Team Yard Sale
The 12 sports teams at Berne-Knox Westerlo High School in Berne, New York consolidated their efforts to host a combination community yard sale and chicken barbecue that brought in more than $5,000 for the athletic programs.
By Maria Tedeschi
Assistant Cross-Country and Track & Field Coach
Booster Club Member/Fundraiser Organizer
Berne-Knox Westerlo High School
Berne, New York
This past school year our booster club and sports teams decided to try something new and different when it came to fundraising. We held our 1st Annual Community Yard Sale and Chicken BBQ.
It was just a concept I had of combining two ideas for fundraisers. We held it from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Berne Town Park in town and raised over $5,000, which was our most successful fundraiser ever.
I coach cross-country and track and originally we were just going to do it as a fundraiser for those sports. Then we decided to expand it to get more people involved and open it up to all of the sports teams at the school. I emailed all of the coaches and asked if it was something they would be willing to do. The response was overwhelming positive.
This was the first time we had a fundraiser where all of the sports teams worked together. We started planning two months in advance. I designed and printed all of the tickets using Microsoft on my computer, so there was no cost. We then asked all of the athletes to sell tickets.
We promoted the event on our school website and through email. To get the word out even more, we called all of the local radio and TV stations. That didn't cost us anything either.
The tickets cost $9. We figured it costs us about $5.50 per person on average for each meal. So the profit margin was around 50 percent or $4.50 per ticket. And each team kept its own profits. For example, if you played soccer and you sold 10 tickets, then the profits from those 10 tickets went to the soccer program.
The park where we held the event, the Berne Town Park, has a huge charcoal pit where we cooked the chickens. There was no rental fee for the park. All we had to do was reserve it for that day. We started selling the chickens at 1 p.m. My husband, Matt, and a couple other parents did the cooking. Overall we had about seven main volunteers but we received a lot of support from coaches, athletes, parents and community members.
People received half a chicken, cole slaw, a roll, drink and dessert. We bought everything except the desserts. We did all of the cooking and food preparation. All of the kids' families made brownies, cupcakes, cookies, etc.
The chickens cost us $900. As far as the charcoal and other items, we probably had about $1,200 in out of pocket expenses. Price Shopper, a local grocery store, donated all of the paper products. We made a $5,000 profit after our costs.
We did have some walk-up sales so we bought about 20 extra chickens just in case. We didn't want too many leftovers. And we sold them all.
We held the yard sale on the same premises. Each team set up its own area on the baseball field. So if you bought something from the cross-country team, that money stayed with the team. All of the items were just various things collected from each team member's home.
It was like a traditional garage sale. We did get some phone calls from several crafts vendors who wanted to participate and asked if they could set up a booth. We had a lady who sold Tupperware and somebody selling key chains. They just did their own thing. We collected $10 from each of the nine vendors.
Each sports team also thought of a theme to promote. One family had ponies and held pony rides. The cheerleaders did face painting. One of the parents is a massage therapist and brought her own table. The golf team set up a miniature putt putt course for a $1. It was pretty cool.
We did this obviously to make money, but it also was a team building experience and a total community building effort. We're a small community and to see everyone work together was great. It was so successful that we will be holding a second event this year.