Maybe you feel compelled to give a few dollars to the homeless guy on the street. It might be hard to turn away the young Girl Scout selling cookies for her troop. Your co-worker is champion of the office fund raising program. An officer calls your house requesting donations for the local 9/11 program.
It seems every time you turn around somebody wants to get their hands on your wallet. On the other hand one of life’s greatest pleasures is the ability to help someone in need.
Maybe you want to give a little to anyone that asks, there is nothing wrong with this idea. But what if there is one or two causes that you are passionate about, giving a little to everyone may limit how much you have to give to those you feel need it most.
There must be a limit to how much you donate. Where is that limit?
The only limit there ever will be is between your lips, it is the word “no”. Sometimes the “no” comes easily, without thought or passing guilt. Other times it is heart wrenching to say no. How can we say no, do it nicely and not feel guilty?
- State your policy – “Our policy is to donate only to charities that help children”
- State your case – “I simply don’t have the resources”
- State your timing – “We only donate once each year and always to the XYZ foundation.”
- State your objections – “I cannot support your cause because the cookies you sell lead to obesity.”
- State your feelings – “There are many great causes that are worthy of supporting. I believe some are more worthy of others and so I will be donating to those causes.”
Whatever you say, make sure you communicate clearly, being vague will only invite the solicitor to keep trying. Remember that in the case of a charity, you are the customer. It is your money and you have a right to decide how much and where it is spent. Lastly, we should never feel guilty for saying no. We should consider the times we say yes and have pride for our ability to help.
Another thought to consider when donating your hard-earned money is whether your money is really helping the people that need it. Sadly, too many charities in this country are poorly managed spending too much of the donations on operating expenses. Worse are the many “charities” that are simply scams and frauds.
If you are going to donate money why not make sure that it is put to good use. Check out your favorite charity at Charity Navigator or look for top rated charities at Give Spot. Give Spot lists the top charities where each uses at least 75% of every dollar for their cause.