How do you handle donations?

Our county has 15K population. We are in a very distressed area (high unemployment) and I have countless people coming in every day asking for donations. Everything from cash to Chinese Auctions/Basket Auctions, for Relay for Life to covering funeral expenses to helping cover medical costs… you name it they have it. In the past I have always given away a free 1 item pizza. And as always they get their free pizza and that’s it. How do you handle these things? I don’t want to be the scrooge of the county, yet I feel like I’m constantly giving away my product to people who don’t patronize me anyway.

Same situation here my zip code is 4500 always have them coming in asking I do the same give out free pizzas and write them off

We give only give out gift certs for $25 (about a Giant Combo). If they are current customers I don’t mind, and if they are not, I like it even more! (The best advertising is for a non-customer to try our pizza) And if the Cert doesn’t come back, it doesn’t cost us anything. I suppose I should add that they have catch me, and only me, to even ask for donations - which isn’t the easiest thing do. (Catch me, that is)

Just say, “no thank you.”

We decided on a giving policy years ago. There were far too many requests and I needed a way for the manager on duty to handle it instead of having to chase me down each time: If the cause has to do with kids and it is in our TOWN we will donate. Every time. If it does not have to do with kids or is not in our town we explain what our policy is and politely decline. We have so many thank cards and letters posted in our waiting area that it would be impossible to miss the fact that we give a lot. We have a couple of long standing exceptions but that is pretty much it.

Mostly, we give a certificate for a pizza party. 3 X 3-topping 16" pizzas, two orders of wings and three pints of ben & jerrys is typical. About a $100 value. A few times we have made much larger donations (100 pizzas to the effort to build playground equipment at both local elemtary schools, 100 pizzas to a kids library book initiative)

Having a policy of what we support makes it much easier. We even put it on our website: http://sodacreekpizza.com/supporting-locals/