This is a strange and scary time to be a small business. Sales have plummeted because people aren't spending, which means many of us are struggling just to survive and keep the lights on. We're desperate for sales, but it seems callous to encourage people to spend money right now when they could be donating to charities. It also feels weird and yucky to me as a person and a business owner. It's a Catch-22.
For Common Era, it gets even more complicated when you factor in our regular charitable commitment to the Animal Welfare Institute. We give 3% of profits each year to this charity, so how does that then work if we want to support COVID-19 relief and donate a percentage of sales? And how do we do that when most of our line is sold out because of supply chain issues? I've been mulling this over for a couple of weeks now, trying to work out how to survive as a business but also help people who need it.
For now, this is the most practical solution that does the most good:
1. 10% of all profits until June 1 will be donated to Feeding America, which is doing a stellar job of supporting food banks across the US and ensuring the most vulnerable people are able to eat in this crisis.
2. We will still be donating the additional 3% to the Animal Welfare Institute at the end of the year (we do this because it's better to make one lump sum donation once we have established how much profit or loss we've made in a year).
On June 1, we will re-assess the situation and decide whether to continue the relief efforts.
There's no easy path through the crisis but we're doing the best we can. I'm doing the best I can.
Please stay safe, stay healthy and stay inside.