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In this state alone there are thousands of non-profit organizations. We at the Non-Profit Toolbox want to help organizations help themselves, so in this light, today I am writing you from the TRB Design, Inc. side, the business that you approach for services.
We are often asked for a video, for website advise, for marketing advise from our friends in the nonprofit community, and when we can – we do what we can. Sometimes at no charge or sometimes at a greatly reduced fee. There are many organizations out there that can use the help, we know that.
Here is my advice for you non-profits that are operating on a “shoestring”, that have a committee of dedicated volunteers staffing your organization, or even a larger organization that ask for a “donation” of our time and expertise…treat your non-profit as a business. Take the advise that you seek, and honor the time and commitment that the business gave you, by valuing their time, and pay them for the work that they did do, if you can afford it, or at least pay them something…even if it is just some respect.
When a business such as ours feels that they have been taken advantage of, that there is no respect for their work and input, it may not affect your organization, you walk away – since you didn”t pay, you didn”t pay that much, you didn”t loose anything…but that business is less likely to “help” the next organization that comes along and needs their help. And your organization might just be that one, the next time.
Recently we got a call to video an event for a small local organization, we loved the cause and the story. We were happy to give a deep discount of our normal fees to help them spread the word about the cause
of self-defense for women. It was our fault that we did not ask a deposit, but we felt we could work with the organization, and the people there were passionate about the cause and what they were doing. We agreed to film parts of the day and weave a story about the creation of the group and the full day event into a 3-5 minute video that they could put up on their website…a job that we would normally charge $2-3,000 for, we agreed to a very small “fee,” normally just the filming would have cost that much…let alone the hours of editing the complex stories into a short video.
delivery, and after we were told the check is being sent, they come back to us that there are “concerns” about the video, and that they will not be sending any check until the committee got together and discussed the video. As a business, we decided we could not keep the video up on line, as it was our property until we are paid.
The group has now decided that they will not be able to “work with us” so we will never see any payment for the work we did, and they will not have a video of the event. I feel badly, and that is why I titled this “Be Careful What Your Wish For” because neither TRB Design, or the group is getting what they wanted. As TRB we trusted them that they would pay us the nominal fee we charged them, and that they would “trust” our expertise as professional video people to create a piece that would tell their story. As a business we should have asked for a deposit so we would not walk away “empty handed.” So for the next organization, we will get at least that. (sorry guys – “once burned – twice shy”). As for the organization, they have chosen not to have the video of the event, as if telling us they are withholding any payment would make us want to work with them – good business?
What are your thoughts?