Wednesday, December 1, 2010

You've got stuff. You want to help charities. Now what?

Charities and fund raising efforts depend on people like you and are eternally grateful for your contribution. And you can give even more support by taking the time to sort through your items before you send them somewhere for donation/consignment. Collection sites spend a lot of time, effort, and resources disposing of items that aren’t usable. Look at each piece. Is it still truly useful? Is it current enough for someone to wear/use today? Is it (really) in good shape? Throwing out belongings might feel wasteful, but it actually saves the charity/organization time and money for you to screen your own items with a careful eye before you donate them.

Consignment stores have become a great way for charities to earn money from the resale of better merchandise. Keep this in mind: consignment stores are for profit companies, so the prices tend to be higher than thrift stores (because they don’t receive government funding of any kind to offset expenses) so customers expect good quality and only minimal (if any) signs of wear. Shopping consignment has become trendy, and these trendsetting shoppers expect stores to keep up. Look at each piece and honestly answer: would I buy this again today? If the answer is yes, then it’s likely someone else would buy it again too. If the answer is no, then decide whether a donation center could truly use it or if it should simply get tossed out. Don’t feel guilty! You’re actually doing charities a favor.

Finders Keepers Consignment Stores have set up accounts to raise money for multiple charities. These accounts earn more than regular consignor accounts, and receive 50% of the purchase price of every item. In 2010, Finders Keepers raised more than $10,000 for Haitian Relief Efforts alone. If you have things you’d like to sell in the name of a charity, bring your items in neatly (note: clothing wadded in a trash bag wrinkles within seconds and people won’t buy wrinkly stuff) and fill out our “pink slip” with the name of the organization that you’d like to donate the proceeds from your items to, or let a store representative know what charity you’d like to support and he or she will help you from there. That’s it! We will then screen the items for sell-ability. Anything deemed unsellable will be donated to the charities that we support, but we do not give tax write-offs and do not receive funding as a collection center, so a pre-screen by you in your own home will help all the way around.

Our three stores each have accounts set up for many different charities, and each have different consignment needs. Finders Keepers Fashions sells men’s, women’s, plus-sized, and maternity clothing as well as accessories: shoes, handbags, scarves, jewelry, etc. This store has a customer-demand for current and good-quality work-wear, suits, and wardrobe staples as well as fun and trendy pieces. Check your clothing for moth holes, tears, discoloration (particularly around the neck or under the arms,) spots, and stains. Shoes must be in new or nearly-new condition with no visible wear inside, and very minimal wear (if any) outside. The same rules apply at Finders Keepers Boutique, but this store has a high demand for funky and trendy merchandise, and doesn’t do so well with the basics or conservative wear like suits or sets. This location starts with labels like J. Crew and Banana Republic, and continues through couture fashion designers like Chanel and Prada. This store only carries clothing sizes 0-14, and also only sells clothing for women. Neither store accepts knock-offs or counterfeits of any kind, so please don’t bring them. Finders Keepers Furnishings sells furniture and home d├ęcor, and does best with contemporary pieces from retailers like Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel. They’re looking for newer import styles, neutral colors, and clean lines. Knick-knacks, do-dads, porcelain figurines, etc. do not sell in this store. A good rule of thumb: if it didn’t sell at the yard sale, it won’t sell here.

Learn more about our consignment policies and the charities we support on our website:

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