How We Did It:
Longtime friends Jane Hofmann and Christine LeTourneau of Ashburn, Virginia, explain how they organized two townwide yard sales they called De-clutter for the Divineys, which raised more than $50,000 for a local family in need.
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They asked. In addition to getting free event space from a community center, trucks from a moving company, shopping bags from a grocer, and raffle prizes from restaurants, the women recruited hundreds of volunteers through signupgenius.com. "I never in a million years thought I'd be able to ask people for so many things," says Hofmann, who swears she is shy, "but when it's for a good cause, you'll be amazed by how bold you can be, and how quickly everyone says yes."
- They delegated. Trusted friends oversaw advertising, sorting and pricing, traffic, raffles, food, entertainment, and cleanup committees.
- They created a "festival" environment. Parents lingered longer (and shopped more) because their kids were entertained by a magician, face-painters, a balloon artist, even a local cover band—all volunteers.
- They found the perfect master of ceremonies. In the event's first year, Peter Walsh took to the stage to spontaneously auction off choice items. Recalls LeTourneau, "He held up a dress and joked that for $100, he'd put it on!"