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?