Maybe you saw Mandi’s recent posts about giving back to the community. She came up with the idea to raise money for a local charity, Feeders of the Lambs, which feeds the school-age children in Cameron, Texas, during the summers, when there are no school lunches. The poverty rate in this area is very high, and for many children, lunch is their only nutritious meal of the day, so these folks do some good work!
As a former employee of a nonprofit organization, I know how important donations are, so I pitched in and helped as much as I could, mostly by publicizing like crazy and buying cookie dough. When Saturday came, I put on my new Hermit Haus shirt and dragged my house guest over to the office, and we all got to work. We put up a Bake Sale sign over the “Sue Ann Buys Houses” sign in front of the building and waited.
How about That Publicity?
We had one visitor right as we opened, a nice woman that our friend Melanie at the Chamber of Commerce sent over. Then there was a lull. We realized that all that Facebook, radio, and other publicity had NOT sent droves of citizens of Cameron over to us. So, Mandi and I took to the streets. With a sign in hand, we tag teamed and waved at every car that drove by. I made sure to smile, so by the end of the sale, my smiling muscles hurt.
THAT worked. Good old-fashioned in-person effort is what got us our customers! Even Lee got out there and waved for a while. People who saw our Facebook posts and blogs did ASK about the sale, but none of them showed up. I am pondering the meaning of that. Mostly it means that our efforts to talk about our work with people we meet are NOT wasted.
How Did It Go?
Other than getting sunburned feet from standing on the side of the road, the sale actually went great! We sold most our food items during the sale, other than the punch we didn’t publicize much and a bit of ice cream (their loss, because wow did Mandi make some delicious ice cream that tasted like Baileys).
More important, we met a lot of nice people we otherwise would not have met. There was even one guy who had an inherited house he might want us to buy. I’d say the funniest moment was when a woman came in and didn’t buy anything, because we didn’t have banana bread. That made us really sad, because Anita had intended to bring two loaves of banana bread, but had to stay at the Bobcat house to meet with the plumber (more on that in another post!). Next time, banana bread. And pies. To be honest, we thought we’d have more items, but a couple of donors had unforeseen circumstances.
We DO appreciate everyone who did donate items to sell or helped us work the sale, though. It was a team effort. And Anita even made it, eventually!
What about the Rest?
We ended up with a beautifully decorated cake and some cupcakes left over at the end. We put our heads together, and Mandi came up with the idea to take the cake over to the Milam Community Theater production of Gypsy that night, and see if we could give it to the highest bidder. Our friend Melanie Reed came and got the cake, and it ended up bringing in $25!
We still had those cupcakes though, so we thought about who we knew that could use some shiny, blingy cupcakes. Of course! Our friend Courtney at the Bling Box has been dealing with an illness in her family, so who better to receive them! So, Anita, Diana (the house guest), and I brought over the cupcakes, and the folks at the store were so pleased. (And we bought stuff, of course.)
We are pleased to announce that we made $212, and we certainly didn’t have even a hundred in merchandise! We got so many additional donations! That much money will feed many children.
Moral to the Story
Fellow real estate investors, think about reaching out to your local communities in some way. The benefits are many, including making good contacts for the future. Just do it!