Fundraising Through A Consignment Sale

Let's face it, times are tough. And our current economic situation seems to be building two very popular trends – save money and save the environment.

Going green, as in saving money and becoming more environmentally friendly, is very popular these days. More and more families are jumping on the green bandwagon by reducing family spending, using the car less to save gas and reduce emissions, and buying fewer material goods.

As folks hunker down for the speculated recession, you might be scratching your head for ways to raise funds for your organization in tough times. As potential donors look for even more ways to cut down on family spending, you might be tempted to throw in the towel on this year's fundraising efforts.

Even though times are tough, there are still innovative ways to save people money while raising funds for your charity organization. How? With a baby and or/children's clothing resale event!

Used clothing sales or consignment sales provide a great service for the community as well as for your charity organization's empty coffers. They work in a very similar manner to sales through a consignment or thrift store, where sellers tag their merchandise with the price of their choice, take it to a central location to be sold, and in exchange for the sale and housing of the merchandise, the organization hosting the consignment sale takes a percentage, typically anywhere between 20% and 50%.

Obviously, as the charity organization and the consignment sale's central location you can understand how this percentage of sales can add up when a lot of clothing is sold. But how does this consignment arrangement benefit the donor?

Well, very often, those donating clothing are the parents of quickly growing toddlers who have outgrown their baby clothes. So they benefit not only from the percentage of profit they receive from consigning their clothing; they also benefit by using that money to buy affordable clothing for their growing toddler from the other donors.

Hosting a consignment sale requires a lot of planning, but it's worth it in the long run. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, your organization can make several hundred to thousands of dollars in just one sale.

Here are some helpful tips to keep you on track and organized when hosting a baby and children's clothing drive:

Secure a Central Location

This is the key to hosting a successful sale. The location needs to be large enough to accommodate the size of your sale. A school is a great place to host a sale. You can use the cafeteria or the gym.

If you're planning a church fundraiser, find out if your church may be able to accommodate the sale. If your organization has a building, book it far in advance so there are no conflicts.

Timing is Important

There isn't necessarily a consignment season, but this fundraiser is popular. That's why it's important to check with other charities, churches, and preschools in your area to see if your sales overlap. If you are the lone consignment sale, you have a greater the chance of selling more and making a larger profit.

Spread the Word

As soon as the location and date for the sale are decided, start getting the word out. Use e-mail, printed fliers, radio, and TV to market your clothing resale, and ask friends, neighbors, and other parents to use e-mail and their social networking accounts to pass on the information.

Smart marketers will post fliers in locations where people with kids typically go – schools, preschools, daycares, parks, children's entertainment facilities, gyms, Sunday schools, and youth groups.

Recruit Sellers

You can do this just as easily through the use of email and fliers in locations where parents tend to gather. Create a list of names and contact information, and assign each of your sellers a number. Post the seller's number on each item they sell to track sales.

Organize your Sale

Clothes racks and hangers can be donated by sellers or rented/donated from local stores. You can also build your own racks, if necessary, with 2x4s and nails. Check with local hardware and do-it-yourself stores for material donations.

Everything should be ready before your sellers arrive with their consignment items. Volunteers should be in place to manage the sale well before any buyers arrive.

Treat your Sellers Fairly

Remember the people who donate clothing also want to make money, so don't let them down by losing track of earnings and items sold. Make sure to decide on a date, ahead of time, to disburse profits.

If you treat your sellers right at your first sale, you will have their support to hold this fundraiser multiple times throughout the year (kids grow fast) – and parents will be begging you for it.

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