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Forum topic by nate22 posted 09-22-2011 12:42 PM 1302 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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475 posts in 2871 days

09-22-2011 12:42 PM

Beginning of this month I had a lady call me about my bunk beds. She asked me how much I sell them and all the other questions then she told me she works for this place that helps families that get abused. She told me they needed bunk beds and asked me if I could donate them or sell them cheaper to them. My question is if you were going to do that would you donate them or sell them cheaper to them than you would regular customers. She also told me they are a non profit organization to. Any comments would be helpful.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

8 replies so far

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3428 days

#1 posted 09-22-2011 12:48 PM

My opinion… if it is a good cause, I would donate something… and sell the rest at a discount. There is little enough kindness in this world and anything we can do to make this world a better place works for me. Of course, if you make a living selling bunk beds, you also need to stay out of the poor house!
Keep in mind… while few people in an abuse situation may buy from you, you will get some good publicity for future purchases via those who come into contact with the organization.
Just my 0.02

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2498 days

#2 posted 09-22-2011 01:37 PM

How many do they want and, perhaps even more importantly, how soon do they want them?

There is a lot of wood in your beds so, especially if they want more than one, I think it is probably fair that you charge them the cost of materials even if nothing else. Whether, and how much you also charge for your labour might depend on whether they are jobs that you can fit around other paying work, or whether you would have to dedicate all of your time and earning capacity to making these beds. As Ellen says, you also need to keep some money coming in.

I’m an Aussie so I’ve no idea how US tax law works. In Australia, however, donations to many such organisations are tax deductable. If that is the case in the US, then how about charging full price, but immediately making a cash donation back to them? The net effect for them is exactly the same, but your position is better because you have just picked up a tax deduction.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Broglea's profile


685 posts in 3087 days

#3 posted 09-22-2011 02:12 PM

In my opinion, it would depend on your financial situation. If you can afford to donate a bed or two then go ahead.

Another angle would be to have them supply the material (perhaps through a donation from another company or individual) and you supply the labor and time.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3070 days

#4 posted 09-22-2011 03:21 PM

I do a lot of volunteer work for charitable causes. Most of it is for my church, but I have also done work for other worthy causes. It’s a personal decision. I’m retired. I enjoy woodworking a lot and it gives me a special sense of satisfaction to do this kind of work.

I’m not saying this is what other people should do. It’s what I enjoy doing.

I keep receipts for the materials I buy and get reimbursed for this expense. I include saw blades, special router bits and similar items in the “materials” that I get reimbursed for.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2846 days

#5 posted 09-22-2011 04:59 PM

There’s a bunch of nice, good thoughts here.

Would it be logistically possible for you to donate a “kit”? That is, build some subassemblies, unfinished, and hand them over and agree to coach another volunteer (from their side) on assembly? And surely they can find a finisher.

It gets you a little less time involvement, a chance to meet someone else (who will doubtless be impressed with your stuff) and still get the good feelings.

Followup: Talk to your accountant about how to handle the tax part to your best advantage

Get a photograph of you and the director and the bed and the other volunteers. Make sure that goes into your portfolio book. Local newspaper might be interested too.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View dbhost's profile


5710 posts in 3228 days

#6 posted 09-22-2011 05:24 PM

Let me state my caveats here.

#1. I do not make my living in woodworking, so donating my woodworking time doesn’t take bread from my family. #2. The majority of my projects, and the ones I do not post here (or anywhere online for that matter) are done on a volunteer / donation basis. While not always with my own congregation, I try to find Christian ministry opportunities where I can use my skills.

Sometimes it is volunteering for Habitat For Humanity projects (I have plumbed, sheathed, and framed more than a couple of those houses…) or worked on the team that built “Kit Houses” for final assembly in Haiti after the earthquakes. (Okay, overglorified sheds with shelves for bunks, and a kitchen / shelf thing… I have also done pew restoration, built stage risers, rebuilt monitor / amp cabinets for sound equipment, built stage props etc…

Sometimes I donate the material as well, but typically not. I just don’t have the funds… However, where I can I do…

If this non profit is something you believe in, throwing your skills and sweat behind a good cause is always worthwhile…

There is a center here for abused women and children. Honestly I have no idea where, which is their point… Understandable, if they were to approach me to build bunk beds for their kids, I would GLADLY do so. And if they only want women to see where they are, I would send my wife with the truck to deliver them… I have a soft spot for abused kids. (I was luckily never one, but I have several close friends that went through H*ll and back and still bear the scars…)

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View steviep's profile


233 posts in 2643 days

#7 posted 09-22-2011 05:56 PM

I get this all the time in the music industry. I get mad at times when I am short on work and it seems like every phone call I get is for yet another charity, I also get people that are disgusted with me for asking for money for my skill.

What I have come to realize is this: we are all on this earth for a short time and we all need to look out for each other. I could work 24/7 playing for charity events for VERY worthwhile causes (kids with cancer, young widowed family’s, etc.) all legitimate, but you do have to make a living. I try and volunteer at least 10% of my talent and time for my fellow man, so if I play 60 dates a year I try and make 6 of those free to a good cause.

Bottom line is this- If you are in a position to help and they are legit- go for it, it makes you feel good inside.

Hope this helps,


-- StevieP ~ Micheal Tompkins - you were not here on earth long but left a giant mark on us. RIP Brother

View nate22's profile


475 posts in 2871 days

#8 posted 09-22-2011 06:58 PM

Thanks for all of the replies I wanted to see what you guys thought before I told you what I did. I ended up selling the bunk beds to them for the cost of material. I talked it over with my wife and we agreed that we could do it if the place was willing to buy them at the cost of material. And I like some of your guys ideas one having me and the people from the place in the picture. The place I am taking them to ended up ordering 9 bunk beds, 6 twin/twin, and 3 twin/full. And being non profit I can do it as a tax deduction. Thanks for all of the comments.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

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