Jen and I had a yard sale last weekend to raise money for international children’s network (http://icnchildren.net). The sale was a total success as we raised over $1700!! Wow!! There are several points of note from this weekend.
1. We only priced 3 key items. Everything else was left to the buyer’s discretion as a donation. There were some people who spent hours going through everything, leaving with armloads and donating a pittance. There were others who were very generous in their donations. At least 60% of the people I spoke with were completely at a loss for how to respond to a donation. One guy was so adamant about not knowing what to offer that another customer, I think out of frustration with hearing the conversation drag on, suggested a price. The man offered $10 less and was on his way. This leads me to observation #2.
2. The “fund-raiser” crowd and the “yard-sale” crowd are not one and the same. I would guess that 6 out of 10 people who regularly go to yard sales, are primarily looking for a bargain. They don’t care what they’re buying as long as they’re getting a good deal. I can say this with some authority because this is my m.o. as a yard-sale-er. I’m rarely looking for any item in particular, usually just anything that is priced lower than it should be. This attitude doesn’t mix well with the idea of giving money away to others because the goal is not to acquire some item, but simply to pay less than I should. I think that’s why the man referenced in #1 needed a price name – so he could offer less. Anyway, that was interesting.
3. Jen and I believe in the mission of icn and believe that raising money to help their cause is part of how our God has wired us. This fundraiser is something that we believe God was behind. The lesson here was that there is no way we should have made $1700 from what we had. The highest ticket item was a set of antique china that went for $100. We had a couch that went for $60 and a snowboard for $40. Everything else was basically odds and ends. When we finished our first day, we’d made almost $1000, and it didn’t look like we had any less than when we started. All this to say that while things obviously added up to what they did, we believe that this was sort of a “loaves and fishes” experience in which the resources we had to work with were multiplied. I can’t prove it. I can’t guarantee it, but I believe it.