The Right Way to Give (and Get) at the Office
Whether you're raising money or asked for a donation, your main goal is to keep everyone feeling charitable toward you
(MONEY Magazine) – IF YOU'RE ASKING...
• Take your best shot. You generally can ask for a donation only once a year--twice at most--without being seen as a pest, says Jacqueline Whitmore, author of Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work. So limit your requests to your favorite charity during its biggest fund-raising campaign of the year.
• Don't be controversial. It's inappropriate to solicit at the office for groups that deal with contentious or divisive issues. Asking for contributions to political or religious organizations is a big no-no.
• Personalize your approach. A group e-mail may be efficient, but it can be off-putting to recipients--and may be against company rules. If you want someone's money, the least you can do, whenever possible, is ask for it in person.
• Don't apply pressure. Once you've made your request, don't hover waiting for an answer. Instead, leave a pamphlet and an envelope that the prospective donor can return to you if he chooses. And thank him for taking the time to hear your pitch.
IF YOU'RE BEING ASKED...
• Consider who's asking--and why. Is it your boss? (Say yes, duh.) Ditto for first-time requests from close friends, relatives and colleagues you work closely with or who have previously made a donation to your pet charity. Also, consider the fund raiser's connection to the cause. If a co-worker's wife has breast cancer, support the pink-ribbon walk.
• Offer an alternative. If you say no every time a co-worker asks for a donation, you may not be seen as a team player. No time to buy canned goods for the food drive? Donate $10 instead.
• Saying no? Be gracious. A simple but polite "I'm not interested, but thanks for thinking of me" will do, says Peggy Post, author of Excuse Me, But I Was Next.... Add "maybe next time" only if you mean it.
• Saying yes? Follow through. It is better to say no up front than to agree to make a contribution and then flake out. Not only do you do a genuine disservice to the charity, but you'll damage your reputation as well.