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Donativos and flyers

mikebla

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
portugues frances
Is it common for donativo-albergues to distribute flyers up and down the camino to recruit pilgrims or to stop pilgrims, who pass by, at the entrance to convince them to stay overnight in their own hostel? What are your experiences? And what do you think of it?
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I wouldn't say it was common, in that most albergues did not do this. It wasn't something I remember from the Portugues in 2018. It was something I remember encountering on the Camino Frances instead, where I came across it more than once. I didn't think about it too much, either positive or negative. I do believe I recall someone distributing water to pilgrims along the way as a way to promote their private albergue, which seemed nice (although it didn't necessarily convince me to stay at their place).
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Is it common for donativo-albergues to distribute flyers up and down the camino to recruit pilgrims or to stop pilgrims, who pass by, at the entrance to convince them to stay overnight in their own hostel? What are your experiences? And what do you think of it?

Hi and welcome on this forum.

Could you inform us which albergues you are referring to?
 

mikebla

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
portugues frances
I know one albergue, but don't want to publish the name. Other pilgrims told me, that they have made similar experience with other donativos. I know that I found the aggressive PR kind of strange, because a Donativo-Albergue is supposed to be a non profit business (sin animo de lucro).
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I recall only experiencing flyers relating to private albergues a few times mainly on the Frances. If the solicitors were not being "pushy" I did not mind accepting they flyer and it usually included a few pictures.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
I know one albergue, but don't want to publish the name. Other pilgrims told me, that they have made similar experience with other donativos. I know that I found the aggressive PR kind of strange, because a Donativo-Albergue is supposed to be a non profit business (sin animo de lucro).

I think I now know which albergue you talk about. Yes, I share your feelings about it. We could continue this through pm if you prefer.

Let me say that the true donativos I know would not even think of using flyers. They do not have the funds to begin with to print flyers...
 

mikebla

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
portugues frances
Thank you for the clarification. That's what I suggested. Apparently there is at least one Albergue on the camino, who pretends to be Donativo, but actually abuses the label to make business and to compete against other Albergues, with aggressive advertising and offering donativo-dumping-prices. Whether a private Albergue distributes flyers or not, doesn't matter to me. After all, these are registered companies, who don't pretend to be a non-profit business. So they are free to advertise. For me it is all about hypocrisy or not. To celebrate pilgrims spirit but in reality its all about business.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Thank you for the clarification. That's what I suggested. Apparently there is at least one Albergue on the camino, who pretends to be Donativo, but actually abuses the label to make business and to compete against other Albergues, with aggressive advertising and offering donativo-dumping-prices. Whether a private Albergue distributes flyers or not, doesn't matter to me. After all, these are registered companies, who don't pretend to be a non-profit business. So they are free to advertise. For me it is all about hypocrisy or not. To celebrate pilgrims spirit but in reality its all about business.

I certainly do not want to get into an argument but for me donativo does not equal dumping prices. On the contrary. The donativos like the one in Grañon San Juan Bautista or the one in Tosantos ( on the Frances ) deserve generous donations , when you are able to give this of course.

Do take a look on this forum , there are enough threads about the wonderful tradition of donativo albergues.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
I have not run into it with albergues, but was solicited to come in and hear the history of a small chapel by a nice and humble priest. It was very interesting and there was no pressure to donate, although of course I did.
 

mikebla

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
portugues frances
I agree donativos are a wonderful tradition and deserve generous donations, when the intentions are the real ones. But unfortunately there are as well black sheeps, who abuse the concept with different intentions and do harm the original concept.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
To answer the OP, I only saw this once, on my first camino in 2010, and it was for a hostel, not an albergue. More, I wouldn't think of it as aggressive just to be handed a flyer.

The discussion about whether there are real or good compared to other types of donotivo albergues worries me a little. It appears there are three issues here, and conflating them might be unhelpful.

First is whether donotivo albergues are required to operate on a not-for profit business model. I have never heard this before. While some clearly do, is this a real limitation or just a perception based without a solid foundation? It seems to me that operating on a donotivo basis and operating on a not for profit business model are two quite separate things, and ought not be conflated.

Second, operating on a not for profit basis does not mean that an organisation shouldn't increase its patronage by advertising. After all, increased patronage is likely to see higher levels of donations, and a greater likelihood that some of the longer term costs of operating an albergue in this case will be covered. While it might not be usual, the cost of running off flyers might well be justified.

The third, and closely aligned to the second, is that operating on a donotivo basis doesn't seem to preclude promoting an albergue. This is, after all, like any other marketplace, and the notion that a donotivo should not promote itself as a reasonable place to stay compared to other local albergues seems to me a rather quaint notion, and quite unjustifiable. This could be through any of the numerous web sites that provide information about accommodation options, guidebooks, listings in local business directories and at tourist information offices. Producing a flyer that is handed out to pilgrims is merely an extension of that.

So I think that labelling an albergue as a 'black sheep' is unnecessarily judgmental, particularly if it is based merely on an albergue promoting itself with some flyers.
 
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Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo, Norte, Francés, Volunteer Hospitalero.
I have seen that several times, but never ever from a donativo albergue, it was always from some private albergue.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I ag
To answer the OP, I only saw this once, on my first camino in 2010, and it was for a hostel, not an albergue. More, I wouldn't think of it as aggressive just to be handed a flyer.

The discussion about whether there are real or good compared to other types of donotivo albergues worries me a little. It appears there are three issues here, and conflating them might be unhelpful.

First is whether donotivo albergues are required to operate on a not-for profit business model. I have never heard this before. While some clearly do, is this a real limitation or just a perception based without a solid foundation? It seems to me that operating on a donotivo basis and operating on a not for profit business model are two quite separate things, and ought not be conflated.

Second, operating on a not for profit basis does not mean that an organisation shouldn't increase its patronage by advertising. After all, increased patronage is likely to see higher levels of donations, and a greater likelihood that some of the longer term costs of operating an albergue in this case will be covered. While it might not be usual, the cost of running off flyers might well be justified.

The third, and closely aligned to the second, is that operating on a donotivo basis doesn't seem to preclude promoting an albergue. This is, after all, like any other marketplace, and the notion that a donotivo should not promote itself as a reasonable place to stay compared to other local albergues seems to me a rather quaint notion, and quite unjustifiable. This could be through any of the numerous web sites that provide information about accommodation options, guidebooks, listings in local business directories and at tourist information offices. Producing a flyer that is handed out to pilgrims is merely an extension of that.

So I think that labelling an albergue as a 'black sheep' is unnecessarily judgmental, particularly if it is based merely on an albergue promoting itself with some flyers.
I totally agree with what you have written. I have walked a variety of caminos and have seen signs and flyers on trees and posts especially on the CF. Every enterprise needs to do what they deem necessary in order to stay open. My only pushback would be (which I have never personally experienced) if a facility that calls itself a donativo then requires a specified Euro "donation" upon arrival. I have never had a problem when a donativo has written a suggested amount, which I have seen once or twice. I think a much, much larger issue is when people who can afford to give to a donativo leave absolutely nothing or just a couple of coins that they throw in the donativo box. There are people who stay in donativos and leave nothing or very little because they have very little financially to give. All who can be more generous should be to help these pilgrims have a clean and safe place to sleep at night. I have experienced on more than one occasion pilgrims who have dropped a few coins in the box at a restaurant later with bottles of wine and tables filled with food. Finally, I have always thought it is the spirit of the people who work in an albergue/donativo, the great joy of making a lifetime friend who is in the bed across from you that you may never meet again that makes a great albergue. I walk on a budget and I stay in lots of donativos. I have also stayed in some of the albergues that people love because of the services and amenities that are offered at really a very good price. But I am sure for most of us it is that person in the next bunk or in the kitchen when you decide to share a dinner or the table next to you when you move over to share a coffee or beer that make us smile and wish we were back home on our camino.
 

mikebla

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
portugues frances
I whitnessed it once, a donativo albergue driving up the camino and giving out flyers. Even leaving the car to build up a more convicing personal contact. And I got told that the same person was as well sitting beside his entrance, waiting for pilgrims and trying to convince them to stay at his place. And I was really surprised, I didn't expect such competetive behaviour from a Donativo-Albergue. And it made me think, what could be the motivation? But I noticed as well that there are pilgrims who don't question such behaviour. For them it's authentic pilgrims spirit, a wonderful guy, who offers shelter, only for a donation, no business, pure altruism. Is it? I doubt it.
A Donativo Albergue is categorically defined as a non profit business "albergue sin fines de lucro". I leave you here 2 links to local spanish newspapers.

https://www.europapress.es/asturias...rinos-animo-lucro-otra-no-20200205163818.html

The "donativo" is donated to maintain the albergue, not to make business. Donativo Albergues are only allowed to host pilgrims. Because of the charity character they enjoy certain advantages: lower taxes, less till zero requirements. But it's as well a legal greyzone, that leads to abuse and competitive distortion. That is why Spain (and Portugal?) tries to regulate the sector better, but very slowly. A question here was, why should a Donativo-Albergue not advertise? My answer is, why should a Donativo-Albergue advertise, when it is a non profit business! And when a Donativo Albergue advertises, what's the reason? Economical benefit? The Donativo Albergue as a business model? Turning up side down the original idea of Donativo. Particulary competing with other Albergues nearby, "Donativo" can make the difference as a unique feature. But Donativo Albergues also attract pilgrims who have no money or take the opportunity to skip out of the bill. To compensate the loss and to gain benefit, the commercially orientaded Donativo Albergue tries to fill the house with as many pilgrims as possible and looks particularly for pilgrims with money, pilgrims who usually book common Albergues. There is no better prey as a pilgrim, who already calculated, for example, 20 Euros for the night in the next Hostel and posts this money now in the Donativo Box. Where do you catch those pilgrims? On the road, distributing flyers camino up and down, lurking at the entrance or using the internet, advertising in social media. How do you make such guests happy? Offering perfect service and installations exceeding the donativo standard. It might be rewarded with a bigger donation and glorious reviews. With other words, a comercially oriented Donativo-Albergue is well equipped and highly competitive. Competitive and non profit is a contradiction. Why don't they simply run a common Albergue? Possibly because Donativos are cheaper to run, less taxes, less regulated, more benefit (when you ignore the original purpose). You might say what does it matter to me? Determining is wether I enjoyd the stay or not. For me hypocrisy and recklessness matters. Particulary because it is not just any camino it is the camino with it's very special ethical background and features such as the Donativo Albergues, whose purpose is not business.

P.S. I am happy to hear that the behaviour of this particular Donativo Albergue is not common on the camino and that mostly of the Donativo Albergues seem to be what they are meant to be: non profit businesses.

I know that my post will cause opposition. But perhaps it is as well a cause for thought.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Is it common for donativo-albergues to distribute flyers up and down the camino to recruit pilgrims or to stop pilgrims, who pass by, at the entrance to convince them to stay overnight in their own hostel?
No. Haven't met any of those. Not in 11 years.

And if they did I would be happy about it, as I also am with private places handing out flyers along the road.

However, I don't think I will participate any in this discussion: The case is that there are people with (significantly) slightly different mindsets who run donativos (bless them) (Those with Camino experience know what I mean), and there are those who try to make a living running affordable private places for us pilgrims all along the Caminos. We should be thankful to all of them. I welcome them all.

In these times they all have problems and are suffering. We should do what we can to help them so that we have places to stay with all those good people after this pandemy is over. A good place to start is here:


IMHO this thread should be on our moderators' @wayfarer watchlist.

Edit: I can't help but feeling that your post can be seen as an offense to beautiful people trying to do their best, in the albergues, private & donativos, along the Caminos. Sorry.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I whitnessed it once, a donativo albergue driving up the camino and giving out flyers. Even leaving the car to build up a more convicing personal contact. And I got told that the same person was as well sitting beside his entrance, waiting for pilgrims and trying to convince them to stay at his place. And I was really surprised, I didn't expect such competetive behaviour from a Donativo-Albergue. And it made me think, what could be the motivation? But I noticed as well that there are pilgrims who don't question such behaviour. For them it's authentic pilgrims spirit, a wonderful guy, who offers shelter, only for a donation, no business, pure altruism. Is it? I doubt it.
A Donativo Albergue is categorically defined as a non profit business "albergue sin fines de lucro". I leave you here 2 links to local spanish newspapers.

https://www.europapress.es/asturias...rinos-animo-lucro-otra-no-20200205163818.html

The "donativo" is donated to maintain the albergue, not to make business. Donativo Albergues are only allowed to host pilgrims. Because of the charity character they enjoy certain advantages: lower taxes, less till zero requirements. But it's as well a legal greyzone, that leads to abuse and competitive distortion. That is why Spain (and Portugal?) tries to regulate the sector better, but very slowly. A question here was, why should a Donativo-Albergue not advertise? My answer is, why should a Donativo-Albergue advertise, when it is a non profit business! And when a Donativo Albergue advertises, what's the reason? Economical benefit? The Donativo Albergue as a business model? Turning up side down the original idea of Donativo. Particulary competing with other Albergues nearby, "Donativo" can make the difference as a unique feature. But Donativo Albergues also attract pilgrims who have no money or take the opportunity to skip out of the bill. To compensate the loss and to gain benefit, the commercially orientaded Donativo Albergue tries to fill the house with as many pilgrims as possible and looks particularly for pilgrims with money, pilgrims who usually book common Albergues. There is no better prey as a pilgrim, who already calculated, for example, 20 Euros for the night in the next Hostel and posts this money now in the Donativo Box. Where do you catch those pilgrims? On the road, distributing flyers camino up and down, lurking at the entrance or using the internet, advertising in social media. How do you make such guests happy? Offering perfect service and installations exceeding the donativo standard. It might be rewarded with a bigger donation and glorious reviews. With other words, a comercially oriented Donativo-Albergue is well equipped and highly competitive. Competitive and non profit is a contradiction. Why don't they simply run a common Albergue? Possibly because Donativos are cheaper to run, less taxes, less regulated, more benefit (when you ignore the original purpose). You might say what does it matter to me? Determining is wether I enjoyd the stay or not. For me hypocrisy and recklessness matters. Particulary because it is not just any camino it is the camino with it's very special ethical background and features such as the Donativo Albergues, whose purpose is not business.

P.S. I am happy to hear that the behaviour of this particular Donativo Albergue is not common on the camino and that mostly of the Donativo Albergues seem to be what they are meant to be: non profit businesses.

I know that my post will cause opposition. But perhaps it is as well a cause for thought.
@mikebla, thank you for providing the links to the two newspaper articles. Perhaps I am not reading all the nuances in them in the English translation, but neither gives me cause to alter my earlier analysis about this. Further, neither appears to support your analysis. Nothing in them suggests that advertising is in some way prohibited, nor that these places shouldn't make an operating surplus that is put aside for repairs, renovations or improvements.

Certainly there is nothing in the articles that suggests they should do anything that threatens their financial survival, like continually making a loss. Of course they have to operate competently with a viable business model - every not for profit has to do this, even if it isn't intending to make a substantial gain beyond covering its costs and providing for some, perhaps small, future improvements.

I am still concerned by the obvious opprobrium you are leveling at perhaps just one place. The suggestion that standing in one's doorway promoting one's albergue is 'lurking' seems patently ridiculous to me. This is far more than reasonable hyperbole!

I share @alexwalker's view on this, and I think it is now time to bow out of the conversation. It appears you are fixed in your opposition to this albergue that appears to have offended you. Further engagement would appear to be pointless.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
why should a Donativo-Albergue advertise, when it is a non profit business!
Donativo and non-profit do not mean that the operators are supposed to operate at a loss. Rather, any income goes to maintaining the albergue. If they need a new roof, they would be wise to seek ways to raise some money. Perhaps welcoming a full house of pilgrims each day would be a good way to do this.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
@mikebla In my experience, "donativo" strictly means that something is offered not at a set price but for whatever the receiver wishes to donate. It is not synonymous with being non-profit, just as it is not synonymous with being a religious establishment. There are non-profits that are donativo and non-profits that are not. There are donativos that are non-profit and donativos that are not. The warmest and most welcoming albergue that I stayed at along the Camino Portugues was a donativo that I expect was not registered as a non-profit. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the one that you are referring to, however, as they did not hand out flyers. A shortage of pilgrims was not their problem!

You also seem to think that providing anything above the most basic accommodations is anathema for a donativo. Personally, I think otherwise. It seems to me in the spirit of things to provide whatever is possible to welcome the pilgrim.

If you don't like the place or its practices, don't stay there. But I don't think you will have much success trying to drum up fury against albergue hospitaleros trying to fulfill their mission of welcoming pilgrims and providing them rest and respite.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Another consideration would be that non-profit organizations that serve particular groups would often have communication and outreach efforts (that might include flyers) to be sure that the intended people are aware of these services. In the case of albergues, they surely want a mix of "paying" and "nonpaying" clients.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Many Albergues (Donativo or else) do set up sign-posts a few km before a pilgrim reaches that designated accomodation.
There are some very funny ones on the CF. But the term "donativo" did not mean, that they are underfunded, it's part of their self-conception and part of their way of doing "business" on the Camino.

Actually, I didn't care about those posts on the way neither the flyers you can find in some albergues. I had worked out some Albergues from the list out of this forum and tried to reach them in time. Most of the time it did work out for me, had to switch albergue only on 2 occasions (Triacastela and Portomarin). So I walked in the albergue next door ;)
 


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