When I was in nonprofit management I heard a lot of pitches from retailers or suppliers wanting to sell something to my list of supporters. But there was always a sticking point. Oftentimes they wanted me to just turn over my donor list. That was a nonstarter. Later they wanted to put my logo on their merchandise or sales platform, usually without any upfront money. Those terms, too, were unacceptable.
Now a West Coast coffee roaster called Newhall Coffee Roasting Company offers an approach and terms that I think a lot of nonprofit managers could swallow.
Sell fresh-roasted coffee with your nonprofit branding on it and you get to keep a “significant percentage of the proceeds.”
Called Newhall Coffee for a Cause, all sales take place on a customizable webpage and Newhall handles all fulfillment and returns. Marketing materials like fliers, brochures and postcards are also available to participants.
Very few would-be partners get this part right. The biggest 500 nonprofit charities in United States all have their own marketing departments and webmasters. Every other charity… a number which is in the tens of thousands… doesn't have the same resources.
Good for Newhall for making this so easy for charities.
All that said, I have reservations about Newhall Coffee for a Cause.
Probably some of these questions are addressed in the agreement nonprofits sign with Newhall, but it wasn’t visible on the webpages I could read.
- Any proceeds are going to a taxable to most nonprofit charities.
- Suppose Newhall inadvertently introduces some substance or chemical into the beans sold in my branded bag that is subsequently found to be a carcinogen, whose liability is that?
- The quarterly payment is probably fine for the largest nonprofits, but for smaller ones it’s a burden.
- The “significant percentage of the proceeds” is too vague and not helpful.
- Are there any minimums?
- How much customization does Newhall permit in packaging and branding materials?
(The photo illustration comes from Springwise.com).
Labels: Newhall Coffee for a Cause, Portion of the Proceeds, Springwise.com.