Author Topic: Please come to a fundraiser for our employee!  (Read 2293 times)

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jmarvellous

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Please come to a fundraiser for our employee!
« on: August 16, 2012, 12:12:09 PM »
Background: I am friends with a couple who own a small business and related nonprofit. The employees of the business and nonprofit are essentially the same -- they do the same work, but different stripes of it.

Let's say it's a sewing business. They sew clothes and blankets for people for profit, but during their spare time, they're home-sewing advocates who teach others to sew (even if it might mean a loss of business for them) because they just love sewing so much, and they even sew for fun and donate the products sometimes. They don't pay their employees much (or provide benefits) because they're not yet making much of a profit, given this balance between sewing all day and sewing evangelism.

I support their cause but am not involved in it myself. Somehow, however, I am on their mailing list -- I don't mind most of the time, because I like seeing the latest quilts they've made, or sewing project ideas, or workshops they're offering.

Now: One of their tailors has some high-ish medical bills (under $5k but more than $1k). I happen to know that if he'd had some decent insurance at the time of his accident, it would have covered most if not all of the costs of his care for some relatively standard procedures. Yet the business he works for is organizing a benefit vaguely related to their charitable work -- and straight-up asking for money via a plea written by the guy -- for this guy's bills.

I have never met this guy and don't plan on donating given my own current situation, but I'm wondering what eHell has to say about this practice of mixing business, nonprofit work and straight-up charity. Any thoughts?

catrunning

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Re: Please come to a fundraiser for our employee!
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 12:30:05 PM »
Personally, I find it a bit distasteful that an employer who can't/won't provide medical benefits for its employees is inviting the general public to cover the medical bills for one of  their employees.    It would be one thing if the medical expenses weren't covered by standard insurance - ie:  experimental procedures - but that is not the case here.    Plus the commingling of the not-for-profit and the for-profit makes me a little squeamish. 

Amara

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Re: Please come to a fundraiser for our employee!
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 01:08:20 PM »
I find it both unethical and distasteful. And even if I had plenty of money I would not give any. It's awful the employee will pay the price, but if the owners care they should cover the employee's expenses, not expect anyone else to do so.

DavidH

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Re: Please come to a fundraiser for our employee!
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 01:58:47 PM »
It seems awkward at best.  I can't exactly state why, but is just seems off.  My final opinion might depend on the type of job and whether benefits were usually provided.  Working in a food truck (where I wouldn't expect you to have medical insurance) and volunteering at a soup kitchen would seem different to me than working as a physician in a medical group (where I would expect you to have medical insurance) and volunteering at a free clinic. 

Nothing wrong with working professionally and volunteering in the same field for a non-profit, and it some cases having the experience might help.  It's the asking for money for the employee for whom they don't provide benefits that somehow bothers me.  If co-workers were asking, it would be less off putting to me.

jmarvellous

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Re: Please come to a fundraiser for our employee!
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 05:24:08 PM »
I should say that the sewing thing is as close to what they actually do as I can get without feeling uncomfortable. It's a blue-collar job, to be sure, but they're marketing it as something bigger, a "movement," if you will, and that includes a lot of stuff about respect for workers. I should also say that I have no conclusive proof they don't provide insurance; it just makes sense from all I know about the company, their employees and the tone and content of the plea.

And the emails sent (always) bear a very blurry mix of nonprofit name and for-profit name (email address is for nonprofit name, subject line lists for-profit name, and they are mixed throughout).

It's not a business for which I'd guess the typical employee worldwide would get health insurance, but they do expect full-time and beyond for their employees. It's also not a field in which there's much room for bonuses or extra cash.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Please come to a fundraiser for our employee!
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2012, 05:49:43 PM »
I'm not bothered by it.  In our city, a woman well respected in the food industry was hurt in an  accident.  She is involved in a non-profit group that has mostly food industry volunteers.  This group does things like host events to raise money for the local food bank and also conducts courses in schools on healthly eating for kids. 

The woman did not have insurance.  Her employers, who are also leaders in the non-profit group, sponsored fund raising events to help defray her medical bills as did others in the non-profit group.

I didn't see it as a conflict.  Though I'm not in the industry, I know many people who are and received lots of communications on ways to help.  I had the option of participating or not.

FoxPaws

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Re: Please come to a fundraiser for our employee!
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2012, 06:08:30 PM »
I think the thing that's "off" for me is that his employers are hosting it.

I can't really explain why, but it gives off the same vibe as the immediate family hosting a shower. It would not seem so weird if it were if it were his friends, church, neighborhood, or some other group not directly involved or indirectly responsible for his well being and/or standard of living.
I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

cheyne

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Re: Please come to a fundraiser for our employee!
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 08:50:43 PM »
I think the thing that's "off" for me is that his employers are hosting it.

I can't really explain why, but it gives off the same vibe as the immediate family hosting a shower. It would not seem so weird if it were if it were his friends, church, neighborhood, or some other group not directly involved or indirectly responsible for his well being and/or standard of living.

I worked for a company with outstanding health benefits (think BC/BS Gold coverage) that cost single people $50. a month.  An employee, Mike, was diagnosed with lung and brain cancer.  He had the coverage, received treatment, and it didn't help.  His actual medical costs were covered 90%, but there are many costs that are not covered by medical insurance.  The gas to drive 80 miles round-trip twice a week for treatments, comforts for his condition not covered, the cost of his living expenses when he was not able to work.

Our company hosted a benefit for Mike.  The company paid for all food, entertainment, and about 40 items for a silent auction.  It was a huge success.

All proceeds went to Mike and his parents for the costs associated with his treatment.  We raised thousands of dollars.  Unfortunately, Mike passed within two  weeks of the benefit.  Mike had company sponsored life insurance, so his parents were able to pay all the expenses (including his funeral) after his death.  They gave the benefit money back to the company-who promptly donated it in Mike's name to a cancer charity.

The moral of this story: If it's done right I think it's OK for a company to host a benefit for it's employees. 


DavidH

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Re: Please come to a fundraiser for our employee!
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2012, 11:59:54 AM »
I think Cheyne posted the perfect example of this done well.  I was thinking why this seems so different and I think it's because it for an unusual and very severe circumstance and to cover things which the company would not be expected to provide insurance to cover.