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Are you running a Business or a Charity?

yourNAMEinDotComyourNAMEinDotCom subscriber Posts: 17
edited August 2016 in Public Relations
Has it happened to you that the more charity you give, the more people want?It`s like word gets around that you`re a giver and before you know it, everyone comes knocking on your door for some kind of help that according to them "only you can give." While you may enjoy helping people, at the end of the day, you`re running a business and you need to turn a profit. So what`s your limit?Aleem


  • PRProPRPro subscriber Posts: 25
    Hi Aleem,
    It`s great that you give back to the community, but it can be difficult to volunteer and run a business.
    When I went through something similar, I looked at my life plan and designated exactly how many hours I could donate to charitable causes whil managing my business.
    When I reached my limit, I told new charitable requests that I just didn`t have any more time left, but I`d be happy to provide a discounted fee on services and/or referrals to other vendors. This way, I`ve been able to say "No" when necessary while still volunteering my time and running my business effectively.
    Hope this helps, 
  • stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    There is Charity and then there is a Givers Gain. In my business we set a limit on how many folks we will sponsor in any given year. We will do web sites, print, host non-profits, shopping carts and other services for "free" for the places we have chosen to sponsor. Even though we give away time and sometimes funds to complete what they need we Always get in return. It is called goodwill. Goodwill always comes back. Not only does it help us in word of mouth through these sponsored companies but in the community. We also feel good about doing it and appreciate having the opportunity in helping these non-profits or even some for profits rise in standing. We do have a set number per year, but we will listen to cases on a case by case basis. We also have a waiting list. We organize it so we can handle it and that it does not hinder our money making efforts but increases them. For Instance, we completed a web site for a new local semi pro soccer team and will be sponsoring there shopping cart and hosting accounts. We get our information on the web site, and it also has created a great word of mouth campaign through the fieldhouse they play on, there business partners, community members in business and not. I have built great working relationships with the team photographer and the owner of the fieldhouse, all the team players and other connected parties. This has increased my business. Another example. I am working on a local web site that a consumer advocate wants because he is a home inspector and wants local folks to be able to find quality contractors and for the consumer to rate them. I was referred by someone in a business that knows that I AM the person to go to when someone wants something done without having lots of funds to get it going. I listened to the gentleman over lunch, that I paid for and looked at his idea and and was amazed at how he was prepared to show me how I can benefit if i help him get it going. He had diagrams, research  and lots of other information selling his idea to me. I not only agreed to build upon his idea for no fee up front but created added ways to bring revenue in through his idea. All my work will be upfront , about 40 hours of programming and design by my team. After that I will have created a residual and consistant revenue stream for however long i want to that i did not think of. Also added to my group of relationships in the community. All this for 40 hours....I think of it as my upfront investment. The only reason i have this added opportunity is because I am The GUY (girl) who people know to send folks too. Money is not always in forms of Green, you have to be open to listen.
    For Every project I have done without up front cost to a client.....always a client and never charity. I have reaped numerous benefits.
    I like being that person who people send my way. I like giving someone a hand up in life, if i can. I also like to make money and build upon the business`s i have created.
    Charity is different than goodwill. I think of the word opportunity when someone send someone my way. I think of the words relationship, building a community, giving a hand up...I think of Success. You have to have people around you to support your success if you want to stay there.
  • NicoleCNicoleC subscriber Posts: 18
    Within my life plan/business plan, I have designated a portion of time and/or funds I will contribute each year.  As a result I frequently volunteer to help with community related fundraisers; scholarship fundraisers; scholarship interview committees; and mentoring programs.  I also provide contact information on real estate related programs with people who have low to moderate incomes and/or who are experiencing difficulties due to life altering circumstances, i.e. job loss.  Todate I haven`t made a penny from helping them but I am grateful to have been in the position to be what I hope was a blessing to them.
  • LogoMotivesLogoMotives subscriber Posts: 15

    I get numerous requests each month for pro bono design services (some from for-profit companies that get an immediate "no."), and that`s been the case for the last 30 years.  Coming from a family that has a history of being very involved in philanthropic causes, I had to give myself permission to say "no," without feeling bad about it, to the majority of causes approaching me asking for free design work.Part of that permission was setting up limits for myself in regards to what types of nonprofit organizations I will provide with pro bono services.  Education organizations, nonprofit grassroots, performing arts groups, children`s causes or issues in which I have a strong personal interest (such as smaller AIDS organizations), are the only projects I will consider.  I will also only take on a limited number of such projects each year.My primary goal in doing pro bono work is to improve the graphic/visual presence of an organization or event in the very competitive nonprofit "market."  There is a great deal of personal satisfaction in seeing the public awareness of a group or cause increase.  All I ever expect in return is a "thank you."  Additional credit for my efforts is a bonus, and ongoing benefits are always a pleasant surprise. For any design student, or designer starting out their career, executing pro bono work is a great way to get some "real world" portfolio examples, while assisting a cause you personally deem worthy or important.Donations, or pro bono work, can be a valuable investment in your community and impact the perception of your business in the marketplace.  As a business owner you just need to be aware of your limits.  A couple great reads about this topic are Kenneth Cole`s Footnotes: What You Stand For Is More Important Than What You Stand In and Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner`s Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good: The Madcap Business Adventure by the Truly Oddest Couple.- J. 
    LogoMotives2007-1-26 22:36:59
  • HPSHPS subscriber Posts: 1
    For me the main difference is charity is something that you want to do getting taken advantage of is a whole other story. I have a good friend of mine who could not run a successful business because she was just too nice. People smell it and will take more, some more, and then a larger helping of more if you are willing to give it for free.For me and my business scope creep will result in a contract review and assessment then a formal discussion with the client. I believe it requires communication and the appropriate level of firmness to overcome this. Your client will respect you and you will feel better about yourself. If you do not manage and anticipate client expectations you will get into trouble every time.Respectfully,Howard
  • CollegeCoachCollegeCoach subscriber Posts: 8
    This is an a very interesting topic for me. Up until I recently created my business I freely offered advice to my friends and their children on how to improve their odds for getting accepted to college. And now that I have created a business, those close to me think I should automatically work pro bono for them also since they know me. Its hard for me to refuse since I know their kids, and I want to see them do well, it is hard for me to say no.
    The flip side I guess is that I can use their success stories to further build my reputation.
  • baileysaysbaileysays subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi Stonesledge,
    I would like you to email me to discuss my website, which is a charity/foundation I have started & not sure how to get it off and running.  After extensive research, I have found a need for this particular charity org, because I found myself in the same need of help recently.  Please see Cancerdebt.com and let me know my chances of getting on your list or some help or advice.  Thank you in advance for any help you may provide.baileysays2007-2-6 12:27:29
  • ShawTreatmentShawTreatment subscriber Posts: 0
    Business is business! As a small business owner I need to keep constant watch on the bottom line always. But I also need to ensure that my careful watch on the bottom line doesn`t impact the quality of the product we offer.I`m working with a unique business plan in that my company donates 100% of its profits to charities working in Africa.Make no mistake, we are a FOR-PROFIT - like www.metowestyle.comCheers to all who take the time to get involved and donate.My suggestion is that you involve yourselves with the charities that match yours and your company`s values and mission.
  • stevesteve subscriber Posts: 14
    This is an a very interesting topic for me. Up
    until I recently created my business I freely offered advice to my
    friends and their children on how to improve their odds for getting
    accepted to college. And now that I have created a business, those
    close to me think I should automatically work pro bono for them also
    since they know me. Its hard for me to refuse since I know their kids,
    and I want to see them do well, it is hard for me to say no.
    The flip side I guess is that I can use their success stories to further build my reputation.Ask
    those who expect free services if they perform their work for free.
    Tell them your office, phone, computer, car and everything else you use
    in your business costs money. They`re willing to invest in an
    education. You`re business is making sure their investment is
  • baileysaysbaileysays subscriber Posts: 0
    Hey Steve,
    That is an excellent point..........Thank you!  I wish there were more people out there that understood that.  I`ve been having additional health problems so it took awhile to back on the computer.  If you know anyone or have an idea how to get a Profit for Non Profit business off the ground, I appreciate any help.  My website is Cancerdebt.com, I truly believe there is a desperate need for this charity/website.
  • Jerry698Jerry698 subscriber Posts: 0
    I appreciate your cause.
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