Struggling enterprise stretched by “asks”

Dear Amy: I’m a enterprise owner with a tiny retail retailer situated in an affluent neighborhood.

We rent our space and our employees incorporates family members members who perform for no cost so that we can retain the doors open.

The shop is a labor of enjoy, and it is a gathering spot for neighborhood members.

That mentioned, enterprise is extremely slow and we are struggling.

The COVID years saw our comprehensive shutdown (according to state mandates), and enterprise at a comprehensive standstill. The vacationers who utilized to be our primary guests/purchasers have not returned because COVID.

We are consistently getting approached by neighborhood corporations and nonprofits hunting for donations and sponsorships.

These include things like schools asking for donations to raffles museums asking for 3-figure donations to their fundraisers nonprofits raising funds for very good causes neighborhood theaters and newspapers asking us to buy advertisements (“for only $275 a week”), and extra.

We have constantly supported them when we could, which includes providing present certificates to our shop, but I’m overwhelmed now.

Some days I’m deciding on involving getting meals or gas for my automobile so I can drive to my other job.

Our enterprise account is empty and it is all I can do not to cry when asked for donations.

They ask in telephone calls and then adhere to up in particular person and by means of emails, copying other individuals on these emails, which tends to make it appear like we’re an uncharitable enterprise.

Some of the askers even make a comment that we’re in “this town” so for that reason should have the funds and suggests to donate.

How do I respond to these men and women? I was constantly taught to “never complain, never ever clarify,” and I do not know how to inform them that I’d enjoy to donate but we just can not.

Our hope is to retain our retailer going for a handful of extra years as our enterprise recovers from the pandemic, but I’m also afraid we’re going to drop respect from neighborhood members who feel we are closefisted and uncharitable.

Your assistance?

— Worried Shop Owner

Dear Worried: My assistance is to craft a basic, truthful, and polite written response: “As our enterprise continues to recover soon after our lengthy closure for the duration of the pandemic, we locate ourselves unable to donate to your extremely worthy trigger. We hope to see you in the shop extremely quickly.”

I hope that your fears regarding your reputation are an exaggerated response to your affluent surroundings. You must assume that other neighborhood family members-run corporations are stretched, as well. (Connecting with other individuals in a neighborhood tiny-enterprise networking association may aid you to see that you are not alone.)

Bear in mind that the men and women creating these requests probably do not understand that theirs is the fifth “ask” you have received this week. A swift, respectful, and definitive “Sorry — we’re stretched tight, so not this year” must send them on their way.

Hang in there. You are not alone.

Dear Amy: I reside with my daughter and son-in-law in my personal private quarters, which I paid for them to create.

My region covers roughly a single-third of the home.

I attempt to give them their space and reside independently in my unit, which is attached by a hallway to their two-story home.

We are a loving family members and I have a fantastic son-in-law.

I stated that I’d spend a single-third of the utilities, which incorporates heat, air conditioning, and garbage pickup.

I’m retired and living on Social Safety.

They are complete-time effective enterprise men and women.

My daughter thinks I must spend for half the utilities.

Granted, I do not endure and use the heat and air for my comfort.

Old men and women do not like to shiver all winter or sweat all summer time.

Is it equitable to split the fees 50/50 or must we spend according to our earning energy?

— Cool Consumer

Dear Cool Consumer: No, it does not look equitable to split the fees of these utilities 50/50.

Nor does it look equitable to spend for utilities primarily based on your revenue.

The clear answer (to me) is for you to spend a single-third of the utilities, because you occupy a single-third of the space and are a single-third of the occupants.

You may appear into installing a door involving your unit and their home (for power conservation purposes), and probably installing a separate meter for your unit.

Dear Amy: “Organizer with a Problem” relayed intense aggravation more than how their “politically primarily based affinity group” had devolved into dysfunction.

They need to have to use Robert’s Guidelines of Order: Make a motion, talk about, then vote. That’ll quit the minority from ruling the group.

— Been There

Dear Been There: I vote “aye!”

(You can e-mail Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also adhere to her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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