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Do people offer to donate to you? and how does that work?


ehgilman
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I have had small displays, (store bought 4 channel light controller) but this is my first year going "Big" (16 channels to start) I have heard stories of people putting a "Donation box" out front to help offset the costs of running a show. If I understand correctly, once you have offset the costs, any "Proceeds" (Money over and above what you spent on the show)need to go to a charity? How does this work? I already have a charity in mind.

I have not conciddered putting out a box, but if it sounds like a lot of people get donations for their shows, I just might.

Any advice and input would be greatly appreciated.

Newbie Eric G

16 channels and I have not counted my LEDs ;-)

Salisbury NC

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I have had small displays, (store bought 4 channel light controller) but this is my first year going "Big" (16 channels to start) I have heard stories of people putting a "Donation box" out front to help offset the costs of running a show. If I understand correctly, once you have offset the costs, any "Proceeds" (Money over and above what you spent on the show)need to go to a charity? How does this work? I already have a charity in mind.

I have not conciddered putting out a box, but if it sounds like a lot of people get donations for their shows, I just might.

Any advice and input would be greatly appreciated.

Newbie Eric G

16 channels and I have not counted my LEDs ;-)

Salisbury NC

I have read that too and gosh I hope so...although ALL donations are going to charity. In fact, we are advertising as such. We try to raise money for organizations every year, been successful the past 9 years..this is the first time with the light show. I do the lights for ME...cuz I like it. if an organization can benefit from it...then so be it.

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So I gues what I really need to know is..

Did people offer to donate before you put a donation box out?

At my old address the road wasn't safe for a donation box so I didn't have one. I didn't have anyone approach me for a donation without a box.

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I considered a donation box but didn't know the ramifications of doing it, then insuring the proof whatever was donated to charity which of course I would do...paperwork and etc... So this year, no donation box at this house.

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We've done a donation box every year. As far as using the funds to cover the costs of the display, I think that's the tackiest, most selfish and most disgraceful thing I've heard in a long time. If a person can't afford to do a display, then DON'T!

We actively mention the donation box during most announcements and every penny donated goes to our local food shelf. Those who want to donate do, and those who don't want to donate don't. I've yet to hear any complaints about the donation box, but we've heard tons of praise. And quite frankly, if someone wants to drive away in a huff because they're offended, I say thanks for clearing that spot in the street for those waiting in line who WANT to be there.

I'm unsure what "ramifications" or "proof" or what "paperwork and etc" dgrant refers to. Maybe things are different in the Ozarks than in Minnesota. We simply empty the box each night, count the proceeds - for nothing more than our own satisfaction - and then hand over the stash to the head of our local foodshelf every few days. I'm not sure how it could be any more simple.

Note: We do buy, for the face value, any grocery gift cards that get donated because the food shelf can leverage 20 bucks much, much farther than they can a $20 dollar gift card. And I always buy the dollar coins people deposit because I like dollar coins.

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We've done a donation box every year. As far as using the funds to cover the costs of the display, I think that's the tackiest, most selfish and most disgraceful thing I've heard in a long time. If a person can't afford to do a display, then DON'T!

Well said and 100% agree. If you can't afford it, don't start. You will get addicted. Well stated George.

Oh and Merry Christmas to everyone.

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I truly don't know what the laws are here in regards to donations. If I get asked about donations, I'll greatfully accept them and insure they get donated somehow to whatever the charity(s) there are here and it'll be exactly down to the penny, whatever might be given.

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George seen in your post that your in Minnesota. Would like to check out your show if its not to far away. I'm in Superior, Wi. My wife is from the Ham Lake-East Bethel area & we'll be down in Cambrige on Thanksgiving. Also we might stay at the in-laws in Blaine on Thursday night.

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Ok, You have cleared some things up. I haven’t seen anybody say they have gotten in trouble for doing this. I have narrowed it down to 3 possible charities, and if it is a success then I might rotate between the three of them.

As far as covering costs, I have put up a display every year for as long as I can remember. When I switched to LED lights, My electric bill went WAY DOWN. The only investment I have into this is the LOR box and a in expensive FM transmitter. So I will probobly not need any help. I do this because I love it and as a gift to my neighborhood. I was just throwing the idea out there because not all of us have come through this crapy economy as well as others have. So as a person who is not "Well off" and still wants to put the Time and Effort into this for the neighborhood and maybe raise some funds for a good charity or two or three. I threw the idea out there. Maybe if you have some extra cash you can send some my way so people here in the poor neighborhoods can enjoy a little Christmas spirit. Selfish is when you are doing something for only yourself. Disgraceful is when people with money seem to think that the poor people should just give up and quit.

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For Halloween I used to collect on that one night only. I dont collect during the 6 weeks of the Christmas show but suggest people pay it forward and give on their own directly.

It surprised me every time it happened, several times people tried really hard to give me money for my expenses. I agree with George, its way tacky. But some generous people dont and really want to help me for all my work. I always told them 100% goes to charity. Also while cash was easy.. I suggested personal checks which I handed over to the charity so the donor would get the credit.

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I/we spend quite a bit of time outside watching the lights and visiting with people during the season and have learned it's easier and quicker just to say thanks to people who insist on donating to me personally or to the display. (Not to mention sparing people hurt feelings when you refuse their gift.) I always make a show of putting it into my pocket and thanking them for their kindness, and then when I get inside, I drop it into the food shelf collection container. Works for them - works for me - works to help feed hungry people.

Hey Tundra - you're more than welcome to stop by on Thanksgiving. We're located about 40 minutes west of the Twin Cities. (More specific details are on the website.) If the weather is decent, look for me/us directly across the street from the house on the sidewalk in front of the empty lot. If there's no place to stop on the street - you never know about opening night attendance - you can park your vehicle in the back part of the aforementioned empty lot. The lot is accessed from the alley. If we're not outside, feel free to c'mon up the driveway and knock at the side door. Heck, we might even invite y'all in. (Don't trip on the pvc pipe across the sidewalk just inside the gate.)

Edited by George Simmons
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So I gues what I really need to know is..

Did people offer to donate before you put a donation box out?

Yes, all of the time - I always refuse. I make it clear that I take toys and canned goods only. However, once in a blue moon a little old lady will palm me some money and they make it very clear that they will not take no for an answer.

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This will be my first year doing a display and I am hoping to collect money/and or canned food donations for my local food pantry. I am also hoping to "sell" this display idea to my church. I am doing a 16 channel display in my front yard this year. My front yard is not the biggest but I am hoping that people from my church come by to see the display and get an idea of what a light display is about. I plan on asking the church if they would allow me next year to do a much larger display at one of 3 lots that sit next to my church in which all donations would go to our compasionate food pantry. This is the ultimate goal that I have for a light display. I live in a town of about 10,000 people and none of the churches around my town do any kind of light display nor does any other resident in my town. I am the only one that will have an lor display. Sure some residents light up their homes but none use any kind synchronized displays.

I spent about the whole weekend getting my display put up. I finished all of the display except for the last 2 channels. I did a test run to get an idea of how it would all look. Everything looked pretty good and all worked. As I was standing outside looking at the display in action I felt a little a odd due to it anly being the 10th of November. But as I was standing and watching the display a mini van stopped right in the middle of the road and watched most of my sequence of wizards in winter. I could hear adults and kids talking about how cool it all looked. As crazy as it sounds I got a little rush from it. It made me feel really good that someone was enjoying my display even tho it was only November the 10th. I cant wait to start running my show starting Thanksgiving weekend.

Anyway I think people will want to give. They receive joy out of watching all of our hard work and time in action. But anything that I receive will go 100% to charity. Charity is what motivated me to start doing a light display in the first place.

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As far as covering costs, I have put up a display every year for as long as I can remember. When I switched to LED lights, My electric bill went WAY DOWN. The only investment I have into this is the LOR box and a in expensive FM transmitter. So I will probobly not need any help. I do this because I love it and as a gift to my neighborhood. I was just throwing the idea out there because not all of us have come through this crapy economy as well as others have. So as a person who is not "Well off" and still wants to put the Time and Effort into this for the neighborhood and maybe raise some funds for a good charity or two or three. I threw the idea out there. Maybe if you have some extra cash you can send some my way so people here in the poor neighborhoods can enjoy a little Christmas spirit. Selfish is when you are doing something for only yourself. Disgraceful is when people with money seem to think that the poor people should just give up and quit.

So I think its real simple: if you can aford to do a show with your own funds, do it. If you can't, and have to depend on others to fund it, either via the contributions those who watch it might want to make, or, asking for money like you did here, don't do it.

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I do my light show as my gift to the community. My donation box is 100% charity.

In addition to being one more thing to deal with, I feel that some viewers may feel a little guilty about seeing a donation box and not donating, especially if they come with their family. I just want them to enjoy the show without any expectations.

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I think this topic may have gotten out of hand in some respects. I don't think anyone on here "can't" afford to do it...some of us just can do it bigger. My husband has been out of work for over 2 years now due to a work injury. I wanted this for like 3 years. Started with the Mr. Christmas for 2 years...but just couldn't stand it any longer. I saved, did extra work. Bought one controller. Thankfully someone was looking out for me and notified me when they found someone on here selling 2 controllers. I negotiated and got them both for $300. Thankfully I had a barage of Christmas lights already. Not many LED but this year it is what it is. bought things little by little..started early.... had scrap supplies in the workshop...kept my husband busy... I am very pleased with what I got. I am putting out a donation box...I hope people load it with money! but I would NEVER keep it for me. THat's not what Christmas is about. I have 3 organizations that deserve a little help this year. God will provide me with my needs. I am not concerned. I have raised money and stuff for charities for 9 years. I have a Christmas party and require my guests to bring something for them. Figure if you are going to come eat my food, drink by booze, get free gifts... you can donate. If people come by and like the lights, and God leads them to donate..then great... if they can't... then hey... at least they got to see some beautiful lights and I pray it brings them joy this season...even if its for 18 minutes 36 seconds.

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