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After receiving donation requests from friends, family members, neighbors and doorbell ringers, it can be difficult to know how to say no – especially when it comes to requests from people you know well.

Whether it’s Girl Scouts asking you to buy cookies or your neighbor asking you to buy a coupon book, it can feel like there’s not a way to say no, especially when the money goes to a special cause.

Check out these tips to help you respectfully say no to people asking for money for a charity or youth organization.

Give emotional support

You can’t support everyone with financial donations, so give your support emotionally instead. When it comes to people (especially kids) asking for charity money, they’re probably nervous to ask for money and want your approval more than anything.

Saying something as simple as, “You’re doing awesome work” will help the people asking for donations know that you aren’t saying no because they did something wrong. Saying “It’s so cool that you’re helping this organization” will tell them that you support the work they’re doing for the charity.

Even if someone is temporarily disappointed in a lack of a donation from you, receiving a meaningful compliment will give them the confidence they need to continue doing the work.

Spread the wealth

If you want to say no to the fewest people as possible, spread the amount of money that you have available to give as much as possible.

For example, if you budget $20 each month for donations to charities, use that money in as many different donations as possible. If you buy four boxes of Girl Scout cookies from one Girl Scout for $20, then you’ll have to say no to the next three Girl Scouts that come to your door.

Instead, support more Girl Scouts and avoid saying no by purchasing one box from each Girl Scout, until your $20 budget is spent. As a bonus, it’ll help you avoid the temptation to eat all four boxes in one sitting!

Even if you’re only giving $5 to each Girl Scout, you’re both avoiding saying no and helping more kids with your donations.

Don’t ignore them

Whether it’s over email or they come to your door, don’t ignore people asking for money for charity.

Like most charity or nonprofit groups, there’s a good chance that they are going to come back later because they assume you’re busy or not home at the time. They will assume you didn’t see their first email, so they’ll send a follow-up.

Even if you can’t give the financial help they are asking for, the best thing to do is to answer the email or door and politely say no right away. This way, you won’t be bothered again, and they will have a clear answer that you don’t wish to donate.

Ignoring the knock on the door might feel like the easiest way to avoid feeling like the bad guy, but saying no is more respectful than ignoring.

Be concise

People aren’t looking to hear a reason why you can’t donate, so don’t try to overexplain why you are saying no.

When it’s an adult asking for a donation, they’ll understand that you have bills to pay and don’t have extra money at the time. With kids, all they need to know is your no means no.

If you would be interested in donating in the future, you can tell them to try again with their next fundraiser. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, but you can express that you may be able to help later.

When it comes to donation requests and other difficult monetary situations, it can be difficult to know the most appropriate way to respond. If you’re interested in learning more, check out how to respond to repeated donation requests or how to fundraise for a family or friend in need.