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SE's for social service agencies?

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  • Thomas Bonney
    I am the President & CEO of a mid-size nonprofit social service agency in the Greensboro area of North Carolina. Our agency recently completed a long-range
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 28, 2008
      I am the President & CEO of a mid-size nonprofit social service agency
      in the Greensboro area of North Carolina. Our agency recently completed
      a long-range strategic plan that calls upon our Board of Directors and
      staff to analyze and develop a business opportunity that will generate
      unrestricted revenue for the agency and serve as a training platform for
      consumers of our services (i.e. job training). We have discussed the
      opportunity for a thrift store, but our area has many of those sites and
      we were looking for something unique that would have the potential for
      being successful.

      I would appreciate any ideas that folks around the country have
      initiated. Thanks!
    • Bob Musser
      Tom, We have built a program for selling community secondary merchandise (donated or not) for individuals, businesses, and nonprofits organizations on eBay in
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 4, 2008
        Tom,
        We have built a program for selling community secondary merchandise
        (donated or not) for individuals, businesses, and nonprofits
        organizations on eBay in Lancaster, PA. The program includes a formal
        job training program called Work-Able, built originally for Boys &
        Girls Club inner city youth but since adapted for MH/MR clients as well.

        I would be happy to discuss in more detail with you or you can get
        information from our website.
        Bob Musser
        Auction Inn Corporation

        --- In npEnterprise@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas Bonney"
        <thomas.bonney@...> wrote:
        >
        > I am the President & CEO of a mid-size nonprofit social service agency
        > in the Greensboro area of North Carolina. Our agency recently completed
        > a long-range strategic plan that calls upon our Board of Directors and
        > staff to analyze and develop a business opportunity that will generate
        > unrestricted revenue for the agency and serve as a training platform for
        > consumers of our services (i.e. job training). We have discussed the
        > opportunity for a thrift store, but our area has many of those sites and
        > we were looking for something unique that would have the potential for
        > being successful.
        >
        > I would appreciate any ideas that folks around the country have
        > initiated. Thanks!
        >
      • Rolfe Larson
        Here are a few more comments in response to the following question from Thomas Bonney: I am the President & CEO of a mid-size nonprofit social service agency
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 24, 2008
          Here are a few more comments in response to the following question from
          Thomas Bonney:

          "I am the President & CEO of a mid-size nonprofit social service agency in
          the Greensboro area of North Carolina. Our agency recently completed a
          long-range strategic plan that calls upon our Board of Directors and staff
          to analyze and develop a business opportunity that will generate
          unrestricted revenue for the agency and serve as a training platform for
          consumers of our services (i.e. job training). We have discussed the
          opportunity for a thrift store, but our area has many of those sites and we
          were looking for something unique that would have the potential for being
          successful."

          (1) From Dan Bassill <tutormentor1@...>

          I encourage you to look at http://www.hopeworks.org which is a nonprofit
          that trains youth to use technology to create understanding of issues
          important to the Camden, NJ area. The organization has been able to earn
          income by the work it does. Because knowledge management, and using visual
          communications, are so important to the coming century, the skills you teach
          in a program like this can lead to very good jobs and careers for young
          people, and have an on-going benefit to your community.

          Dan Bassill
          Tutor/Mentor Connection
          Chicago, Il.

          (2) From David Stoker <dstoker@...>

          A couple examples come to mind:

          Delancey Street operates about 12 different enterprises
          http://www.delanceystreetfoundation.org/

          Men on the Side of the Road- job training through donated tools
          http://citizenbase.org/Charles_Maisel

          Solidarity Hotel creatively went beyond a simple revenue stream
          http://citizenbase.org/en/node/2980

          (3) From Robert Fields <robert.bob.fields@...>

          Bob Mussers's idea sounds pretty good. [Moderator's note: Bob Musser's
          organization, Auction Inn Corporation, operates a program that sells
          community secondary merchandise (donated or not) for individuals, businesses
          and nonprofits on eBay; the program includes a formal job training program.]

          What if you looked at adapting it to fit your ability to grow the idea and
          consider "where" you set it up. Your intake, your receiving station, does
          not have to be where you store and ship it from. The better trafficked the
          location (visibility) the better chances are that you will draw donations
          and paying customers. Have any malls with empty spaces? Your intake
          operation need not be fancy... you just need to spell out the story, your
          services and benefits large and
          clear. Have any supermarkets nearby? You can always set up a card table
          (similar to the Girl Scout cookie sellers or the Salvation Army Christmas
          time bell ringers) to pass out promotional fliers (questions and answers)
          inviting donations and/or offering your eBay services. All great training
          and confidence building opportunities for your team.

          (4) Also from Robert Fields

          Can't say that I know of a thrift store operated by a nonprofit agency like
          the one I have in mind... but if what you are asking for is an idea that
          would have your store stand out from the rest.... you might want to knock
          this idea around in your mind: How about a SECOND TIME AROUND FURNITURE
          STORE... furniture and decorative accessories like lamps and pictures (You
          decide if it would be residential only or some office furniture as well..My
          guess is that you will be swamped with office furniture which takes loads of
          space... so if you want to take some, maybe seating would be our best bet.)
          Furniture that you would carry at an initial tagged price for a month, and
          beginning on the fifth week and each successive week gets marked down until
          it's gone!

          I've seen privately operated businesses run like this... the difference
          being was they were consignment shops which gave back a percentage of the
          selling price to the consignee. Have trucking, pick-up, drop-off
          capabilities? There is an opportunity to charge a simple, flat fee ($25) per
          stop. Lots of opportunities for training and training the trainers. Just a
          thought. Best of luck in your search.
        • Andrew Horowitz
          Check out http://www.workingwardrobes.org , an Orange County, CA, nonprofit that has developed a highly successful, high-end resale store model to support its
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 27, 2008
            Check out http://www.workingwardrobes.org , an Orange County, CA, nonprofit that has developed a highly successful, high-end resale store model to support its social service mission of assisting adults in crisis with job training and job application skills.
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