Capturing Alternative Revenues

Strategic Lessons and Compendium of Tactics for Increasing Nontraditional Operating Revenue

Topics: Administration and Finance, Transportation and Parking, Auxiliary Enterprises, Space Utilization, Facilities and Operations, Revenue Enhancement, Alternative Revenues

Opening a Secondhand Store for Inventory Resale

University of Wisconsin’s SWAP Program

Another approach for creating markets is to use goods the institution already has. The University of Wisconsin-Madison successfully applied this tactic with office furniture, computers, and lab equipment. Leaders found that every department had excess office and lab supplies. But few attempted to sell unwanted goods, as volumes were too low to generate meaningful dollars or justify staff time.

By consolidating goods into a central location, the Surplus with a Purpose (SWAP) program created a large enough inventory to support a successful resale store on campus. The store is open to university and local school district employees on Thursdays and the general public on Fridays (when a small premium is charged). SWAP has also expanded to online sales, showcasing inventory on their website and hosting some online auctions.

To encourage departments across campus to participate, the program is low-effort and easy to use. SWAP staff pick up and transport all goods several days each week. As further incentive, 25% of item sales are returned to donating units.

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Rotating Luxury Amenities

Compendium of Alternative Revenue Tactics