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Set a date about six months away and determine a location. A busy street is best with a large lawn and ample parking available. Now you need a storage place to keep the treasures you will be collecting for the next six months. Offer to trade computer repair, training or upgrading to the local rent-a-storage in exchange for a few months free space.
Check with your members for garage space or even patio space for temporary storage.
Send a notice to your entire membership of the planned date. Provide a list of ways to help. Start a sign-up sheet early so you know who will be accessible to lend a hand, when they will be available and, most important, what they would like to do to aid the event.
Choose a chairman to co-ordinate pick up of donations from members, friends, family and businesses. Remember, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” and there are many sources. Office supply stores will sometimes make donations of new items that are outdated or discontinued models. Check with your local realtor for any house that might need to be cleared of left over furnishings and accessories. A word of warning here – pre-determine what the club will and will not accept. The club will not want to pay disposal fees for electronic equipment that is no longer usable. Have your members watch for local garage sales in their areas and offer to pick up unsold items at close of day.
Next step is to begin making arrangements for the big day. Arrange for a truck, trailer, pickups and/or vans to haul from the storage areas to the sale location. Also contact the local Goodwill or other organization for a truck to arrive at close of the event to carry away unsold items.
Plan a layout for the sale. Setting up in categories usually works best. If you have furniture, place those items closest to the parking area so they don’t have to be hauled too far manually. Set up in groups of antiques, books, kitchen, garden, tools, toys, baby items, clothing, jewelry, collectibles, computers and electronics, etc. Use masking tape or stapled tags for pricing larger items, computers, antiques, jewelry, and any collectibles.
Make brightly colored badges for the volunteer workers so the buyers can tell who to ask for information and pricing. Plan to have one to two workers available to assist the early buyers who will stop while you are setting up for the sale.
Contact the local grocery for a donation of bags. Near the end of the event, you can sell a bag for $2.00 and the shopper can carry away all that will fit in the bag. Start this about two hours before the hour you plan to end the event.
Purchase bottled water for the volunteers and also to sell to shoppers. One dollar per bottle is a fair price. Plan to have drinks and snacks for the volunteers. Coffee, punch, donuts, muffins, cookies and chips are recommended. On the day of the event provide lunch for the volunteers from the proceeds of the sales. Hamburgers and french fries or pizza work well.
If your club has a sign maker, take advantage of the talent and have signs pointing to the sale location, at the check out/pay table, and any area containing all items at a set price, such as clothing $1.00 per garment, etc.
Below is a list of supplies that will be useful.
On the day of the event, park a vehicle close to the table for collecting mony. Assign a person to sit at each cash box and have the Treasurer or President frequently take bundles, banded with rubber bands, of $100 - $500 to the trunk of the car and keep it locked. Not only does this protect the funds taken in, it also gives the group a general idea of the amount raised throughout the day.
This planning was the base of the remarkable success accomplished by the volunteers of the Long Beach IBM Users Group in August. The members donated 1000+ hours of their time collecting, loading and unloading, sorting, pricing and answering questions. We had a complete three bedroom home donated to our club if we would just go pack everything up and remove it from the premises. Although we planned our sale for a Saturday, we started setting up on Friday and the buyers started shopping immediately because we were on the lawn of a church on a major street. At close of day, the club donated a full truck load to the Goodwill and we added a little more than $5000 to our club’s treasury. A great amount of preparation, labor, and commitment made our annual yard sale a celebrated success.
With first-rate planning, enthusiastic volunteers and a busy location, your club
can have a prosperous fund raising event.