Many rescue missions receive donated clothing, household goods, and furniture to sell in a thrift store. In this day and age, everyone is looking for a bargain, so the stores can be a great way to support your ministry and help those who really need those discounted items.
But this is also a time where “flipping” is the new money maker. Whether it is a house, furniture, clothing, or just stuff, people are looking for easy ways to make money. The internet is full of ideas on thrift store finds to “flip”.
You may be OK with this. You may say, “Well, we got this stuff for free”. Yet maybe your donor would like you to get the best price for their donation. Maybe you only get pennies, while someone is making dollars on your stuff. Maybe the people that need the items the most are not the people buying the items. Maybe you could have a bigger return if you took a few steps to reap better income.
Reap More Cash for Your Cause
So, here are some suggestions to consider in turning those items into more cash for your cause.
1. Online Sales
Having an E-bay or other online re-sale business is a great way to take good to great donated items and get top dollar.
2. “New to You” Store
Open a more upscale retail store in an area of town with more purchasing traffic. I have seen beautifully decorated stores where the decorative signage was only way I knew I was purchasing for charity.
Take donated items, such as furniture, and provide an art therapy or carpentry class. This is very therapeutic and a great skills training tool that gives those we serve an opportunity to use their talents and skills while repurposing furniture or other household goods.
4. Shared Profit Shop
If you’re training those you serve to repurpose furniture or other household goods, giving a portion to the student that repurposed an item provides a great way for clients to build a down-payment on an apartment, purchase a vehicle, or build savings. (Email me about IDA accounts for more information on this.)
5. Personal Shoppers
“Flippers” were taking clothes and household items from one mission thrift store and reselling it. Yet the mission of the thrift store was to help those who really needed these items. So, some of their volunteers became “Personal Shoppers”. Before beginning to shop, the Personal Shopper interviewed the shopper about what they needed. Then, the Personal Shopper provided help in choosing the best items for the shopper. The system isn’t foolproof, but it did help those who really needed the items to get what they needed.
6. Saturday Flea Market
Having a standing (permanent) booth at a flea market can be fun and also another way to gather support. Shoppers look for a deal and have more propensity to purchase from you when they know it is for a good cause. Look for ways to display items that spark imagination in the shoppers.
These are a few ideas on turning that in-kind gift into larger amounts of income. Contact me and we can brainstorm ideas on ways your mission can reap more cash for your cause!