Frequently Asked Questions

Gather the team and get started planning for your Gift Market! The following questions are frequently asked about our in-person Gift Markets. For these large scale events, it’s best to plan three to five months prior to the event. Please reach out if you don’t see your question here. Check out our other Gift Market types.

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  • When is the best date/time of year? 

    The majority of markets are held in the last 2 1/2 months of the year, but you can host a market at any time. Having the event during the holiday/Christmas season or around Mother’s and Father’s Day can provide a valuable gift giving option that many would not consider otherwise. When your market date is chosen, confirm it on the organization's calendar, and begin advertising it on 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 of alternative giving. Also, understanding the forms and our projects require study and preparation. Our expert staff, as well as seasoned market hosts, are available to help guide you through the process if needed. Please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

  • Where is an ideal location? 

An ideal location is 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: an outdoor farmer's market-style gathering can be wonderful. 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 mini-market or Catalog Market.

  • Does your location have kitchen access? 

    Some display booth tips have recipe ideas. 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 cause 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 as "booth sponsors" and distribute the posters with display tips for those causes. Selecting a few causes instead of many 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. A typical AGM is open for three to six hours, if held on one date. Shorter time-frames may work, over several weekends, 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 and enthusiasm for 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) contain 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 donor experience as they shop.

  • What does AGI provide?

When a sponsoring organization confirms their AGM, materials should be ordered using this ordering system: Click here to register your market. Our market support team also works to help market coordinators connect to other AGM reps. in their region 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 and materials, we require an AGM Registration Fee of $15. This provides all of the instructions 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 greeting cards and envelopes, along with the project information inserts. Cards are not included in the AGM registration fee, but are sold at a discount rate from $4.00 to $8.00 per pack of 50 cards and envelopes. Go here to view the selection of current cards. These designs can also be seen on the market registration form. 

  • How and when should supplies be ordered from AGI?

    Use the market registration form. The best time to contact us for these materials is as soon as your team has met and agreed to host a gift market. 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 and materials as a charitable donation.

  • Why is Alternative Gifts International not evaluated by Charity Navigator?

    While AGI is listed with Charity Navigator (CN), nonprofits must meet certain criteria in order to be evaluated by them. The charity must have at least $500,000 in public support. Donations made to our causes are sent directly to our partner organizations. AGI only retains 10% of what is raised through our catalog, so we are not listed with CN because we cannot claim the funds are raised for AGI directly. We are, however, listed on Great Nonprofits, and meet all 20 standards required for full accreditation by the Better Business Bureau.