Monday, March 12, 2012

Combine Thrifting with Fundraising? Oh, a Girl Can Dream

Today I took my younger son out for lunch after kindergarten, which in our district lets out at the working-parent unfriendly hour of 11:50. Next door to our lunch place was a well-stocked but very empty thrift store. If I didn't have my restless child with me, I might have taken a little spin through the store.

$120 shoes. I found shoes just like these for $7 at my favorite thrift store!
You see, I LOVE thrift stores. I love the bargains, I love donating to a good cause, and I love the feeling of being released from the worry about the conditions of the third-world sweatshop where my new garment was made. Sadly, most of the clothes I buy at thriftstores were probably created in sweatshops, but I figure that by buying all of my clothes second-hand, I'm doing my little part to slow down the rate at which factories have to churn out new, cheap clothes. Did I mention that I love finding great bargains? What a thrill!

The emptiness of the store gave me an idea that filled me with joy, because it combines two of my favorite things--Thriftstores and School fundraising.

What if the empty thriftstore had held school fundraisers just like Chuck E. Cheese and so many other restaurants? 

I know what you're thinking: the very purpose of a thrift store is to raise money for a charity. But the truth of the matter is that thrift stores are still businesses... they have to bring in customers to stay afloat. One of my very favorite thrift stores, Thrifttown, runs sales and offers coupons constantly. They're thriving because they know how to get people through the door. As a result, it's often difficult to get a spot in their parking lot.

I did a quick google of "thrift store school fundraising", and didn't find anything quite what I'm looking for. It seems like some cities and some individual schools have thrift stores of their own. That sounds dreamy, but also sounds like a ton of work. We have done garage sales in the past and even they are exhausting.

I am going to do a little investigating to see if any of the Thriftstores near me would be willing to use the Restaurant Fundraising Model a try. Generally, for restaurant nights, we drive traffic through the door and the restaurant gives 15 or 20 percent back to the school.

Does your school work with a thrift store? I'd love to hear about it!

1 comment:

  1. A girl after my heart. I love thrifting, yard sales, swaps, consigning, you name it.

    Can thrifting be combined with school fundraising. ABSOLUTELY. I asked myself that over 2 years ago when I began to develop

    As a parent, volunteer and communications professional, I took all of this experience to find a new and unique fundraiser that people CAN USE. MySchoolSwap is essentially an online thrift shop and then some. Buy and sell used stuff, swap it, give it away - all in your local school community and beyond.

    Buy and sell away on My School Swap and your school earns money.

    Check it out.

    AND... Swap is the new shop. Hold a swap fundraiser at your school. It's like a big yard sale except instead of selling you swap and charge admission to all those frantic moms looking for the next size up in kids designer jeans. Sell concessions and spirit wear and it's an event! Instructions on

    I am a volunteer mom just like you. I brought an idea to life... we just launched. I love your blog and will follow it. Please follow our progress.