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
By Amanda Gengler

(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.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.