No matter what focus you choose for giving, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of organizations doing good work that may be in your sights. Unfortunately, you can’t support them all and will have to pick one or a handful to partner with. After all, your time, talent, and treasure can only go so far.
I’ve found that it’s valuable to believe and understand that it’s ok to say no when someone asks for support. If you yourself are doing the work to find the right time, place, and organization to give to, you will have to be discerning. Unfortunately, not everyone will understand that you’re coming from a good place.
I recall a sour phone call with a non-profit founder in Denver who once called me to share the impact they were having on low-income students. The program was truly effective, which is great, but it was outside the focus of our foundation and therefore not the right fit for a gift. Instead of thanking me for my time and consideration when I declined our support, he ended the call with a shocking and hurtful comment implying that the foundation didn’t have any money. I was furious, and the worst part is that it assured that I would never be a donor.
The lesson I came away with from that day is that it is my right and my duty to the foundation to say no to a grant when it’s not the right fit.
My advice when considering gifts of any size is that if it doesn’t feel right, say no. We have to always remember that it is our money, our time, and our lives. We have every right to decline a request for any reason.
In those exciting and rewarding situations where you do give a donation, don’t let your work end with the gift. Follow up. Give them a call or stop in for a visit to see how the organization is doing. You may be able to find out exactly how your contribution was spent. If the money was well spent, keep them on your list and keep giving. If not, it is ok to kindly say no to their request for future donations and look for another organization to support.
Like what you hear? Pick up a copy of Every Gift Matters: How Your Passion Can Change the World, now available at Amazon.