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marketingweb
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We have a local business in this area called “The Job Creation Project” or something similar, which basically does exactly what you are doing. It isn’t a charity as such, but it projects itself almost as one, as the staff are all long term unemployed people prior to starting – not sure if they start on commission or paid.

Either way the point is even if it’s borderline a charity thing (I don’t believe they are actually a charity), they are still using the “wanting to help people” thing as a charity does.

I quite like this project and buy/eat a few , but in other cases with other charities I personally refuse to buy from their boxes unless I REALLY want a chocolate or the price is right. This is simply because in my experience most of the “charity” ones aren’t really that charitable, especially the ones you see on front counters selling 50c fun size mars bars etc. In fact, i’m pretty sure the vast majority of “charity” lollies sold in Australia are actually by companies selling on “behalf” of the charity – not the charity itself. They then give a percentage of sales to the charity for using their name, standard is around 2.5%. The rest goes into running the business and profit for the owners. So I for one would rather someone was upfront that it was a profit making thing than faking it (I hate fake), but unfortunately most people don’t know or care about how this industry works and won’t let you put the box in without the charity angle.

One of the biggest problems with these systems is what happens when the honestly part doesn’t work? On business I was in previous had such a box, and around $20 worth of lollies was missing a couple times in a row, and no-one would fess up (big enough business for everyone not to know who it was). The problem then was those selling the lollies then expected the business to pay the difference. Given it was an honesty system there was arguably no contractual obligation for the business to pay it, and the lolly sellers were getting a favor by it being there. However the business paid up out of petty cash to keep the please the first time, then emailed out a warning. The second time (the very next month), they again paid out of petty cash and sent the lolly seller on his way (no more lollies), as they said if their staff couldn’t be honest they didn’t care for providing thieves with free lollies.

It’s a strange thing that honesty boxes need to be seen to be charitable yet vending machine operators are expected to make money, but for some reason that’s the way society is as I see it.

Matt