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HBMTN 09-25-2013 09:46 PM

Venting a little
As a business do you ever get tired of people asking for things? I have given a lot the 4 years that I have been in business but it gets more and more frustrating when people call, email or come up to me asking for donations or I should whip out $200 for an advertisement like it is loose change out of my pocket.

Like tonight I had a loose acquaintance email me and say she needed a favor, she was starting a magazine and needed her friends to support getting it off the ground and would I run a 1/8 page ad or better starting at $200. I wanted to say well if you want to get your magazine off and running why don't YOU spend money and advertise the magazine.

Another has had me sponsor things for their kids for the past few years which I have done. Only to find out that he makes triple the income that I do.

I do give a lot to charity but the more you give it seems like the more people you get asking for more. How do you all that have been in business for many years handle it without wanting to pull your hair out?

RANT OVER :tape:

mikeleonard81 09-25-2013 10:00 PM

Give an inch people want a mile. That's true if your a business owner or not!

landarc 09-25-2013 10:10 PM

I give to things I want to support, or that I believe make sense from a business point of view. I do not fear saying no either. I do it politely, and tell them that I would love to give to every great cause that comes to my door, but, that my business just does not have that kind of community support. I have to watch my pennies.

On edit: Any friend of mine who asks for support like that and gets a no, and many have, if they feel they cannot accept that gracefully, then I know we were never really friends. I simply cannot throw $200 at every good cause.

93vpmod 09-25-2013 10:32 PM

I recommend that my consulting clients maintain an annual "community activity and charity budget."

When asked, if the event/activity is not something that you fully want to reach into your wallet for, the response is, "While I really think you have a great activity/event, we finalize our community event and charity budget in January and I am unable to make any adjustments mid-year without effecting my previous commitments. "I would really like to consider your activity or organization, but it would have to be for NEXT YEAR. Feel free to send my your contact information or the updated event information before January."

Most reasonable people or organizations understand...while many others will not. There is nothing worse that to feel like you are having your arm twisted without any way out.

plowin-fire 09-25-2013 11:33 PM

I work at an auto repair shop and we get people in once a week or so trying to get us to advertise with them, or give to the school, or dance, or firefighters - which we do because I am on the dept:) Owner has a big heart and likes to help, but he says no a lot as well.

HBMTN 09-25-2013 11:34 PM

93vpmod - I have thought about using an approach like you suggest but I was afraid come January they would all be lined up with me trying to come up with another excuse to send them on their way. LOL Don't get me wrong I like to give to good causes and I have given a lot. But if I gave to all that ask then it would be as much as my gross profits each year.

bizznessman 09-26-2013 01:08 AM

I feel your pain HBMTN. My approach has always been that my business does not donate to charities. As a person I do make donations to selected charities but not through my business. When I have been asked for "help/donations" from my business I state that I only have funds budgeted for advertising and I explain that advertising is media only. This may sound extreme, to some, but my business margin is such that I truly can not afford to donate. Eventually the requests stopped. And I have never noticed any adverse affect on my business.

Pyrotech 09-26-2013 02:36 AM

I have tried to give where and when I can. It's not the request for samples for an event or a review that bothers me, I know that those provide me value. Even then, I have found it harder to keep up with as I grew.

Charity donations, I do because I want to, and my goal I laid out for my company was to always make it a priority whenever possible One of the things I struggle with is if I should make that part of my business a public "bragging" point. So far, I have not I decided that I give because I want to help out those in a time of need, and not because im looking for a press release.(although this reply does inadvertently do just that) Even still, I have seen an increase in business because of this. How? I am not certain. But there was a marked increase shortly after each donation

What does bother me is the general public who demand that I send them free stuff, surprisingly there are a fair number in that camp. some have gotten rather mean when told no.

Bamabuzzard 09-26-2013 09:52 AM

I feel your pain. I get it all the time as well. I would love to help out every cause but as many of us on here who have businesses. We simply cannot afford to without putting ourselves out of business.

But I have also learned that every solicitation for donations or support aren't created equal. I've had people who want me to support "Little Johnny's" baseball team by buying this or that yet they don't support my business.

I had one who openly has told me they don't buy my sauce or pickles because they are $5/jar and not $2.50 like the mass produced stuff on the shelf. They love the sauce and pickles but cannot rationalize paying that kind of money for bbq sauce or Cajun pickles. Okay, no biggie. But don't then come ask me to donate ten cases of my BBQ sauce to your son's little league BBQ fundraiser. I told them no, they got upset and asked why not. So I told them.

"I don't support those who openly do not support me. You've told me on more than one occasion that you'd like to buy my stuff but feel it is too expensive for you. I get that. But me donating bbq sauce to your son's little league team is too expensive for me." Pissed them off but they got the message. I'm a "for profit" organization. Not a "non profit" one.

gaspipe1 09-26-2013 10:22 AM

I do NOT own a restaurant but read that one solution is to have a monthly amount. So let's say the number to donate is $100 per month. You donate a set amount let's say $25 per cause. And once that amount is filled it's filled and it is on a first come first serve basis. Tell them to come back next month.

Not sure how well this works in the real world, but I thought it was a good idea.

Diesel Dave 09-26-2013 10:54 AM

One of our businesses deals with equine products, this one gets the most requests for donations or advertising.
My brother runs this one, but we talk about all our ventures as a family.
We're asked regularly for donations or to advertise in such and such publication. Some good ones and some as you've said are just starting up.
We usually tell the new ones when you're up and going, with a good reader base come back. We run on a tight budget, like almost every business in this economy.
We donate to 4H and to youth equine groups as well sell at production cost to "Horses for the Handicapped". People think that since you're a business you have money to donate to every cause there is. Many just don't realize the bottom line is a thin one most of the time and it's a struggle to keep things afloat.
Hang in there and say no when you have too. That's just the reality of life.

Okie Sawbones 09-26-2013 12:18 PM


Originally Posted by bizznessman (Post 2637586)
I feel your pain HBMTN. My approach has always been that my business does not donate to charities. As a person I do make donations to selected charities but not through my business. When I have been asked for "help/donations" from my business I state that I only have funds budgeted for advertising and I explain that advertising is media only. This may sound extreme, to some, but my business margin is such that I truly can not afford to donate. Eventually the requests stopped. And I have never noticed any adverse affect on my business.

I like this approach.

acguy 09-26-2013 01:19 PM

Perhaps I can share the other side of the equation. I spend a great deal of time volunteering for different 501c3 youth groups. I've been known to knock on doors looking for "help". To be honest, in most situations I'd be just as happy to get a donation of time as I would financial help. I'd rather not knock on your door. I'm doing it for the kids and I hope that any help I find will be made for the good of the kids and not because of my income or otherwise.

My volunteer work has made me a fairly well connected individual in both city govts. and in Sacramento. I don't "pimp" out my connections, however, if I can "help" someone in return, I'm more than happy to make an introduction. I'm always happy to pass along a name and phone number for an eye doctor or caterer. A couple months ago, an assemblyman in Sacramento requested I come do a catered event at the capitol. I explained that I'm not a caterer but passed along the number of someone I knew. Everybody was happy. After all, that is a component of good business.

Just a different point of view.

cynfulsmokersbbq 09-26-2013 04:28 PM

I generally will help out schools, booster clubs, churches, and civic groups. In a small town these are the areas that give connectons to future caterings. Schools have a graduation every year. There are X amount of customers per graduating class. Booster clubs involve the entire school school system. Church congregations are a great way to build caterings.

I help with more than a donation. I do a "cook" for the athletic and music booster clubs and a couple other school groups each year. We donate our time, vend it just like we would for a normal vending. I charge them cost of meat and supplies. and I have some HS students help me serve and take money. Once I even worked with the foods class. We seasoned the meat early morning, cooked it all day, and by game time it was ready to serve. Two area/local newspapers were there for that one! Ultimately this donation of time and cooking will have pay offs.

HBMTN 09-26-2013 08:50 PM

Good point AcGuy, there are both sides. I help where I can but the ones that get me are like Bamabuzzard said, they come in asking for donations and you never see them for anything else. In your case you are just helping someone else but many want you to support their cause or kids and never give you any business.

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