Firm staggered charities are spurning handouts

21:43, Mar 01 2012

A business set up to support good causes is astonished it can't even give money away to some charities.

HaloBiz general manager Julie South of Hamilton says a surprising number of charities are saying "thanks but no thanks" to her company's offer to give them money.

The charities are balking at having to pay a membership fee of between $99 and $129 plus GST a year to join HaloBiz, even though they could receive many times that amount each year in donations, South says.

HaloBiz is an online business directory launched in July last year, with the aim of bringing like-minded customers and businesses together and "putting the heart back into business".

Customers can go on the HaloBiz website to find a business with similar interests or values to their own. Seventy per cent of advertising fees from each business goes to their nominated charities, South says.

"The public love us, businesses love us, and the charities that are involved love us. But some community organisations aren't interested in the money we have to give them... these are household names, well-known charities.

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"The responses I receive are along the lines of `we're too busy to talk to you' or `call us back when you're better known' or `you're not big enough for us to want to be associated with'.

"Each time all I want to do is pass on money on behalf of a local business."

South says it's disheartening for some businesses. HaloBiz has had to go back to them asking for a second, third and in one case even a fourth community organisation because the charity they originally nominated wasn't interested.

In one case it took HaloBiz five months to be able to pass on the money from a business to its chosen charity.

"One charity declined the 70 per cent because it wanted 100 per cent. It's insulting to a business to be declined, especially when most of our members are small businesses and they work damn hard in extremely challenging financial times to be in a position to nominate a charity in the first place."

South hopes the publicity will encourage the reluctant charities to think twice before turning down the money.

"In order for a charity to benefit, one of our requirements is that they become a member of HaloBiz too – to create a network because that's the whole idea. The membership fee is really just a nominal fee.

"Most of the community organisations express delight when we ring them up saying we've got some money to give them. Even though they're genuinely thrilled to receive the financial support, it also appears that they're honoured the business chose them."

On the HaloBiz website, at HaloBiz.co.nz, select the "organisations" tab to see which local businesses support your favourite charities.

Waikato Times