In different parts of the country it may be called a different name: Yard Sale, Garage Sale, Rummage Sale. But we’re still talking the same thing. You can have this fundraiser in the fall or spring.
Encourage congregation members to donate their unneeded stuff for the youth to sell at a huge assembly hall, parking lot, or gymnasium sale. Be sure to advertise in local papers to bring in people from the community. The cost of ads and price stickers will probably be the only cost for this event. Plan a few “pricing” work nights prior to the event.
A Rummage Sale can be a good youth fundraiser for a number of reasons:
1. It can involve a lot of people: youth to pick up, sort, hang and price items; adults who are able to donate merchandise.
2. The lion’s share of the work can be concentrated into the week leading up to the event.
3. Heavy publicity can ask that donations be dropped off or picked up whenever your events location becomes available.
4. Publicity for the Rummage Sale itself is relatively easy and inexpensive. Your customers can be reached effectively using classified ads under “garage sales”.
5. In addition to generating income for your cause, remaining merchandise is usually welcomed by organizations like Salvation Army or Goodwill who often will have trucks to pick up the leftover merchandise. (You don’t even have to haul it off!)
6. Members of the congregation feel good about being able to help out the youth with their donations while cleaning out their house at the same time.
Tips for a Successful Sale
1. Have a location that is available for at least a week before the Sale. If you have a gym that must be shared with a school or child care, try to claim half the space until perhaps Wednesday night when you “take over”.
2. Hang as much of the clothing as possible. This has proven to work for us. This means you must be able to have access to clothing racks, either borrowed or building them.
3. Don’t try to individually price each article or clothing. It’s not worth the extra work. Rather price all shirts a certain price, all pants a certain price, etc.
4. Pick a date that allows people on fixed income, welfare, etc. to take advantage of your event. As far as getting donations is concerned, spring is naturally the logical time to have a rummage sale.
5. Ask God’s blessings upon your event, that it would not only be a successful fundraiser, but also a valuable service to needy people in your community.
Previously published in Fundraising with Teens and 2010 National Youth Gathering resources. Updated March 2012.