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Thread: A portion of the proceeds will be donated to . . .

  1. #1
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    A portion of the proceeds will be donated to . . .

    You see this once in a while, but how does it work? Does the author make arrangements on his or her own to give a lump sum or a percentage of the royalties to the charity? Or does the publisher make the arrangements? Does the publisher contribute as well? Or is it done every which way you can imagine on a case-by-case basis?

    Just idle curiosity (at this point )
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  2. #2
    New kid, be gentle! PinkAmy's Avatar
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    I'm so glad you asked this. I want to donate a portion of my proceeds if I am lucky enough to get published. I was curious about the same thing.

  3. #3
    Opinionated suki's Avatar
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    I'm sure it's case by case, but, I also think that in most cases, with the exceptions of books published by foundations and niche publishers, any of the proceeds come out of the author's share - ie, the publisher doesn't care what you do with your share of the money, but the publisher isn't donating any.

    And that makes it tricky, because if you advertise it as some portion of the cover price going to charity, you must actually ensure that the proper portion actually goes to charity. So, what happens if you decide $x from each book sale are going to charity, but you don't earn back your advance. Does that mean you will donate out of pocket? even if the book tanks? Or do you need to donate a certain protion of the advance? or, if it's a non-advance paying publisher, at what point will you receive royalties, and what happens if it doesn't sell even enough copies as that - does the author still have to donate?

    I know people want to state up front there will be donations to encourage sales and show people the author cares about the subject matter, but it also can lead to some real complications and sticky situations.

    ETA: And it would be something to discuss with your editor or agent later, not while querying

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  4. #4
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    And if you're going to be using the donation as a promotional tool, be sure to get permission from the the charity to use their name for commercial/promotional purposes.
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  5. #5
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Thanks! That's awesome info. I figured it would all come out of the authors royalties. Almost seems better to keep it hush and donate after the other considerations are met.
    Last edited by Chris P; 02-05-2011 at 01:01 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    And if you're going to be using the donation as a promotional tool, be sure to get permission from the the charity to use their name for commercial/promotional purposes.

    Well, that's not a worry. As long as you actually make the donation, you;re perfectly free to say a portion of the proceeds will go to the charity, even if the charity knows nothing about it.

    It may or may not be for promotion, but even if it is, no one is ever going to admit it. You aren't using the charity for promotion, you're using promotion for the charity. And any charity will be glad to get the money.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    Almost seems better to keep it hush and donate after the other considerations are met.
    You never want it hush, hush. The whole point of advertising it is to make more sales. Many people will buy something they wouldn't otherwise buy, if they know part of the money is going to charity.

  8. #8
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Most charities have trademarked their names and logos. Using such to promote sales -- whether for profit, for donation, or any combination thereof -- can run you afoul of trademark violations. While most charities won't track you down with a C&D, etc., some will and it's better safe than sorry, IMHO. Not to mention common courtesy when you're using someone else's name/reputation to promote your own.
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  9. #9
    "Bear trumps Elephants!" colealpaugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    You see this once in a while, but how does it work?
    I used to work for newspapers, so I have a decent feel for hooks, or what will grab a busy feature editor's attention. Our local animal shelter does great work with limited funding. A key character in my book is a circus bear that was trained to dance by her abusive first owner. So it seemed pretty natural to contact the shelter about a charity event for my book launch: "Buy a Bear to Save a Cat."

    I cleared the date with our library director, then made the offer to the shelter director. I guaranteed a minimum donation, but will be giving all proceeds from the event to the shelter. I was given a bunch of free books, so my cost is next to nothing. The shelter will be sending a representative to hand out information. If the publicity sells books outside the event, great. If not, I'll have raised some cash for a great cause.

    Two weeks prior to the event, I'll contact the papers and two local TV stations, then poke them again two days before. I'm dropping flyers off at the shelter next week (eh, kindly look beyond the hyperbole).

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  10. #10
    New kid, be gentle! PinkAmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    You never want it hush, hush. The whole point of advertising it is to make more sales. Many people will buy something they wouldn't otherwise buy, if they know part of the money is going to charity.
    Unless of course, you want to be altruistic and not use the charity to pimp sales .

  11. #11
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    HarperCollins was very excited to learn that I am associated with a charity in India and vowed some small percentage of their profit to go there. Since the book never earned out, this never happened; however, thet did buy stuff from the charity as part of the promotion (hand-painted cards).
    I personally gave the charity 10000 from my first advance; it went towards a hospital that was to be built and has now been in in operation for many years. That was a private donation and I never made it public in any way (except here on AW).
    I'm very keen to donate heaps and heaps of money I might ever get that would be beyond my own (and family's) needs. It just hasn't happened yet! Oh well.
    I was particularly keen to make enough money with my second book to build a safe house for young girls saved from prostitution in Bombay. I had a doctor who was working with these girls and he had the land and everything. It just never worked out. Maybe one day.
    Last edited by aruna; 02-07-2011 at 05:48 PM.
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  12. #12
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    oops! A correction. I donated not 10000, but 10000 Deutsche Marks. That's a third of the amount.

    ETA: No, it was DM 20000 ! I have a TERRIBLE head for figures. I alweays did badly in history because I could never remember dates.
    Last edited by aruna; 02-07-2011 at 07:13 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    Well, that's not a worry. As long as you actually make the donation, you;re perfectly free to say a portion of the proceeds will go to the charity, even if the charity knows nothing about it.

    It may or may not be for promotion, but even if it is, no one is ever going to admit it. You aren't using the charity for promotion, you're using promotion for the charity. And any charity will be glad to get the money.
    Not true, I've been there and have done it many times. Everytime we had to get the charities ok.

    ETA: My experience is only within Canada. Maybe it's different elsewhere?
    Last edited by brainstorm77; 02-07-2011 at 06:02 PM.

  14. #14
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Nope. Also, charities are understandably sensitive to possible fraudulent use of their name (i.e., using their name to raise money with no intention of donating), and will actively watch for mention. In short, registering with the charity protects you both.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    Well, that's not a worry. As long as you actually make the donation, you;re perfectly free to say a portion of the proceeds will go to the charity, even if the charity knows nothing about it.

    It may or may not be for promotion, but even if it is, no one is ever going to admit it. You aren't using the charity for promotion, you're using promotion for the charity. And any charity will be glad to get the money.
    If you're going to sound a trumpet before you while giving your alms, then you do need to be concerned about legalities, because trumpets tend to draw attention to what you're doing.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkAmy View Post
    I'm so glad you asked this. I want to donate a portion of my proceeds if I am lucky enough to get published. I was curious about the same thing.
    There is a non-profit that allows you to donate what would otherwise be affiliate commissions from Amazon. It's 5% of the book price.

    http://www.goodmention.org/StaticCon...ew=independent

  17. #17
    Unpacking Boxes for All Eternity AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    Well, that's not a worry. As long as you actually make the donation, you;re perfectly free to say a portion of the proceeds will go to the charity, even if the charity knows nothing about it.

    It may or may not be for promotion, but even if it is, no one is ever going to admit it. You aren't using the charity for promotion, you're using promotion for the charity. And any charity will be glad to get the money.
    I just asked the attorney across the hall. This information is incorrect, James.

    For instance, maybe the charity I'd love to see benefit from my sales does not want its name associated with "Dirty Diapers for Rev. Johnson." This is their legal right, to control the use of their name and any logo they use.

    So please, if you're going to assign yourself the voice of authority, kindly get a leg to stand on.

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  18. #18
    New kid, be gentle! PinkAmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillips199 View Post
    There is a non-profit that allows you to donate what would otherwise be affiliate commissions from Amazon. It's 5% of the book price.

    http://www.goodmention.org/StaticCon...ew=independent
    Wow-- thanks a lot!!!!!!!!

    I think I want to be anonymous about this (as in not to say so in my book). For me personally the the org. I've chosen, it's the right thing to do.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    Well, that's not a worry. As long as you actually make the donation, you;re perfectly free to say a portion of the proceeds will go to the charity, even if the charity knows nothing about it.
    A charity that OJ Simpson named was *NOT* pleased when OJ Simpson announced that his appearance fees for an event would be donated to them - they took out an injunction (from memory) to stop him from advertising using his name.

    Even without the offer being made by someone of OJ's reputation it can still dilute their brand. It can also be directly misleading. For example if the public is used to the MS Society Read-a-thon. So if you sell books around the time of the Read-a-thon using the MS society's name you can end up in trouble.. even if the name is only on marketing material rather than on the book itself.

    Franklin mint had an extremely expensive lawsuit over statements where they sold plates by announcing they were giving proceeds to a certain charity. They won in the end .. but only after millions of dollars (literally) in costs.

    And remember that truth is not a defence to a right of publicity claim.

    So even though <Insert Celebrity here> said my product was the best product they'd ever seen .. it doesn't automatically mean that I can use that statement in advertising. It's true - but it still infringes on their right to use their public image the way they wish.

    It would seem that the same applies to charities.

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  20. #20
    THE BLUEBERRY QUEEN OF HADES BenPanced's Avatar
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    Looking at the information in The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling, the book is listed as having been published by the Children's High Level Group, a charity she had set up with another person, and all net proceeds will be donated by the US publisher, Scholastic. I can only imagine the headaches involved when there's an overseas charity.
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  21. #21
    Zombie lovin' elindsen's Avatar
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    I know this is very late to the party , but I wanted to comment as someone in this situation.

    100% of the proceeds for my book are being donated to charity. Well, to be exact, 100% ebook and 100% print, minus production costs. I'm pubbed through a small press. Upon signing my contract, I asked my pub if it's okay to donate all of my share. Of course she said "sure" because, well, it's my money

    My pub then pledged the company's share. Since ebooks cost next to nothing to produce, she was fine giving that money. The print she cannot donate all of hers because of production costs. But the royalties she donated.

    How it works is she trusts me, mostly because my charity is my nephew's cancer hospital, to make sure the money goes where it's supposed to. 1st of every month, she cuts me a check. I'm waiting for quarterly sales to hand a lump some over to the hospital, only because the person in charge at the hospital is very busy and I don't want to bother them all of the time

    I have talked with the hospital manager (?) and she is fine with me advertising proceeds going there. But keep in mind, I wrote a picture book and this is a kid's hospital. If there is a conflict of interest, say I wrote erotica or a novel about a pedophile, they may have felt differently.

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  22. #22
    THE BLUEBERRY QUEEN OF HADES BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elindson View Post
    I have talked with the hospital manager (?) and she is fine with me advertising proceeds going there. But keep in mind, I wrote a picture book and this is a kid's hospital. If there is a conflict of interest, say I wrote erotica or a novel about a pedophile, they may have felt differently.

    Any other question just PM me.
    Plus you spoke with somebody connected to the hospital and have their permission, which is very important in this case.
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