HeartPress Blog


the GOOD ask | Q2: How does my company say no to a donation request?

We’re back on  “the GOOD ask”  where we break down common questions that businesses ask us about their company’s philanthropy. Lori Munoz Malcolm, the founder of HeartPress #BrokersOfGood will be answering this week’s question. Check out her answer below! 

Q. “How Does My Company Say No to a Donation Request?”

Saying no can be difficult. But there are a variety of reasons why your company should say no to requests. We should take a quick look at those reasons before going on to the how.

Some reasons for saying no could be: 

Cause does not align. There are so many great causes out there and thousands of organizations doing great work in the community but that doesn’t mean you need to support them all. 

Not within your budget.  You may have already maxed out your budget for your company’s donations. That’s okay. Just let the requesting charity know that that is where you are at. 

Conflict of interest. A conflict of interest happens more on the charity side, but from time to time you do see a situation where you may not be able to sponsor or donate because it’s a direct conflict with an already existing donation or charity partnership. 

Not a legitimate request. In our last episode of “the GOOD ask” we talked about doing your research. During your research you may find that the request or organization isn’t legitimate.  This doesn’t happen that often — but you still want to double check. 

“We can’t stress enough about the importance of this step.” 

What are some tips to help you say no?

Give an explanation.  No one likes to be left without an answer. It’s best to let an organization know that you won’t be able to donate to them.  It will save both parties further communication if you’re able to reply back with an answer.

Revisit later? Was this a request that you would have LOVED to donate to but it just wasn’t in your budget?  Bad timing? Let them know that this is something that you would be interested in the future and invite them to send another request at another date.

Is there something else that you can offer them? Again, if there is an organization you want to help — find something else that you can offer them. Could you do a ‘shout out’ to your network to help them find what they are looking for?  Could you connect them with another company that would be a great partner for them? 

“There are numerous ways that you could offer some support that wouldn’t cut into your budget.”

Source: Fabian Blank on Unsplash

Again, saying no can be difficult, but there are valid reasons why your company should say no. It is just a matter of identifying those reasons and how you should communicate with that organization. 

If you haven’t seen it already, don’t forget to check out our last episode where we answer the question of “How do I narrow down which charities to give to?”

Have some questions?

Contact us to ask and find an answer!

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