Fundraising Tip #1: Hold a garage sale

Written by on May 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm

In this inaugural post in a series of weekly creative fundraising ideas, we offer a step-by-step guide for holding a yard sale to benefit the NMSS.

Although the distance of this year's MS Challenge Walk is 40% shorter than usual, the fundraising minimum remains at $1500. Veteran walkers makes this goal sound easy, but it can seem insurmountable to those who haven't achieved it before.

To help inspire you fundraise as creatively and effectively as possible, the Challenge Blog will post a different fundraising idea every Wednesday. Use these suggestions however you see fit, ask us questions, propose variations, and report back on your success!

Garage saleOur inaugural fundraising idea is to have a garage sale, also known as a yard sale. Although you might not know it from the cool weather we've been having, spring is in fact here, which makes it the perfect time to clean out your basement, attic, or garage. You need no permits to sell merchandise on your own property, so haul out a table, put out some signs, and free up some room in your house at the same time you benefit the NMSS.

Online instructional site has a dozen steps for holding a profitable garage sale. In short:

  1. Schedule the event and place an ad in the paper.
  2. Scour your house for salable items.
  3. Spread the word among family and friends.
  4. Clean your merchandise to presentable quality.
  5. Round up volunteers to help run the event.
  6. Print and post one-page flyers.
  7. Place large signs on your lawn and around your neighborhood.
  8. Mark the price of every item.
  9. Organize the items to make them attractive and easy to browse.
  10. Establish a checkout table near the front of the lawn.
  11. Ensure there's accessible nearby parking.
  12. Be cheerful — talk and haggle with your customers!

To step #1, I would add the suggestion to schedule a rain date, as we all know how unpredictable New England can be! Also be sure to advertise that the event is for charity, as you may find folks being more generous in their offers. You may even choose to omit price tags, instead selling your products for "best offer".

Browse our fundraising archives for other ideas, and keep an eye on this blog for more to come. In the meantime, good luck with your garage sale!

Ken joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.

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