Rummage Sale Fundraisers

Church Rummage Sale Planning Tips

For the past few decades, rummage sales have been an extremely popular form of church fundraising. Every spring, Saturday mornings are set aside for these colorful events, filled with curious bargain hunters and forgotten treasures. If your church or religious organization is looking for a great way to engage the community and bring in a fair amount of revenue, a rummage sale fundraiser might be your golden ticket.

Planning a Rummage Sale Fundraiser
Rummage sales typically take about two months to plan. They're most often scheduled for a Saturday morning, beginning about ten o'clock and lasting into the afternoon. If the church holding the sale is located in a neighborhood or country setting, rummage sales are sometimes coordinated with a post-sale picnic, which can be another great way to raise funds for the organization.

When planning your rummage sale, drop off times for items are the most important information you need to convey to your congregation and other members of the community who might wish to contribute to your event. Schedule multiple times on different days in the month leading up to your event when people will be able to deliver the things they wish to donate. Stress that all items must be reasonably clean and usable -- you are not a garbage service, and dirty or broken goods will cost you money and time to remove. For those outside of your congregation, consider sending letters asking for donations.

Advertising Your Rummage Sale Fundraiser
First, place a call to local papers and have them add your rummage sale to their community calendar section. You'll also want to print and distribute fliers to local businesses, thrift stores, libraries, community centers, grocery stores, and other churches with which you've formed past friendships. These fliers should include:
  • The name of your church.
  • What the event is (a rummage sale!).
  • Who the sale will benefit.
  • Who's welcome (everyone!).
  • A rain date, if you're holding the event outside.
  • A mention of some of the most desirable items to be sold (furniture, old records, etc.).
  • A small map of the event's location, if you have room.
  • If you would prefer no early birds, be sure to include that information, as well.

Rummage Sale Setup
You'll need lots of tables, and possibly some mobile clothes racks and hangers. You'll also want some chairs for volunteers who will be manning your cashier's table, and bags for people to carry the purchased items home.

Rummage Sale Pricing
There are a number of different ways to price items for a rummage sale. If you're set on pricing everything individually, masking tape and a marker will be your best friends. However, in the interest of sanity, you might consider color-coding your items with small stickers -- blue sells for a dollar, red for two, and so on. Though you'll still probably want to individually price your larger items, using colored stickers will save you lots of time when it comes to the smaller items which will make up the majority of your sale.

Books and music can be grouped together and all sold for the same price -- two dollars per record, for example, and one dollar apiece for paperback books. It can also be fun to take a number of random items and put them in boxes or bags marked "$10 for All". This idea may help you to sell items you feel most people wouldn't want to buy by themselves.

As long as people believe in the idea of spring cleaning, rummage sales will likely continue to be a popular form of fundraising. With some careful planning, good advertising, and fair pricing, your church's next rummage sale fundraiser is bound to be a wonderful success.

Written by: Bob Robertson