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Put the Fun back in Fund Raising

It can be pretty expensive to play a sport.  There are uniforms, tournaments, camps and more.   

The “more” is especially problematic for sports-minded, budget-conscious families.  When your team wants to go some place fabulous (Disney World or Europe anyone?), or do something terrific (how about attending a local, national or world sporting event?), or buy something extra (matching bags and sweats for everyone?), how do you pay for it? 

The answer is not always mom and/or dad’s wallet.  Fund raising may be in order. 

Fund raising comes in many shapes and sizes.  Typically, it involves selling a single item or group of items (candy bars, cookie dough, gift wrap, trash bags, magazines, coupon books or discount cards…you get the idea.)  It requires the athlete to ask, and sometimes beg, neighbors, friends, relatives, and parents’ co-workers to buy something and support the team’s effort.   

Is there a better way?  There is, if you define better as more fun, more profitable and more environmentally friendly!  You can have a moneymaking garage sale and each team member (and family) can and will want to participate. 

Everyone has stuff that they are willing to get rid of, especially in the spring (there is even a name for it:  spring cleaning).  Donators really like the idea that their “trash” can be turned into “treasure.”  You can get stuff from your own homes without asking anyone else for anything (although you can ask others to add to your garage sale inventory.)  The more stuff you collect, the better.  And, nothing, or nearly nothing, is off limits to put in your sale. 

Decide when you will have your sale (a weekend without games?) and where (a busy street is the best).  Then advertise.  The more advertisement you do, the more people will come (and the more people, the greater the chance of selling your goodies).    Don’t forget advertising by word of mouth, newspapers, posters and yard sale signs.  You might even have a contest to see who can make the best, brightest, or most clever signs.  Tell people the purpose of your garage sale.  It will encourage shoppers to attend and to buy at full, non-negotiated prices. 

Once the shoppers arrive at your sale, make sure that they are encouraged to get out of their cars and shop.  A sure way to do that is have your sale look appealing to a passerby.  You want it to look like there is a lot of stuff, and that stuff should be interesting to a variety of people.  Keep things neat and orderly, in as organized a fashion as possible.    

Most importantly, price everything in your garage sale.  This allows a buyer to easily determine whether an item is worth the price you are asking, without stopping to find you and ask you about the price.  Be prepared to bargain a little bit on your prices.  

It is also important to have prices consistent between donators.  If the Jones’ family prices their books at $2.00 each and the Smiths’ price theirs at 50 cents each, the Smiths stuff will sell first.  (This will really matter if all the money collected is not divided equally between the team members.  Consistency is critical to avoid hard feelings if you are going to account for each child’s sales differently, that is, if each athlete will get credit only for the garage sale stuff with his/her initials on it.)   

Consider having a master list of prices and giving each family that as a guideline to mark their own stuff.  Otherwise, the whole team can price and tag together at a pricing party. 

You will need a lot of helpers to make your sale a success.  You will need people to help before, during and after the sale.  There should always be at least 2 adults working at a time.  Frankly, the more helpers available, the merrier. 

By all means, have fun at your garage sale.  You might try making up games to play with your teammates while working.   (Guess what will sell first or how much money you will make.)  And, parents, the kids can practice their math skills, by making change and adding up purchases. 

When all is said and done, you should be very proud.  You will have reached your goal as a team, working together, not one by one.   And, isn’t that what teamwork is all about?  





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