Giving Back Is So Much More Than a Tax Deduction
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
Charitable donations should be part of your business budget. In recent years charitable causes have been hit hard by the economy and the budget cutting of many financial planners in businesses, as well as private donors. Overall, the trend is up, but we can all do a little better. If it’s buying a box of Girl Scout Cookies or donating to a worthy cause, we can all do something to help a make this world a better place.
Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” I’m not talking about giving away your “fortune” to leave a legacy. I’m talking about being charitable and giving a little bit more often. There are many websites that can guide you to a report card checklist on a charity to learn how much of what you give actually goes to fund the programs. In our own industry, AAMA’s Charitable Foundation does a wonderful job. Other shining stars are Joe Newhart from PinballStar Amusements who donates pinball machines to children’s hospitals, as well as ProjectPinball.org.
Some people believe donating to a charity should have some direct benefit to their business. They don’t see the point of making a donation if they’re not getting something other than a tax deduction. Sadly, they look at donations as a waste of money, thinking instead of how the money could have been used for themselves or to buy something for the business. I’ve heard that from people I’ve known over the years and rather than get in an argument, I just figure they have some plan to take it with them when they go. How about the feeling that you did something to help others? That’s priceless, especially if you do it anonymously.
I’m not asking you give what you can’t afford, but donating from your excess should be easy. Charity should come from everyone and doesn’t consist of gifts of money alone: Your time and your talent can be used to do charitable works as a volunteer!
St. Francis of Assisi said: “For it is in giving that we receive.” I have found this to be true in my own life. We are all called to help each other to make this world a little better place. If each of us does something small, the net result is in something really big happening that will benefit all of us.
Charitable functions are another way to help the organization and often, even though it’s not the goal, you can promote your business at the same time. Donating goods or services to a silent auction helps the charity, and can also help you get new customers.
A case in point: Years ago, I placed a couple of pinball machines at a Boy Scout fundraiser. I priced them close to my cost, but well under retail, and they both sold for more than what I could have donated to the Scouts. They paid me for the games and the buyer was the CEO of a major bank who went on to buy more games from us for his grandchildren for years to come.
There are ways to help the charity and promote your business but the first and most important step is to want to help and make a difference.
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011 he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at jack@ jerseyjackpinball.com.