Used Book Sale Fundraiser

A used book sale fundraiser is a very easy fundraising idea that works well for small groups, schools or churches. A book sale is a great way to raise funds without much upfront cost, so let’s take a look at how to do a used book sale to raise money for your cause.

This type of fundraiser works similarly to a yard sale or rummage sale, but you limit it to only donated books and book related items. For example, audiobooks and DVDs also have a good resale value, so you should include those type of items as well.

There are four essential keys to making this type fundraising event successful:

  1. Getting lots of used book donations
  2. Getting your book sale lots of publicity
  3. Getting enough volunteers to help out
  4. Getting plenty of customers for your book sale

Getting More Donations Of Used Books

Best ways to get book donations:

  • Family and friends of group members
  • Neighborhood canvassing
  • Drop boxes at local businesses, church, school, etc.
  • Offering a pickup service for large quantities of books

The key to having a successful used book sale as a fundraiser is obviously to get lots of books donated. Most people, including friends, family, and neighbors have boxes of books they no longer want but just haven’t taken the time to get rid of them.

You can also ask for donated used books in nearby neighborhoods using a mailbox flyer. You can’t put a flyer in a mailbox, but you can attach it using tape, tacks, etc. Your mailbox flyer should state the purpose of your fundraiser. Briefly but specifically say why you are raising money: “We need your help because our soccer team is raising money to go to a tournament.” Or. “Can you donate used books to help us out because we’re raising money for a mission trip.”

List locations of drop boxes where they can drop-off their book donations during the next week or so. Don’t make the drop-off window longer than 7-10 days or people won’t have a sense of urgency about making donations.

Also include a phone number for your group and say you will be doing book pick-ups of large donations in their area. You will, of course, need drivers – preferably with a truck or SUV for easy loading and unloading.

Getting Publicity For Your Fundraiser

Some great ways to publicize your used book sale:

  • Press release
  • Social media
  • Posters
  • Roadside signs
  • Classified ads
  • Craigslist
  • Newsletters
  • Community email lists

Another key to doing a used book sale fundraiser is getting lots of publicity.A simple press release will get your event listed in the local paper. Call local radio stations to find out how to get a mention on air.

Put posters in local stores and ask good prospects if you can use them as a book drop-off location.

You can also get plenty of free publicity much like people having yard sales do: Posting simple signs in high-traffic areas.

To take it a step further, place an ad in the yard sale section of the newspaper, post it on Craigslist, and ask locally owned businesses if you can post a sign in their store.

Word of moth is also great, so pay attention to social media and ask your members to post to Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Getting More Volunteers

If you have a small group and need more volunteers, here are some tips:

  • Friends and family of members
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Retirees
  • Affiliated groups

Start by asking all your group members to get at least one additional volunteer each to help out with the various phase of your fundraiser. Some can help gather donated books, some can help with publicity, some can help out day of sale, etc.

If you need more volunteers than that, ask other groups to lend a hand. Fraternal organizations like Moose, Elks, Kiwanis, etc. are good places to start. Active retirees are another good source of volunteers for a lot of tasks.

Another source are groups with an affiliation with yours. For church groups or schools, that might be another church or school. For nonprofits, that might be another group that you’ve worked with on another fundraiser.

Getting More Customers

  • High-traffic location
  • Lots of advance publicity
  • Roadside signs
  • Newspaper coverage
  • Word of mouth
  • Timing

Your choice of location can also impact the amount of books you sell. A locally owned business may let you set up in their parking lot, or you can use the church social hall, the school’s multi-purpose room or parking lot on a weekend, etc. If you do it outdoors, arrange to have tents set up in case of inclement weather.

The last key to making this a successful fundraiser it timing! The county library does an annual book sell-off. Find out when yours is and don’t schedule your used book sale near that date. It will affect your book donations and your sales.

One more thing. Use a big jar to ask for donations at your checkout area. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people will donate money. But, you won’t get any donations unless you ask for them.

Good luck with your used book sale fundraiser!