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How to refuse without causing upset

(29 Posts)
meddie Sun 31-Jan-16 11:20:09

I have a young relative who is always doing fun runs etc and each time asks for charity donations. on the whole I don't mind donating to these as they are for a well known charity I would support anyway.
Yesterday she announced she is raising funds to go to India to help build schools with an international charity. The total cost is 2500 pounds. I am close to her mum, she is a wonderful person though somewhat over indulgent towards her daughter. This is the second time this young woman has signed up for this type of trip. The first time she 'got bored' of fund raising and approx 1k of money was lost (similar set up to camp international). Most of the money came as a direct donation from family and friends and apart from one car boot which she did, she didn't actually do much fundraising.
She has a habit of bailing out if stuff gets too inconvenient and usually her mum picks up the slack, which will be difficult this time as she has recently lost her job.

I don't want to donate again this time, Any donation would have to be a reasonable amount and to be honest I don't think this young woman will get the total she will need and once again money will be swallowed up towards admin costs and the trip wont happen
(She has form for jumping from one 'exciting idea' to another and mostly fails to follow through.)

I can't plead poverty as she would know I was lying, I just dont want to contribute to another of her pie in the sky projects, but I obviously cant say I have no faith in her without upsetting her mum who I love to bits

Nospringflower Sun 31-Jan-16 11:33:22

Could you say you've just made a big charity donation and so don't want to contribute to another charity at the moment?
Or be truthful that you get asked a lot so are trying to vary who you give to?

Gobbolino6 Sun 31-Jan-16 12:04:44

I'd say I had a certain budget for charity donations and unfortunately you've gone over it and need to recoup.

What happened to the £1000? Didn't she return it?

Toooldtobearsed Sun 31-Jan-16 12:09:01

Personally, I would say 'so proud of you! Tell me when you get to needing the last£100 and it is yours!' (Or whatever figure suits you).

It's a win win situation. You don't lose money, but save face. She gets your donation if she pulls her finger out.

I had to do this for exactly the same reason a few years ago. It did not cost me a penny wink

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sun 31-Jan-16 12:19:44

Yes, what Gobbolino6 said. Your charity money has already been earmarked/spent.

Do you feel like she is using you though? You should be able to politely decline without her mom having her feelings hurt. "Sorry, I can't this time." Should be enough.

If she pesters you or starts manipulatively shaming you for a donation then I'd go with "no." As a complete sentence.

Imho, you need a boundary. If the friendship with the mom won't survive the boundary then it's not much of a friendship. Enough is enough. You have been generous-she is taking advantage of your kindness.

rookiemere Sun 31-Jan-16 12:35:22

I like what tooold says.

I was going to say something similar - that you'd be happy to donate once she's done x months of training or raised y amount, but saying you'll give her the last £100 is genius and/or say that you'll happily come along and support whatever events she is pulling together to raise the funds.

If pushed though I think you do need to be kind but honest. I don't know how much you gave her before, but if pushed I don't see what's wrong with saying that you were disappointed that she didn't follow through last time, hence why you're putting some conditions on this contribution.

I know someone like this who used to work with us. Note I say "used to". He was forever flitting from one worthy cause to another forever there with his rattling box and his facebook just giving page. Didn't bother turning up to do the half marathon that everyone had sponsored him for as he was hungover.

He'd been so passionate about it that everyone was worried when he went AWOL and couldn't be contacted for a couple of days after the event until we found out the cause.

Was forever having time off as day to day life was a bit boring for him and in the end lost his fairly decent for his age job.

In a way you'd be doing your friends DD a huge favour by giving her a wakeup call. I'm hugely dubious of these projects that require large amounts for unskilled labour to go over to impoverished countries and build houses - wouldn't it be rather more efficient to pay for a labourer there to do it, £2500 would probably cover the wages of a few people for a long time?

Cabrinha Sun 31-Jan-16 14:30:30

Tooold's idea is a good one - promos the last £100.

Or explain that you never support this type of fundraising because you don't believe it's efficient and local labour should be used. That it's not about her, but the method.

What happened to the £1K? If it went to the charity, nobody lost their money.

meddie Sun 31-Jan-16 14:54:45

Thanks for all the input. I like Tooolds idea, after all the last bit is usually the hardest to raise, people are often all charitied out by then. I think I might go with that.
I agree I,m not a fan of these projects either, but her mum is her biggest fan and ultimately will be the one out their sorting the fund raising out, she thinks this will be the making of her daughter and I just havent the heart to burst her bubble. Thanks Tooold

CheersMedea Sun 31-Jan-16 15:58:48

The first time she 'got bored' of fund raising and approx 1k of money was lost (similar set up to camp international). Most of the money came as a direct donation from family and friends and apart from one car boot which she did, she didn't actually do much fundraising. She has a habit of bailing out if stuff gets too inconvenient

If I were you, I would be honest but gentle and say to her directly (not through her mum):

"I think it is great you doing this but I'm reluctant to donate because of what happened before [bailing out]. However, if you get to £x then I will donate the last £x. Treat that as a pledge and let me know"

I think it is really important that she understands that her previous behaviour has affected your desire to support her again. It's an important reason why you don't want to donate and she should know.

It's a valuable life lesson for her and you should tell her.

FredaMayor Sun 31-Jan-16 16:02:07

IMO asking people to pay for a holiday, however it's wrapped up, is a scam. This person would get no money from me.

ImperialBlether Sun 31-Jan-16 16:06:07

I always think that if the person just sent the charity their airfare then everyone would be better off.

CheersMedea Sun 31-Jan-16 16:07:50

IMO asking people to pay for a holiday, however it's wrapped up, is a scam

I agree with this FredaMayor in respect of "climb Mount Kilimanjaro" or "walk the great wall of china" or "cycle the nile" type stuff. I never sponsor people who are going on trekking -holidays for charity.

But this is a bit different because the end work itself is charitable - building work for schools (I assume she will be working for free). So it's not quite a holiday as the end work is charitable.

karalime Sun 31-Jan-16 16:20:37

I hate charity schemes like this, they make absolutely no sense and are simply an ego boost for those involved.

If you are a trained builder/healthcare professional/engineer etc then yes you have some valuable skills to add. Otherwise you are simply taking someone elses job and doing it for free, which is stupid. As much as I'd love to go and volunteer in a developing country, I would be of neither use nor ornament and so I don't.

£2500 could easily pay the wages of some local labourers to build the school. School gets built, people get paid work, better for everyone.

OurBlanche Sun 31-Jan-16 16:41:22

karalime, that's not quite true though.

We have sent students off to build schools, hospitals etc. They are given the scut work, fetch and carry, cooking, cleaning, creche minding, babysitting tasks.

That leaves all the local adults free to work with professionals, to learn skills, earn their own money in the future, once the project is finished.

Yes there was a lot of damage done by blithely well intended eco tourism, but much of that is being remodelled these days. It depends entirely on the project and there are some great ones out there.

YoniMitchell Sun 31-Jan-16 16:56:05

Great idea Tooold!

What happened to the last £1k from the abandoned scheme meddie? Did she at least pass it on to the charity?

meddie Sun 31-Jan-16 17:16:17

As far as I am aware the charity got it, so it did go to use, (though how much was swallowed up by admin/flights already booked etc I dont know) but it would not have been a charity I would have supported in other circumstances.

meddie Sun 31-Jan-16 17:18:01

I have similar feelings about these charities to Karalime,

iminshock Sun 31-Jan-16 17:30:47

Just say no. I never ever donate to that sort of thing.

Freeriver Sun 31-Jan-16 17:40:18

If individuals wish to do good works overseas they can enrol in the VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas).

I never donate to people who do these trekking style holidays for charity.

Elllicam Sun 31-Jan-16 18:41:05

Tooold's idea is genius smile

Toooldtobearsed Mon 01-Feb-16 17:32:08

Thank you grin

My burnt fingers have been put to good use at last!

I must admit to being a bit hmm about this sort of fund raising, but feel that, on balance, it does more good than harm both for the participants and the country they are working in, so would contribute.

JohnThomas69 Tue 02-Feb-16 03:57:59

It doesn't do as much good as just sending the money directly to the charity. £2500 could get them a lot more than one fetcher carrier. Quite clearly more of a free jaunt to sunny climes is the priority in these people's minds, regardless how they dress it up.

OurBlanche Tue 02-Feb-16 14:34:00

OK, if you say so.

But, having sent a lot of kids on a wide variety of them I know that there are a number of good ones out there that do a lot of good work and the volunteers return year on year, join related projects and make good friends and business contacts too.

They really aren't all sunny climate jolly holidays. Many are, many are not. It would be a pity to automatically set your face against them all.

Toooldtobearsed Tue 02-Feb-16 16:40:36

I agree Blanched. If they can do some good, any good, while they are there, I would rather my money supported that rather than a corporate charity that spends a bomb on advertising and salaries for those at the top.

Done properly, this is a win win situation for both charity and volunteer alike.

Note: i am high level management at a small not for profit, and overpaid. I also volunteered abroad for seven consecutive years, building orphanages, so do have some knowledge of what I say.

dimots Tue 02-Feb-16 16:47:52

There is one resource developing countries are not short of and that is young people willing to work. Much better to pay a local. I would try and phrase it that way - as an ethical concern.

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