Popeye and J. Wellington Wimpy in E. C. Segar’s Thimble Theatre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
These words by J. Wellington Wimpy (a la Popeye cartoons) epitomize the worst of con artists and those looking to make an easy buck (or burger). I’m pretty sure Wimpy never paid anyone back for those burgers.
But suppose Wimpy had paid his investors back … Then, Wimpy’s words have significance to the honest and hardworking.
I was in a meeting the other day with a nonprofit organization that does good. They help people with serious emotional and physical issues lead more normal lives — get exercise, spend time around others who share their issues, and attend arts and other events. This organization brings in some money each year for operating expenses, yet fundraising is a constant struggle. I’m sure even buying office coffee is an issue at times.
I knew when I went in for this meeting that the group had little available money for important missions such as marketing and advertising. While in the meeting, I found that every employee at this organization (all three of them) is more than committed … in fact passionate … about helping their clients.
So I offered them the honest Wimpy deal.
So what’s a good version of “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”?
I said I would make their web site (an investment of at least 50-70 hours, from copy to launch). In return, they can pay me Tuesday, at a discounted price (in other words, when they have money). I’ll make the same offer for other marketing services they need, such as brochures, video, and email marketing.
The Wimpy deal feels good to me, and I think it feels good to them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Merchant Media organization, always looking to bring in a dollar from nonprofits. This year alone, I’ve donated hundreds of hours to groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, United Way, FISH (a local food bank in Williamsburg, VA), the City of Williamsburg, The March of Dimes, and other local groups. I like to give. I have skills in video, writing, web sites, and other media that help organizations make money for good. And that’s a great feeling.
Over the past year, I’ve created three web sites for nonprofits at no cost whatsoever. And there’s another one in the making.
And yet … If I help an organization bring in more money, shouldn’t I be paid for at least part of my time? Being paid something helps me keep on giving. I’m a small business with mad skills.
Believe me, I’ve worked on and with nonprofit boards where board members are ONLY interested in the paying work that’s available from that nonprofit. They don’t help the nonprofit grow with their ideas and energy. I won’t participate in that kind of board any longer.
I’ve also worked on nonprofit boards in which no one is remunerated for anything. In fact, board members are expected to cough up a little dough to help make it through rough times. Every job is outsourced, and the nonprofit board members buy their own tickets to every charity event.
In this case, I’m not on a board but am a member of my community willing to help out.
What are your thoughts? Do you help your community? Do you donate services? I’d like to hear from you. Do you ever offer Wimpy deals?