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Marketing Your End-of-School Garage Sale to Promote City-Wide Recycling

Posted by Danielle Heifa on Monday, January 30, 2017 1:03 PM

Garage sale text on a laptopIf you’re looking to divert items away from the landfill while helping the student population get rid of unwanted items, a school-end garage sale in your municipality could be the solution! Use this guide on how to plan for a city-wide garage sale as a template for your school-end garage sale.

Once you’ve organized the basic elements of your school-end garage sale, the next step is to get the word out to as many students as possible about your event. This ensures you get a significant number of students to sign up and participate, and pushes for shoppers to show up to the sale and buy.

How to market your city-wide garage sale:

  1. Create a page on your municipality’s website dedicated to the school-end sale with relevant information
  1. Completely exploit social and digital media

Students are very likely social media users – so go ahead and use Twitter, Instagram and city-specific mobile apps to get the word out to students with busy schedules. They need to learn about the event details quickly, and today, more and more students are using their phone as a primary tool for ingesting information. Make sure to post information on other community websites and bulletin boards and on your city’s Facebook page. You might even want to create an entirely new, event specific, Facebook page all together.

  1. Piggy back on related community outreach

Send out relevant event information in already existing community newsletters (print) and utilize local e-mail lists to incorporate event info into e-newsletters. 

  1. Print material

Print visually dynamic flyers and place them around the city. You can put them underneath car windshields, in lobbies of local businesses and on campus, in coffee shops or restaurants, and even tacked onto household garbage cans and recycling bins.

  1. Pitch the story to local media and send them a press release (or buy ads)

When marketing your event with local media you have two options: buy an ad that will be placed alongside or in between editorial content or pitch a story to local media that will make sure your event is the centerpiece of the editorial content all together.

The “story” option is the cheapest because it’s free! All you need is a polished press release and a story pitch. Then once you decide this part of the equation, you have 3 other options: newspaper, radio or TV. Articles in local papers are usually a great option. You can also ask a local radio DJ to host his or her show at the school-end sale on the day of the event.

Another option is to pitch your story to the local TV news station, and ask them cover the event on the nightly news show. Tell them you are willing to do any on-camera interview!

  1. Word of mouth

Be a walking, breathing press machine. Talk about the event with every person you come in contact to. Chat with local businesses and speak with the people in your community on the front lines of student interaction; baristas, waitresses, restaurant and coffee shop owners. And verbally promote the school-end garage sale event at other city recycling events. Be polished, poised and proud when you speak about the event. This helps get students excited.

  1. Personal promotion

Add a message to your voicemail mentioning the sale and also add a line in your email signature. This takes minutes and has the opportunity to really maximize your reach.  

  1. Create a contest within the city leading up to the school-end garage sale

Contests often create great incentive to participate. Feel free to instigate a little competition. You could put forward that the student with the highest daily sales wins a prize, or maybe that the first shopper to arrive at your event gets something for free.

  1. Place ads in classifieds about the event: Craigslist or Kijiji

Many bargain hunters, which are often students, turn to classifieds online to buy used goods. Target this thrifty demographic here. Remember, targeted outreach is better than aimless promotion.

  1. Partner with likeminded organizations

Connecting with other organizations, big or small, is a great way to strategically maximize your overall reach and potentially raise money. Student clubs and associations are a great start!

If there are other councils, let them know about it as well! Garage Sale Trail in Australia is “enabled by 164 councils, in partnership with forward thinking media networks and businesses”. Not only is their website stunning and well thought out, but their partnerships, both in the public and private sector, show that they are making a conscious effort to build a greater community around their event, while simultaneously raising money.

These are just some ways that you can market your school-end garage sale. Which tactic (or group of a few) would work best with your budget?


logo-green.png About Recycle Coach: Recycle Coach specializes in digital solutions for municipal and private waste management services to effectively educate and engage residents. Our technology platforms for web, mobile, and digital assistants focus on education and encouragement to help residents to be better recyclers, with the goal of inspiring positive and lasting change in communities around the world. It is our constant innovation and scalability of services that allow us to meet the needs of over 3000 communities across the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and more.  

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Topics: For Municipalities with a University or College

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