The film producer had an urgent chat with his wife just before breakfast. The maid noticed it and claimed the credit for the breaking part of that piece of news to the rest of house staff. However, to the disappointment of many she did not have a clue as to what transpired between them.
They had breakfast together and immediately thereafter the film producer zoomed out in his car. He went straight to his office and his event manager was waiting for him, summoned urgently for a meeting.
Without beating around the bush the film producer aired his idea.
“You see, in these times of natural disasters it is incumbent upon us, the supposedly rich people you know (grins affably), to come out and help the affected people. Of course, in our humble way… as is possible. What do you think?”
“That’s a good idea. It scores points both on our humanitarian approach and some publicity for us too,” the event manager was taken aback at this sudden turn of events, but seeing his boss’s enthusiasm he managed to articulate that much.
“Thanks. I’m determined now. We will cover all three districts on the west and our supplies should reach all the relief camps there. Now, go for some strong wooden boxes… you see… my concern is security and that the collected money should never go to wrong people. OK?… Get cracking now! Tomorrow is Sunday and it would fit our purpose just fine. Please rope in all the celebrities available and arrange for at least three vehicles. We must cover all roads and lanes of the city… “
The campaign went off next day as planned. Sources revealed that it was a tremendous collection. People liked the idea and donated generously, only insisting that the money should reach the victims directly.
By evening all the donation boxes were transferred to the main office vehicle and other cars were asked to pack up after dropping the celebrities in respective homes. When the office vehicle came in through the gate the film producer was waiting in the courtyard with his manager. The event manager assisted the driver to unload the sealed boxes on the ground. Then he shouted for the spot boys to take those to the office room.
“Hold it… hold it! As I told you security is my prime concern. So I’d never allow these to be left in office for the whole night. I’ll take personal responsibility,” the producer broke out hoarsely.
The boxes were immediately loaded into the producer’s personal car. He made quick plans with his manager for the morning and left for home as night was falling. The event manager looked on for a moment as if trying to find some answers to some perplexing questions.
Morning was very hectic. Travel plans were made for the next two days. The film producer and his wife would visit every venue selected for giving relief materials. The cost of their travel, food and accommodation must be adjusted from the collected money. A few news channels and journalists ought to be invited for the campaign and accompanying cost of entertaining them must also be adjusted against the donated money. After meeting all expenses the remaining amount must not reach the victims in hard cash-blankets or other cloth items to be procured from the wholesalers (the producer insists on the common variety and with discounts) and some quantities of cereals (cheapest type, insists producer) to be purchased again in wholesale markets. There should be as many bundles as venues. By about 1.30 pm everything was in place. The producer, as usual, did not offer lunch to any of his staff and left hurriedly for home.
The event manager preferred to sit on in the office and ordered lunch for him and his assistants. Now his face was stern and there was some trace of anger there. He started talking to himself, ‘Okay, you have been in the red for quite some time, but still why stoop so low… listening to your wife on business… being so petty and cheap! Yes, I should have refused right away… but that time I was not sure. Anyway, if somebody asks I’d definitely air my doubts.” As disclosed later to his close friends the event manager could have sworn that the donation boxes were much heavier on that evening when brought to office.
Morale of the story: If you doubt a lack of transparency in any donation campaign, at least insist on ‘transparent’ donation boxes to start with!