Gifting Thrift this Holiday Season

Gifting Thrift

            So, the holiday season is upon us once more. And we have make promises to ourselves that we would stick to our budget, buy local, while being environmentally conscious, and not over eat. I can help with the first three, but you are on your own for how many calories you consume!

            You need to seriously consider Gifting Thrift. How do you do this? Well, I have some great tips on that. Every city or small town will have a local non-profit thrift shop, where all the funds raised returns directly back into your community to support programs and services. Remember, that when you buy thrift from a non-profit you are keeping items out of the landfill, and the organizations do so much good with the money that is raised such as support for immigrants, those who live in poverty, youth programs and so many more causes.

  1. Go often

Go often. Try and make regular quick trips to your Thrift Shop of choice. New inventory is coming out all the time, and put onto the floor every hour. Best time to go is around 11 am.

  • Think Outside the Box

Think outside the box. Thrifting requires a bit of imagination and you must realize that items that are donated are usually one of kind. This is a great chance for you to find those unique pieces for those hard to find family or friends.

  • Plan Ahead

Plan ahead. It might take a few trips to the thrift store to find all the items you are looking for. Give yourself time to look on different days so you can find what you need

  • Be Flexible

Be flexible. Try not to go to the thrift store with a plan set in stone. You never know what you will or won’t find so be open to changing direction depending upon what you find in on that day

  • Check out Pinterest

Check out Pinterest for ideas on how to use thrift shop items. For example, wool sweaters can be felted and made into small change purse, pillows etc. and those gifts are handmade for pennies.

  • If you see it Buy it

If you see it, buy it, immediately. Unlike other retail stores, if you see an item you should buy it or put it into your cart as your walking around. If you do not want it when you get to the cash, then you can take it out. Otherwise if you try and go back for it I promise you it will be gone.

Unique Boutique at KMTS

Photo courtesy of Kildonan MCC Thrift Shop Winnipeg Manitoba

Need more reasons to Gift Thrift, check out GordonHouse. 7 reasons You Should Shop Thrift, highlights the benefits such as affordability, authentic retro fashion, that buying thrift cuts down the carbon footprint.

            Berkley University has a blog called GARB, a fashion blog that hosted a pop-up shop, selling second hand clothes. Surprisingly, this pop-up shop was so popular they are now hosting one every year. Berkley is considered a very environmentally-conscious community where more and more citizens are realizing the impact fast-fashion has on the environment.

            CBC did a great article on Thrifting and society’s changing attitudes. Once, it was thought that if you bought from a thrift store, you were poor, Now, there is a online company called ThredUp that sells second hand clothing online. Chris Homer, the co-founder has expanded his company into Canada and they have seen a 70 per cent growth year over year on their online platform.  

            So, this holiday season will you Gift Thrift?

Facebook: Gifting Thrift is not re-gifting

Instagram: Staying on Budget by Gifting Thrift # saving the environment one gift at a time.

Social Media and Volunteering

Social Media and Volunteering

Gone are the days where you simply walked into a non-profit organization and said “I want to volunteer” and they fell all over you with gratitude. Now, in our current world climate non-profits are interviewing volunteers like they would hire employees.


Non-profit organization are more vulnerable than ever to those within our society who would prey on and benefit from relationships from our most susceptible citizens. Out of the 86,000 CRA registered non-profit organizations ( Sector Source ) a significant number of them work with and for humanity purposes, therefore they work with people. As non-profit organization must protect their current volunteers and clients, they should show due diligence by having a thorough interview process.


Consider that your new volunteer applicant is like a new employee. You will want to have an application so they can fill out not only their personal information but a few key questions that right out of the gate will give you red flags. For example, ask emotional intelligence questions similar to


  1. What makes you easily frustrated or angry. This will give you insight in to how do they manage their frustration when listening to or working with people who might complain a lot.  
  2. What type of person do you like working with? This allows you to be sure you are placing them with other like-minded people. You don’t want to place and introvert with and group of extroverts

Conduct an in-person interview, ask different questions –

  1. What hobbies or interests do you have-you will be surprised the hidden skills that your organization might make use of
  2. Do you have medical conditions such as allergies we should be aware of-this is important for proper placement and shows the applicant you are concerned for the well-being.

Check references – this is important just as you check references for employees check them for new volunteers. Ask the same questions as such as,

  1. Do they arrive on time?
  2. How well do they get along with others?

Vulnerable person check must be considered mandatory. Many police departments will offer free child and criminal records checks for registered non-profits organizations.

What has any of this to do with social media?

Plenty. In our busy lives, everything we want to know, buy, subscribe too and even volunteer is all done online or on smart phones. Organizations who need volunteers will have their applications on line. Schedule interviews, email volunteers and post volunteer schedules. One such program used is Volgistics.. Volunteers can get updates on positions that are opening up, communicate directly with the Volunteer Coordinator and even request time off, all from the comfort of their chairs.

            Volunteers have their own social media platforms in which they post pictures and comments about the organizations they are volunteering for. This gives those non-profits free advertising and informs the community about the good work they do. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great tools for volunteer engagement and recognition. Everyone, including those who give their time, love to be recognized for the work they do. Plus, volunteers donate a lot of money, more than two-thirds of volunteers give and average of ten time as much money as non-volunteers. So, having those volunteers within your organization is profitable as well.

Here a few tips for using content to engage volunteers via social media courtesy of Socialbrite

  • Get the basics right first. Make sure your Web pages support volunteer engagement. Your website is still the heart of your digital strategy, so make sure volunteering is present in your navigation, on a page of its own.
  • Listen. Be engaged in what supporters and prospective supporters care about.
  • Update your messaging. How do you talk to prospective volunteers? Do you have established calls to action, graphics and keywords? Make sure you extend your brand to accommodate volunteer engagement needs.
  • Leverage stories. The best way to engage anyone is by tapping their emotions, and storytelling is still the best way to do this. Gather stories of impact and craft them to fit on the social media platforms you choose.
  • Optimize your presence. You don’t have to be on every social media platform under the sun. Choose social media platforms that have a large base of supporters for your organization, and that fit well with your content needs.
  • Think like a collector/curator. Don’t just broadcast your own messaging – by sharing other people’s and organizations’ content, you’ll show your supporters that you play well with others, and will build a reputation for being a trusted go-to resource for knowledge in the space.
  • Create shareable content. People love videos and pictures. Create content that people will want to share with their friends and family members. Test what works well with your community and do more of that.

If you are currently thinking of volunteering or donating would strongly encourage you to check out MacLean’s. Which one would you consider volunteering or donating too?

Facebook: Make a Difference-Volunteer and Become a true Canadian.

Twitter #VolunteerCanada #MakeADifference

Social Media and Social Selling of Second Hand Items #2

Second Hand Selling on Social Media

Selling thrift online is no longer a fad. Ecommerce has changed how consumers purchase second-hand items. You can now sell your used items on Facebook Marketplace, Instagram or Varage, to name a few social media platforms. People spend around 2 hours per day on social media, so therefore, as they are browsing online, ecommerce makes it much easier to purchase items.

Viewers on social media rely on the information posted to the selling sites to help them decide if the item they want to purchase is for them or to help them decide if they will keep that item for future purchases. Some studies have found that entrepreneurial business who practice social selling generally see $5 return for every $1 invested

Which Social Media platform is best for Selling

Like many varieties of apples, there are considerable number of social selling platforms in which you can sell your second -hand items. You as the seller, must decide which is best for you. Check which ones you already have accounts with, determine the demographics that you want target and research trends in used items.

Facebook is ahead of the pack for social selling.

In social selling platforms, Facebook is ahead of the curve. The one feature that Facebook offers is Product Cataloging. This feature allows the seller to link their inventory directly to their ecommerce accounts thus keeping the product current. Facebook allows the seller to create an ad that is interesting to consumers, target the demographic and boost the ad to move the product. 

Instagram is picking up speed

It has been reported that Instagram has now over 1 billion users and over 80% of them use the app to make purchases. Second hand merchandise is growing in demand; therefore, Instagram is becoming a preferred platform among Thrifters. Instagram uses Shoppable Posts, which allows the user to tap on the small shopping bag icon. This tells the buyer what the item is and the price, tap a second time if you like it and you can make purchase right there in the app.

If you are interested in second-hand social selling I would recommend that you test the waters starting with Facebook Marketplace. Just last week I sold 5 houseplants, thus making room for me to grow even more! What item do you have that you could sell right now?

Facebook: Is Social Selling for you?

Twitter: Can you #turnpenniesintodiamonds

Social Media and Thrifting

Social Media and Thrifting

            Yes I am a true Thrift Shopper. Long before “thrifting” was in fashion, I was a struggling student needing to pay tuition, eat and buy trendy but warm clothing with pennies. Thrift stores were small, cluttered and smelly. However, in recent years selling vintage clothing and accessories grew from a few sellers on Kijii to a full-blown retail business on Instagram. Suddenly, customers went from never admitting when asked “where did you get that great sweater?” that it was from a thrift store, to boasting about the find they found and how little they paid.

            Thrift stores are now on Facebook, Instagram and blogs. Marketing how buying gently used items saves money and is environmentally conscious. Consistent digital marketing is the expectation and the only way to keep customers engaged. Offering online coupons, discounts and VIP advertising for upcoming sales is becoming the best way to drive customers to the brick and mortar locations. Unlike other retail stores that can close their actual store locations and still sell on line, thrift stores must have a building in order to receive and sell the donations.

            The customer expectation is changing as well. Small, cluttered and smelly stores are being replaced with bright, well organized, visually appealing displays with elevator music and no smell. In the thrift industry, “pickers” are becoming regular customers. They come daily, early as soon as the store opens to find the best items. They will do online searches to make sure the price is low enough and some will even call clients to make a sale before they buy the item.


The influence of social media in the retail world is becoming more and more prevalent with each passing year, and customers are now demanding a more interactive shopping experience. Gone are the days of the shabby secondhand store, thrifters now want a polished and modern layout. Without really realizing it, thrift stores find themselves at the cutting edge of a new trend that says “thrifting is in.”  Suddenly “branding” matters and thrift stores have a responsibility to create a marketable image that translates both online and in real life. This is a big ask for an industry that has existed almost as long as retail itself and one that hasn’t changed much in that time. 

Slowly but surely the thrift experience is adjusting to match the rest of the retail market and stories like the link below are a good signal of things to come.

Even celebrities are buying second hand