How to say No when your retail store is asked for charity donations

Hi! I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

Retailers are always the first port of call for organisations that are looking for donations, because they have tangible products that can easily be displayed and therefore, are much easier to sell tickets or take bids from consumers.

But as a small business, you can’t afford to be donating to every single cause that comes your way. But saying no to every request that comes into your store, doesn’t mean that you have to be a Grinch, and not give back.

Saying no, especially in person, can make you feel guilty, deflated and feeling like you should do more.

But it’s ok to say no, as long as you’re not a jerk about it.

To start off, it’s important to detach yourself form the request. It’s likely that you’re not the only business that’s been asked and most people that request donations know that they aren’t going to be successful with every company they ask.

Here are a few things that you might like to consider when choosing a cause to give to

Are they a registered charity?

This is not a deal breaker. You may choose to donate to a local school, or a cause that’s touched your heart, however, if they are a registered charity, your donation is tax deductible. Make sure that you put the donation through your POS system and allocate it to donations, then ensure that your accounting system has donations set up in the chart of accounts, and allocate the amount to that account.

Research the cause.

There are so many scam “publications” that promise the money is going to a good cause, in exchange for advertising in a magazine, but in fact, these organisations have no affiliation with the hospital, fire brigade or local police association, as they claim to.

Google the business or cause first, before putting your hand in your till

And whilst you may feel that giving back is part of your business culture, being able to promote and support a cause, whilst in turn, gaining some promotion for your business, is not a bad thing.

Have a set charity budget and stick to it.

That way, when you are asked, you can feel good knowing that you already know who you’re going to support for the year, and how much you will donate.

So here are some ideas on how you can give back and feel good about doing so.

Look outside the box when giving back to your community.

Instead of a physical or monetary donation, is there a way to sponsor the event.

Think of it like sponsoring the local kid’s soccer club. Offering to sponsor the event gives your brand a direct link to the cause, which you can leverage on social media, whilst in turn, promoting the event for the not-for-profit. It’s a win-win.

Offer an ambassador program.

An ambassador program allows you to donate a portion of sales made to the referring partner.

For example, your local school may be looking for donations for their annual event. Instead of handing over one prize, offer to donate $1 for every $20 spent in your store.

Give back in other ways.

Donate your time to a cause you’re passionate about, and go one step further, and donate your team’s time to let them help a cause they they would love to be involved with.

Bring your team on board

Speaking of team, ask each team member to put forward a charity or cause that they would like to support, and offer to match their donation dollar for dollar up to a maximum amount.

This builds your workplace culture, makes your staff feel empowered and shows them that you respect their choices.

Win-win solutions are great at building long term relationships, dare I even call them partnerships, with your team, other businesses and the community.

You don’t have to defend or justify your businesses actions. It’s your business and you can choose how you run it.

As small business retailers, it’s important to know when and how to decline a request for a donation as politely as possible.

So planning out how and when you’re going to give, will give you peace of mind and heart.
To help you with that, today’s free download contains 3 templates (we call them swipe copy in the biz world) that you can copy and paste as a response to people who are requesting donations from your store, and not feel like a jerkface.

Until Next Week,

Be Profitable


Today I've got a real go-getter on the show, Rebecca from Weft and Warp Fabrics.
Gone are the hedonistic, buy-stuff-to-make-us-feel-better days. And it's likely not going to change next week.
Listen to this week’s podcast as I discuss the 7 things that a business owner
Take it from someone who started a business during the GFC, I know business is
Want to know the secrets to getting 25 times your money back from Google Ads?

Facebook-f Instagram Linkedin LISTEN NOW Are you working yourself to the bone for your business

Get my proven strategies Straight To Your Inbox

Add your email to receive your business (& life) changing strategies