Shop Owners.how Do You Handle Donations?

Business By tripleD Updated 11 Nov 2010 , 4:20pm by Melvira

tripleD Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 5:47pm
post #1 of 30

This is sad. I just opened a month ago. Mind you I have a good rep built. From baking from my home. I am well known in my area.
But the month of october has been horrible. Everyday someone has either called or came into the shop asking for donations. If I said I'm sorry I can't help they then ask for the item at a discount or at cost.
I got so mad at a customer that introduced me at a event last week when she said to another lady. She'll give you a donation anytime. shes been doing cakes for years.
I make cakes, I don't print Money.
What do you all do?

29 replies
Loucinda Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 6:01pm
post #2 of 30

You have to learn to say NO. I have a couple of causes I support, and the rest I just tell them no, sorry I can't donate at this time - I have already committed to someone else. I also have learned I NEVER get orders from the donations, I just consider them that and don't count on ever getting any return from them. Free cakes never earn more orders other than others who want more free cakes.

tarheelgirl Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 6:01pm
post #3 of 30

I give a certain amount of donations per year. When I have come to my limit that is it! Just let them know that you have reached your limit on your number of donations for the year.

carmijok Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 6:06pm
post #4 of 30

You will get nickel and dimed to death for sure. The bakery I worked for chose to give to only 3 organizations a year. Then when someone called begging for some kind of freebie donation, I could tell them that she's already alloted her donations for the year, but if they would like to be considered for next year, send me their information and we would let them know before the next year's fund raiser. As far as the donation was concerned we would supply a gift certificate for a dozen cakeballs (no decoration and vanilla flavored). She generally always had extra cakeballs so it was no big deal. HTH.

sweetonyouzz Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 6:06pm
post #5 of 30

Donate to the causes that matter to you. For example, I donate (baking)for my kid's fund raising events for school and to a specific org...because 2 of my kids have that specific disability. If you have or your family has been affected by an illness...donate to that...and no more!!

Some agencies hire phone solicitors to phone and harass....It is horrible. I was continually called by this one charity and the guy was soooo rude and would not take no for an answer. I tried to explain that I have my charities and I have 2 sick kids at home...but he did not give a crap. I know that this charity did not want a cake but it is still money out of your pocket.

So give to where your heart is...then you can nicely explain to the others who bug you who and why you donate to. Best of luck!
Jo

costumeczar Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 8:19pm
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmijok

You will get nickel and dimed to death for sure. The bakery I worked for chose to give to only 3 organizations a year. Then when someone called begging for some kind of freebie donation, I could tell them that she's already alloted her donations for the year, but if they would like to be considered for next year, send me their information and we would let them know before the next year's fund raiser. HTH.





That's what I do, I donate to the things that I want to and just say that I've already "used up" my donations for the year if someone calls to ask.

indydebi Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 8:32pm
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by tripleD

This is sad. I just opened a month ago.


icon_lol.gif Hubby, who grew up in a family owned business, warned me when we opened the shop, "As soon as you hang the 'open' sign, the first 50 people who come in will either want to sell you something or they'll want you to donate stuff to them."

yep .... that's how it works!

Quote:
Quote:

I got so mad at a customer that introduced me at a event last week when she said to another lady. She'll give you a donation anytime. shes been doing cakes for years.


Were you just SO tempted to look at her and say, "Hey! thanks for being so generous with MY money!" icon_lol.gif

aligotmatt Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 8:49pm
post #8 of 30

I agree with the other posters that said I give to what matters to me. I donate cakes to my kids school for fundraisers. 2 a year. And my rule is I give cake. I don't give GC or coupon. I will make you a cake and then I will bring it.

I make birthday cakes for kids that are staying at the domestic violence shelter, but I won't donate a cake to their annual fundraiser dinner.

I got this letter in the mail a couple of months ago that this org in town was having a big fundraiser dinner thing. So I was expecting that it would say, will you make the cake... But no. It said that in 2 weeks people were to submit a miniature version of the cake they would like to *donate* for the event. The staff will then judge and taste the cakes and decide who was allowed to donate a cake to the fundraiser. I laughed out loud. for quite a while. Then they followed up with a phone call to see if I got the letter and had thought about it. I wanted to tell them that it was an absolutely ridiculous idea and they should be happy if someone would just donate a cake, let alone compete in a competition to donate a cake, but I withheld and just said, no thanks.

indydebi Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 8:56pm
post #9 of 30

aligotmatt, I read your post to hubby who had a two word response that can't be typed on here! icon_lol.gif I WILL say that it rhymes with "muck them!"

he then went on to proclaim, "They are going to judge the cakes to see if the cakes are GOOD ENOUGH for them to receive a FREE ONE???? What kind of slip shod poor-a$$ arrogant kind of organization IS this anyway?"

(Uh.....you might notice that "bluntness" kind of runs rampant in our house! icon_lol.gif )

aligotmatt Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 9:03pm
post #10 of 30

Debi, I know!!! I almost saved the letter to show to people the ridiculousness, but decided to throw it away and move on. Still ranted for quite a while about it. And come on, we all know making a mini cake is a HUGE pita, maybe I would have submitted a sketch, but not a mini cake. No, I wouldn't have submitted a sketch either...

kansaslaura Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 9:18pm
post #11 of 30

I've got a good one for you icon_mad.gif I was approached by the gal who assists the HS band director and asked if I would donate a couple of pies to a silent auction to be held during intermission at the fall band concert. I said sure.. no problem. I knew it was a write off and a way to get my name out there for pie orders for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The day came--the pies were picked up. A woman in charge of setting the display of pies up decided it would be unfair to the rest of the people donating pies (and this is a direct quote) "Her pies are so much better it's not fair to the other people" And removed my labels from the pies.

Talk about pi$$ed!! I actually had one customer come into my shop and say they were surprised I had not donated any pies and would have bid had I done so.

Needless to say I have not donated a dime to the band since.

snowshoe1 Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 9:41pm
post #12 of 30

Our shop fell into that trap of people coming to us for 'donations.' Now we only donate for one of the following reasons: 1) it is a cause we truely believe in and we have time; or 2) we KNOW it will give us really good exposure. We felt we were getting suckered into people telling us how much exposure we would get, blah, blah, blah, now we really think about it and have no problem saying NO.

costumeczar Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 11:20pm
post #13 of 30

People are really nervy!

cakesbycathy Posted 6 Nov 2010 , 11:48pm
post #14 of 30

Whenever I was asked I used to donate a gift certificate for a free 8" round cake but have stopped even doing that. Now I pick 2 things a year that I will donate a $25 gift certificate for and one of them is the one (and only) fundraiser my kids' PTA has each year.

They have 6 months to redeem it and it is only good for cake or cookies (no cake bites). I have a $50 minimum so if someone chooses to use it I figure I can at least have my ingredients covered.

If I am approached for a donation I simply tell them that I budget a certain amount of donations each year and have already reached the quota.

Chef_Stef Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 12:43am
post #15 of 30

I agree. When we've given (or are tired of being asked for) our 'allotted' amount of donations, we tell them that.

But I have one for ya. Enjoy:

Recently I met for a tasting and consult, with a fellow member of the (ahem) wedding industry for her cake 10 DAYS AWAY (prior baker having 'fallen through' icon_confused.gif) The tasting was great, details wrapped up, florist phone contact info given for me to coordinate with, AND directions/time of delivery for day of wedding. They're thrilled with the cake flavors, the design, etc. We agree to get head count and payment in by x date. Big BONUS for me (red flag should've gone up here) was that XYX Big Name Magazine was (maybe) doing the photo spread and there's a chance this wedding will be (maybe) covered in XZY Even Bigger Name Magazine. Well, yeah, great. That's cool. But I'm still not getting it, so I ...quote them: The Price. Yes, my regular price. Why wouldn't I? icon_confused.gif

They don't say anything like, "Oh...we were thinking you'd do it for free." or "Oh...we were hoping you'd discount hugely because of the remote possibility of getting a cake at a wedding featured in XZY Big Name Magazine." or, "Oh...we were hoping you'd donate your time because we're such a freaking cute couple with perfect hair." They just left it with pretty much a done deal, and I'm excited about clearing the decks for a perfect cake for them. Expecting a call back by xzy date.


Xyz date arrives. I haven't heard from her, so I'm thinking tomorrow need to call and get full payment (by credit card) and head count, so we can move on. Late night I'm cruising around on FACEBOOK and I see her note on my wall giving a "shout out" to all the "peeps" helping on her wedding, including yada yada florist and yada yada caterer and ...ready? ...ABC BAKERY! (not me) I sat there a full minute with this icon_eek.gif look on my face. Then the steaming started.


Long story short (I SUPPOSE) dh was like, "DUH, they wanted it for FREE because they threw you a bone on the "advertising" you MIGHT have gotten on that $900 cake. The other place did it for free, guaranteed." Glad I didn't do it, because I don't work for free unless *I* decide to, but wow was I pi$$ed.



wish I could find out if it ever made the XZY Big Name Mag, but I guess it doesn't matter. Still wouldn't have done it for free. She's never referred anyone to me (and now...of course, they all will say "OH Who did your cake!?"), but I digress.

Only donate if YOU want to and if it BRINGS YOU BUSINESS.

not bitter... tapedshut.gifthumbsdown.gif

Mencked Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 1:13am
post #16 of 30

I've had my business for a little over a year now and often donate to community organizations. I try to do about one a month and it has really gotten my business recognition up and led to lots more business. I am kind of enjoying seeing which people only ask for donations, but never spend money with me.......I'm keeping a small tally sheet in the back of my mind for future donation decisions!

Cookies4kids Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 1:27am
post #17 of 30

I have to confess that I am one of those people who are out begging, but I was once on the other end of the spectrum also. My retirement hours are spent raising money for people with severe disabilities and it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever been involved with. There are 35 women in our group that do odds and ends of things all year for a place called Camp Friendship. It is a small in state organization that runs 3 different camps for these severely disabled children and allows them to attend one week of camp in the summer where they have a chance to experience just a few of the things that ordinary folks take for granted. We work from Sept. on to put on one big fundraiser in Dec. and the money we raise helps send these kids to summer camp. Seeing the faces of these kids in the summer and the joy this time gives them is more reward than I will ever need. Through tears, their parents are continually thanking us for being the ones who are brave enough to do some "begging".
We thought for sure this year with all the troubles in the world, we would have a hard time getting anyone to donate. What we are finding is that like you, they want to give to concerns that make a difference. Thanks to all of you who dig deep and help those less fortunate. You are the best!!

Melvira Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 1:32am
post #18 of 30

Here are my requirements for making a donation... take 'em with a grain of salt.

1. I have to believe in the cause. I won't donate to 'just anything' because my time and resources are precious to me. Doing a free cake for something I don't have feelings for takes me away from my children, whom I CERTAINLY have feelings for! And I will only do a minimal amount of 'requested' donations per year. If I feel like offering and donating something as my own idea, I don't count that against the 'requested' donation total.

2. The person/group/organization seeking the donation must be a paying customer. I don't mean promises of buying 'something, someday'. I mean, someone who has previously ordered AND PAID FOR something from me. The more business they've given me in the past, the more likely they will get a 'yes' out of me for a freebie.

3. I never barter my goods for 'free advertising'. That's a load of crap. I have been burnt by that so many times.

4. If I donate and do not get a 'Thank You' (verbal is fine, it doesn't have to be a hand written note, but thats even better!) they will not get another donation. Ever. End of story.

I know, I know, I'm a hard @ss, but I got taken advantage of in the beginning, too. People know how to suck the very happiness from your soul. And they aren't ashamed to do it.

True story, my FIRST cousin, who's wedding cake I did quite a long while ago,(and she didn't pay me until a month AFTER the wedding) contacted me about doing a free cake for a stage four cancer benefit for a friend of hers. In a moment of tenderness (weakness?) I said yes. And she assured me I would get so much business from this! Then after I said yes, it was two cakes. Both with edible images of the person and her friends. So, I see her a week or so after the event, (which is unusual, we don't normally see each other much) and after about 2+ hours of her not saying anything to me, I finally ask how it went. She says everyone thought they looked great. I'm like, "Oh, but they didn't think they tasted great?" She tells me no one knew what they tasted like because the chick wouldn't 'let' anyone cut them. She took them home with her. Two HALF SHEET CAKES! One she was going to share with her family the next weekend, the other she was going to take to her co-workers 'sometime' the next week. So, no one was even going to eat them until they were old and already getting stale. I am not uncaring about her situation, but why on earth did she need to keep two sheet cakes for a handful of people? Take pictures of them to show people. then take PART of one with you. You know at least two-thirds of it got thrown away.

Guess how much work I got from that gig. $0. Like Chef_Stef said... I'm not bitter either. icon_rolleyes.gif

Melvira Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 1:35am
post #19 of 30

Cookies4kids... that one would TOTALLY qualify as a "yes" in my book. That is a beautiful thing you do. Bless your heart!!

sweetonyouzz Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 3:33am
post #20 of 30

Cookies4kids....I think that you are so awesome!!! As a parent of two little girls with severe disabilities, thank you so much for your work. It is people like you that brighten my kid's lives...and it makes parent's lives a lot better too. When I had my last two girls it really made me look at things so much differantly...and appreciate so much the little things!!
Jo

Cookies4kids Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 1:09pm
post #21 of 30

Thanks for the kind words. I agree completely with Mel's points, and we bend over backwards to let donors know how much they are appreciated.
1. We have a letter and brochure that tells all about our group, our mission, and what is done with their donations. I also attach a hand written post it note to the letter telling them that we appreciate anything, no matter how small, that they can do for us.
2. Approach people with a smile and a little humor--goes a long way.
3. Say "thanks" in as many ways as you possibly can. We send them an immediate hand written note & camp sends them one after the party.
4. We all give them our business during the year whenever possible, even if they are a little more expensive than the chain stores. It is the small businesses that are so generous.
Our dream is to raise $16,000 this Dec. 10th with every penny going to "our kids." Keep your fingers crossed icon_smile.gif IT IS A PLEASURE AND A PRIVILEGE TO DO FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT DO FOR THEMSELVES...

Charmed Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 2:02pm
post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by tripleD

This is sad. I just opened a month ago.

icon_lol.gif Hubby, who grew up in a family owned business, warned me when we opened the shop, "As soon as you hang the 'open' sign, the first 50 people who come in will either want to sell you something or they'll want you to donate stuff to them."

yep .... that's how it works!
Quote:
Quote:

I got so mad at a customer that introduced me at a event last week when she said to another lady. She'll give you a donation anytime. shes been doing cakes for years.

Were you just SO tempted to look at her and say, "Hey! thanks for being so generous with MY money!" icon_lol.gif



Oh I wish I could be frank and straightforward like you indydebi.

she said to another lady. She'll give you a donation anytime. Most of the time In similar situations I am in a state of shock and don't know what to say and only come up with what to say after 3 days icon_biggrin.gif I would like to be a fast thinker in this kind of situations. I wish there was a course on this subject Someone just teach me how icon_cry.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

tripleD Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 2:19pm
post #23 of 30

Thanks everyone for your Help.
IndyDebi, You rock. So many times I have had questions or read answers to other cakers. You chime in with the most wisdom.
You are a very wise woman. You truly have a gift. Thank you

DDiva Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 3:04pm
post #24 of 30

After almost 13 years in business I can tell you that if I had $10 for every donation request I've received, I'd could pay for a really nice cruise next year-lol!!

So here's my two cents:
1. I donate to the causes that I believe in
2. To consider other requests, the 'asker' has to have patronized my business. I have made it as clear as possible to all requestors that in order for me to donate, someone has to buy. I'm happy to support folks that support me. It has been really gratifying to see the light bulb go on when I've said this to someone.
3. Something to consider when donating or handing out free samples: most folks don't appreciate what they receive for free. You'll be thought of as 'very nice' but it rarely results in sales. Lorinda is right...just give because you want to, not because you expect sales.
4. The challenge with donating baked goods is this: once the cupcakes, cookies, cake, etc. is removed from the box
bearing your label, how will anyone know where they came from? WalMart's name is on the bottles of water or cans of soda. The organization to whom you donate has a responsibility to the donators: to market for them. Be it a card beside your gift, an entry in a guide or program, something.

We give because we care, but the organizations have to be responsible to us as well.

Melvira Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 4:36pm
post #25 of 30

Charmed, Debi and I are thinking of starting a college level course called, "Assertiveness Training for Caking Women". If you pass the course you will be like Quick Draw McGraw... rapid firing one liners, comebacks, and sharp tongued anecdotes. icon_lol.gif

I think Debi and I being turned loose on a person who crossed us would probably be considered inhumane! We'd have them verbally drawn and quartered within minutes! icon_razz.gif

Charmed Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 5:31pm
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvira

Charmed, Debi and I are thinking of starting a college level course called, "Assertiveness Training for Caking Women". If you pass the course you will be like Quick Draw McGraw... rapid firing one liners, comebacks, and sharp tongued anecdotes. icon_lol.gif

I think Debi and I being turned loose on a person who crossed us would probably be considered inhumane! We'd have them verbally drawn and quartered within minutes! icon_razz.gif



Melvira, Where do I sign up? icon_biggrin.gif when I grow up I would like to be just like you guys!! ( I think it is too late now but maybe and hopefully my next life I will reincarnate into a combination of you and indydebi icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif Well maybe We should get a sample of your DNAs and isolate the gene responsible for the Quick Draw McGraw!! and find a way to transfer it to people like me!!

Melvira Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 5:59pm
post #27 of 30

Hahaha! If scientists were able to do that, the resulting humanoid would either be the world leader, or the most sought after criminal mastermind in all of criminal history! icon_lol.gif

luntus Posted 7 Nov 2010 , 6:37pm
post #28 of 30

I agree with Charmed I will sign up. Mel let us know when and where and we will show up with our note book and pencils ready for notes. icon_biggrin.gif

tracycakes Posted 11 Nov 2010 , 2:02pm
post #29 of 30

I rarely donate and follow the rules everyone else does, believe in the cause, etc. But, I got a call from a school wanting some cupcakes for a cakewalk. I thought, what the heck, a dozen cupcakes, so I said yes. This was just a week or so before Halloween so I iced them in orange buttercream and threw on some extra fondant Halloween decorations I had made. They were all ready but no one ever came to pick them up even though we had a time decided. icon_confused.gif

The next day, I had a tasting scheduled. The bride, her fiance, sister and parents showed up and we had a great meeting. The loved my cakes and fillings, I actually got a little embarrassed at their compliments. They asked if we had any cupcakes for sale and we showed them what we had, and they said "We'll take it!". So, at the end, I gave them their total price and they wanted to make sure we included the extra cupcakes they bought. It hadn't and we just gave them the cupcakes for free. The wedding is in May but they paid their entire bill right then.

There is a really good chance that I will get many more recommendations from them than if the cupcakes had gone to the cakewalk.

Melvira Posted 11 Nov 2010 , 4:20pm
post #30 of 30

tracycakes, that has to be the worst... you actually GIVE A DONATION and they never come and get it? Sheesh.

I donated a gift certificate one time and it clearly said on it what it was good for and HOW LONG it was good. (You can't give them something and then give them an indefinite amount of time to use it) It also said how much notice is required. (I don't have a case full of everything that I can just grab something out of) Sure enough I got a call from a woman LONG after it was supposed to be used and she wanted whatever item the following day, and it wasn't even the item the certificate was for. She threw a fit that I wouldn't give her the world on a buttercream iced platter. I was willing to overlook that the certificate had expired, but I required no less than one full week notice, and the certificate wasn't for a $200 cake like she wanted. She told me she was 'very disappointed'. I actually said, "Not any more than I am. All the details are spelled out very clearly on the certificate, and I have a photocopy of it." She assumed I didn't know what was on there or didn't have a copy since it had been so long. icon_rolleyes.gif

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