Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Large novelty cheque - How big of a donation warrants one, and where to buy it?

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  • Dec 30th, 2014 8:12 pm
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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
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Dec 3, 2004
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Large novelty cheque - How big of a donation warrants one, and where to buy it?

My company is growing quickly. We've always donated a good chunk of money to various charities (mostly hospitals and hospices) but we want to start making it more public. Specifically, I was thinking of contacting the hospitals we donate to and asking them if we can set up a quick photo op. Basically, present them a big novelty cheque, shake their hand, get some photographs, etc. This isn't WHY we are donating (for the publicity), but I figure if the publicity will get us more business then we can donate more!

My main question is, how much money do you think a business needs to donate before it would be acceptable to ask for this? Would $5,000 be a good amount? More? Less? I don't want to seem foolish presenting a large novelty cheque for a small amount. Any opinions?

Also wondering where the best place is to buy one of these? Due to the size I imagine it would cost a lot to get one shipped. Don't want to spend $100 on a big cheque when that money could be going to the charity instead.
6 replies
Deal Addict
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Mar 8, 2002
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Ottawa
Any local printing company could hook you up. I have seen ones that work like a whiteboard where you can rub off dry erase marker and use it again later.
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Nov 18, 2002
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Any charity that refuses a photo op for 5k is not a charity I'd ever want to associate myself with.

There's no harm in asking.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2004
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MacGyver wrote:
Dec 29th, 2014 4:45 pm
Any local printing company could hook you up. I have seen ones that work like a whiteboard where you can rub off dry erase marker and use it again later.
Whiteboard one is a pretty good idea.
Congrats OP, must be doing well.
Deal Addict
May 26, 2011
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Your profile says that you are in Vancouver. Fastsigns is excellent to deal with. My rep is Shu at their Byrne Road (Burnaby) location but I'm sure any of their stores would do an excellent job.

https://www.fastsigns.com/metro-british-columbia

I tried to find an extra-wide dry erase marker but had no success. Perhaps you would have better luck.
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Feb 25, 2007
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Ottawa
ichpen wrote:
Dec 29th, 2014 7:11 pm
Any charity that refuses a photo op for 5k is not a charity I'd ever want to associate myself with.

There's no harm in asking.
Not trying to score cheap shots here, but if I knew that the framed charity donation photo a company is displaying was specially staged at their request, with them bringing in special props for it, I would find it seriously lame. I wouldn't actively avoid the company, but would question their judgment in a way that might well outweigh any positive feelings from the donation itself. When a photo op is volunteered by the charity, it's OK, but asking for it? Why not just put a tasteful note on your website or if you want sign on the wall saying "Company X supports charity Y because ..."?

I suppose I never stopped to think about who pays for these large novelty cheques. Now that I have, I consider them acceptable when the donation is the aggregation of all sorts of peoples' small contributions and this is part of the theater of the donation - e.g. 50 people paid $x per plate for a charity dinner, and then someone hands over a novelty cheque for the raised amount at desert and the recipient gives a brief thank you speech.

I recognize I may be out-of-the-norm fuddy duddy here. The one time I made a sizeable enough donation to be offered naming rights to something (a small concert/music space) I requested that it keep its existing name. And in other situations I have asked to remain anonymous, since these stratified thank you plaques "Grand Patrons over $20,000 - Mr and Mrs X; Patrons $5-20,000 - Joe's Garage, Hon Someone Important, Mr and Mrs Y; Donors $1-5000 , a,b,c" also strike me as pretty lame.

Again, I'm saying this not as incendiary criticism, and fully realizing many others clearly don't share my views, but to provide a counterpoint as you think this through. There will be some people who (would) react like me.
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Nov 18, 2002
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houska wrote:
Dec 30th, 2014 7:42 pm
Not trying to score cheap shots here, but if I knew that the framed charity donation photo a company is displaying was specially staged at their request, with them bringing in special props for it, I would find it seriously lame. I wouldn't actively avoid the company, but would question their judgment in a way that might well outweigh any positive feelings from the donation itself. When a photo op is volunteered by the charity, it's OK, but asking for it? Why not just put a tasteful note on your website or if you want sign on the wall saying "Company X supports charity Y because ..."?

I suppose I never stopped to think about who pays for these large novelty cheques. Now that I have, I consider them acceptable when the donation is the aggregation of all sorts of peoples' small contributions and this is part of the theater of the donation - e.g. 50 people paid $x per plate for a charity dinner, and then someone hands over a novelty cheque for the raised amount at desert and the recipient gives a brief thank you speech.

I recognize I may be out-of-the-norm fuddy duddy here. The one time I made a sizeable enough donation to be offered naming rights to something (a small concert/music space) I requested that it keep its existing name. And in other situations I have asked to remain anonymous, since these stratified thank you plaques "Grand Patrons over $20,000 - Mr and Mrs X; Patrons $5-20,000 - Joe's Garage, Hon Someone Important, Mr and Mrs Y; Donors $1-5000 , a,b,c" also strike me as pretty lame.

Again, I'm saying this not as incendiary criticism, and fully realizing many others clearly don't share my views, but to provide a counterpoint as you think this through. There will be some people who (would) react like me.
No right or wrong answers here. Most if not all large corps who donate regularly do so for the optics. They take all the publicity they can get. It is the only ROI that a charity can give back to an entity such as a corporation. Not talking about individual donations here.

Major charities are also businesses run by people and a board (not badly paid either). As such corps treat donations much like other marketing business transaction and negotiate terms accordingly.

My personal opinions if I were in the business of 'canvassing' for revenue from donations is that I will personally go out of my way to give back as much recognition to the donors as I can realistically provide.

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