Hanukkah, which begin at sundown on December 6th, seems far off – but it isn’t too early for your congregation, sisterhood, or brotherhood to start planning a Hanukkah fundraiser.
A Hanukkah bazaar is a great fundraiser; it also gets your congregants thinking about their Hanukkah shopping and can give an early boost to your congregation’s Judaica shop holiday sales figures (if you have one). Lastly, it’s a wonderful opportunity to involve your temple family. Use a Hanukkah bazaar as your kickoff to the holiday!
Tips for Fundraising
Invite guest vendors to join your bazaar. By including a wide diversity of merchandise that your Judaica shop does not stock, you increase the number of congregants that shop. Vendors to include might be a local toy distributor, jewelry makers, glass specialists, candy vendors, culinary specialists (e.g., flavored salts), clothing for children and teens, accessory vendors, etc.
How do you find them? Go to school fundraisers, weekend art fairs, and wherever an independent vendor might show their wares. Take business cards of the ones you would like to invite to participate.
Create a contract to have vendors sign in order to participate (or use this sample). Always protect yourself by including a line such as, “We reserve the right to request any merchandise or items be removed from sale.”
Charge vendors a table fee and a percentage of their total gross sales. As a vendor perk, provide advertising for early registration.
In order to increase sales and make it easy on shoppers, consider having a central check-out point where all vendor and shop sales can be run through the same credit card machine or just one check. To do this, provide a three-copy sales receipt book to each vendor (or two to those with multiple tables), which should be returned to you at the end of the sale. Providing each vendor their own book ensures that they have a record of their sales, and you can promise to reimburse them within 10 days, which is the customary time for a check to clear a bank.
Finally, if your state allows any tax-free shopping days, use this event as a free-state tax day!
Boost Your Seasonal Sales
Only feature Hanukkah items at your bazaar. This keeps you from dragging all your merchandise down to your social hall. Include a table of your Judaica shop’s beautiful menorahs, children’s toys & games, dreidels, assorted Hanukkah candles and oils, Hanukkah candy, Hanukkah decorations, Hanukkah home décor items, etc.
Keep giftwrap by the check-out as a reminder for your customers to pick some up for the holiday. To encourage customers to shop in the shop during our bazaar, hand out coupons for 30% off regular price merchandise that can be used in the shop during this event. (Exceptions on items you don’t want to discounts should be noted on the coupon!) You can also set up a sale table to get rid of old or damaged merchandise that’s been hanging around your Judaica shop for way too long.
Involve Your Temple Family
Increase attendance by involving your temple members in the bazaar:
- Invite the choral director and their group of children to perform.
- Offer to host an arts and crafts table from your seniors or singles group.
- Have a children’s marketplace hosted by the early education department.
- Have a donation bowl for fundraising for your charity of the month.
Your ideas are only limited by your imagination. Good luck and have a wonderful event!
Kay Schachter is a Women of Reform Judaism consultant on Judaica shops. This piece first appeared in WRJ’s Sept. 18, 2015 email newsletter.