I own a small business, and it seems that lately I have been inundated with requests from clients to donate to their favorite charity – which is not necessarily mine.
With a designated dollar amount to work with, it is my policy instead to select a charity every year and give to their cause.
I have been approached to purchase full-page ads for products I don’t use and asked to buy into multi-level marketing programs from friends and family members.
How do I graciously say enough is enough?
I understand that it’s nearly impossible to donate to every special request that comes along. However, before politely declining, I recommend you to take into consideration the loyalty of the customer who is asking for the favor. Have they been with you for years or do they spend a significant amount with your business annually? You may find the cost of purchasing a few of their son’s fundraising candy bars well worth the investment.
On the other hand, it is not your responsibility to donate to every request that comes along from a friend, family member, or client if it’s not a fit. Practice saying “no” before the situation arises. Temper it with a softer, “Jenn, I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’m going to have to pass on the cookie dough sale. I’m sure it’s delicious, but I’m trying to eliminate the sugar temptation.” Courteously turning someone down is better than buying something that will sit on your shelf.
If buying an expensive full-page ad to a charity event is not in the budget, rather than making a lame excuse like, “Try me next year,” let them know it doesn’t align with your marketing plans at this time.
Honesty is generally the best policy … unless it’s in your best professional or familial interest to buy the girl scout cookies, order the holiday wrapping paper, or donate a case of wine to the annual charity event. While you may not be able or willing to contribute the kind of money or product someone may be asking you for, giving something of less value is often a reasonable compromise. It’s always a good idea to reciprocate a loyalty.