4 tips in opening a retail charity store

Nonprofit organizations are often faced with the difficult task of simultaneously raising money and scheduling events to promote themselves. For larger groups, corporate funding is a backbone to their charity efforts; for smaller institutions, the ways to fundraise and become self-sufficient are more difficult. 

A creative way to ensure year-round cash flow is by opening up a charity retail location. By selling merchandise and other products that represent your brand, you are setting your organization up to raise money in a completely different channel, in addition to accepting online donations. The luxury of having a brick-and-mortar storefront isn't possible for all nonprofits, but for those who have the capital, listed below are four tips to consider before opening a charity retail store:

1. Location, location, location: Just as it goes with any retail store, location is extremely important in guaranteeing success. There are many things that an organization must consider when choosing a site, including foot traffic, public transit accessibility, neighborhood demographics and if there is any competition nearby, The Guardian says. Convenience to the storefront is important, too. If a donor can't park out front and drop something off, he or she is unlikely to follow through with the donation.

2. Cater to window shoppers: A large window display in the front of the store could attract a number of potential customers and donors. Combine the window space with a strong display and watch the public leisurely check out your storefront. This space is also a great way to market yourself if you landed a good location, The Guardian says. 

3. Online must be an option: With recent advances in technology, the e-commerce industry is booming. If your nonprofit already accepts donations online, your charity auction software provider will most likely accept credit card and direct debit payments in the form of a retail purchase, too. A simple phone call can add that service to your donation website. 

4. Get social: According to the NonProfit Quarterly, 97 percent of nonprofits are on Facebook. A really effective way to promote both your e-commerce platform and online donation form is through the use of social media. In fact, a charitable organization can market the new location online as well. A constant flow of industry information or store updates will create top of mind awareness for your new store. 

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