How to Avoid Giving Donations at Work

The office is supposed to be a place where we make money, not spend it.

By + More

Andrew G. Rosen
The office is supposed to be a place where we make money, not spend it. But between Girl Scout cookies, holiday wrapping paper, office birthdays, and charity races, I’m constantly asked to crack open my wallet.

Sometimes I have the money, sometimes I don't; sometimes I want to give, sometimes I don't.

The collector might have a secret motive and not be as charitable as he or she seems. But even if their motives are 100 percent pure, I believe the office is not a place for money collections.

[See Why Employees Should be More Grateful for Perks.]

A few ways to handle office donations and money contributions if you want to opt out:

Just Say 'No.' Most people have big trouble with this tiny two-letter word. No one has a handle on your finances except for you. If things are swell, then give to your heart's content. But if you're feeling the pinch and having to make adjustments at home (cutting premium cable channels, dining in on Saturday evening, etc.) then simply say 'no.' It’s really that easy.

Say You Already Gave. Tell the person collecting that you have already done something for the individual or organization in question. Or, if you want to take a zero-risk approach, let them know that you recently gave X to charity Y and are tapped out.

Have a Blanket Policy. When you start a new job and have a fresh beginning, you can establish the ground rules from the start. For example, tell the office butterflies that you do not participate in money collections because of personal beliefs.

[See more workplace advice at U.S. News Careers.]

Your company already has a million rules. How about one more that stops co-workers from soliciting for a dollar here and a dollar there? It’s not always easy to say no, but sometimes it’s the best choice. The best part is—and don’t forget it—the choice is yours.

Andrew G. Rosen is the founder and editor of, a career advice blog. He is also the author of How to Quit Your Job.