Our Family’s Amazon Store: A Different Kind of Fundraiser
Ever since I was about eight years old, my family and I have been working on summer missions projects. For a few years, I worked with our neighbors and some people at our church to collect cans and bottles and redeem them, with all the profits going towards a project like a bicycle for a missionary in India, or even digging a well near a church in that area. We were always having tag sales, and my friends and I would make a ton of cookies to sell at our own table. It was always really fun, even when the fudge we were selling turned to complete mush because it was so hot outside!
Almost two years ago, we moved to an area that was a little more rural than our old neighborhood. It made it harder to just set up a barrel in our front yard and wait for cans to arrive, because our new street gets a lot less traffic. Our tag sales didn’t get as many customers… let’s just say that the past couple summers we’ve eaten a lot of leftover bake sale cookies!
Then, this spring, my mom read Do Hard Things, and after she finished it she had this idea for a project — a project that was a big step up from selling cookies. She asked me if I was up to helping her start an online bookstore. I said I would, as soon as summer got here, and Mom started getting some information on how to start selling on Amazon. A guy named John Scafe from the Bible League (that’s the organization we chose to give all our proceeds to) was a really big help in getting us started.
It turned out to be a good thing that we had waited for school to get out. Our Amazon store turned out to be a little more time consuming that I had thought it would be. We started out with boxes and boxes of books that our friends had donated, and every one had to be entered into our inventory online and then shelved. It wasn’t too hard to figure out, but for a little while, I was spending something like an hour every day working on the store.
We had cleaned out one of the rooms in our basement in the spring and set it aside as our book storage room. The walls got fresh paint and my dad replaced the carpet. It was really nice to have a clean room to work in. As of right now, we have four big shelving units that are full of alphabetized books, and probably three boxes of books that I still haven’t gotten to processing! We have 1,311 listings on Amazon right now. It took us a pretty long time to get that many books processed and shelved, but it’s starting to pay off!
In just five months, we’ve raised more than $1,000 for the Bible League, which equates to two hundred Bibles sent to Russia, to places where the people who receive them would never get to hear God’s Word otherwise. When you think about that, the work I put into the store doesn’t seem so hard.
An Amazon store really isn’t that hard to maintain. My parents do a good chunk of the work: my dad stands in line at the post office every other day so that the books can get shipped out, and my mom is in charge of making sure there are always enough mailers for me to pack the orders we get every day. But our project makes me think… what if more families started a store like ours?
If we keep selling books at our current rate, we’ll raise enough money to buy almost five hundred Bibles by the end of our first year. Five hundred lives, families, maybe even whole villages, could be changed. And even if just one other family decided to start their own online store, that could add another five hundred Bibles!
Can you imagine? One thousand people might get to hear Jesus’ name for the first time… probably a lot more than that. I’m really grateful that my mom decided to get us to take the plunge on this project, even though I’m not always in the mood to do the work. God is changing lives through the Bible League.
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