October 2010 Archives
"No, we don't take cushions." "Sorry, no stuffed animals." "Not if it needs repairs."
I'm not blaming them -- they no doubt get a lot of plain old garbage, and have to draw the line somewhere.
But that leaves some major challenges for people trying to get rid of stuff that isn't ready for the landfill. And that's where nonprofit garage sales can come in. If you can accept items that the established resale places can't, you'll be doing a service to both the donors and any interested buyers, and help the environment by reducing landfill volume. (If you really think no one will be interested in buying an item, put it in a "free" box.)
At day's end, of course, you may need to get creative about disposing of things, as you yourself realize that Goodwill and Salvation Army aren't going to take all the leftovers. Scout around your community ahead of time. The local animal shelter, for example, may have a use for bedding that others won't take.
Why look, here's one of the dogs they placed for adoption before the fire!
Anyway, as far as I know, the people who got my tickets were simply eager to see Robin Williams, no matter who the event benefited. With that kind of star power, the event itself is practically a guaranteed success.
But the more interesting question, given that not every organization will be lucky enough to sign up Robin Williams, is whether those guests who were just there for the fun went away with some interest in supporting the Humane Society in the future? I'll never know for sure, but it's an interesting lens through which to view your own events. How do you make sure your message will reach not only your loyal supporters, but friends of friends, substitutes for people who stayed home sick, and so forth -- who may have only a dim idea of what your organization does?
Putting up posters and other visual representations of your organization's work is a good start, as is a rousing speech during intermission. I believe the Humane Society brought a dog along. In any case, remember that such an event offers a rare chance to compellingly and succinctly state what your organization does, why it does it, and why someone who just walked in off the street should care. Let your message outlive the event!
Now, back to my cup of ginger tea.
Twelfth century mansions and former monasteries are simply hard to come by around our fifty states.
Especially ones that, according to their owner are haunted by a prank-playing ghost who mysteriously winds nonexistent clocks and fills up the chapel font with water.
Oh well. At least your major donors are less likely to face any spectral surprises.