To Donate or Not to Donate?

To donate or not to donate?

Is THAT the question?

As a prior Main Street Business owner, I was bombarded with requests for donations.  What is the right way to handle the massive amount of interruptions and requests? Yes? No? Maybe so?

If I say no, the person soliciting donations is sure to feel rejected and tell others (often many others) that I am cheap or uncaring. Any adjective they have will be less than kind. To top it off, even if they may have considered becoming a client, now for sure they won’t. To make matters worse they will also try to convince others to stay away.

If I ask for time to consider their request, they are hesitant and indignant. At best, they are not optimistic. A maybe means a no to many of these novice volunteer committee members. They are uncertain and don’t want to be disliked. An important fact to keep in mind is that they are almost always volunteers. They probably will never follow up – it’s the scary human fear of possible rejection.

If I respond with a yes, I have a new best friend, at least temporarily. The recipient of our contribution feels rewarded and will bring back the contribution to their group feeling a sense of pride and success. They often feel entitled – Of course I got a yes, the cause I support is desirable and deserving. Alas, the yes brings along a great deal of challenges.  We become known as a community contributor and others begin asking for support.  Every yes, eats away at the bottom line. Some of our bottom lines haven’t even been drawn – we are giving from cash flow, robbing Peter to pay Paul, just so we can have a good name in the community. Once we say yes, how do we measure our return on investment?

The answer for sure is yes to the donation, but the new question is how?…