Each year our church holds a parking lot sale as a fundraiser. This is a perfect way to raise money for your church, especially during the warm summer months. Any department of your church can organize it and you can even organize it yourself. You may need to get permission from your church leadership if necessary. Here are some tips for making your parking lot sale successful.
Ask some of your fellow church members to volunteer to help you. You will need as much assistance as possible. Set a time for a meeting and work out the details early enough to give the team time to make all the arrangements. Planning several months in advance is not uncommon. You will need enough people to help you set up the tables, price the items, interact with the customers and clean up afterward. You also will need to decide where you will store donated items as they come in, and also what to do with the items that don’t sell. It’s good to have some folks that can lift and move heavy items. Set a separate area for the cash box and have one or two people be in charge of that. Most payments should be in cash, so be sure you have enough change on hand in advance. Also decide ahead of time if you want to accept personal checks.
Choose a date and time for the sale. Also select the location for the sale if it will be held somewhere other than at the church. Be as visible as possible but be sure there are no local city regulations or ordinances that would hinder the sale. If you hold the sale on church property, you should be okay. Plan an alternate day to hold your sale in case of rain. The parking lot sale we held this year was rained out initially so we postponed it for weeks.
Advertise your sale
The better you advertise your sale, the more likely people will come and the more people that attend will increase your profit. Word of mouth is good but also posting signs and putting ads in local newspapers, on the Internet or on the radio is always helpful. You might want to make flyers to hand out to neighbors or to pass out in the neighborhood. Of course you will also want to announce it at church and have an announcement put in the church bulletin.
Collect items to sell
Ask your church members and other neighbors and friends to donate to the parking lot sale. This is a great time for folks to clear out their closets, basements and garages and donate it to a worthy the items to a good cause. Decide beforehand where you will store the items before the sale begins, especially if you receive large items such as furniture or appliances.
Plan to come early and stay late
Plan to hold your sale for at least six to eight hours. Your team will need to come about one to two hours ahead of time on the day of the sale to make sure you have time to set up everything before the crowd arrives. You also need time to prepare snacks and beverages for your helpers. You might also want to provide some snacks for the customers to purchase so you’ll time to prepare that as well.
Pass out literature
Church parking lot sales are also a good time to share your faith. Many people that come to a parking lot sale may not know the love of Christ or may have backed away from their relationship with the Lord. This is a good time to share something spiritual with them. Talk freely with them about your church if they ask and always put a Bible tract or a brochure in their bag when they check out.
Church parking lot sales take time and effort but the resuts are rewarding. Once you see how much fun it can be you’re sure to make it an annual event for your church.