Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Embarrassing Questions for BMW Motorrad Canada about charitable donation for demo rides

I hoped to test ride a BMW motorcycle but received confusing messages from BMW Canada. I found their request for a charitable donation combined with their no-receipt policy strange.

I reviewed the BMW Canada website, called the dealer rep and read the email from the BMW Canada marketing rep. There were some holes in their story and the messages didn’t ring true -which raised the followings questions for BMW Motorrad Canada.

Questions for BMW Motorrad Canada about Charitable Donations

Purpose, Policy and Procedure

Why do you charge a fee to test ride your motorcycles? What’s the real purpose?

Do you also charge for a test ride of your automobiles? If not, why the different practices?

If a person buys a motorcycle after a test ride, will their test-ride fee be refunded?

The Myth of the Charitable Donation

Why do you call the fee a charitable donation?
Your practice and the email from your marketing rep suggest otherwise.

Are you aware that a charitable donation is normally recognized with a charitable receipt?

Why do you believe that a fee to test ride your product is similar to a hospital selling lottery tickets?

Fee to Ride

If it’s not a donation it must be a fee for service. Why not call it what it is?

Why do you not issue a receipt for the money collected? Is that normal practice at your dealerships? What else don’t they issue receipts for?

Do you accept payment by cheque, debit or credit card? The dealer rep emphasized cash payment. As we all know cash is harder to trace.

Official Charity Recognition

Is your intended charity aware of your fundraising? How are you working together? Is there a link on their website to accept donation for your ride?

Did you ask them to provide official charity receipts?

Why was there no link from your site to the charity website to make it easier for people to donate?

The Money Trail

When there are no receipts issued how do we know where the money goes?

Is the money received recorded as taxable income by the local dealer or BMW Canada?

What is the difference between the money paid by demo riders, the amount reported by the dealer, the amount reported received by BMW Canada and the actual amount submitted to the charity? Those are four different transactions.

How much of the money donated by riders is used for coffee, refreshments and other promotional activity (as suggested in the email from your marketing rep)?

When and how are those numbers reported to all the parties involved? Who can I contact for that financial report? Are the numbers from last year available yet?

Who gets credit for the donation?

If an individual gives you money why doesn’t the individual get credit for his/her donation?

Your website states that you donate on behalf of your dealers. What does that mean? Do the dealers each receive a charitable receipt?

Does BMW Canada claim the charitable donation against their income tax?

That might appear to be a lot of questions. When something doesn’t smell right it raises questions. The stranger the smell – the more questions.

Here’s that email from the marketing rep at BMW Canada

“Hello Gentlemen,

Just to clarify the test ride donations, the reason we do not give receipts is because you are receiving something in exchange for the donations.  In this case you are getting a ride on a new motorcycle and also lunch or a refreshment.  It is just like if you buy a hospital lottery ticket, no receipts because you are getting the chance to win something.  If you donate directly to the COC then yes you can get a receipt because you are not getting anything in return for the donation.

Our test ride program is not set up for you to donate directly to the COC and then to show us a receipt.

If you are interested in riding a new BMW, please follow the regulations we have set up.  We pool all the money collected during our rides and donate it on behalf of the Motorrad retailers at the end of the season and make an announcement on the total when done.”

Here’s the text from the Website
All riders must arrive at least 15 mins prior to your scheduled ride time in order to:
• Complete the Test Ride Waiver
• Pay your charitable donation
• Participate in the Rider’s Meeting

Click here to read part one of the BMW Demo Ride charitable donation issue.

What other questions spring to mind? Add them below.

George Torok Keynote Marketing Speaker Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing  
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