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View Full Version : Another "how would you handle this situation?" question re: Silent Auction Donation



tdodd00
April 5th, 2011, 06:31 PM
I had someone approach me via email about donating some cookies for a silent auction...she presented it as a great business oppurtunity for me while still benefiting her daughter's school. I don't know her but she recently saw/tasted my cookies at a friend of my daughters, child's birthday (clear as mud, lol) and loved them (:D). I don't have any problem donating...she suggested that I make about a dozen cookies, in a variety of themes so that people could get lot's of different ideas for future orders and also include a "gift certificate" for the buyer to use later. I am good with all of that!

My dilemma is...since I am not technically "legal" do I bring this to her attention and let her make the decision or just keep my mouth shut and go with the flow. I am not intentionally trying to deceive anyone, as I have stated before, this is just a hobby that I occasionally make a little money from but I mainly do it for the love of decorating!

Would love some input on this dilemma!

Silver Sprinkle
April 5th, 2011, 08:53 PM
I just became "legal" last week, but before that, I donated about 8 dozen cookies for a school fundraiser, and included my business cards for publicity.

Before agreeing, I did tell them that I was working on my license, but was not yet completely licensed. I let them make up their minds if they wanted to follow through. I think that in my state, a person can donate baked goods to a non-profit event if they are not licensed (read: bake sale), but the problem comes when one uses it as a means to advertise an unlicensed business. I have heard of people receiving big fines for distributing business cards when they are not licensed. If I had heard this before I made that donation, I might have reconsidered doing it altogether, or at the very least not providing business cards (but that would have negated my reason for doing it in the first place). My question is this: By issuing a "gift certificate" would you be viewed as advertising an illegal business?

I know this is not too much help to you, and I am definitely on the paranoid side when it comes to fines and getting into trouble.:confused: I hope you can come to some decision with which you are comfortable.

Valerie :)

Sweet Creations by Debbie
April 5th, 2011, 11:29 PM
I've wondered the same exact thing. So far I've only had one order that was from a complete stranger, the rest have been from family and friends. I feel like people should know that I bake out of my home, and that it's not a legal business. A lot of people are actually very happy about it and have said that they would rather help support a stay-at-home mom than give money to a bakery.

tdodd00
April 6th, 2011, 12:01 AM
distributing business cards when they are not licensed

Now this I don't get at all. This card does not say anything about a "business" anywhere on it...I don't even see how they could say I was distributing it as such. I guess technically it looks like an actual business card but it just has my email and blog address on it.

CindyW
April 6th, 2011, 12:35 AM
Terri, if I were you, I wouldn't hesitate.
You're making a donation, the winner gets a certificate for free cookies right? also a donation.
You aren't promoting a business, just giving out your contact info on your blog, which doesn't list
prices.
I don't see how they can say you're doing anything wrong.

barbieitch
April 6th, 2011, 01:24 AM
I agree with Cindy. Your only donating not advertising. I only bake for friends and family but recently had a request from a business in another state. I let them know that I wasn't a business and baked out of my house for fun. I let them make the decision as to whether they still wanted the cookies. They did. I think you should just go with what feels right for you.

The Cookie Corner AZ
April 6th, 2011, 02:14 AM
Because I do it as a hobby too, I am selective about who I bake for. I bake mostly for my friends and family as well as church contacts-- all of which know I bake from my home as a hobby. I was approached last week as well by a non-profit to doante a basket and giftcard and I turned them down. I didn't really know the person asking and I just don't want to go there. Yes---potential business/money but...

Silver Sprinkle
April 6th, 2011, 02:53 AM
Now this I don't get at all. This card does not say anything about a "business" anywhere on it...I don't even see how they could say I was distributing it as such. I guess technically it looks like an actual business card but it just has my email and blog address on it.


That may be true, but as you said, it does look like a business card. The health dept would see right through that, especially since the blog address you provide leads to a blog where you have "If you have a question about ordering cookies, please use the "Contact Me" button below!" written.:errf: Whether or not you list prices, any reference to ordering cookies is enough to get you fined. And in your original post, you stated the woman presented it as a good business opportunity for you. If you are completely honest with yourself, is it a business opportunity, or purely a donation to help a cause and out of the love of sharing your craft? Please, be careful!


Obviously it depends on the state you live in. You need to figure out if the rewards outweigh the risks, and also what you yourself are comfortable with.




I've wondered the same exact thing. So far I've only had one order that was from a complete stranger, the rest have been from family and friends. I feel like people should know that I bake out of my home, and that it's not a legal business. A lot of people are actually very happy about it and have said that they would rather help support a stay-at-home mom than give money to a bakery

Just for the record, I am not a bakery! I am a stay-at-home mom just like you, who is fortunate enough to reside in a state that permits residential kitchens. I have worked very hard and paid a lot of money to have a newly licensed, inspected and insured home business.

Silver Sprinkle
April 6th, 2011, 02:56 AM
Because I do it as a hobby too, I am selective about who I bake for. I bake mostly for my friends and family as well as church contacts-- all of which know I bake from my home as a hobby. I was approached last week as well by a non-profit to doante a basket and giftcard and I turned them down. I didn't really know the person asking and I just don't want to go there. Yes---potential business/money but...

I have the same mindset as you. After I made the large donation I spoke above before, what I didn't mention was that another school approached me for exactly the same reason the OP was approached. Silent Auction. Gift Certificate. I politely turned it down. I really didn't want to, but that just made me even more determined to pursue things legally.

CindyW
April 6th, 2011, 03:08 AM
so you change your blog to say "if you're interested in cookies.... instead of if you want to order cookies.... .....
That may be true, but as you said, it does look like a business card. The health dept would see right through that, especially since the blog address you provide leads to a blog where you have "If you have a question about ordering cookies, please use the "Contact Me" button below!" written.:errf: Whether or not you list prices, any reference to ordering cookies is enough to get you fined. And in your original post, you stated the woman presented it as a good business opportunity for you. If you are completely honest with yourself, is it a business opportunity, or purely a donation to help a cause and out of the love of sharing your craft? Please, be careful!





Obviously it depends on the state you live in. You need to figure out if the rewards outweigh the risks, and also what you yourself are comfortable with.





Just for the record, I am not a bakery! I am a stay-at-home mom just like you, who is fortunate enough to reside in a state that permits residential kitchens. I have worked very hard and paid a lot of money to have a newly licensed, inspected and insured home business.

Sweet Creations by Debbie
April 6th, 2011, 05:07 AM
Just for the record, I am not a bakery! I am a stay-at-home mom just like you, who is fortunate enough to reside in a state that permits residential kitchens. I have worked very hard and paid a lot of money to have a newly licensed, inspected and insured home business.

You're very lucky that your state allows residential kitchens.

Silver Sprinkle
April 6th, 2011, 01:46 PM
You're very lucky that your state allows residential kitchens.


Believe me, I know!!! It is terribly unfair and random that some states do and some states don't allow it. It makes no sense, and there are so many talented people on here who should have their own businesses. (I just keep thinking of Sugarbelle and what happened to her.) Not everyone can afford to rent a commercial kitchen, much less a storefront. Even when I was applying for a license, they threw so many roadblocks and red tape in my way. They make it so difficult for anyone who wants to start a small business :(

tdodd00
April 6th, 2011, 02:49 PM
so you change your blog to say "if you're interested in cookies.... instead of if you want to order cookies.... .....

Good idea, Cindy! Just changed the wording~ :dance:


If you are completely honest with yourself, is it a business opportunity, or purely a donation to help a cause and out of the love of sharing your craft?

Well, believe it or not, I would have donated the cookies regardless. I bake all the time and give my cookies away, because I do love what I do. I don't NEED the business...I turned down a huge order last week because it was more than I wanted to take on (750 cookies within one week). I don't have a problem turning down an order because I feel that it is more than I can take on without a lot of stress.

So, to answer your question, I am being honest with myself.

monkeykisses
May 5th, 2011, 05:15 AM
I am legal but even if someone is not IT is a Donation ! I don't see it as a problem, you are helping the school and letting people try your cookies at the same time, I just look at it as helping and not to get business. The people that are "legal" get asked all the time to donate and at some point we have to say no, so if your donating helps someone or something, like the terrible tornados we just had then GO for it ! just saying...