4.12 Offers that Don’t Amount to Much

Dear Kim:

We have a board member who has offered to donate $1 for every $100 people spend at his store, if they tell the clerk they are from our organization.  He runs a small bakery and it would be very rare for anyone to spend $100 at one time, and so over the three months that the offer has been in place, we have made $3.00.  He says we are not promoting the offer enough and we should be able to make $500 a month.  He has told the rest of the board members that we (the development staff) don’t appreciate his help.  What should I do?

~Dimes for Doughnuts

Dear Doughnuts:

In order for you to make $500 a month, he would have to sell $50,000 of baked goods attributed to you!  This seems unlikely.  I would start by sitting down with him and the Board chair (assuming that this person is sensible and able to be straightforward), and talk with your baking board member about what he has offered.  You need to tell him clearly that you appreciate his offer, but the current structure of it is not working.  The board chair then needs to pipe up and say that his complaining about the development department is harming morale and not aiding the cause.  He may not have done the math on this because if he had he would see how unreasonable he is being.  One option is to negotiate a different offer:  10 cents for every 10 dollars would be the same proportionately and $10 is a far more likely amount for someone to spend at a bakery.  He could also offer 10% for a week or a month on all sales where the customer mentions your organization.  This would be easy to do, far less bookkeeping for him, and it would begin and end.

At the end of the day, remember that because someone gives something to you, you are not obliged to accept it unless it helps the organization.  This goes for well meaning board members, donors, foundations, and the government.

~Kim Klein