Exciting Opportunity -What Do You Think?

Business By Tellis12 Updated 30 Aug 2009 , 3:18pm by minicuppie

Tellis12 Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 5:39pm
post #1 of 23

This week I donated a few dozen cupcakes to a benefit at a law firm. An email went out to the firm with my name, as well as business cards being given away and my name being mentioned at an auction. This is one of the largest law firms in my city, which is great. And now I've just gotten an email from a woman who is on the board of the Cincinnati Ballet Company wanting to know if I'd be willing to donate 100 cupcakes to a party they give for little girls and their moms before the ballet Swan Lake. They would be willing to give me signage, advertising in the gift bags they give out, as well as some other publicity (and maybe even ballet tickets!). To me this seems like a no-brainer and I should definitely do it. I was just wondering if anyone had any other ideas or advice. Thanks so much!

22 replies
-K8memphis Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 5:45pm
post #2 of 23

I mean to me it's an opportunity to get more inquiries to donate free stuff.

I would not do it.

sadsmile Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:03pm
post #3 of 23

That is alot of cupcakes. A good cause but do you make enough regularly to just write this off? Once you have donated and word spreads other causes will come calling and you can bet this one will call on you again.

Spuddysmom Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:03pm
post #4 of 23

Yes, it will certainly lead to more requests for freebies but handing out too cute cupcakes to a bunch of little ballerinas and their moms - how fun is that? Make sure they include some tickets for your effort. Personally, I see lots of potential little ballet/princess birthday party clients at this one.

megmarie Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:08pm
post #5 of 23

I have worked for several non-profits (American Cancer Society, Cysitic Fibrosis Foundation). If you dontate for one....they will all come calling. I am not saying that they aren't all great causes and chances to catch 'your demographic'.

But the best way to approach this is to pick one or two causes a year that you are passionate about and one event of theirs that capture a decent size crowd of your demographic (ie: Moms & Kids if you do mostly birthday cakes) and stick with just those!! The organizers will build a relationship with you over time, spreading your business card around all year long. The participants will recognize your name after a few times and do the same. This will help you build a loyal group of promoting & purchasing customers!

If you just take every 'great opportunity' (which I am sure most are)....you are going to be out a LOT of money, and get no repeat exposure with the same group of peopl- which is what you really need to get your name/business remembered.


GOOD LUCK!

JoJo0855 Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:09pm
post #6 of 23

K8's right ... you have to set a limit on donations, especially 'giveaways'. Of course we all need to be charitable, but pick a cause that's near and dear to your heart.
Like most, I get requests for donations all the time ... every
disease/condition/syndrome/cause in the book. In some way I'd like to be able to support them all, but have to set limits.

LaBellaFlor Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:11pm
post #7 of 23

What K8 said. There is another thread that is kind along the same lines and everyone who donated, all said (except for one person) the same thing, donations became request for more donations, which seems like what is starting to happen to you. You donated once and now is asked to donate again. If you do decide to donate, do it cause you want to, not cause you hope it generates business. That way if it doesn't, you won't feel so frustrated.

littlecake Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:17pm
post #8 of 23

i don't give anything away anymore...they all start calling for free stuff....funny how they always spin it as a GREAT opportunity for you.

i donated 20 small cakes once......yippee i got 1 order out of that GREAT OPPORTUNITY...

2SchnauzerLady Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:27pm
post #9 of 23

When other organizations call for freebies, just say that you have spent your budget for causes this year, or something along those lines.

__Jamie__ Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:28pm
post #10 of 23

Yep. Donate MONEY in your businesses name if it so strikes you. icon_smile.gif

Tellis12 Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:44pm
post #11 of 23

I hadn't thought of it this way. I'll have to keep thinking about it before I tell her anything.

auntginn Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:50pm
post #12 of 23

Very well put everyone. I use to give in to all those request for donations and I always had lots of work going on. Unfortunately it was always free work. One day I read somewhere to give a gift certificate. I tried it and it made all the difference in the world to me. When ever someone or somegroup calls, I gladly send them a $50.00 gift certificate. They can use it anytime they want for any event. I give 1 certificate to any 1 organization every 3 yrs. (keeps them from calling too often) Each cert. is good for 1 yr only. More often than not they expire first or the order is larger than the value of the cert. so I'm able to recoup some expenses. And yes they will give you mention for this donation as well.

Good Luck to you, each person will decide what works for them

blessedist Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:58pm
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

What K8 said. There is another thread that is kind along the same lines and everyone who donated, all said (except for one person) the same thing, donations became request for more donations, which seems like what is starting to happen to you. You donated once and now is asked to donate again. If you do decide to donate, do it cause you want to, not cause you hope it generates business. That way if it doesn't, you won't feel so frustrated.




True! Do it because YOU want to. I do believe in the law of reciprocity, but I'd set a limit for myself as maybe $200 of actual product cost to myself like every quarter and after that, let them know that you'd be glad to "donate" your time and tell them how much the bill is! Although it's for a cause, everyone will start wanting something, remember this is your paycheck!

Tellis12 Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 7:11pm
post #14 of 23

A few thoughts...

What kind of advertising budgets do you have? The cupcakes would probably cost me about $60 to make.

I like the gift cert. idea. Do you think if I said something like "I currently do not have the budget to donate 100 cupcakes. I can provide a $50 gift cert. toward the purchase of the cupcakes for your event."

I was looking at the ticket prices for the ballet I'd request tickets to and the cheapest ones are $25 each. So if the cupcakes cost me $60, that might be a fair trade, especially if there is advertising as well. I just feel like this could be a good opportunity, but you're right, I can't, and don't want to, continually donate things. I do need to get my name out and this seems like the right demographic.

tigersluv Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 7:14pm
post #15 of 23

They do have some sort of budget. I would also tell her that you would donate your time and maybe a GC but charge for your materials. People don't realize what it costs just to make cakes or cupcakes just for supplies.

Tellis12 Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 7:24pm
post #16 of 23

If I do charge her for some, can I still legitimately expect her to give me advertising like she's offering? Or is that something I lose when I charge her.

auntginn Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 7:32pm
post #17 of 23

Everything is negotiable. Ask them what they are charging for ad space either in the program or the goodie bags. When you have that info you decide what the trade off is. Tickets, ad space, etc. are you donating 100% or time only.

I would let them know up front what I charge for my product(s) It will help both parties in negotiating. But as it has been said you need to be in control and know what you are looking to benefit from this "opportunity"

-K8memphis Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 7:36pm
post #18 of 23

Think about the last time you were at a fund raiser. Did you look at the list of providers and say wow I'm gonna get x product/service from them because thay are so nice to donate here.

I mean I never have.

The opposite is true for me--If there's a stinky annoying commercial on tv/radio/billboard I'll say "I'll never buy an xyz from them."

However, someone else donating something motivates me to buy zerolly. Zerolly of course is a new word (pretty sure) an adverb at that, means in a zero way like none ever-ly.

And I will go so far mentally as to think--bet they did it for free advertising. But do I (or you or anybody) get my handbill from abc charity event and say oh I think I will purchase my new hot water heater from Hojo's because Hojo's Hot Water Heater Company donated the hot water heater in the silent auction for this wonderful charity event.

What would thier advertising get you? More charities looking for freebies.

To me, I think you'd do better to give other like minded vendors, florists, venues, caterers, clergy, churches, dress shops, party stores, rental places, linen guys, planners etc. some freebies so they refer you to brides who typically make up the bread & butter of our profession.

Just a thought.

cakemaker30 Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 8:05pm
post #19 of 23

I'm with everyone else on this. If you think this is a really good cause and you want to donate to them, then go for it, but I wouldn't expect to get a lot of business from it. I've donated to several places and I've never had anybody say "Oh yeah I saw you donated to so and so and I wanted to support your business because of that". As a matter of fact, I donated gift certificates for a school once and the principal used them to order cake and then I heard he was saying that one of the cakes was dry. Thanks for the advertising! Free dry cake is still free cake icon_lol.gif (By the way, it was a scratch cake and I know some people aren't used to that so I think that's why he said it was dry). Guess who gets no more freebies from me though?

JoJo0855 Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 10:21pm
post #20 of 23

Something's gnawing at me about this post ... my "this doesn't sound good to me" internal voice is getting loud. Exactly what kind of event is this? Is it a charitable event in that money is being raised for a specific cause? Or upper middle class women and their daughters just on a special day out?

I agree with the others that this type of advertising rarely generates a lot of business - especially since they'll know you donated the cupcakes - you'll end up on a list of people to call for freebies.

You could however, offer to provide a % off discount coupon to be included in their gift bags

Tellis12 Posted 29 Aug 2009 , 2:14am
post #21 of 23

Thanks for all the good input. I'll definitely be taking all of this into consideration.

KitchenKat Posted 30 Aug 2009 , 12:41pm
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoJo0855

Something's gnawing at me about this post ... my "this doesn't sound good to me" internal voice is getting loud. Exactly what kind of event is this? Is it a charitable event in that money is being raised for a specific cause? Or upper middle class women and their daughters just on a special day out?

I agree with the others that this type of advertising rarely generates a lot of business - especially since they'll know you donated the cupcakes - you'll end up on a list of people to call for freebies.

You could however, offer to provide a % off discount coupon to be included in their gift bags




My thoughts exactly!

And I like the idea of discount coupons for the gift bags.

minicuppie Posted 30 Aug 2009 , 3:18pm
post #23 of 23

I am on several fund raising 'boards'. Please give me contact info because you are a sitting duck. Ask Indi how much the venue will be charging for space and food. I will take that number and double or triple to come up with a ticket 'donation' per person or table. Then I will call and visit my usual 'donors' for freebies for auction items. Unless you can be a huge donor throughout the 'season' the IRS writeoff is negligible. Not being mean here, just realistic.

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