Gift Certificate Donation restrictions

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Kay Nein's picture
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We are donating a GC to my old K9 Search & Rescue team for a golf fundraiser next month.  I am trying to come up with a cover letter detailing restrictions and need some input.  I need to get this in the mail today as I've been holding onto it for over a week now...

  • Certificate is valid for a two consecutive nights for two adults in one of our comfortable Queen-size rooms. You are responsible for the 12% taxes and any additional charges (should you decide to upgrade to a King or Suite room).
  • Certificate has no monetary value and if not used in full, the balance is forfeited
  • Dates available: December 1, 2012 thru July 30, 2013
  • Cannot be combined or applied to any special packages or offers
  • Non-transferrable
  • Full country breakfast included
  • Check-in is between 3pm and 6pm (please call if arriving any later)

 

Thank you!

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Well the thing is, not even taking into account those orgs we do not know or support, who email, mail and call from around the entire country looking for free nights, like the steel company having a company picnic in another state, thought it would be a good door prize (okay buy it then), and the Jewish Temple near DC who are celebrating a milestone anniversary, thought it would make a great door prize (okay buy it then).

Everyone you know is involved in something, more than one something most likely, and they will kindly think of you, after all you run an inn, you can donate FREE NIGHTS (well guess what it is NOT free to us, only free to them, they say on the phone "It won't cost you anything" I laugh at that one.)

I donated to a very special close to my heart cause, locally and the person who won it at auction demanded a one night on a 2 night min weekend, of I WOULD HAVE TO GIVE THEM their money back.  Me? The one who donated it.

I guess this is a can of worms for most of us. Too bad isn't it, should be something wonderful.

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Madeleine's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

I donated to a very special close to my heart cause, locally and the person who won it at auction demanded a one night on a 2 night min weekend, of I WOULD HAVE TO GIVE THEM their money back.  Me? The one who donated it.

 

Isn't this the oddest thing? And no one can understand why we won't do it. They do NOT understand that we get NO money from this at all. I haven't had it happen here but I am ready to tell them they will need to call the non-profit charity fund raising office and ask THEM to refund the money.

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Madeleine wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

I donated to a very special close to my heart cause, locally and the person who won it at auction demanded a one night on a 2 night min weekend, of I WOULD HAVE TO GIVE THEM their money back.  Me? The one who donated it.

 

Isn't this the oddest thing? And no one can understand why we won't do it. They do NOT understand that we get NO money from this at all. I haven't had it happen here but I am ready to tell them they will need to call the non-profit charity fund raising office and ask THEM to refund the money.

Right, it costs us, it is a donation from us. And in other news, the BOGO certificates from wherever, Stash Tea, Iloveinns, every guest assumed we got paid for the second night, that the directory was the one giving us the addtl $.  Uh no, we are giving you the free stay, and we are the ones who pay to be IN THAT directory on top of it. But nice of you to think they are giving it to you... haha

Generic's picture
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Meanwhile the BOGO offers are more than some people are making on GripeOn and LyingSocial and yet they still do it....35c on the dollar! (200 nights at $100, selling for $35. Therefore bringing in $7000 instead of $20000. That $13000 would make a HELL of an advertising budget.)

When it's a charity that you believe in, it's so much easier to just write a cheque and be done with it. Or as GH says, give them some logo items that someone can use. The last thing you want to do is give a stay. 

I constantly get from the animal shelters... I don't take dogs or cats. Want to bet that the person that buys it wants to bring their animal?

If I could afford to buy a second B&B, I would make it pet friendly and charge $50 a night more and likley get it. People pamper their pets.

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Madeleine's picture
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

If I could afford to buy a second B&B, I would make it pet friendly and charge $50 a night more and likley get it. People pamper their pets.

We just got out of the dog friendly biz. We liked the money but the upkeep was killing us. Too many 'new' travelers with pets who just don't get that this is not their home. We have one more stay coming up- over a week. That's what convinced me to stop the madness.

I just had a call for one night well over a year from now wanting to bring a dog. I sent them elsewhere.

The last stay they let the dog sleep on the upholstered furniture. We specifically give the guests a big quilt to throw over the chairs to keep the hair off. Nope. The quilt was still nicely folded and unused right where we left it.

We have 3-4 regulars who we know very well. They can still come with their dogs.

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Some of the hotels around here charge $50 a day extra, plus a cleaning fee and the dog can't be left alone and must be kennelled. Figured at $50 extra and cleaning fees, there would be some good money in it. I've had owners beg.

Madeleine's picture
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You don't have the time, believe me. Between the dog checking out at 11 and the next guest coming in at 3, there is not enough time to clean everything. We have separate sets of bedding and it is still a LOT longer to clean the room with the dog.

Granted, it's not the additional fee, it's getting the booking in the first place. And my guess is that room will sit empty more of the time without the dogs, but I'm fed up.

gillumhouse's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

We just got out of the dog friendly biz. We liked the money but the upkeep was killing us. Too many 'new' travelers with pets who just don't get that this is not their home. We have one more stay coming up- over a week. That's what convinced me to stop the madness.

I just had a call for one night well over a year from now wanting to bring a dog. I sent them elsewhere.

The last stay they let the dog sleep on the upholstered furniture. We specifically give the guests a big quilt to throw over the chairs to keep the hair off. Nope. The quilt was still nicely folded and unused right where we left it.

We have 3-4 regulars who we know very well. They can still come with their dogs.

That is exactly why I never started taking 4-legged animals in my house. Too many dog owners treat their animals like humans and no discipline exists - the dog can do whatever as far as they are concerned. (Besides - it is not their house and they are not going to have to clean it.)

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But they don't want logo'd items, they want free night stays! 

I understand the want to donate a free night (s) stay. You hope (as they tell you all the advertising you will get and people will be knocking down your door), that word of mouth about the stay will trickle through the org and people will stay with you or refer to you.

That is what we all thought.

gillumhouse's picture
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I found out a long time ago the word of mouth had a cork in it.

I am involved in rails-to-trails so I gave to a trail trek that is done every year as a fundraiser. That is until I found out the previous winners were telling folks That is a great prize - and they would wait until they could get it for their prize next year. NO ONE EVER booked us and (gasp!) PAID for a stay. That was the last one they ever got and one of the last certificates ever donated.

Madeleine's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

But they don't want logo'd items, they want free night stays! 

I understand the want to donate a free night (s) stay. You hope (as they tell you all the advertising you will get and people will be knocking down your door), that word of mouth about the stay will trickle through the org and people will stay with you or refer to you.

That is what we all thought.

So true. We had someone who won the GC 2 years in a row for the museum. Unfortunately, the first year's was long expired by the time she decided to use them both to come for a weekend. Lots of sighing and can't we change the expiry and she paid for this and so on.

Another innkeeper had a GC winner try to make a rez and when they didn't have any rooms avail for the ONE weekend they wanted she demanded her money back.

We had a GC show up from an auction that happened before we even bought the place. THAT was awkward. How were we supposed to know if this was real, if the PO's just handed them out like candy or what!

Our PBS station has an online auction and the GC's for stays really don't bring in any money unless they are for exotic locations and there is a minimum bid.

You can't write it off. Unless people know you, you really don't get any publicity from it. (My daughter went around and if she saw anyone looking at the GC I donated to my g-son's school, she would say, 'That's my mom's place!' I think that's the only way the bidding got above $100!)

All of that said, I still do it. There are fewer places now that I will do this for. I have 2 outstanding donated GC's at the moment. One expires in 3 weeks, the other in 6 months. 9 out of 21 have never been used.

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I am with the others. Don't bother with a gift certificate. We did it our first year and never again. I would rather write them a check. It is not worth the grief and trying to figure out how to protect yourself. Or as K. suggested a gift bag with your logo items.

gillumhouse's picture
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How timely! I just returned from our annual Governor's Conference on Tourism. The lobby arm of our tourism industry always has a silent auction room. I used to give a free night or a Package. After seeing what it went for -  pennies rather than 10 cents on the dollar - I now give things. I gave 2 of my new coffee mugs, 1 tin of tea, a cookbook from our association, and 4 roasts of coffee - Sumatra, Peru, Ethiopia, and Maui. I did not look to see the final bid on it (was distracted) but the last bid I saw was $35 which is about what a room night donation would have brought. Actually I was tempted to bid on it myself and just take it home.

Give something that has your name or logo on it or as suggested, just give a check. Only a live bidding auction will bring good prices that make you feel your donation was worth anything. Silent auctions make you wonder why you bothered.

Generic's picture
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I wouldn't do it at all. I would write them a cheque, get a donation receipt and call it a day. These donation GC are a pain in the neck. Never read your rules, don't respect you and don't value you because they either paid a small sum for it, or got it in a raffle. The guests will make you regret having given away the stay instead of simply giving away a donation.

Arks's picture
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

I wouldn't do it at all. I would write them a cheque, get a donation receipt and call it a day. These donation GC are a pain in the neck. Never read your rules, don't respect you and don't value you because they either paid a small sum for it, or got it in a raffle. The guests will make you regret having given away the stay instead of simply giving away a donation.

To me, this sounds like good advice! Excellent advice.

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Madeleine's picture
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The limitations should be printed right on the GC (on the back if necessary) because the cover letter will disappear. Taxes- are you req'd by law to collect sales tax on a donation? Check into that, I don't think most places require that.

Are there any holidays you do not want it to be valid? Christmas? New Year's? Valentine's Day? Easter?

We don't put 'day of week' restrictions on our donations, but we generally only do one night. We do limit holidays, tho, because that's when we make money. No sense in working for free on a holiday.

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Donation? Make it a midweek stay!

Make sure it states "Same cancelation policies apply" as to normal room rentals, GC tend to reschedule reschedule reschedule. Also MUST CALL to book the room.

 

Madeleine's picture
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Yes, definitely include that all your policies apply and a cancelation means forfeiture of the GC.

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