I’ve worked in three different jobs since I’ve graduated from college and at every single one of them I’ve been asked to donate to a charity, PAC (political action committee) or a coworker’s kid’s fundraiser. These interactions always make me feel awkward and pressured to buy something or donate when I wouldn’t otherwise do so.
My Experience with These Requests
My first job had a couple charity events. Hardly anyone had kids so there were no Girl Scout Cookie fundraisers. There were, however, lots of charity fundraisers. They often asked you to come to an event or pay $5 to be able to wear jeans to work on a day other than Friday. I personally didn’t care to wear jeans for $5 so I never contributed.
We did have food drive and I was actually on the team for gathering the food. I could get behind it because I believed there plenty of people who needed food for the holidays and no food would be taken out by middlemen unlike the monetary contributions. We didn’t pressure people but had a large turn out because most people believed in the cause.
In my current job we have an annual charity drive for a charity that doles money out to many other charities. I don’t donate to it because if I want a charity to get my money I’ll donate it directly instead of going through a middle man.
More recently I had a coworker come around asking us to buy Boy Scouts popcorn. The cheapest popcorn was $10 for a pretty small box and it got up to $50 for a big tin. Popcorn is dirt cheap to make. I know it is a fundraiser but I won’t pay those prices. I said I didn’t have any cash and he continued on to the next person.
Why Do I Feel Awkward in These Situations?
It seems that coworkers almost expect you to buy something or donate like it is an unwritten rule. Was I not informed of this rule? I also feel a bit of pressure because I know I tried to sell these fundraisers when I was a kid. My dad would always take them to work and people would normally end up buying a few items so in a way I feel like I’m supposed to repay the favor. My other thought is maybe I should wait until I have a kid to purchase these items and then I won’t feel so bad for sending the sign up sheet around my office.
How Can I Get Out of These Situations?
How can I get out of these situations without feeling embarrassed or lying? I could flat out say I don’t support office fundraisers but that may turn my coworkers off. Another option would be to explain I’ve already made all of my charitable contributions for the year and I don’t have any more money in my budget. Other than those two idea my only other idea is to come up with some sort of story why I can’t which never seems to go over well.
So… What would you do in this situation if you didn’t want to support the organization, PAC, charity, kid’s fundraiser, etc.? Was I not informed of the unwritten rule that you have to support all of your coworkers’ causes?