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Fundraising. We’ve all heard of it and many of us have had to do it personally. From selling popcorn as a boy scout to cookies as a girl scout to everything else. We always sign up for fundraising thinking deep down it will be easy and that is just not the case.
This year I signed up for the Ironman Foundation. A chance to give back to the community that has changed my life so much. The goal is/was $3,500 dollars, half of which needs to be raised by June 3rd, 2016. I knew that was a large amount and that it would be a lot of work.
I have several ideas planned to help raise the money. To my surprise the big one was this past weekend. Let me state, my expectations for the garage sale were not high. If we made $300-$500 I would have been happy. Lets just say we blew past the top end of my guestimate by over three times when it was all said and done.
The biggest lesson I learned was to start taking donations early. Since all of the items sold were donated by friends and family, getting the word out early was a big plus! No one wants to price items the night before.
Advertise. Advertise. Advertise. We started a few weeks in advance. Flyers were put up at grocery stores, coffee shops and on cars in parking lots. Flyers were also handed out at another event in town. We also took out an ad in the local newspaper which was pretty expensive compared to our other options. Finally, we used local garage sale sites and Craigslist advertising. Basically, we hit all forms of advertising to get the word out.
Let me say this again. No matter how good the items are that you have for sale, people will simply not be there to purchase them without the knowledge of your sale.
Make sure to have signage up at your sale to hammer it home that every penny from your sale goes to charity. I was able to say that every penny I was raising would be staying in Dane County which really made peoples eyes light up. Reinforce that fact when people are shopping that it is all going to charity. We found that people were much more likely to buy something at full price given that fact.
Finally, make sure to have a great support crew. My mother, father, grandparents, aunts and uncles all came to the call of duty. They were the people that made this sale go off without a hitch. They are the true heroes in this story!