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How honest are you about how much goes to charity?


Zeusophobia
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When I did charity bulk years ago, it seemed like hearing the word "charity" was just the final justification for letting someone else make money in their store. On the other hand, the one time I was pressed about how much went to charity, when I told the truth I was treated like a snake oil salesman.

I was wondering, if I show up to service a charity location wearing my Bulova watch in my newish truck are people going to think I'm a con job?

The reason I got out of bulk was because my pitch was a lie by omission. It's what I was told to do by some other guys in the business, and it felt dirty. It went something to the tune of "Would you like a gumball machine that helps support charity?" In reality, I was set up with a local charity that got 25% of the gross.

Now I see that I can pay $18/year and get a sticker saying my machine helps with cancer. At $18/year, it's blatantly obvious that supporting cancer isn't a major part of why that machine is there. 

I'm just wondering if you guys ever run into problems with getting the machine in the location based on charity, and then having the owner realize that charity isn't the primary purpose of the machine. Or do you guys just tell them flat out what charity gets and if you lose the location based on that, so be it?

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Guest Gumball prince

Charity vendors are the easiest to get kicked from a location.  Business owner/managers are shocked when they are informed about how much money is actually donated to the charity. 

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Don’t have any charity stops. I have commissions at almost every place but also don’t put in anything smaller than a 5 rack at decent locations. When I bought the route I told my drivers to take out all charity stickers and let owner know we will service the machines but the money goes to the business, the old owner didn’t give money to charity and I won’t be dishonest and feel like I am stealing from kids. I didn’t get kicked out of anywhere. 

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I feel both ways about charity. I have a lot of charity bulk locations, and you don't always feel wanted there, more like you're there only by the good graces of the location. But I also don't see it as a scam for several reasons:

1 like BCB said, they're getting free money, no buying candy, no finding locations, no buying machines, no work. If they had to do all that, they'd probably be walking away with the same amount of money after all costs considered.

2. Most times they are the ones that set the amount you need to donate.

3. If I closed all my charity stops (which wouldn't hurt my business much at all) I would no longer being donating anything to this charity. 

To me bottom line, people don't see the big picture, so you can't explain in plain English the exact amount the charity gets. They don't see that if you have 70 locations you're giving $840 a year to a charity multiplied by 1000's of vendors, which adds to hundreds of thousands for the charity. 

Also to this statement:

10 hours ago, Zeusophobia said:

Now I see that I can pay $18/year and get a sticker saying my machine helps with cancer. At $18/year, it's blatantly obvious that supporting cancer isn't a major part of why that machine is there. 

 

You're right, you're not there mainly for the charity, you're there to earn money, run a business and provide a location with a service. But that doesn't mean the charity doesn't benefit. One thing I did was call the charity and ask them for figures and how you're helping. They're always happy you're helping, never do they act like you're using them for a scam. 

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If the charity didn't receive a large sum from the charity vending program, they WOULD NOT participate in this.  They are not stupid.  A real vending organization will have over 100 locations; and a successful one will eventually end up with 400-500 locations.  That is 500 USD per MONTH.  That is a huge charitable donation, and THEY (THE VENDORS) ARE MAKING MASSIVE DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF CHILDREN.  First thing you need to do, is understand that its a major accomplishment to work with a charity.  2nd, you need to understand that its a huge charitable donation.  3rd:  If you have 1 location that yields 4.00/month in GB sales (which is common), and you are donating 2.00 per month for that location, then you are CONTRIBUTING 50% OF THE SALE TO THE CHARITY.  THAT IS ONLY 1 LOCATION.  If you are serious, you will be contributing from 100's of locations.  I randomly see misc posts about the charity vending program, and im shocked to see negative comments about it.  The benefits and accomplishment made by cooperating in the charity vending program are absolutely critical.  This is not a scam, this is not small contributions, and this is not a weak or exaggerated commitment.  This is for real, and this is really helping people, and we are making a massive difference, and sincere impact.  I believe in it 100%.  

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If they keep up with i tell them honest i give flat rate depending on amount of stickers and the last 30 days.... I donated so and so percent of gross to said charity. Personally i given more than 10 percent. I agree with. GumballDragon we are doing good real vendors pick a charity we believe goes to a good cause. When they hear dollar or whatever they think we are scammers and alot of people are but if you be honest and tell them percentages they feel you. They think we are making bank but i can't even tell you how often i try to boost locations with poor sales and have to pull. If every location i have and will get from now on  made 15 or more a month i would feel bad but thats not the case

Edited by BryanH
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My personal opinion on why so many people believe Charity machines are a scam is due to how some vendors approach the situation. When you tell a location " This machine is for XYZ charity" versus telling them "A percentage of all proceeds goes to XYZ charity" you really set the locations expectations. When a charity vendor has a website that is all about the charity and says nothing about the core service they will be providing I cant help but understand how many feel like it is a scam. 

Ultimately we all have our own morals and ethics and while I am grateful for everyone that contributes to charities I completely understand how many see it as a scam. If you use the charity as the main reason for placing the machine rather than just a positive addition to your service and product then you are surely leading the owner to assume all profits are going to the charity.

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The business owners who you communicate with, who have some sense of 'logic' will understand that 100% will not go toward the charity.  You would have to be a real moron to think in those terms.  There is a COST OF DOING BUSINESS.  If you can have a logical and intelligent conversation with someone about the logistics of implementing a charity vending program, it will make sense to the location owner.  For example, THERE IS A COST ASSOCIATED TO SERVICING YOUR ACCOUNT.  We provide a percentage to the CHARITY.  We will retain a percentage FOR THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS, such as THE MACHINE.  THE GAS.  THE MILEAGE.  THE CANDY.  The only reason why business owners think this could potentially be a scam, is because the vendor has difficulty elaborating, or even understanding the logic behind it.  Not to mention, that everyone cant seem to help themselves but associate the word 'scam' in every discussion about charity vending.  I'm still surprised.  If you really want to crunch numbers, I can assure you that the first year, 100% of that money is going toward the charity and the cost of doing business.  Think about how much your equipment cost.  Think about how much is going to the charity.  Think about the cost of the candy.  Think about the replacement parts.  Think about the gas used.  Think about the TIME.   Think about the mileage.  If someone wants to place the charity first on their website, how does that spell out scam?  There is no scam involved in charity vending.  Just get it out of your brains.  If it was a scam, then why does the charity cooperate with the vendors?  That is the reason why scam will get associated to it, because everyone still doesnt understand the concept.  Ironically, the only entity that understands it, is the charity.  Everyone else is simply lacking logic and rational thought.  

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Hi "The Dragon",

Many posts have been done on this exact topic so I don't want to beat a dead horse over this. I just want to clarify that I believe you to be one of the upfront and honest individuals that discloses to his locations that $1 - $2 is the donation each month from their location. Far too often I run into locations where the owner is under the assumption that all proceeds go to the charity and end up unhappy. This is very similar to commission locations that have been cheated.

At the end of the day to each their own but as many vendors have mentioned,

On 1/11/2018 at 11:53 PM, Gumball prince said:

Charity vendors are the easiest to get kicked from a location.  Business owner/managers are shocked when they are informed about how much money is actually donated to the charity.

Charities of course don't care either way.  This is a mute point. They know that $1 - $2 is the going rate to pimp their name out to a vendor. Any more than that and they will lose the dollar. We are talking about the location who cares. Its the location who can come to feel jaded. Trust me, I am sure all of us would let you give us a dollar each month per machine and will be totally okay with it.

Once again, "The Dragon" this issue really doesn't impact me at all I am just trying to give you insight into how many people see this. With that said, as I stated earlier  " I believe you to be one of the upfront and honest individuals that discloses to his locations that $1 - $2 is the donation each month from their location." 

Good luck!

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On 1/12/2018 at 9:53 AM, AMD Snacks said:

I feel both ways about charity. I have a lot of charity bulk locations, and you don't always feel wanted there, more like you're there only by the good graces of the location. But I also don't see it as a scam for several reasons:

1 like BCB said, they're getting free money, no buying candy, no finding locations, no buying machines, no work. If they had to do all that, they'd probably be walking away with the same amount of money after all costs considered.

2. Most times they are the ones that set the amount you need to donate.

3. If I closed all my charity stops (which wouldn't hurt my business much at all) I would no longer being donating anything to this charity. 

To me bottom line, people don't see the big picture, so you can't explain in plain English the exact amount the charity gets. They don't see that if you have 70 locations you're giving $840 a year to a charity multiplied by 1000's of vendors, which adds to hundreds of thousands for the charity. 

Also to this statement:

You're right, you're not there mainly for the charity, you're there to earn money, run a business and provide a location with a service. But that doesn't mean the charity doesn't benefit. One thing I did was call the charity and ask them for figures and how you're helping. They're always happy you're helping, never do they act like you're using them for a scam. 

I just reread what you said and i wanted to say. I never like keeping a machine in a location that allows me to stay on good graces only because of the charity and not because of the service. I think if more vendors would  focus on pitching the service while mentioning the charity it would remove some of the bad tastes that is around. Because 1-3 heads IMO is just a machine for easy access to candy for workers and customers and the charity that i picked that is what i believe in it just helps a little to get in. 

Edited by BryanH
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1 hour ago, BryanH said:

I just reread what you said and i wanted to say. I never like keeping a machine in a location that allows me to stay on good graces only because of the charity and not because of the service. I think if more vendors would  focus on pitching the service while mentioning the charity it would remove some of the bad tastes that is around. Because 1-3 heads IMO is just a machine for easy access to candy for workers and customers and the charity that i picked that is what i believe in it just helps a little to get in. 

Bigger corporate locations wont often, if at all, allow a machine solely based on service. The charity opens doors, and I think that's the whole reason charities started these programs. They know their name helps (if they're reputable) and we're able to help them. It's a means to an end, I will keep a location that allows me to be there  by their good graces if it's making money. I will say this though, I don't have locations around me at all that have a bad impression of charity vending. If I did, I would just focus on commission instead of charity. Really it's whatever works on a large scale long term. 

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I always chuckle when people argue about how charity locations aren't scamming the location.  I agree you may not be scamming the location, but you are dishonest to the person putting the quarter in!  You are using that picture of that cute sad kid to get the quarter which you in turn use most of towards a night out at the movies.  Try giving the charity 25% (which is what many pay in commission - a perfectly manageable business model) instead of $1 and then you can sleep better at night.

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1 hour ago, Dmkraz said:

I always chuckle when people argue about how charity locations aren't scamming the location.  I agree you may not be scamming the location, but you are dishonest to the person putting the quarter in!  You are using that picture of that cute sad kid to get the quarter which you in turn use most of towards a night out at the movies.  Try giving the charity 25% (which is what many pay in commission - a perfectly manageable business model) instead of $1 and then you can sleep better at night.

I think that people overwhelmingly put a quarter in the machine to get the candy not to support the charity.  Even on the charity honor boxes, it is almost never the case that the money put in is the amount expected and only on very rare occasions in our experience has the amount put in exceeded the amount expected.  Therefore, many people have no qualms about helping themselves to free candy rather than trying to support a charity.  

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2 minutes ago, Team Money Vending said:

If that's the case they why put all the sad pictures and cover the box with "Charity"

The NCCS picture doesn't depict that and we have it on the side of the machine.  Candy for Cause has gotten their fair share by far.

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3 hours ago, Dmkraz said:

I always chuckle when people argue about how charity locations aren't scamming the location.  I agree you may not be scamming the location, but you are dishonest to the person putting the quarter in!  You are using that picture of that cute sad kid to get the quarter which you in turn use most of towards a night out at the movies.  Try giving the charity 25% (which is what many pay in commission - a perfectly manageable business model) instead of $1 and then you can sleep better at night.

Here is what is on the NCCS Charity label clearly states: The Vending Program of The National Children’s Cancer Society generates $750,000.00 annually to help children with cancer. This is not a charitable solicitation; all sale proceeds go to the machine owner. Machine owners are obligated to pay a guaranteed contracted amount to the NCCS regardless of sales. For more info or contributions please call 314-241-1600. I think that is a pretty straight forward explanation so even if you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed you can understand how the program works. If a customer isn’t happy with it they can move on and not patronize the machine. I guess you can make the argument that “nobody reads that stuff or what if they can’t read?” My response would be “whose fault is that?” Now as far as the amount donated….. If you have 200 charity machines giving $1.00 a month to the charity that is $200.00 per month and $2400.00 per year. I think most people would be satisfied seeing a small vending business give $2400.00 per year to the NCCS and would not consider it “a scam”. When it comes to commission most single head gumball (even doubles and triples) machines don’t generate enough income for the location to worry about it especially office complexes or manufacturing locations. Most see the minuscule commission as a hassle and waste of their time. The charity vending business model that has been around for decades and when it is executed with integrity and transparency it is a win win for all parties involved. Of course there will always be unscrupulous operators that perpetuate the negative opinions of charity programs but those operators also exist in the commission game as well. I have known plenty of operators over the years that use creative percentage calculations when paying locations which is outright theft in my opinion, but it happens. I think vendtex is right …. People just want the candy and don’t give the charity much thought.

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15 hours ago, vendtex said:

I think that people overwhelmingly put a quarter in the machine to get the candy not to support the charity.  Even on the charity honor boxes, it is almost never the case that the money put in is the amount expected and only on very rare occasions in our experience has the amount put in exceeded the amount expected.  Therefore, many people have no qualms about helping themselves to free candy rather than trying to support a charity.  

Agree my  locations or customers never ask about the charity after the introduction except maybe 1-2 times. Yet they pour quarters into the machine. I never hear them tell me to bring a donation box so they could dump X amount of bucks every month for nothing. They want the candy. Never had a UTURN but i doubt there is much candy on that top head either. I never visited a HB and see tons of money in there without the box being empty. Why do you think there is theft involved with HB its because they want the candy. Nobody who puts a quarter into the machine is scammed or tricked by the charity, they wanted the candy,toy,Gb

Edited by BryanH
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I have a barber shop that was doing $45/month (one double head, GB/toys).  A charity single head GB shows up with a picture of a lost child on the front and my numbers drop to $18 to $20 per month.  My machine is a Beaver RB16 double, brand new from the manufacturer, meticulously maintained, always fresh GBs - possibly the best looking 1" machine on the planet so I'm not losing on appearance.  That guy is buying himself a new iPhone by using that lost kid's picture.  If your operation is better than this guys - good for you.

BTW I've been active on this forum since 2012 and have found that the bulk vendors that frequent vendiscuss tend to be on the upper end of scrupulousness (?).  I think this forum (nice work Mage and Casserri) attracts people trying to run a vending operation correctly, not those trying to scam people or live on the edge of acceptability.  So no hard feelings to the charity vendors.  $1/month is just too little for me, but to each his own.

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18 minutes ago, Dmkraz said:

I have a barber shop that was doing $45/month (one double head, GB/toys).  A charity single head GB shows up with a picture of a lost child on the front and my numbers drop to $18 to $20 per month.  My machine is a Beaver RB16 double, brand new from the manufacturer, meticulously maintained, always fresh GBs - possibly the best looking 1" machine on the planet so I'm not losing on appearance.  That guy is buying himself a new iPhone by using that lost kid's picture.  If your operation is better than this guys - good for you.

BTW I've been active on this forum since 2012 and have found that the bulk vendors that frequent vendiscuss tend to be on the upper end of scrupulousness (?).  I think this forum (nice work Mage and Casserri) attracts people trying to run a vending operation correctly, not those trying to scam people or live on the edge of acceptability.  So no hard feelings to the charity vendors.  $1/month is just too little for me, but to each his own.

How much were you giving the barber shop?  Also, you are assuming that it is the charity that brought your numbers down when the reality may simply be that another machine without charity would also have brought down your numbers.  Why didn't you change the gumball wheel to a candy one so it isn't directly competing with another gum ball?

$1/month is low if all the machines are making $45/month but we have several that make less than $5 and some that just make the $1.  We could pull them out but at least the charity is getting paid if they stay.   The charity gets paid even when the machine sits in the garage waiting for a location.  

I started this business to help my adult son who has a disability get a job.  The fact is most locators won't locate without a charity and he isn't able to locate very well on his own.  We've only been doing this about a year but we are losing money and likely will need 100 more locations to be breaking even.  The three charities we have used got $2500 from us total last year.  If you think that is a scam, whatever.   It's not like just because you use a charity a business is gung ho about letting you in either.  We have gone from about a 100 boxes down to about 12 over the year.  Most kicked out, some ripped apart and cut open to get the money and some outright stolen.  The expense of "using" the charity is not just $1/month is the point.

There are those that scam people by lying about the charities as well and mislead businesses by maligning charity vendors.  I often wonder how much these "scrupulous" vendors give to charity.

I chose NCCS because I know and worked with one of the pediatric hematologists on their board when I lived in St. Louis many years ago.  I hope and trust that they are using the money for good.  But those kind of concerns are true of any charity.  

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