Friday, October 20, 2006
Charity begins . . .
Last night was the first of the Christmas Fairs, a fundraiser for the Women of Dalreoch Church, Dumbarton. It was a lovely evening with super things to buy from a variety of stall holders - and raised more than its target amount.
At this time of year I get lots of requests for charitable donations - some for money, some for raffle prizes, some for floral decorations for events. There is no way that I can say yes to them all - it would eat up all the turnover - so last year, fed up with being reactive in our charity donations we drew up some rules.
The first was that we decided to have a proper relationship with one charity - the Tullochan Trust - so that any money that people over pay, or proceeds from excess bulbs or plants goes to them as does 10% of anything bought at out Christmas At Home day in December.
The second rule is that we have no truck with people who are not customers - this may seem mean but we are a small local business and if people only get in touch with me when they want something I get annoyed - to truly annoy me don't even bother to find out my name.
The third rule is that we want to be asked for something specific, to be asked succinctly and to know how the money will be spent, what the targets are, what the timescale is. if people ask in a muddled way I do not trust them to spend the money effectively. The fourth rule is I expect a proper signature.
This topic is in my mind at the moment as I received a letter from some pupils at Balfron High School wanting something (not specified) to help fund a trip to Malawi. In theory I should be well disposed - it is a local school, my own children will be there in 3 years time, I even know a couple of the children involved. However, everything about the letter got my back up. It started "To whom it may concern", it was 2 pages long, it didn't make a proper argument for why this was more than a charity field trip for priviledged children, it didn't ask for something specific, and the whole thing was a round robin done on a photocopier. Once I have calmed down, I shall write them a letter explaining why their letter didn't push my charity giving buttons. Am I being a mean old businesswoman?