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How Do I Host a Pop-Up Thrift Store Fundraiser?

If you’ve never hosted a pop-up thrift store fundraiser, we’re here to walk you through it. Follow these six steps for hosting a pop-up thrift store:

1. Find a location.

Picking a location is the first step in the process of planning a pop-up thrift store. You’ll want to make sure that your venue has plenty of space for the clothes you’re selling. Additionally, it’s best to choose a location with heavy foot traffic so people can stop by and support your fundraiser.

If possible, hosting your pop-up thrift store fundraiser outside can ensure that you have enough space. Think about setting up tables at a park or on a college campus.

Whichever type of location you choose, make sure to follow any booking procedures for using that space.

2. Pick a date.

Once you’ve found a venue, it’s time to pick a date. While pop-up thrift stores can be successful during any time of year, the best time to host one is when people are cleaning out their wardrobes between seasons. That way, it’s more likely that people will have clothes they’re willing to donate.

3. Promote the event.

Pop-up thrift store fundraisers are unique in that you don’t only need to promote the event for people to show up but also to have the proper items or equipment for the event. In this case, it’s donated clothing. 

Post on social media, hang up flyers, and send out an email newsletter to get the word out about your event. Remember to make sure the marketing materials indicate how and where to donate clothing for the event as well as the typical event details.

4. Collect clothing.

Without donated clothing, your event won’t be possible, so it’s important to have a well-developed plan for how to collect it. Arrange for dedicated clothing drop-off spots such as a bin in your organization’s office. You’ll also want to make sure there’s a place to store the clothing in preparation for the event. 

5. Price the items.

It can be tricky to price items that you don’t know the original price or date of purchase for. However, there are ways to make the pricing process simpler.

One way to do so is by choosing a set amount for each type of item. For example, shirts could be $15 each. This method works best when items are similar in quality and style, so make sure to take inventory of your donated clothing to see what items you have.

Additionally, you could have people give a donation of their choice for each item they purchase. If choosing this method, remember to suggest a minimum donation amount. 

6. Open your pop-up thrift store for business!

It’s time to host your pop-up thrift store fundraiser! On the day of the event, set up tables at your venue and lay out the clothing so that each piece can be seen. If you priced your items ahead of time, make sure the prices are also visible.

You might also want to bring a few volunteers along to help you sort the clothing, talk to attendees, and accept payment.

Above all, remember to have fun at your event! You’re raising money for your cause in a creative way, and that should be celebrated!

Are There Any Tips for Hosting a Successful Pop-Up Thrift Store?

Now that you know how to host a pop-up thrift store, there are a few tips for making yours even more successful:

1. Be strategic with timing.

As we mentioned before, the best time to host your pop-up thrift store is between seasons when people are purging their closets. You can also center your event around the holidays and encourage people to come to find gifts for their families and friends.

2. Find a high-traffic area.

Many people would likely enjoy a pop-up thrift store, including people who haven’t heard about your event or organization! Hosting your event in a high-traffic area will maximize your fundraising potential.

3. Make social media accounts for the event.

A great way to get people engaged with your pop-up thrift store fundraiser is to make social media accounts specifically dedicated to the event. For example, you could create an Instagram for your account and follow members and supporters of your organization. Then, you could post the details of the event and maybe even a sneak preview of some of the clothing items that will be available.

4. Consider hosting a series of events.

If people enjoy your event, consider hosting it again! All you have to do is secure a date and collect more clothing. You could even make your pop-up thrift store seasonal to account for end-of-season wardrobe cleaning.

5. Sell any leftover items online or donate them.

You might have some leftover items after your event’s over, and that’s okay. One way you can get rid of additional items is by continuing to sell them on your event’s social media accounts. Take pictures of the items and post them with the suggested price as well as directions for how to pick the items up.

Another option is to donate the items to a local shelter or thrift store. That way, you’re still helping out other similar-minded organizations.

6. Offer multiple payment methods.

Having multiple options for how people can pay for their clothing items ensures that as many people can participate in your event as possible. Consider setting up a Venmo account for the event or using your own. Additionally, plan to accept cash and credit cards if you’re able to.

What Organizations Are Best For Hosting a Pop-Up Thrift Store?

While many different types of organizations can host a successful pop-up thrift store fundraiser, there are a few in particular that are best suited for this kind of event:

  • Fraternities and sororities. What better way to fundraise than swapping clothes with your brothers or sisters? Since college kids are an ideal audience for this type of event, hosting a pop-up thrift store fundraiser as a college club or organization will likely be successful.
  • Sports teams. Chances are members of your sports team have old equipment, uniforms, or gear that they’re looking to get rid of. A pop-up thrift store fundraiser will allow younger players to inherit the leftover sports items of the older players while raising money for your team at the same time.
  • Schools. An elementary school could be the perfect organization to host a pop-up thrift store fundraiser. Parents can donate clothes their children no longer wear and purchase new clothing for their children in support of the school their kids attend.