A Helping Hand for Charities

In some of my recent posts, I gave you a quick preview of our new venture, The Charity Wishlist. I am happy to announce that the site is now live, all of our systems are in place, and we are ready to roll full steam ahead with what I hope becomes a philanthropic movement that helps to change the world.

The concept is a simple one: Helping charities and organizations expand their donation and fundraising needs.

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Sadly though, this simple act of kindness has been twisted and morphed into something that benefits their bottom line of many of the businesses that claim they help these organizations, with some of them keeping as much as 60% of the donations to cover “administrative, marketing, and processing costs.”

The Charity Wishlist is here to change all of that. Our hosted donation solution allows us to provide charities and non-profits, even those without a website or online presence, a way to accept monetary donations online through our site.  This costs them nothing up front, no monthly maintenance fees, and the organization is guaranteed to receive a minimum of 90% all monetary donations.

Our wishlist system is another solution we offer. It allows the organization that is in need of goods and supplies the ability to build a list of these items. We set the pricing to cover the cost of shipping, fees, and any applicable taxes, and the public can purchase these items through our system for the organization from the comfort of their own home.

How can you offer something like this you might be wondering? The answer is simple. I am a firm believer in helping charities with their needs. For years I have volunteered at numerous organizations, been involved in their fundraising efforts, and have experienced the joy and gratitude first hand of the people whose lives these groups touch with their efforts. It is not something that you can put a price tag on, and absolutely not something to be taken advantage of just to make money.

In conjunction with our donation and wishlist systems, we are also offering web site hosting and site design to these organizations for a fraction of the cost of what the other “technology providers” in the industry would charge.

In the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, which personally impacted many friends and families of ours, The Charity Wishlist has also set up a disaster relief fund. The purpose of this fund is to purchase items needed by the victims of natural disasters, and have them drop shipped directly to the first responders for distribution to those impacted. We work directly with these groups, and where ever possible, purchase these good from local businesses, to help make sure the economy of the area is sustained.

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It is time to change the world. Are you ready to help us in our mission?

Let’s build the future together.

For more information about The Charity Wishlist, visit www.thecharitywishlist.org, follow us on Twitter @charitywishlist or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheCharityWishlist.

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What Is Success?

Today I want to touch on a subject that is one of those that has led to many hours of controversial debate and conversation, no matter what circle you travel in. It is the subject of what makes a person or business successful.

The reason why it has the potential to be one of the most controversial topics to discuss, is for the simple fact that it is driven by what a person’s personal idea of success is. Every person has their own viewpoint, and many times it is influenced by the way their were raised.

So what exactly is success? According to the dictionary, success is: “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals”. It also says that it is: “the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.” Again, even with the definitions, it is not a cut and dry answer.

So, now I want to tell you a story about my great grandfather. He owned a bakery in Philadelphia in the early 1900’s, near the Germantown area of the city.  It was not a huge bakery, though he provided bread and rolls to most of the restaurants in the area, and everyone in the local community went to him for their baked goods. He was an energetic person, and very involved in the community.

During the depression, when many people found themselves out of work, and families were scraping what little they had together to eat, my great grandfather opened the back door of his bakery and proceeded to hand out hundreds of loaves of bread to these families on a daily basis. He encouraged other businesses in the area to do the same, and became the voice of the community to unite them “as one family”.

When he passed away in the 1950’s, the entire community was in mourning. The church was standing room only for the funeral, and hundreds of people stood outside during the service. The procession from the church to the cemetery afterwards stretched for at least a mile.

My great grandfather was not a rich man when he passed away, nor was he some high ranking dignitary. He was an immigrant that came to this country, started a family, built a business, and loved and cared for his neighbors. His success can be measured by the good he did for others.

As small business owners, we can learn a valuable lesson from this. The foundation of what makes us successful starts in our own community. From the way we treat our customers, to giving back to help out a cause, to how we are involved in making our community a better place.

At Delaware 302, we firmly believe in giving back to the community. We are currently supporters of 2 Delaware charities, and are always looking for ways to help out where and when we can. We also have something great in the works to be able to extend that reach and do more.

Is your business ready for success?

Let’s build the future together.

Provider Nightmares

Today I wanted to relay to you a conversation I had recently with a potential client. Sadly the story they told is one that I have heard time and time again, and each time I hear of the nightmares they have gone through, it leaves me wondering how these solution providers can treat their clients this way, and still stay in business.

This company’s story goes like this:

About 2 years ago we were in need of a new web site, so we contacted one of the local development companies that seemed to do most of the web sites in the area. We sat down in an initial meeting with them and told them exactly what we needed. They said they would draft up a quote and send it over. Shortly after that started a back and forth process that quite frankly took a lot longer than we expected, and each time we were talking to someone new over there. Finally, almost 5 weeks after the first meeting, they came back with a $15,000 quote for our site. At this point we were already behind schedule, since the new site was a key element to our marketing, so we signed, and cut them a check to start work.

A few days later, their graphics designer called us, and said he would have a proof for us within 2 weeks for review and approval. About 2 months later, after calling them repeatedly on a weekly basis, we received the proof, and came to find out the designer that contacted us initially, was no longer at the company. We were promised at that point that once the design was approved, our site would be ready in less than 3 weeks. 6 weeks later they sent us a development link to look at. At this point we were hard pressed for time, and said go with it.

Finally, almost 5 months after our first meeting with them, our new site was launched, and then the nightmare really began.

Over the next 9 months we experienced constant email outages, with one stretch being a week. Our site kept going down due to server issues. Every little request we made for a change to the site was followed with a $120/hr invoice, even it it was something very simple. Never being able to get someone to respond to our calls or emails. It was finally capped off with the owner of the company telling us point blank, after our 20th some odd complaint, “We have no contract. If you have problems, and don’t like the way I run my business, leave.”

So we gathered around in a meeting at the office, and decided to take our site and go. Unfortunately we found out that we were locked into his system, and leaving was no simple task. So we did the only thing we could think of at the time, since we couldn’t afford to do this all over again, get as much of the site as we could, and created a new one ourselves.

Needless to say, the experience they had has left them wary of any technology company. The only reason they were even willing to talk to me, was because of my reputation as being straightforward and honest. I assured them that my company was different, and was willing to do whatever it took to prove it to them.

Is your business going through similar issues? Are you tired of your solutions provider treating you like you don’t matter? Are you frustrated of being overcharged for everything?

At Delaware 302 we treat our clients the same way we would want to be treated, with respect and honesty. Drop us a line and find out how we can help your business grow.

Let’s build the future together.

Outsourcing Our Future

Today I want to touch on a subject that may raise some eyebrows.  Maybe you’ll consider me a fanatic.  I’m talking about the issue of outsourcing.  The truth is that I am not fanatical at all, I am passionate. Passionate about being an American, passionate about living in the greatest country in the world, and passionate about taking pride in what we can accomplish as a state and a nation.

I have watched over the last 2 decades as our economy has continued an almost total shift away from things made here.  I’ve watched the labels on merchandise continue to change rapidly from “Made in America” to “Made in China” or any one of a few dozen other countries, to the point that you would be hard pressed to find anything made here in our country, without going to a custom niche store. I’ve watched as factories close, and people find themselves on the unemployment line. It saddens me as an American, and leaves that looming question: Why?

The answer is simple: Money. Companies can get their goods produced cheaper elsewhere, thus increasing their bottom line. Now I know that will raise all types of debates like: ‘we still export goods to have the products manufactured’, and ‘it is about building a global marketplace’, and ‘there is more to the story’. Try explaining that to the factory worker that has to go home to his family and tell them he is out of work, and they might lose their home.

We have altered not only our future; we have also altered the future of our children, and their children to come. We have created a precarious balance that impacts our economy, and with how hard we were hit recently, widens that recovery time, and leaves the rest of the world holding their breath, since over 20% of their economy is dependent on us.

Outsourcing goes well beyond manufacturing; it has also had a significant impact on the technology industry.

In the nearly 16 years I have been building solutions, leading development teams, and being a design architect for many projects across numerous Fortune 500 companies, I have been on the front line and watched this shift happen. The bulk of the work has shifted from local US based development companies to India. It became a reality, and one that showed me the final writing on the wall when I was doing work at Citi Group. I was a sub-contractor for IBM at the time, and happened to be the only US staff member on the team. The rest of my 26 person team was on-shored (the term they use when they bring in employees from other countries) from India. We also had another team stationed at Citi’s facility in India.

Let me set the record straight and say that I am not opposed to working with programmers and systems people from other countries. In fact, I have worked with people from all over the world, and many of them have been some of the brightest and most intelligent technology people I have met. What I am opposed to is the mentality that I have heard time and time again with regards to sending work over to India: “They work cheap, and we can get 2 or 3 programmers for the price of one here.” I have had first-hand experience with managing this “cheap labor”, and have the battle scars from the headaches and nightmares that ensued, that are proof of the saying: “You get what you pay for.”

The other thing I have seen occur in the technology industry is formation of shell companies. These are companies that set up base here in the US, register as a business, and start plugging for work and contracts. While this is great, and they build the illusion that you are now dealing and working with a local US company, the truth of the matter is that it is all a front. Except for 1 or 2 employees here to manage the business, all of the work goes overseas, and in most cases to India.

There is a company right here in Delaware that is a prime example of this. In an open discussion, the owner of the company stated point blank, that he sends all of the work over to India. They have worked on numerous projects for multiple State agencies, and I am willing to bet very few of the Department heads know who is really doing the work. The illusion that has been presented is that this is a local Delaware company that is doing the work, and that they are putting Delawareans to work. Sadly, this is not the case at all.

At Delaware 302, all of our products are produced, and all of our work and services are done, right here in the U.S. and more importantly, right here in the First State.  We believe that the future of our economy relies on making “Made in America” mean what it used to: Taking pride in our hard work, attention to detail, and working together as a team.

Contact us today to learn how we can put “Delaware pride” to work for and use our solutions to help your business grow.

Let’s build the future together.