Funny Money and TopCopy
I was searching for a way to advertise TopCopy in the year 2000. I printed a few A4 double sided brochures, with some jokes and company advertisement. I needed a way to distribute these brochures, so I decided to ask two gentlemen if they would help. They were standing at traffic light and agreed to start passing the brochures to incoming traffic. I didn’t expect much for Topcopy.
The very next day, I found the same gentlemen waiting outside of TopCopy asking for more of the same brochures. I quickly printed another batch and gave it to them; they were back that afternoon at the print shop looking for more! When asked why they kept returning, they quickly answered: “The people like them!”.
I decided to personally deliver some Topcopy brochures and see how they were distributing. I witnessed something special happening, people were exchanging the brochures for some change. Funny Money and Smile for Change was born.
What is Funny Money?
Funny Money is a initiative to fight unemployment and uplift disadvantaged individuals to earn some form of income. TopCopy does not officially employ the Funny Money vendors.
The vendors of Funny Money do pay for their brochures. If they are satisfied with their results, they return and buy their next batch of Funny Money brochures. This encourages them to sell their issues, rather than to make a quick return on free issues given out. This also encourages vendors to remain selling and forms stronger relationships between us and the vendors themselves.
Besides giving the vendor 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!
Printing process at Topcopy
Each issue is released every 3 weeks on a Monday. The brochures are are distributed to the vendors @ 30c each. Each vendor has their own ID tag. We record every Funny Money sale against each vendor.
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.