how to plan a [garage sale for orphans]

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

November 29, 2010

Our family is pretty geeked about this year’s Christmas project!

The needs of people in Haiti have been a special focus for us this year, and my son Samuel (the cute, red-headed one) really wanted to do something special for the kids down there. When I told him about a way that we could help build a playground, he just knew that was what he wanted to give to some Haitian orphans for Christmas.

So we’ve partnered with H.E.L.P. (Help End Local Poverty) and their Garage Sale for Orphans initiative to do a little fundraising for a playground in Haiti project.

We even got HELP’s founder Chris Marlow to write a guest post about this project. You should’ve seen Samuel’s face when he saw the pictures that Chris sent of the kids who’ll be getting this playground.

Picking the project was the easy part. But I also wanted to share a few things that we’ve been doing that I believe will help make this successful.

1. Use the resources that HELP has made available.

We’ve already gotten a few online donations, because people can contribute to the cause without even coming to our actual yard sale. That means our efforts aren’t limited by geography. They also have a great sample press release that can be used to inform the local media of your charitable efforts. Hopefully they’ll like the positive news story.

2. Use social media to the max!

Don’t just throw out one little Facebook status and forget it. Talk about it regularly, and invite people to join you. We created a Facebook event for the sale, invited people to attend it, and shared the link on our walls. It’s really cool to see other people sharing the link with their friends too… that’s how things go viral.

3. Provide multiple options for how people can contribute.

I already mentioned that people can go to the project site and make an online donation, but you’ll want to provide local alternatives too. We’ve asked people to not only come shop, but let us know if they have items that they’d like to donate to the cause. People who may not be able to help financially may be willing to provide some nice items to be sold.

4. Advertise through multiple channels.

We’ve learned this just from doing several successful garage sales. Don’t rely on just one method of informing people that you’re having the sale. I’ve already mentioned creating a Facebook event, but also consider a classified ad in the newspaper, and listing it on The press release might help a little bit too if the media outlets decide to share the story early.

5. Pray.

Don’t ever forget that God is at the center of a project like this! Pray regularly that God would bring the people and money in to meet your goals, and be sure that you give Him the glory when He does. It’s also a great opportunity to pray for the kids that will benefit from your efforts.

I’m thankful for lots of things during this holiday season, but I’m most appreciative that I have a family that has a heart to do this stuff. And I’m thankful for supportive friends who want to help see this thing succeed. But that’s what Christian community is all about…

It’s about people coming together to impact our world for the better in the name of Jesus Christ.

You can read more about what we’re doing and how you can help on my post “all i want for Christmas…“.


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how to plan a [garage sale for orphans]

by Dan King time to read: 3 min