Fundraising, with help from the Consignment Store
By George Jamieson
Across James Bay, dozens of non-profit organizations raise funds every day. We've all been invited to craft sales, silent auctions, lunches and dinners. Requests come to us in the mail or online. How many different ways are there to fund money for a good cause? Turns out, there's always one more, as I discovered recently.
The non-profit where I volunteer is the James Bay Community Project. We just launched a new fundraising venture, and it's something that other non-profits might want to try. We opened an account at the Super Chance consignment store, in the James Bay Square. People can support us by taking household goods to the store and selling them through the James Bay Community Project account. When the goods are sold, the James Bay Community Project receives the seller's share.
This kind of account is new to us, but it is not new to Super Chance. David Burke co-owns the store with his wife, Barbara. He says a number of non-profits have its have opened accounts there over the years.
“We've had sports groups and community organizations that organize drives to bring in goods for sale. Most of the time it's been for a short term, raising money for a specific project,” he told me. All the same, any group that opens an account can operate it for as long as the organizers wish. “Once you set up your first contract with us, we keep the information on file,” said Burke. “The account is active as long as you use it.”
The process is the same for a non-profit as for an individual. You go to the store in person, with a minimum of four items for sale. Set up the account in the name of the organization, including the name and phone number of a contact person. That information stays on your account, and any person can donate goods to sell under the agency's name.
Once the account is open, there are two main ways to put goods up for sale. The group can collect goods from supporters and deliver them to the store, or it can encourage supporters to take items to the store and consign them to the non-profit's account. Either way, the selling group is responsible for keeping track of details like what goods are on consignment, what has been sold, and the end date on contracts. Burke says the store opens and pays out about 300 contracts with sellers every month. “We can't notify people when goods have sold, or when the contract is at an end. We count on the sellers to manage their account and stay in touch with us.”
So far, a small number of non-profits have used Super Chance to help raise funds. Burke would be happy to see more groups make use of the opportunity. “Our business is organized so we treat all customers the same. Any new customer is an opportunity for us, too. It brings more goods into the store and keeps our stock fresh.”
It's also wise for non-profits to make sure they and their supporters know what days the store accepts donations, and what goods it does and does not accept. This information is available in handouts at the store and on the website: www.superchance.ca
There are “new-to-you” goods arriving at Super Chance every day. With a little effort and promotion, more of that merchandise could be sold for the benefit of non-profit agencies, and the people we serve. See you at the store!