Ask the Experts: Vendor/Client Relationships
A direct-mail provider in the Chicagoland area recently posed this question:
My company partners with many nonprofit organizations. Several of them annually ask us for donations back. We make it known that our policy is to review what we have done for organizations in December, and if a company wants us to make a donation they may [ask us], in writing, at that time.
About six weeks ago, one of these nonprofits contacted us (via e-mail) asking if we would consider making a $1,500 donation to a special event they were having.
In spite of the fact that our policy of a written request in December was not followed, we decided to show good faith in the relationship we had with this nonprofit and sent a donation for $250.
(As an aside, this organization’s policy is to pay its vendors in 90 to 120 days.)
The donation was met with the following response from the chief development officer/vice president of marketing: “The president of the Foundation is very disappointed in your level of commitment. It reflects poorly on me personally and my relationship with her and the Foundation. Your company was the Foundation’s largest vendor last year in terms of dollars spent. I know times are tight, but the success of the Foundation is dependent on the generosity of its friends and associates. Please re-look at your level of commitment. Thanks in advance for re-considering.” (I have condensed the remarks for time and space).
After re-considering, we decided that we financially could afford to give no more; we had given at a level at which we were comfortable. Upon receiving this information, this was the response from the nonprofit in question (again condensed): “As I know you are very well aware, we have alternatives in meeting our printing and mailing needs. These alternative vendors have given $1,000 to the Foundation. It appears as if all parties might be better off parting ways.”