The dilemma of selling to charities

I’ve been thinking recently about the dilemma of selling to and supporting charities.

I may be wrong but it seems to me that the number of charities is increasing, and becoming a more significant part in the computer services marketplace. They certainly need our services and have many of the same issues as our other small business clients. They are certainly no less demanding, nor should they be.

One of the issues is that Microsoft sells its licenses to charities at a fraction of the cost available to individuals and businesses. As much as a tenth, in some cases. This sets up an expectation that all IT products and services can be available at such massive discounts.

My first instinct is to try to be helpful and I probably end up selling my business’s services at too low a rate. So long as I don’t do this too often it’ll be ok, but is it fair to my other customers, my staff, and my shareholders?

So what do I do? Do I keep my rates the same as for my business customers, or do I offer some sort of discount? And if so, why? Perhaps I have to, just because everybody else does. Am I just giving in too easily to moral pressure and convincing myself it’s all ok because I’m doing a good thing? And why do charities expect a discount in the first place? Surely the service has the same value to them as for any one else…

If you’re a supplier to charities, or if you’re a charity I’d be interested in your views. Please use the comments field below.

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