Some churches and groups have been running book sales during Christian Aid Week for more than 30 years! They are a tried and tested way of engaging your local community and raising funds. Book sales can be a flexible format - you can combine them with other community and fundraising events. For one supporting church, their sale is part of a Book Festival, with workshops and talks; for another, it is an opportunity to sell artwork in addition to books.
A 3-year project...
An ecumenical matter!
A book sale is a great way of working with other churches in your area. You could team up in many different ways, be it working together on the sale's organisation, advertising in each other’s newsletters and church notices, putting up posters in porches and on noticeboards, and creating a buzz about it on social media.
Planning is key
You will not have a problem getting stock - once people hear that you need books, you'll find they will flood in! One month should be ample time beforehand to make your request for books. You'll need to consider where to store the books as they come in and what to do with any unsold books after the sale. If you cannot store the books for next year, or want to start your stock afresh, unsold books can be sent to charity shops, sold on the internet, or sent for pulping.
One in a million!
Each book sale will be different depending on scale and location. However, here is a list of some of the roles which we have found to be key across most of our book sales.
- Promoting your sale - posters; social media.- can you interest your local print media?- is there a local personality that you can ask to help promote your sale?
- Receiving/collecting books.
- Sorting books and identifying any that may be valuable. Consider a section of books about your local area and its history
- Lifting, carrying and replenishing books.
- Sales staff. Most of our sales are cash only, which is handy if you have a cash point nearby. Make sure you have sufficient float and get in touch with us if you would like to explore contactless payment options.
- Delivering unsold books to alternative sales outlets/pulping locations. Most of the unsold books from our biggest book sale are sold on to World of Books or similar internet sellers. That way, Christian Aid continues to raise money even after the sale has ended. This might work for your sale, too!
- Thanking afterwards - donors of books, volunteers, local promoters.
We hope you enjoy running your book sale - big or small, your sale and the funds you raise will contribute toward sending poverty, standing up against the barriers that keep people poor, and speaking truth to power.