Our 6 year-old son decided to augment his cash stash by selling rocks he found in our yard. He put them in a bucket, rinsed them in the kitchen sink, let them drip dry in my colander, and hit up our guests for $5-10 a pop. It was kind of cute. Now it’s uncomfortable. I carefully explained to him our friends will stop visiting us if they’re bulldozed into dropping coin for a rock. So he plans to sell chunks of asphalt instead.
Sure, he makes a little cash because our friends are gracious and understanding, but is selling something of marginal use the most effective way to raise money? Like, for instance, how charities in Fairfield County sell eco-friendly reusable shopping bags for a small fraction of the proceeds. I have so many reusable shopping bags I’m starting to throw them away.
Jenna Roche, a former internet professional, had the same issue in her home: so much junk, so little money going to the charity she was trying to support. So three years ago she devised a strategy to raise lots of money without selling tissue-thin wrapping paper and that ilk: sell good stuff at a great price. She began by asking friends and family about their favorite online retailers, then she asked these retailers to offer exclusive discounts on select items when purchased through her website, Sidekicksecrets.com.
How it works: Sidekicks is a turnkey solution for charities to raise money. Charities and non-profits simply sell Sidekick “memberships” (scratch-off cards with passwords) for $20 apiece. $15 of the membership goes directly to that charity.
What it does: Customers use the membership/password to log on to sidekicksecrets.com and purchase items from select websites at a discount, typically 30-50% less than what the company or retailer offers anywhere else.
What they sell: Many great things, from painted children’s furniture (Tatutine) to bacon (Vermont Smoke and Cure – no, they don’t sell medicinal marijuana) and my favorite, Baby Wit: humorous and sometimes offensive onesies for babies and toddlers. The list is extensive, but you must buy a membership to see it! (Remember, memberships must be purchased through a non-profit organization.)
What you may not know but should:
1. To introduce this new site, Jenna is running a special FREE promotion for the first 100 charities, or until August 1, 2010, whichever comes first.