension cords, clothes racks, boxes, plastic bags.
The Day of the Sale
Have as many volunteers on hand as
possible. You will need people to help
shoppers and keep things running smoothly. You'll 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 you will have
"early birds" show up so try to be ready to sell up to one hour
ahead of your advertised start time. In order to
bring in drive-by traffic you can have volunteers hold up signs
on nearby streets
a check-out table with chairs so that your volunteers can
sit. At the table have plastic bags,
boxes, scissors, a yard stick, measuring tape,
and wrapping supplies such as newspapers. and
tape Make sure that you have access to electricity so
shoppers can test items. Display valuable items such
as jewelry at the check-out table in order keep them from being
stolen. You can use a cash box or fanny pack to hold the
money. A fanny pack is recommended for security
purposes. Make sure your money is never left
unguarded. Have plenty of change in small bills
at the beginning and throughout the sale. You will no
doubt be receiving lots of twenty dollar bills. Take
cash only, unless you are willing to take a check from a person
who is known to you.
the sale is being held at a personal residence take precautions
against theft from shoppers. Never allow
shoppers into the home and make sure outside items that are not
for sale do not get stolen. Pets should be locked up
also. As your cash builds up throughout the day take it
inside to keep it safe.
Selling Tips to Maximize Your Sales and
Raise More Money
your shoppers know that your yard sale is a
fundraiser. Make sure your signs say what
you are raising money for. You may want to make a display
board at your check-out table the gives information about your
organization and cause. Have your volunteers
wear your club's t-shirts or uniforms, if you have
them, so shoppers will know who is working at the sale.
Decide in advance if you will bargain on
prices. Expect that your shoppers will
want to bargain. You may want to tell shoppers that you
can't lower prices until the afternoon. Let your shoppers
know that your yard sale is a fundraiser and tell them how the
money that the sale brings in will be used.
Additional Ways to Make Money
During a Yard sale
donation jar at your check-out table to collect
a raffle for a special item. You can
display the actual item or a picture of the item you are
raffleing. Sell tickets throughout the sale and have the
raffle drawing at the end of the sale. Or, sell raffle
tickets to a raffle that is ending at a later date.
baked goods, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips,
sodas, coffee, tea, bottled water, candy, etc.
products your organization has
produced such as cookbooks, calendars, CD's, shirts or
other spirit items.
fundraising products such as cookie dough,
candy bars, wrapping paper and more. There is a wide
variety of items available from fundraising companies that
nonprofit clubs and organizations can sell to raise