Respectfully Yours: Charity at office
At my office, it seems like every time I turn around someone is asking me to participate in a fundraiser to support his or her child’s organization or a charity. I do not have a large budget for this, yet I do not want to create bad relationships at work. Can I participate in one fundraiser and not another? This is starting to get overwhelming. What is considered the most polite way to handle fundraising in the office?
It all depends on how it’s done.
When you find fundraising brochures in the breakroom, it’s easier to not feel obligated to participate in every cause.
However, when you are personally approached by parents hoping that you would like to help their child’s cause, the situation quickly becomes time-consuming, awkward and expensive.
I understand that you might feel uncomfortable if you are feeling pressured to purchase something. Realistically, it’s impossible to donate to every admirable cause out there. If you choose not to purchase whatever it is, say, “No thank you,” and let that be the end of it. Excuses are not necessary.
You may want to discreetly bring the problem to management before fundraising season begins. Perhaps there is already a fundraising policy in place that is not being enforced.
In the meantime, management might be willing to send out an email suggesting all employees leave all fundraising brochures and information in breakrooms. This prevents anyone from feeling singled out.
Do the best you can when deciding to help out your co-workers’ children or support their charitable organization. Decide how much you are able to contribute for the year and stick to your budget. Pick inexpensive items that would at least make good gifts.
A couple of dollars is a small price to pay for harmony.
Have a question? Email: email@example.com. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol. She is on the board of the National Civility Foundation.
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