I got a call from someone saying he needed my help.
Last April he paid someone $2500 (in advance!) to design a website for a non-profit he’s running (raising funds to help cancer patients). The first guy got it “almost” finished, sent him the files, has since disappeared – but apparently told him it was a discounted rate. Now he wants someone to do the last bit of clean-up and launch the site – for FREE.
Gave me a good story about it being a non-profit, they have no more money, they really need this site to help the patients, they need a pro to finish it up, and so on.
Even offered to give me a receipt so I could write off the donated time.
Told me it would be great visibility to help this important non–profit, good advertising for me.
I listened while he begged, pleaded and then eventually bordered on bullying me. And then I told him:
- Too bad he spent all that money in advance and does not have the site, but it’s not my job to clean it up now as a volunteer, just because he’s out of money.
- He spent too much in any case. That’s more money than almost all of my custom sites cost (when billing at full rate). So that guy was not giving him a discounted rate, by any means.
- I very rarely take on sites designed by others anyway. It means a lot of learning time for me to figure out their assumptions, clean up stuff not done correctly, and so on. No one wants to pay for that time. And all of the fun design work was already done! And in this case, since it had not been launched, I could not even look at it and see if was workable.
- You can’t write off donated time, only donated money or goods. If that were the case, I would have claimed deductions for hundreds (maybe thousands) of donated hours by now.
- I don’t need to do free work for more advertising, I’m trying to have LESS work, not more!
In closing, he asked if I could recommend anyone else, and the answer was no. Why would I dump this situation on my other web designer friends?