How it all began
2000 – I was searching for a way to advertise TopCopy. I printed a few A4 double sided leaflets, with some jokes on one side and an advert on the other. Drove past Paradise motors traffic lights and asked 2 chaps, who were begging for money on the corner, to distribute the pamphlet to the passing traffic. I didn’t expect much!
The next day I found the two chaps waiting at TopCopy asking for more pamphlets – odd! I quickly printed another batch and gave it to them; they were back that afternoon looking for more! When asked why, they quickly answered: “The people like them!” I printed another batch and decided to check how they were distributing the pamphlets. Whoever rolled down their window and accepted a pamphlet gave back some change….. Funny Money and Smile for Change was born.
The Process – Each issue takes about 2-3 hours to put together, we try and produce a new issue every 2 weeks. The pamphlets are sold to the vendors @ 30c each. Each vendor is on our Facebook page, with their portrait, name and ID tag. We record every Funny Money sale against each vendor.
This is not a freebie, but an opportunity for unemployed and disadvantaged individuals to earn some form of income. TopCopy does not employ the Funny Money vendors. The vendors of Funny Money do not pay for their first set of pamphlets. If they are satisfied with their results, they return and buy their next batch of Funny Money pamphlets. This encourages them to make a profit and to save some of the profit for their next purchase of Funny Money.
Besides giving the vendor is an opportunity to earn an income it also exposes them to the public. This exposure has created an opportunity for the public to assess the vendor’s “skill”. This in turn has created alternative job opportunities for some vendors. TopCopy has employed and is still currently employing one of these vendors!
Advertising – We offer a limited amount of advertising space for interested parties in Funny Money. Instead of paying TopCopy for advertising space in Funny Money, TopCopy requires a contribution of food, blankets, medical items, clothing, etc., directly to the Claremont Shelter.