Last year I donated pieces to 8 different charitable organizations. Basically, about $1000.00 worth of my personal works to help the charity in question. I could have donated a lot more given the number of folks who came in to the gallery to solicit my participation.
Well, it’s already begun again this year. And this time around I won’t be donating anything. Is it because I’m a stingy Scrooge, I’m not socially responsible, etc, etc?
Nope. Nothing like that. It’s simple. Not a single organization that got donations from me last year came by with a follow up, tax form, or receipt. Not one. No paper work to log my donations, no thank you follow up, nothing. Add to that the fact that no customers came in referred by the charitable event, what can I say. No added value, and I can’t deduct the donations without the appropriate paper work. So, I gave away a bunch of pieces last year.
For a start up business, giving stuff away sure is overly generous! Especially when as the owner you don’t even pay yourself for a year getting off the ground. 🙂
So, I’m sorry to say to each charity that walks in this year, my personal answer will be no. It’s not like there was a single isolated incident last year, it happened multiple times. Heck, I even talked to one of the folks who solicited me, and they were surprised their group hadn’t gotten me any paper work. Ah well, c’est la vie. It’s a learning lesson, and it’s not a good one.
As a point to the charities out there soliciting local businesses I have this to say. Guys, we’re strapped. We’re small businesses in a tough economy. We all would like to help, but man, you’d better follow up with us. Because just giving our products away doesn’t help to keep us in business through next year when you show up looking for more freebies.