Gift Market FAQs

If a Coordinator is experienced in special event planning, these steps will be familiar, but this page might answer questions specific to an Alternative Gift Market.

Gather the team and begin planning for the Market between 3 and 5 months prior to the event.


When is the best date/time of year?
Where is an ideal location?
Does your location have kitchen access?
How many displays should be included?
How much time will be required?
What is required of display booth sponsors?
What does AGI provide?
What expenses can be expected when hosting an AGM for AGI?
How and when should supplies be ordered from AGI?
How might expenses be offset?


When is the best date/time of year?

The majority of our AGMs are held in the last 2 1/2 months of the year, but there are advantages to looking at other options. Having the event during the holiday season or in the time period around Mother’s and Father’s Day can provide a valuable gift giving option that many would not consider otherwise. When a date is chosen, confirm it on the organization's calendar, and begin to talk it up in various publications!

If this is a first-year event, introducing the idea of Alternative Gifts should be fully discussed and explained, because there are many people who will not understand the premise for such charitable giving.

Also, understanding the forms and AGI projects requires both study and preparation. AGI has created this booklet to give AGMs adequate planning time and ideas. There are also alternatives to make an AGM less complicated, so don't despair! Please read on.


Where is an ideal location?

A space large enough for multiple display tables, chairs, and open space for people to mill around and gather—like a small 'trade' fair—or, if the weather is conducive, outdoors, like a farmer's market, is best. Naturally, be prepared for inclement weather, whether hosting an AGM inside or out; if a snowstorm affects attendance, hopefully the use of the room can be arranged for another week, but it's wise to have a 'back-up plan'. Indoor spaces such as libraries, large empty rooms or gyms could be used. Hallways or corridors are not always the best for full markets, since people will want to 'browse' the display booths and cannot do so in a busy hallway. That being said, hallways could be effective for a small “mini-market” or Catalog Market.


Does your location have kitchen access?

Some Display booth tips have recipes and reserving ideas for that project. Offering food for sale or free refreshments will help draw more shoppers. Determine how any food traffic will affect the Market flow. Having the display booths too near or too far away from the food can present problems.


How many displays should be included?

This decision will be driven by how much planning time, space, and/or how many volunteers are available. Begin by deciding how many projects displays the site can accommodate—either putting each project at a separate display booth or grouping projects by country, continent or category. Ask volunteers or groups to take responsibility to be booth 'sponsors' and distribute the Project Study Sheets & Display Tips for those Projects.. Selecting a few projects instead of tackling the whole catalog is an excellent way to accomplish success and not burn out your team in the first year.


How much time will be required?
This is important for publicity, and will be based on the size of the estimated crowd. If the AGM is connected to an existing event (such as a special holiday show, concert, or potluck dinner) people will already be there. For a 'stand-alone' event, such as a community AGM, traffic will be more dependent on preceding the market with effective publicity and personal contacts. A typical AGM is open for 3 – 6 hours, if held on one date. Shorter time-frames may work, depending on many factors such as average attendance for an event that accompanies the AGM.


What is required of display booth sponsors?

In short: study time & enthusiasm about the project. Volunteers should be in charge of booths, from the research to the creation of the display to the “staffing” and clean-up of the booth at the market. The Study Sheets in the Resource/Master Pack contains background and facts about each project and factors or social issues that create the need or problem. Display Tips in the Resource Pack are provided for marketing the project and creative suggestions for recipes, posters, and ornaments to draw attention to the display. Spending time to learn about the project and the location of the project helps volunteers become more aware of the needs of others and global challenges. Knowledge about the project improves the “selling power” of the project.



What does AGI provide?

When a sponsoring organization confirms their AGM, Materials should be ordered using this ordering system - Click this link Material Order.
AGI's Market Support team also works to help Coordinators connect to other AGMs in their regions, or those who have experience with specific types of markets.


What expenses can be expected when hosting an AGM for AGI?

When ordering AGM Resources & materials, AGI asks a "AGM Registration Fee" of $15. This provides all instruction and items necessary to hold a basic market, including our resource pack, publicity kit, inserts, and posters for a market. The sponsoring organization is responsible for paying the shipping costs of materials from the AGI office in Wichita, Kansas. Most orders are sent via UPS, 'Ground' which takes 3-4 business days. Please note that UPS does not deliver to PO Boxes and charges slightly more to deliver to residential addresses.

Many AGMs also offer shoppers AGI gift cards and envelopes, along with the project information insert(s). Cards are not included in the AGM Registration fee, but are sold at a bulk rates for less than 15 cents each. The cards have AGI's website, mailing address and toll-free number on the back, so that card recipients (honorees) can learn more about AGI or become a donor. Envelopes have AGI's logo and website address on the back flap.


How and when should supplies be ordered from AGI?

Use the AGM Material Order Form. The best time to contact AGI for these materials is AS SOON AS YOUR TEAM has met! Materials are typically scheduled to be ready by early to mid-August.



How might expenses be offset?

Some markets that sell food use the net income or cash donations from the food sales to help defray their shipping and material costs. Also, some Coordinators claim their personal credit card receipt for shipping & materials as a charitable donation.



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