Our philosophy is that although we are not wealthy, as long as we have our business running and our health, we should try to help those that are struggling or less fortunate.
That said, we get more than 300 requests, some times more than 500 for free and discounted work each year, and we do as many as we possibly can and still remain (barely) profitable.
We give back to the community as much as we can, but we do have to make some painful decisions about who gets the free and discounted work, and when we have to apologize because we are too “tapped” with too many resources and team members expended at the time.
In 2009 there was a 2 week period where Anna and I did 6 events for free. It was the only work we had during that period and we were busy as could be completing each event and doing the prep and after math for each one (creating and posting slide shows from the pictures we take at each event, and so on) … and when we added up what it would have come to if we had charged it came to $2500.00. We are happy to help whenever we can.
Because there are more requests than we can accommodate, we have established a rough guideline of acceptance, which starts with the proximity of the people in need to our town of Billerica, MA. Because we live here we try and “take care of our own” first and then others that live farther and farther away, as time and resources permit. Once the distance factor has been addressed, we then use this rough order: We always try to help our senior citizens first, all branches of the U S Military, Fire, Police, and then, the many fundraiser organizers that contact us. Terminal illness trumps new uniforms for the soccer team and so forth.
If we could do them all we would. And as we have continued to grow, adding more people and more resources, we have been able to do more each year for the past 3 decades if you can believe that we have been here that long ! (Since October 1980)