Do all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are.
- Motto of Nkosi Johnson, 12-yr.-old activist in the war against AIDS
You Can Make a World of Difference!Host an Alternative Gift Market
Can anyone host an Alternative Market?
Yes, you can! Over 450 Markets in 44 states are held each year across the U.S. in partnership with Alternative Gifts International (AGI). They are hosted by churches, schools, businesses, service clubs, senior centers or other organizations throughout the year. Colorful booths are set up to represent the various Alternative Gift projects. In addition, some markets choose to offer local projects, such as supporting an area food pantry, women's support organization or homeless shelter.
Some Markets are hosted by volunteers at home or at an office party, where Alternative Gift catalogs and shopping lists are distributed. Gift cards may be purchased for the party or donors may send in their shopping lists to AGI's home office where each card order will be promptly filled.
Schools and colleges have found that hosting an Alternative Gift Market is a highly effective learning tool that engages students in a dialogue about global needs and international issues.
What do I need to set up a market?
Enthusiasm! And usually a small committee to help you plan, enlist sponsors and work to ensure a successful Market.
You and your committee will need to set a date, select a site, arrange publicity, and recruit volunteers to staff the booths, act as card inscribers, and serve as cashiers.
What help will AGI provide?
AGI will provide support with materials and instructions, posters, attractive gift cards and more, as well as support through our network of national and regional representatives. National and local publicity about your Market is initiated by AGI. AGI provides complete instructions for handling all donations and receives and disburses all funds to the projects designated by your shoppers.
Where do Alternative Gift donations go?
Each year AGI accepts proposals from scores of reputable nonprofit organizations working in the U.S. and overseas for projects that meet strict standards of relevance and accountability. As many as thirty nonprofits are selected each year for AGI's My Shopping List for the World catalog. It is AGI's policy that funds received for Alternative Gifts are granted to its partner agencies as designated by the donors. These agencies, in turn, guarantee that the grants will be used only as designated in their established projects. In this way, shoppers' wishes are strictly honored and they can actively participate in building a better world. AGI and its partner agencies are fully accountable for all funds received. AGI's audited financial statement is available upon request.
How much planning time is needed to hold an Alternative Gift Market in my community?
When planning a first-time full-service AGM, allow about 4 months of planning, minimum. There are optional kinds of markets that could be planned in less time (see the How-To Booklet)
What expenses will my organization have?
When ordering AGM resources and materials, AGI asks a registration fee of $15 (+ shipping costs). This provides all instruction and items necessary to hold a market.
When should an AGM be held?
The majority of AGMs are held in November and December because that is the season when most people consider gift-giving. However, any time is appropriate to hold an AGM. It can be a celebration of Earth Day, or for a school Science Fair. "Silent" AGMs could be coordinated with gift registries for graduations, weddings, or bar/bat mitzvahs. Christian congregations could consider hosting a market for Lenten sacrificial giving, while studying the environment or Millennium Development Goals as they pertain to Biblical proverbs or parables. Summer music concerts in the park or Community Harvest Festivals are an ideal place to find people interested in non-material giving.
How many volunteers are needed?
Depending on the size of the sponsoring group, a coordinator would want to have at least one volunteer for 1 or 2 projects, one or more cashiers, a host/hostess responsible for greeting & orientation, people responsible for refreshments or food sales, and others for facility setup and cleanup. The project volunteers (both sponsors) could be small groups, such as clubs or separate classes.
Here's what the Market builders have to say:
The best part about the Market is that it allows [us] to connect to people in communities around the world by purchasing alternative gifts. Shoppers can make a tangible difference in people’s lives, and at the same time show their friends and loved ones how easy it is to support people in need.– Erin McCreless, Yale University Market
I think it [an alternative gift market] really helps kids and adults learn about global awareness. It promotes peace in the sense that it educates the people who work in the market and come to the market. They get information about these projects all over the world and learn about their brothers and sisters there. – Kathy Weber, Minneapolis Market
The Market is a perfect way to get into the real spirit of the season and to find gifts that not only honor special people on your gift list but help people in the world who aren’t on anyone’s gift list.– Marilyn Harp, Wichita City-Wide Market
How/when do I get started?
Contact us by phone, e-mail, or mail to request more information about how your organization can host an Alternative Gift Market. Use the Market Resource Order Form in the How-To Booklet which is available to be downloaded and printed. This booklet is helpful for volunteers to understand why and how they can join together to create a successful Alternative Gift Market.
Alternative Gifts InternationalP.O. Box 3810Wichita, KS 67201-3810800.842.2243Markets@alternativegifts.org
You Can Make a World of Difference!