Piecing together the puzzle of a Block Party.

Posted by Ryans Dad on 8th October 2010

We’re off to a great start towards pulling off the Work Builders Block Party again this year. But there is one more piece to this puzzle I am anxious to put together. How do we pay for it all?

100 dollar bill puzzleThe first Block Party was a whirlwind that happened over a span of two weeks time from concept to event date! I didn’t have time to worry about how the costs were getting covered. I was focused on making it happen and happen it did. This year promises to be as big or bigger and the costs will grow accordingly.

So how do we pay for it? Soliciting donations seems like a reasonable idea. The effort is all for charity after all. But, Work Builders is not a non-profit and anyone asked to contribute will want to know their donation can be a tax deduction in the spring. It only makes sense.

So I started asking a few questions earlier this summer. I asked people who know more than I, “How do you become a non-profit?”. The answers were not encouraging. My take after numerous conversations is that it would take a lot of work and significant costs to make it happen. It seemed prohibitive.

Then I happened to spend 5 minutes talking with the right person and everything changed! There may be a way. Anyone who works extensively with non-profit organizations would probably know this but it was a revelation for me. If we work closely with one of the non-profits we plan to support, we can solicit donations (to that organization) which are held for our use! Wow!

There are deeper details to the whole thing but the net result is that it opens the door for two great things to happen. First, we can generate funds which will pay the costs of our event. And second, we may be able to generate greater funds which can benefit our charity in an even larger way! As they say, it’s a WIN-WIN!

So, we are trying to put this relationship together and keeping our fingers crossed that this will work. If it does I am sure you will be hearing about it.

If you would consider helping us with a contribution (or know someone we should contact) please contact us here! As soon as we have a solid plan for making that happen we will be in touch. Even small contributions will help a lot. I hope you will consider it.

8Oct

The time has come for Ryan to open a savings account.

Posted by Ryans Dad on 14th February 2010

Ryan's money boxUp until now any money Ryan has managed to accumulate from his Work Builders business or the catalyst Lemonade Stand he and his brother ran last summer, has been kept in a shiny “money box”, a very nice jewelry box his mother gave him. After discussing it off and on over recent weeks, Ryan and I headed off to the bank so he could open up his very own savings account!

With his money box in hand Ryan was excited to head into the bank. Given his choice of what bank he would like to use, he chose the bank closest to our house so that “we can get there fast if we need to”. As we walked into the bank he also commented he was glad to finally see what the inside of this bank looks like. We drive past it all the time.

Ryan prepares to deposit some money.

Ryan prepares to deposit some money.

Once inside we waited a few minutes and were then helped by a nice lady named Gigi. She explained the details of the “Starter” savings account which Ryan would have and we took care of the paperwork. After considering his options carefully, Ryan decided that an initial deposit of $10.00 would be good and so it was.

So now with his savings account in place, Ryan likes that his money will “grow” in the bank. Hopefully he won’t be too disappointed when he sees what that really means with a small deposit and frighteningly low interest rate. But he is learning some lessons about how to handle money and that is a good thing. Plus it counts as an achievement for him as a Cub Scout too, so he’s got that going for him…

As we exited the bank Ryan’s naturally inquisitive nature drew him to the impressive large metal vault door. Unwilling to leave without at least a rudimentary understanding of what that was and how it worked, his curiosity was satisfied by another helpful bank employee who offered him a quick look inside and brief description.

All in all a good learning experience for Ryan. Now he knows where to keep his money safe!

Categories: Easy Builders
14Feb

Some money rolls in… A little bit anyway.

Posted by Ryans Dad on 23rd October 2009

Today was a good day for Ryan and his building block business. Today he received real payments and more than one! I had been concerned that over time his enthusiasm would fade since up until now he had not received any actual payments for his delivered Easy Builder building blocks. His till of funds from the Lemonade Stand earlier this year was dry and closing the financial end of his dealings wasn’t happening for reasons previously mentioned here.

Finally, Ryan has seen some money come in and he was delighted! He received a check in the mail from an out of town order, some cash from two local sales and even an online order through his WorkBuilders.com Web site. His face lit up when he got home and learned of these developments through the day.

What I found interesting though, was that after he took some time to do the math and add up the cash received, his next move was to go straight to his cash box and deposit it there. Once again as earlier, he isn’t saying a thing about how he might want to use the money. No requests to buy toys, or candy or games. Maybe he is a money “saver” and that’s the way it is. Time will tell I suppose.

Today’s receipts are not enough to pull us out of the red numbers if you are looking at the books, but they do at least demonstrate for Ryan that this is not a one sided deal. I have not decided yet if or when I might talk with him more about the two sides of the ledger and where we stand in that regard. I think he does have a feeling for the reality of that, but this is no time to dampen his spirits. It was a good day for Work Builders (Ryan’s company name).

Categories: Easy Builders
23Oct

When is a sale really a sale?

Posted by Ryans Dad on 19th October 2009
Ryan with Easy Builders ready for delivery!

Ryan with Easy Builders ready for delivery!

To date, we have been using the term “sales” somewhat loosely when discussing Ryan’s business deals. I say this because truth be told Ryan is yet to actually be paid for any of his filled orders. I guess you might say that there is a flaw in the business model.

It has been an interesting dynamic to watch actually and one not lost on Ryan either. You see, the process so far has been one of Ryan making sales orders with his friends at school and after-school (4-8yr olds inĀ  most cases). As Ryan will tell you the problem with this is, “The kids don’t have money, so I can’t get paid from them.” This is not to suggest that this has been troublesome for him however. He is clearly aware of the lack of any closure on his sales, but what to do?

Today brought with it some degree of hope though since Ryan was to deliver on an order of four sets of his blocks, to an adult! There is promise here. He made it a priority over the weekend to get this order (his largest to date) ready for a Monday morning delivery.

Getting his Easy Builder sets ready for delivery

Getting his Easy Builder sets ready for delivery

He even got up a bit early this morning to put the final touches on it slipping the sets into their carrying bags.

The delivery went well this morning with his buyer quite surprised at the speed of his production and delivery. Caught off guard not expecting the delivery so quickly his customer did not have the money available for him this morning, but there is a promised date coming soon which seemed enough for him. I have to say I was pleased with his reaction since I am sure he was looking forward to getting payment for this order, but he really took it in stride.

I’ve been waiting to see how long Ryan will go before his interest in this project/business fades. So far he has surprised me here too. I’ve been concerned that with every delivered “order” that lacks any reciprocal payment his interest would eventually vanish. But it doesn’t really seem to be about the money. At least that doesn’t seem to be his priority anyway. As evidence, this weekend while we worked together on this latest order Ryan turned to me at one point and said, “Daddy, this business is really fun!”

I get the feeling that for Ryan this is really not about the money. It is about the next project that the money can make possible. And that sort of scares me a little, sort of…

Categories: Easy Builders
19Oct