Money Matters

How to respectfully decline donating to charity @ work?

My company CONSTANTLY asks for donations to the united way, red cross, etc, etc. They're not looking for small donations either...we're talking several hundred bucks a year. I've committed to nearly $300 next year. Additionally, I donate to organizations outside of my organization, like Golden Retriever Rescue, Humane Society etc. Also, DH and I are in the throes of living beans and rice, rice and beans (Dave Ramsey fans know what I'm talking about) and are agressively paying off debt.

Now that the holidays are approaching, everyone is gung ho about adopting a family for the holidays. How do I respectfully decline to participate in donating through the office on this (and potentially future) opportunity?

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Re: How to respectfully decline donating to charity @ work?

  • Do you have to say anything? I ignore the e-mails I get about stuff like this.

    Of just tell them that you and your hubby just adopted a family through church/his job/a local department store ect

  • Just respectfully decline the way you would to any request.  "Oh, thanks, but we're at our limit."  If they try to make you feel badly about not giving at the holidays, you can say "well, we give all year long, and we've given just about all we can afford."  Someone would have to be a real a-hole to keep badgering you after two attempts.

    Also - are these really in-person requests?  We get charity stuff at work too, but it's conducted mostly via email, or a sign in the coffee room with a name and extension to contact if you want to donate, so there's no pressure, and they're easy to ignore.  I would be really uncomfortable if people came around face-to-face and repeatedly asked for money.

  • Just say (gently but firmly), "I know this is a great cause and I hope you'll get many donations, but at this time my family has already committed funds to our chosen organizations for this year."
  • How big is your company?  Like pp, I've always been able to just ignore e-mails requesting donations unless I wanted to donate. 

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  • I would avoid lying - just say my husband and I have already budgeted all our charitable gifts, but thanks for the opportunity! OR say, "oh I'm sorry, DH and I have a policy that we don't donate to things through work (assuming you can decide on that together)." Don't let yourself be pushed around - living within your means includes charitable giving.
  • Yeah the director (my boss' boss) had it as a point on his weekly staff meeting today. He asked about it and then everyone went around the room saying they were (or a group of people were) adopting a family. I was the only one who was like, "uhhhhhh".

    And then on the other events, people ask if you're participating, and if I say no, they ask why not.

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  • I think it is fine to just say you have already decided to donate someplace else and leave it at that.  DH and I decided two years ago that we wanted to donate one lump sump a year to our favorite charity and stop doing a bunch of little charitbable things (like work things) throughout the year.  So I just tell people politely I have already decided to give somewhere else, but "great idea to organize the work holiday drive, etc...."
  • image Stretchad:

    Yeah the director (my boss' boss) had it as a point on his weekly staff meeting today. He asked about it and then everyone went around the room saying they were (or a group of people were) adopting a family. I was the only one who was like, "uhhhhhh".

    And then on the other events, people ask if you're participating, and if I say no, they ask why not.

    That's crazy.  Just be more ready from now on and tell them you give to t his charity and that one, etc.  Whenever the pushy United Way people come around (they do come in person), I just say "oh we give to the Food Bank and Cancer Society.  Thanks though!" and then move along.

  • Ditto to everyone.

     

    My DH's grandmother used to be a secretary back in the late 40's / early 50's before she got pregnant with her first child. (That particular employer made her quit when she got pregnant.) Back then, she had charitable donatiions for the local hospital dedutible from her paycheck regardless of whether she actually wanted to donate toward that cause. She was just talking the other day about this, and about how that would never fly today.

  • I just wanted to say that I hate your company on your behalf.
    No one should have to be forced to donate to anything.
    That is not "charity."
  • Ask if your office will adopt you & DH. Wink
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  • I've been wondering how to do this, too. I am a teacher, and our main office sends around a student aide with an envelope and a checklist. We were all affected by Hurricane Ike this year, and the donation requests just keep coming. I had 3 "collectors" come to my classroom in 1 day.

     

  • Tell your boss you'd be more than happy to participate when he gives you a raise that allows you to feed your family AND someone elses.
  • "Aw, geez, if I get asked to donate one more dollar to charity, I'll be a charity case myself!"

    I think it's ridiculous to feel pressure from your company to donate. Ditto for fundraisers and such.

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  • One year the United Way drive at our office coincided with the company starting to charge a quarter per cup of coffee.  One guy did a "reply all" to the email saying "sorry, I spend that money on coffee now."  LOL.  It was unprofessional but funny.
  • I like the suggestion of the poster who gives strategically-let them know that you're saving all your dollars for one place that means a lot to you so you can make the biggest impact. Then you can cite one of the many articles that talk about how you make the biggest difference by giving to one place with low administrative costs.

    I am with WeezerMonkey. I hate your company.

  • image Stretchad:

    Yeah the director (my boss' boss) had it as a point on his weekly staff meeting today. He asked about it and then everyone went around the room saying they were (or a group of people were) adopting a family. I was the only one who was like, "uhhhhhh".

    And then on the other events, people ask if you're participating, and if I say no, they ask why not.

    You have to prepare yourself for this and be willing to stand up for yourself.  It's possible that you're just not at a job that's a good fit for you, culturally, or it's more likely that at least half of your co-workers are just too timid to stand up for the fact that they don't want to do this stuff either.

    The next time your boss asks you in front of everyone if you're going to donate, say, "Sorry, I can't."  Don't offer an explanation because you don't owe one.  When he asks you why not, say very politely, "My husband and I have already committed all of the money we can afford to give to other causes."  When he reminds you that you should have known about the office charity drive, say again, very politely, "I did know, but I've contributed in the past and there are now other causes that are more important to us."  If he persists, gather all of your courage (or rage), and say as calmly as you can, "Are you telling me that it's a requirement of my continued employment that I make this donation?"  And force him to answer that question.

    When other people in the office ask why you're not participating, go back to the "other causes more important to us" language.  If they persist, lay it out for them.  "Judy, I love this job, but I don't believe that it's appropriate for the company to force me to make donations, and I'm not going to do it this year.  Please rest assured that I do value charitable giving, but I have my own causes and priorities.  Unless this is a condition of my continued employment, that's all the answer you're going to get."

  • This is all very helpful. Thanks!

    And, I can safely say that this aspect of the company was one I didn't know about prior to starting (about 5 months ago). Fortunately the work itself is rewarding enough to make me want to stay :-)

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  • I hear ya. I'm really big on giving to charities that mean something to me and have a good track record of getting most of the money to the beneficiaries (not to middle-men and overhead) so I avoid the United Way collect-a-thons as well. I'm a teacher and I find it rather icky to give in a competitive way and be pressured into it, instead of from the heart. Imean, most of our students live in poverty and the admins went around during lunch time asking kids to donate their snack money! Most of our kids get free lunch. Sad!

    I feel bad because I don't want coworkers to think I don't give to charities- I do, but I prefer to choose them myself. I'm more likely to give if a coworker is in need, but that's a different situation.

    I would just say, "My husband and I set aside money for charities that we personally choose and research and we don't have any extra set aside right now." I feel your pain, though!

  • image WeeMo:
    I just wanted to say that I hate your company on your behalf.
    No one should have to be forced to donate to anything.
    That is not "charity."

    LOL!

    I am in a similar position.  My boss is the president of the office charitable foundation.  She is constantly raising money for the Boys & Girls Club, United Way, Breast Cancer, etc.  I don't donate to any of it.  I know she looks down on me for this and is probably irritated that I don't contribute to any of it.  But once you give to one thing, it's hard to say no to other things.  My charitable donations at the moment involve volunteering my time (to Habitat and the like,) giving to goodwill, and running 5K races for charity (also something I like to do.)  This may not be a lot, but it's what we're comfortable with right now.

    If you're living off rice and beans, it's okay to turn down monetary donations for the time being.  Donate your time for now until you can afford to donate money.

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  • How I always respond is, "We give elsewhere." (Because we do, as do you.) To date, that tiny little phrase it has worked like a charm every time, because how can people argue with that? I don't explain beyond that.

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  • This sort of thing really bothers me.  Charitable donations are a very personal thing.  You should decide where your donations go, not a third party.  I would be curious to know how much the company  donates to these charities - do they match the donations dollar for dollar?  Or do they take credit for a large donation that has come out of the pockets of their employees for PR sake.

     

    The grocery store I frequent often has charity days.  They ask if you would like to add $2.00 to your grocery bill for 'x' charity.  I feel like a Scrooge but I finally got the courage to say no.  It's not the $2, its being put on the spot and then having the credit go to a business when it is in fact their customers who make the donation.

     

    I would suggest that you offer to donate time instead of money towards a cause that your company is keen on.  That way you can avoid the uncomfortable-ness (great word, huh?) and still show that you care.

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  • what I akways say:

    -I am in school (was true but no longer)

    -I am buying a house (true now)

    or I donate to my church because I know where the $$ goes and it will be used for the greatest good,

     

    then, don't worry about it.

  • I love "We give elsewhere." ?

    I really don't like to give to a charity I don't know about. ?I put too much time into researching every purchase to not research my donations. ?I usually don't even consider donating to large organizations unless 90%+ of their money goes to program expenses. ?This leaves out United Way (in our area), American Cancer, American Heart, etc. ?So I am anti-work charities when you are put on the spot like that. ?Put a sign up over the coffee maker or whatever. ?This goes for anything you are selling for your kids, etc, too. ?

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  • Just tell them that you donate elsewhere. This is the only way my pushover husband (so he feels) can get out of United Way donations at work. But the thing is it's the truth.
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