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Thread: Another "how would you handle this situation?" question re: Silent Auction Donation

  1. #1
    Senior Member tdodd00's Avatar
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    Another "how would you handle this situation?" question re: Silent Auction Donation

    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 (). 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!
    Terri
    There's a skinny girl who lives inside of me that's screaming to get out...I can usually shut her up with cookies!

    Fresh Cut Flours

  2. #2
    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. I hope you can come to some decision with which you are comfortable.

    Valerie
    Last edited by Silver Sprinkle; April 5th, 2011 at 09:11 PM.
    Valerie from Silver Sprinkle Bakehouse
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Sweet Creations by Debbie's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Sweet Creations by Debbie; April 6th, 2011 at 12:06 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tdodd00's Avatar
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    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.
    Terri
    There's a skinny girl who lives inside of me that's screaming to get out...I can usually shut her up with cookies!

    Fresh Cut Flours

  5. #5
    Moderator CindyW's Avatar
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    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.

  6. #6
    Senior Member barbieitch's Avatar
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    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.
    Chris

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  7. #7
    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...

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by tdodd00 View Post
    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. 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweet Creations by Debbie

    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.
    Last edited by Silver Sprinkle; April 6th, 2011 at 02:57 AM.
    Valerie from Silver Sprinkle Bakehouse
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunnygals View Post
    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.
    Valerie from Silver Sprinkle Bakehouse
    Come and chat with me on Facebook!

  10. #10
    Moderator CindyW's Avatar
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    so you change your blog to say "if you're interested in cookies.... instead of if you want to order cookies.... .....
    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Sprinkle View Post
    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. 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.
    Last edited by CindyW; April 6th, 2011 at 03:14 AM.

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