Last October I blogged about a new company in Jacksonville, Fla., that added a new twist to the old adage of giving someone the shirt off your back . . . Jason Sadler, the founder of www.IWearYourShirt.com, created a public relations venture by putting shirts bearing an organization’s message or logo on his back and wearing them around town for the day. Now, a year later, it seems he’s in trouble for actually giving the shirt off his back.
Wanting to find a way to use the leftover t-shirts his company had created, Sadler came up with the idea of the 1 Million Shirts campaign. He teamed with HELP International and WaterIsLife.com to send shirts to orphanages in Uganda and Kenya.
Not long after the program got underway, the unexpected backlash began. Sadler was labeled a “do gooder” who had no experience with or concept of foreign aid and was scorned for interfering in African economies where many citizens make a meager living selling used clothing. The program ignited a full-blown controversy about whether in-kind donations are ever of any help, with articles appearing in Time, the Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.com.
In the wake of the controversy, Sadler has cancelled the program. But like a true entrepreneur who is undeterred by mistakes and roadblocks, Sadler now has plans to donate the shirts to disaster relief agencies.
Bottom line? Just as you’re advised to develop a plan and do the research on every other aspect of your business, it appears that advice extends to your charitable endeavors as well.