Chaising donations: Non-profit raises cash selling couch

Fluffing up the finances: Cynthia Diaz and Greg Hanlon get comfy and enjoy a copy of the Greenline — a perfect supplement to The Brooklyn Paper — on a couch they auctioned off to raise money for the St. Nick's Alliance.
Photo by Ken Yapelli

You can raise money looking in the couch cushions, or you can raise money selling the couch — cushions and all — just like one of Williamsburg’s most prominent not-for-profit corporations.

In an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink fund-raising ploy, St. Nick’s Alliance auctioned off a couch to generate cash for children’s programs at the School Settlement Association.

The television station MTV left the couch at the Manhattan Avenue community center after it filmed some scenes requiring a room that resembled a teachers’ lounge for a web show last month, and rather than keep the seating for good, St. Nick’s Alliance hoped to attract what can be described as an act of “chair-ity.”

“It’s a beautiful couch, so we put it to good use,” said St. Nick’s spokesman Greg Hanlon, a former reporter for the Community Newspaper Group. “We never pass up an opportunity to think about raising money for our needed programs.”

Before putting the chair on the market, the settlement house’s maintenance guy checked and double-checked the couch for bed bugs and gave it the all-clear.

St. Nick’s — which had a total revenue of $17,360,997 in 2010 according to GuideStar.com — then put the word out via e-mail and Facebook and started the bidding at $45, which is how much the organization spent cleaning the brown two-seater.

The winning bid came from the daughter of a former board member, who pledged $75 — helping St. Nick’s stash away a cool $30.

It’s just a drop in the bucket, but every dollar counts, according to Hanlon.

“If it means two kids being able to get to and from one fieldtrip that’s worth it,” said Hanlon.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

More from Around New York