Pro Bono Work. How Do You Choose Your Causes?

Business By sweetlayers Updated 19 Oct 2009 , 12:10pm by jones5cm

sweetlayers Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 6:32pm
post #1 of 23

Tis the season for people to ask for FREE dessert. While I am a giving person, I can't say yes to everyone.

Plus, I'm starting to get a little irritated with it. They always say, it will be, "GREAT FREE ADVERTISING FOR YOUR BUSINESS". (Which is so presumptuous. How do you know I'm looking to advertise? icon_mad.gif )

Anyways, Is there a formula you use when choosing an organization you want to make freebies for?

Is it "mean" to ask a non-profit to take a discount instead of getting it free?

Got any advice? I'd love to hear it.

TIA

22 replies
TexasSugar Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 6:54pm
post #2 of 23

I'm not in business, but I think I'd apply the same rule I do to my cakes. When you ask me to do it, you pay for it. When I offer it, it is free.

Why should someone else pick when and where you give free things too? Pick a cause or two (or how many you can afford and want to give to) that are close to your heart and give to them.

When others come calling then you can simple say, "I'm sorry I have already donate what I can at this point. I'd still love to help you, here is what we can do..." And offer them a specifc cake design at a price you feel comforable with, or offer them an over all discounted price based on what they are looking for.

This leaves them with the choice of proceeding with the order or finding someone else.

In my opinion you really need to know what it is they are looking for before you get to involved with them. If they are looking for a simple 8in round to raffle off, that is alot different than wanting for free an eleborate tiered cake with all the extras attached.

Everyone that wants something for free or at a cheaper rate always say it is great advertising, because they think that is the hook that they can catch you will. I'd be curious how many orders people get from those situations. My guess is that you'd be better off advertising in other places. icon_smile.gif

ccr03 Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:03pm
post #3 of 23

I'd respond the same way when other non-profits call my house asking for donations. I tell them that I'm sorry, but I've already designated my donations funds to another charity - which is true. I volunteer and donate with church and grade school alma mater. Those are the groups I'm most passionate about so, they get all my funds.

Kitagrl Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:09pm
post #4 of 23

Luckily I don't get too many requests. When I do, I just decide if I want to do it or not. Usually the leukemia/lymphoma people get my work if they want it, I watched a friend's baby die of leukemia so it hits a soft spot. I also donate to my church of course. Once in awhile if I feel I'll get good recognition I will..but if my schedule is full or they want too much, I just say no. I guess it just depends.

__Jamie__ Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:13pm
post #5 of 23

Here comes the grinch....


Honestly, I am so busy with people that pay, I have no time for freebies. I kinda like it that way. If some society does come to me, I guess if it fits on an open weekend, and I have a good feeling that it isn't going to get booked, then I'll figure something out. I mean, no way in Hades will I book a weekend and miss out on good money for my family!

just_for_fun Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 7:19pm
post #6 of 23

If it is a cause that you would give $ to anyways, let this be your contribution. My SIL sells gourmet chocolates, and every year for the fundraiser for our synogogue, she gives chocolates that they wrap up all pretty to put by everyone's place, and that is her donation, a very big one actually. Just to 'get your name out there', well, you have better ways to do it than donating it. Also, if your heart is not in it cuz you feel guilted into giving, it will show in your work, and it wont be a good advertisement...

sweetlayers Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 2:02pm
post #7 of 23

Thanks! I've got it!

Nchanted1 Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 3:39pm
post #8 of 23

I NEVER donate cake anymore. here's why:

After 6 years of doing a boring sheetcake for the American Cancer Society, I finally talked them into letting me do a fancy cake. Deliver fancy cake. Observe the chairwoman PAYING for sheetcales to cut, then later placing my fancy cake in her car to take home. Total orders fom this- zero.

I did the biggest charity do in this area, a Tasting event with all the best restaurants and caterers in a museum. Asked to bring cake for 300. It was the 25th anniversary of the event, so I offered to do a fancy silver cake, and asked that the board come and get their picture taken with it. Sad experience has taught me that I have to submit my own pics to the paper if I want any publicity. Made a killer cake. Board never showed. By the time the guests arrived to my area, they were either falling down drunk, OR reacted to my offer of cake as is it were a hissing snake. After an evening of stuffing themselves on all kinds of goodies, I guess they figured if they didn't eat cake, they were still on their diets. Took home cake for 250. Next week a pic in the paper of the board cutting a grocery sheetcake. Total orders, zero.

Another huge charity do, very high end. Entered a competition, also donated 20 cakes. Won competition. Newspaper articles on night failed to mention competition. Total orders, zero.

Finally, donated to a cake walk at local elementary school. Made an adorable Rainbow Fish cake. Chairlady said it was too nice for the regular cakewalk, they would make it a raffle prize. It wuld be out all afternoon for everyone to see, with cards. I return an hour later when the fair opens. No cake. Where is it? It was so nice, they gave it to the Principal, who took it home so it wouldn't get damaged. Nobody saw it. But, they did give me back my cards. Total orders, zero.

That was the one which finally got through to me. No cake donations, ever. If I want to donate, i write them a check.

sweetlayers Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 5:12pm
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nchanted1

I NEVER donate cake anymore. here's why:

After 6 years of doing a boring sheetcake for the American Cancer Society, I finally talked them into letting me do a fancy cake. Deliver fancy cake. Observe the chairwoman PAYING for sheetcales to cut, then later placing my fancy cake in her car to take home. Total orders fom this- zero.

I did the biggest charity do in this area, a Tasting event with all the best restaurants and caterers in a museum. Asked to bring cake for 300. It was the 25th anniversary of the event, so I offered to do a fancy silver cake, and asked that the board come and get their picture taken with it. Sad experience has taught me that I have to submit my own pics to the paper if I want any publicity. Made a killer cake. Board never showed. By the time the guests arrived to my area, they were either falling down drunk, OR reacted to my offer of cake as is it were a hissing snake. After an evening of stuffing themselves on all kinds of goodies, I guess they figured if they didn't eat cake, they were still on their diets. Took home cake for 250. Next week a pic in the paper of the board cutting a grocery sheetcake. Total orders, zero.

Another huge charity do, very high end. Entered a competition, also donated 20 cakes. Won competition. Newspaper articles on night failed to mention competition. Total orders, zero.

Finally, donated to a cake walk at local elementary school. Made an adorable Rainbow Fish cake. Chairlady said it was too nice for the regular cakewalk, they would make it a raffle prize. It wuld be out all afternoon for everyone to see, with cards. I return an hour later when the fair opens. No cake. Where is it? It was so nice, they gave it to the Principal, who took it home so it wouldn't get damaged. Nobody saw it. But, they did give me back my cards. Total orders, zero.

That was the one which finally got through to me. No cake donations, ever. If I want to donate, i write them a check.




Wow! I'm sorry you had to learn this lesson the hard way. Thanks for sharing. And God bless you for making a decent effort!

littlecake Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 5:49pm
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nchanted1

I NEVER donate cake anymore. here's why:

After 6 years of doing a boring sheetcake for the American Cancer Society, I finally talked them into letting me do a fancy cake. Deliver fancy cake. Observe the chairwoman PAYING for sheetcales to cut, then later placing my fancy cake in her car to take home. Total orders fom this- zero.

I did the biggest charity do in this area, a Tasting event with all the best restaurants and caterers in a museum. Asked to bring cake for 300. It was the 25th anniversary of the event, so I offered to do a fancy silver cake, and asked that the board come and get their picture taken with it. Sad experience has taught me that I have to submit my own pics to the paper if I want any publicity. Made a killer cake. Board never showed. By the time the guests arrived to my area, they were either falling down drunk, OR reacted to my offer of cake as is it were a hissing snake. After an evening of stuffing themselves on all kinds of goodies, I guess they figured if they didn't eat cake, they were still on their diets. Took home cake for 250. Next week a pic in the paper of the board cutting a grocery sheetcake. Total orders, zero.

Another huge charity do, very high end. Entered a competition, also donated 20 cakes. Won competition. Newspaper articles on night failed to mention competition. Total orders, zero.

Finally, donated to a cake walk at local elementary school. Made an adorable Rainbow Fish cake. Chairlady said it was too nice for the regular cakewalk, they would make it a raffle prize. It wuld be out all afternoon for everyone to see, with cards. I return an hour later when the fair opens. No cake. Where is it? It was so nice, they gave it to the Principal, who took it home so it wouldn't get damaged. Nobody saw it. But, they did give me back my cards. Total orders, zero.

That was the one which finally got through to me. No cake donations, ever. If I want to donate, i write them a check.




same here...wow people are a piece of work huh?.....i used to donate too...ZERO ORDERS EVERY TIME

LaBellaFlor Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 5:58pm
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetlayers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nchanted1

I NEVER donate cake anymore. here's why:

After 6 years of doing a boring sheetcake for the American Cancer Society, I finally talked them into letting me do a fancy cake. Deliver fancy cake. Observe the chairwoman PAYING for sheetcales to cut, then later placing my fancy cake in her car to take home. Total orders fom this- zero.

I did the biggest charity do in this area, a Tasting event with all the best restaurants and caterers in a museum. Asked to bring cake for 300. It was the 25th anniversary of the event, so I offered to do a fancy silver cake, and asked that the board come and get their picture taken with it. Sad experience has taught me that I have to submit my own pics to the paper if I want any publicity. Made a killer cake. Board never showed. By the time the guests arrived to my area, they were either falling down drunk, OR reacted to my offer of cake as is it were a hissing snake. After an evening of stuffing themselves on all kinds of goodies, I guess they figured if they didn't eat cake, they were still on their diets. Took home cake for 250. Next week a pic in the paper of the board cutting a grocery sheetcake. Total orders, zero.

Another huge charity do, very high end. Entered a competition, also donated 20 cakes. Won competition. Newspaper articles on night failed to mention competition. Total orders, zero.

Finally, donated to a cake walk at local elementary school. Made an adorable Rainbow Fish cake. Chairlady said it was too nice for the regular cakewalk, they would make it a raffle prize. It wuld be out all afternoon for everyone to see, with cards. I return an hour later when the fair opens. No cake. Where is it? It was so nice, they gave it to the Principal, who took it home so it wouldn't get damaged. Nobody saw it. But, they did give me back my cards. Total orders, zero.

That was the one which finally got through to me. No cake donations, ever. If I want to donate, i write them a check.



Wow! I'm sorry you had to learn this lesson the hard way. Thanks for sharing. And God bless you for making a decent effort!





Believe me whenI say she is not the only one onhere that has had similiar expeirences. One lady who does fund raising admitted that they are just gonna keep calling anyway who will give them free product with the gesture of "It'll be good advertsing". And thats what a lot of people say, they get NOTHING for their efforts.. Donate if you feel like it, not as a possible business opportunity. That way you won't be disappointed.

sweetlayers Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 6:05pm
post #12 of 23

it's funny, I got 2 of those calls yesterday and the second lady wasn't even nice about it.

I mean, do I owe her a free cake?

ElegantOccasions Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 6:13pm
post #13 of 23

I donate where my heart tells me, without considering advertising or networking for future sales. For example: I found a person on Craigs List who is struggling tremendously and was requesting anything for her daughter's 7th birthday. I emailed her and told her that I could donate a cake and gave her my number. She called me back , was very grateful and so we made arrangements to meet. No it wasn't a hoax. She really is in need and just wants to give her daughter a little BD party for 10 kids. I only wish that I could ave done more.........

jones5cm Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 6:36pm
post #14 of 23

I read this entire forum because like the rest of you, I find myself in the same situation; however, as I read thru them, the comment from ElegantOccasions was the one that gave me chills...that's what I donate for...the chills you get when you are able to make a difference in someone's life (whether it's a wedding, b-day, etc!) Thanks to all for sharing...it was greatly infomative!!

marmalade1687 Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 7:23pm
post #15 of 23

I have been bitten by the big charity champagne dinners promising lots of publicity - which have given nil in return. I don't donate to these anymore. What I do donate to however, are to the charities that I (or my family) am personally involved in - I know that they appreciate the donation, and I know where it is going to (not into someone's car! LOL!).

Mensch Posted 8 Oct 2009 , 7:34pm
post #16 of 23

Had an event planner call me for a donation for an event next week. Not non-profit, not charity. They wanted cake for 200 peeps. Free. Of course they said...
GREAT FREE ADVERTISING FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Got pissy with me when I said no.

I give to charity. Real money and often. Homeless cats, epilepsy, MS and an anti-bullying program.

littlecake Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 4:05am
post #17 of 23

i think what makes a difference is if they come begging...or you choose them.

one time i had someone try to scam me out of a wedding cake...they got scared and never showed up...LONGGG STORY

so i had a 14/10/6 iced and stacked, but not decorated......me and my daughter in law stuck toys all over that cake and called the womens shelter to come and get it for the kids.

they said those kids went nuts...they thought it was christmas....that really rocked to hear how happy that made them.

i'm a single woman trying to make a living, and this is not the easiest way to do it....it hacks me off when the rich ladies come rollin up in their fancy car, wanting me to donate to their kids school or something....now why should i?...my kids don't go there....why don't they buy the cake and donate it themselves?...then it would truely come from them.

sweetlayers Posted 9 Oct 2009 , 1:01pm
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

i think what makes a difference is if they come begging...or you choose them.

one time i had someone try to scam me out of a wedding cake...they got scared and never showed up...LONGGG STORY

so i had a 14/10/6 iced and stacked, but not decorated......me and my daughter in law stuck toys all over that cake and called the womens shelter to come and get it for the kids.

they said those kids went nuts...they thought it was christmas....that really rocked to hear how happy that made them.

i'm a single woman trying to make a living, and this is not the easiest way to do it....it hacks me off when the rich ladies come rollin up in their fancy car, wanting me to donate to their kids school or something....now why should i?...my kids don't go there....why don't they buy the cake and donate it themselves?...then it would truely come from them.




I tend to agree. Seems that people really underestimate the time, money, and talent needed for cake decorating.

bakemeacakemd Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 1:47am
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jones5cm

I read this entire forum because like the rest of you, I find myself in the same situation; however, as I read thru them, the comment from ElegantOccasions was the one that gave me chills...that's what I donate for...the chills you get when you are able to make a difference in someone's life (whether it's a wedding, b-day, etc!) Thanks to all for sharing...it was greatly infomative!!




Thanks Elegant Occasions and Jones5cm. I am a baker and had also "given up" on donations until recently. I have turned my "business" into a donation. I am in the process of filing incorporation papers to start a non-profit that will only do cakes for critically ill children and their siblings. I think that the volume may be too much for me and hope my fellow bakers will be willing to consider helping me to provide and escape through cake! I appreciate the posts that support the difference a cake can make to an individual.

ElegantOccasions Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 7:42pm
post #20 of 23

To: Bakemeacakemd, would love to help you, I live in Orlando, Fl, so if you have any requests in this area please email me at [email protected]

bakemeacakemd Posted 11 Oct 2009 , 9:42pm
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElegantOccasions

To: Bakemeacakemd, would love to help you, I live in Orlando, Fl, so if you have any requests in this area please email me at [email protected]




ElegantOccasions - THANK YOU! I am just getting up and running but have an aggressive plan that would allow me to expand to all cities. I will keep you in mind as we head to Orlando and please feel free to pass on my contact information to any bakers you may know that would be willing to help. If you are interested, I will put you on a mailing list to keep you posted about our progress. I can be reached at [email protected]

Tomoore Posted 17 Oct 2009 , 3:17am
post #22 of 23

I met a woman that runs a shelter for battered women and children. I offered to do a cake once a month to celebrate the kids' birthdays for each month. No orders will come from it, but I'm hoping for a few smiling faces.

jones5cm Posted 19 Oct 2009 , 12:10pm
post #23 of 23

bakemeacakemd - Count me in. I live in rural Virginia; but would love to help out where possible. Sounds like a very worthy cause icon_biggrin.gif Please add me to your mailing list as well ([email protected]).

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