Charitable Donation Advice
Charitable Donation Advice is a recurring column at Change Gangs. This week, I share how I say no when someone asks me to donate.
How to Say No
- Maybe money is tight and you don’t have the dollars to spare right now.
- Maybe you don’t really support their cause and giving them a donation feels wrong.
- Maybe, there is a charity doing the same kind of work but being more efficient and effective in their mission, and you’d prefer to send your donations there.
What ever your reason, it’s ok to say no. But it’s not always easy.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the “sorry, I don’t have the money” excuse. For one, I know it’s an excuse. If I believed in it, if I thought it was important, I would find money- even a little bit of money. And I think people know that. So, while they might be polite and say, “oh, I understand”, they know it’s an excuse. And they won’t feel great about our interaction.
Nope, that’s not good enough. Can we say no and have both people feel great? I say, YES!
Know Your Donation Rules
Saying no is easier when “Yes” is clear, so I defined my giving strategy.
How Much Will I Give
I know how much money I’m going to donate each month. For me, this is easy, because I primarily donate through my giving circles. My donations come out of my checking account every month and go right to my giving circle. My giving circles help me make donations to great charities.
In addition to that, I give myself an additional $50 per month to donate to other causes outside my giving circles. These are typically to organizations I donate to periodically throughout the year, but I don’t really need the help of my giving circle to make sure that the charity is top notch. For example, I donate to NPR periodically throughout the year.
What Causes Do I Support
I support charities that help people become self-sufficient, that support pets, veterans, women, and/or the environment, and that promote an educated public.
What Don’t I Support?
I don’t support disease oriented charities (aka cancer, diabetes, etc.). I have very specific reasons for this that may be the subject of another post in the future, and you may disagree with me. That’s ok. The point is, I know that I say no to these requests.
Any other rules?
I also don’t donate to charities without doing any research on them. I work too hard for my dollars to send them off to any old charity and trust that they are going to do the right thing. Nope, I will work through my 3 Level Evaluation first. Always. Period.
These are my rules for donating, what are yours?
How to Say No? Appreciate then decline
When a request violates one of my rules, then it’s time for me to say no. And the first thing I want to do is to appreciate the person who is asking. Truly, it’s a wonderful thing that someone is out there raising money for a cause that they believe in. I love that people take the time and energy to get out of their little worlds and do something for others and to make the world a better place. I want to appreciate and honor that intention.
Then I want to say no.
So, that’s the formula. Appreciate and then decline. And it looks like this:
John, Thank you for asking me. I really respect and admire you for getting out there and supporting a cause you believe in. I wish I could donate, but (insert rule violation here). I wish you tons of success with your fundraising.
Here are a couple examples of my rule violations: .
I wish I could donate, but I’ve already reached my monthly donation limit. (I know that this leaves me open for a request next month)
I wish I could donate, but I focus my giving on supporting causes that support veterans, pets, and help people get out of poverty.
How do you say no to donation requests?