How Do I Politely Decline To Donate?

Business By ShopGrl1128 Updated 22 Aug 2008 , 12:34am by laynie72

ShopGrl1128 Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 4:40pm
post #1 of 33

Hello dear friends:

For some strange reason Iâve been asked A LOT lately to donate cakesâ¦I donât mind doing some goodâ¦but câmon!
I started my business this year and Iâm doing OK but I donât feel my business is in the position to donate that muchâ¦whatever I give a this
point will come out of my day job paycheck and not only Iâm not making a steady income on cakes but I barely have time to finish my orders.

My latest request if for some womenâs group gala and they expect me to donate cake for over 200 people!!! . icon_eek.gif

As always they say it would be great exposure for my business icon_rolleyes.gifâ¦but honestly I would rather pass on this one.

How do I nicely tell these ladies I donât want to donate?

Tia

32 replies
marmalade1687 Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 4:48pm
post #2 of 33

Just be honest and tell them that you have reached your capacity for the year for donations - you can only afford so much per year, and you have reached it. Perhaps next year!

I have actually had to choose ahead of time which charities or organizations that I will donate to each year - it seems that each year there are more and more hands out...! I decide how much my limit will be, and when I reach it, that's it.

Aliwis000 Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 4:51pm
post #3 of 33

I think most people would just say that you are booked for the date requested. The same things happen at my parents print shop, from baseball teams to after school kids groups. When money was good my parents did these things, they have 20 years of pictures for various sports teams, but now they just can't. Sometimes poeple seem to think that since you own the business its all free to you, they forget that there are bills you have to pay no matter if you are making something to donate or to sale.

Alicia

littlecake Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 4:53pm
post #4 of 33

oh, i get hit up A LOT....

i just tell them i choose who i donate to, since i can't give to everyone who asks, i have choosen the women's shelter.

if it ever gets out you do donations...everyone will call...if you do everyone, you'll have to go out of business.

they try to trick you, and make you feel bad too...one of the last times they called they started out by telling me they heard i was "a real sweetheart"...ugh, i still told them no.

a woman came in one day dressed in an armani suit and wanted a donation for her kids school...i thought with that much money, why don't she just buy it herself and donate it.

plus they'll try to tell you that you'll get exposure for your biz....i'm sorry to say the only exposure i got was more people lookin for donations.

i'm not stingy either...i just wanna pick who i give to myself.

i gave 1800 cookies to a church last year to help out with a project that i really believed in.

Ironbaker Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 5:05pm
post #5 of 33

I agree with Marmalade. Many businesses who donate, start with a "donation budget" of sorts. If they reach their limit, they just say they've already chosen their recipients for the year and to try back January of the next year.

And there's usually a $$ max of what they will donate. Asking for a cake for 200 is a bit much, unless it's something you truly want to donate to.

lizamlin Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 5:07pm
post #6 of 33

I like the 'booked for that date' idea forthis particular instance.

Take some time to think over in your own mind IF you will donate and TO WHOM. What will the $$$amount of cake be? One cause or two or three? Be CERTAIN to find the tax bennies to you, too!

Be passionate in your selection of a cause - something that really matters to YOU...then you ought to have no problem in the future telling others you wish them luck and you're sorry you won't be able to help them...as the chosen cause this year is XXX.

hth

robinscakes Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 5:09pm
post #7 of 33

I'd tell them just that--you can't afford it. They're asking for a donation because they probably can't afford to buy a cake. They should understand that.

LisaMS Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 5:17pm
post #8 of 33

I agree with the explaining that you have a "donation budget" and that you have already allocated those funds this year.

If you think you might want to give to them in the future, tell them to check back next year. If you aren't the least bit interested in giving to this particular organization, don't. lol

I love the "get exposure" angle. Sometimes we have more exposure than we can deal with. icon_smile.gif

dinas27 Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 5:17pm
post #9 of 33

free cake for 200 people? did they ask the caterer to donate all the food too?

I would tell them that you have reached your donation limit, if you feel like it donate a small door prize or raffle item - like an 8 inch cake. Give them a really nice picture to display... you will get WAY more advertising that way.

I would not tell them that you are booked - if they come up with the cash (and you're not already booked) then you could have a potential order.

GeminiRJ Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 5:25pm
post #10 of 33

They probably have a list of people to contact for donations, and when one of the contacts says no, they move on to the next one. Do not feel guilty for turning them down, just tell them as politely as possible that you cannot fit their free cake for 200 people into your budget. If they respond with anything but a "Oh, I understand" they weren't someone who deserved free cake!

CakeDiva70 Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 5:31pm
post #11 of 33

I have people who say those exact words to me.........."It will be great exposure for your business". What they fail to also mention is that they are looking for something free.......... may be even due to constraints on their budget. I understand, and I help out as well. However, you can't "give" your product away all the time. May be you could suggest if they purchase 100 cookies, then you will donate 100 cookies. This is only a suggestion.

jennifer7777 Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 5:39pm
post #12 of 33

I like the suggestions of not having the donation capacity. You could tell them the cost of the cake and maybe discount it. But for 200 people, I'm sorry, I would want to get paid for that. That's a lot of work.

southerncake Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 5:44pm
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeminiRJ

They probably have a list of people to contact for donations, and when one of the contacts says no, they move on to the next one. Do not feel guilty for turning them down, just tell them as politely as possible that you cannot fit their free cake for 200 people into your budget. If they respond with anything but a "Oh, I understand" they weren't someone who deserved free cake!




I completely agree -- they will move on to the next person/business on their list! If I gave something to every single group looking for a donation (big or small), I would be beyond broke!! The longer you are in business (and the more you donate), the more you will be asked. I do what many suggested above...I simply tell them that my maximum donation amount has already been assigned to different charities/groups for the year.

With that said, some donations are a great way to get your name out in the beginning -- especially if you are actually at the event. It did wonders for our business in the beginning!

kimblyd Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 5:47pm
post #14 of 33

Great idea about substituting a small cake to be used as a raffle item or door prize, DinaS. That way you won't be remembered as the cake lady who said no and feel bad about it or give away tons of cake for free and feel bad about that, too!

If they really need donations they will take whatever they can get and be happy about it. A small cake might not be what they need right now, but they can contact you in the future if they do.

(This is from a former PTA mom who has shamelessly begged for donations from anyone and everyone in my town!)

icon_biggrin.gif

aobodessa Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 6:09pm
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrpierce70

I have people who say those exact words to me.........."It will be great exposure for your business". What they fail to also mention is that they are looking for something free.......... may be even due to constraints on their budget. I understand, and I help out as well. However, you can't "give" your product away all the time. May be you could suggest if they purchase 100 cookies, then you will donate 100 cookies. This is only a suggestion.




I like the idea to ask them to purchase 1/2 of what they want, then you will donate the other half ... that is, if you are able to do so without compromising your other orders for that day or your bottom line!

Explain to them that you would LOVE to donate to their cause, but financially you are unable to do so in the quantity they are requesting. However, if they would be willing to purchase 1/2 of the quantity they need, you will donate the other half.

Alternatively, you can tell them that you would donate the whole 200 servings, provided they will pay 1/2 the cost as you simply are unable to donate an item of such high value. If it helps, tell them your limit is $75.00 (or whatever you determine your limit is) per donation, and they would have to pay for the remainder of the cost. Remind them gently that there is a cost of doing business to you, and ingredients are just as costly an item to you as it would be to a family. If they don't understand that, then politely smile and tell them you're sorry, but you will not be able to donate this time around.

Always leave the door open, though, because at some point in the future you may be in the position to donate to them and it could be a boon for your business. You don't want to cut off your nose to spite your face!

hth,

Odessa

snarkybaker Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 6:29pm
post #16 of 33

Beacause we're literally on the University campus, we get up to 5 requests PER DAY for donations from various student groups, women's groups, athletic clubs etc. etc.

We have developed a standard response. " Because we are a small company, we have a limited budget for marketing, and dnations fall into that budget. We have a directed giving program aimed at Women's athletics and Women's Health care as our primary recipients, since this is a woman owned business and that's where we feel we can do the most food. We appreciate the work you're doing, and if you need some help with discounts, I can work with you, but my donation budget for the year is committed elswwhere."

indydebi Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 8:36pm
post #17 of 33

I've been told by a number of business people that I respect that the "our donation budget has been allocated" for this year, this quarter, this whatever is the best response. A couple even said to tell them, "If you want us to consider you for our next year's budget, just send us some info and we'll consider you when we do our next allocation."

And the "it will be good exposure for your business" crap ..... my response is in the vein of "I'll get exposure for the cake whether it's paid for or free."

mommicakes Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 8:47pm
post #18 of 33

txkat, I like your response. I think it is worded very well.

indy, I agree with you on the exposure thing! icon_lol.gif

littlecake Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 9:53pm
post #19 of 33

I'm sorry but this is a real sore spot for me....i never call anyone begging for free stuff, why do they keep calling me?

As a single woman with this being my sole income...i'm surely not rollin in the dough(pun intended).

i can't even afford health insurance for myself, yet am expected to be giving stuff away right and left.

dude!...i think if you are passionate enough about a cause you will give to it anyway...they won't have ta beg ya.

i did make an exception last year, a little boy was killed in an accident in our town, the family was poor and couldn't afford a casket, so business owners gave stuff to be auctioned off to pay for it...to me that was a REAL need.

MichelleM77 Posted 18 Aug 2008 , 10:28pm
post #20 of 33

Thank you for posting this. I've donated to all but one request so far (I'm actually totally booked for that weekend, yippee!) because I either don't know how to say no and/or I would feel guilty for saying no. Shhh! Don't tell anyone!

drowsyrn Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 3:04am
post #21 of 33

My goodness...200 people?! That's really pushing it! I would have no problem telling them one of the reasons mentioned in this thread. I wouldn't tell them you were booked if you aren't. No reason to fib, you are not doing anything wrong by denying their request. Believe me, it will get easier for you to do as time goes by. icon_smile.gif

HerBoudoir Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 11:28am
post #22 of 33

And they're trying to tell you...out of those 200 people.....NO ONE can put together a cake mix or a couple of cookie trays, but they think that you (who clearly isn't involved in the group) should do it for them?

Hmmmmm.....

ShopGrl1128 Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 2:39pm
post #23 of 33

Thank you all for your responses.

The lady that contacted me said she saw me at a Bridal Show I did back in Aprilâ¦thatâs where she got all her âpotential contributorsâ.

Anyhow⦠I honestly donât care too much for this charityâ¦but if I say no, I will feel terrible about it later, so as some of you mentioned I will
offer a small cake, maybe a 8â for a raffle or something, that way the guilt wonât kill me, but I definitely not making FREE cake for 200!

Kiddiekakes Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 2:49pm
post #24 of 33

I would not make free cake for 200 either...I have been asked a few times to donate and once or twice I have but this year I said no.You just have to have a strong sense to say no and not feel guilty about it!

marmalade1687 Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 3:34pm
post #25 of 33

Sometimes, when I want to donate, but just don't have the time to make a cake at that point, I give a gift certificate in lieu of cake. Perhaps they are having a silent auction that they can use put on the table, or could raffle it off? You can determine the amount that you are willing to donate, and be sure to state on it that redeeming it depends on your schedule - no last minute orders! icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 19 Aug 2008 , 11:27pm
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeGrlPA

â¦but if I say no, I will feel terrible about it later....




omg, get over this! what is it with women who feel this overwheming need to make everyone ELSE happy at the price of their own sanity!! icon_surprised.gif

I need $1000 .... please send it to me. I know you will because you don't want to "feel bad" about it later. dunce.gif

(and she walks into the sunset, replacing her mom-finger back in it's holster!)

ShopGrl1128 Posted 20 Aug 2008 , 12:19am
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeGrlPA

â¦but if I say no, I will feel terrible about it later....



omg, get over this! what is it with women who feel this overwheming need to make everyone ELSE happy at the price of their own sanity!! icon_surprised.gif

I need $1000 .... please send it to me. I know you will because you don't want to "feel bad" about it later. dunce.gif

(and she walks into the sunset, replacing her mom-finger back in it's holster!)




LOL... you are hilarious! and yes, you are right...as always... icon_rolleyes.gif

poshcakedesigns Posted 20 Aug 2008 , 8:25pm
post #28 of 33

Don't be afraid to tell them no. You can't give free cake to everyone that ask. If you did you'd go out of business. Just tell them you are booked or that you have reached your limit for the year.

CoutureCake Posted 21 Aug 2008 , 7:25am
post #29 of 33

I don't remember where I saw it but basically their procedure for donated cakes was this... They charged the charity or group normal rates, then if THEY felt like they wanted to donate to that charity, after the charity's check had cleared the bank of course, she'd write out a check to that charity for the amount of the cake and get her receipt for the donation to the NPO.

I give a percentage off discount for active duty military, police/fire/rescue personnel, FFA, and 4-H (all must show ID connection to that group, and any portion of bunker gear serves as ID in my book). That way they're getting something, but I'm still covering expenses.

NEVER NEVER NEVER fall for the "it'll be great exposure for your business" line... It's a crockload of dung! I'll get great exposure for my business when they pay me to do my work and enjoys what they got for product like none they've ever had before, not when they forget to include my name in their advertising for the event. I've been to a number of events where I donated only to have the most bitter taste in my mouth from them not acknowledging it AT ALL, but they're happy to comment that X bakery up the road donated a box of donuts. Yea, I never donated to them ever again! More often than not no one reads the "special thanks to these business' who donated"... My dad has done one event for years and after three consecutive years of them leaving the business name off of the advertising and the previous two years before that not even using the right name, he's now decided to stop making the donation because he's just not getting the advertising from the money he's been spending in product while others who donate far less get that advertising.

Suzies_Sweats-n-Treats Posted 21 Aug 2008 , 11:21pm
post #30 of 33

It seems many people just assume that since you have you own business, you must be loaded! I think you should have copies of a letter on hand explaining your financial position, that, as you stated:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeGrlPA


I started my business this year and Iâm doing OK but I donât feel my business is in the position to donate that muchâ¦whatever I give a this
point will come out of my day job paycheck and not only Iâm not making a steady income on cakes but I barely have time to finish my orders.




The reason for having the letter printed and available is, they will realize they are not first ones begging for donations, that you already had to write it. Also, at gives you a chance to think of how to politely decline in advance, not think of something to say while they are standing there in front of you.

Then if you DO want to donate, you can give them the letter, and say I have so many requests for donations that I actually had to have these letters printed up, but I feel yours is a worthy request. They will probably appreciate your generosity more, when they realize it really is a sacrifice for you.

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