a special sort of support-raising

I’ve offered this before, but it’s been awhile.

For ten years now, I’ve supplemented my ministry and now my family with a side-project reselling textbooks. While I was a college minister out in West Texas, I helped develop a little textbook store. The purposes were serving students (since there wasn’t any textbook competition before us) and sustaining me so I could do ministry. It was a phenomenal time out there, and the seasonal textbook-buying and -reselling have continued even as I’ve road-tripped around the U.S. and landed in Dallas.

A few years ago, I started offering my services to college ministers, encouraging them to…

  • …ask their students to donate textbooks toward a cause (like a justice cause, a mission trip, or just the ministry). Just about any textbook can bring in funds, including the ones the local bookstore won’t buy back. (But donating a student’s best books is even better.)
  • …send them my way. There are cheap enough postage options to make it worth your while, for sure.
  • …let me sell those textbooks for you, sending back most of the proceeds. I have the infrastructure, which is required if you’re going to sell more than a few books. And even a few dozen books can bring in hundreds of dollars – but think about what could happen if your whole ministry or campus got involved.

Because I already have the operation going with the textbooks I purchase out west, this is a chance to support any college ministry that takes me up on it. Only three or four have ever tried (which bums me out!), but I’ve got three ministries now that regularly send me books. And I’m about to cut another round of checks.

If you’re interested, let me know. If it’s too late for this semester, we can talk about it for the summer or fall.

If not, then I still hope this has been a cool chance to think about how your ministry can raise funds in creative ways where you are!


  1. Seth

    We’ve done this a few times and I was surprised by how much money our ministry received from the sale of the books we sent. If you’re wondering whether to do it, give it a shot.

    Benson, what’s the average turn around time on ministries receiving funds from the books? Thanks for the reminder about this!

  2. Great question, Seth – and thanks for the recommendation. I’m trying to get quicker on my turn-around, and I’m about to cut checks again.

    In general, most books that are going to sell, sell pretty immediately when the new semester starts. So that’s good.

    Then for sending the money your way, plan on once a semester, after everything “settles.” So like April after the spring, and October or November after the fall. At that point, I’d send money for everything that has sold up to that point. But I’m glad to work with a group that needs the money more quickly, too – it’s just a matter of crunching the numbers.

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