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.
  1. 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 "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."

  2. They delegated. Trusted friends oversaw advertising, sorting and pricing, traffic, raffles, food, entertainment, and cleanup committees.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!"

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