How to reject requests for charity

This was originally published in issue number 5 of Mr. Happy Magazine (NSFW)

Mr. Happy

If you live and/or work in downtown Toronto, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually run into what is surely one of the most stressful and potentially traumatic experiences one can have in a big city, namely, being asked to donate to charity.

Charities are everywhere these days–on street corners, organizing campaigns through your office, and even obnoxiously organizing public runs and walks so they can ram their self-righteous agendas right down your dang throat.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for charity, except for when it involves me giving away money and/or things that are mine–because if I give them to someone else then they aren’t mine anymore, and I hate that.

Instead, I’ve developed three foolproof strategies to rejecting requests for charity so that I might be able to hang on to that which I’ve worked somewhat hard at earning instead of giving it to some organization that would squander it on something dumb like a book or a glass of water or a protector that keeps flies out the eyes of small children. In case you too are sick of all the requests for handouts, here are my tips.

1. Say you already gave them money.
This one works really well on those street-corner-kids-with-clipboards. They eat that shit up. It’s literally the only rebuttal that they don’t have a response to. Try telling them you’re not interested in the cause and it’s likely they’ll move in with you for a week. If you’ve already given, they got nothin’ on you. Plus, when you let them know you already donate to their cause, they frequently offer you a high-five and so passersby assume you’re a charitable person. This one’s a beauty when there’s babes around. Be forewarned, this technique has its limitations if the kids change up the charity they’re working for. I ran into an issue when I told the same kid that “I already donate!” to Because I’m a Girl, the RSPCA, Save the Children, and some shit about fish. He called me out on my lie and I had to push him under a passing streetcar. So use this one wisely while also changing up your daily commute route. No one wants a dead teenager on their conscious.

2. Just start weeping
A classic at the office, responding to a request for a charitable donation by simply staring at the person asking and starting to cry will get you out of all sorts of unpleasant shit. Typically, if the donation request is for something like cancer research, MS, or some other disease that other people get and I never will, the crying implies you have that disease, or at the very least, know someone who does. No one wants to ask a dying person for money. The requester will likely back slowly out of your office and never come back. Bonus: The office might chip in to get you a cake and it’s highly unlikely you’ll be asked to participate in Secret Santa since no one knows how long you have left.

3. Get political
If the charity in question is something that wouldn’t conceivably inspire weeping, like a community garden, or if the disease involved isn’t something you’d want people to think you had, e.g. anything that would affect your penis, get on your soapbox about how corrupt the charitable organization is. I’ve shot down requests for donations with any number of variations on the following, “[Charitable organization]? No thanks. Do you know how little of the money that [charitable organization] collects actually goes to [disease/cause/starving kid thing]? I still can’t believe we’re helping pay the salaries of [charitable organization]’s CEOs. No way, man. I prefer to give my money directly to [disease/cause/starving kid thing] so I can make they’re getting it.” This is a really solid approach because if you play it right, it can also make you seem informed and even more charitable than the person asking for the money. If that person is cute, it’s really not that hard to transition this approach into “You know I’d love to tell you all about it over drinks.” Then you can spend the money you would have donated on pitchers of beer and condoms/plan B. Of course, if you have no interest in having sex with the person, it’s important to be as indignant, self-righteous, and long-winded as possible. This way, even people who don’t believe your conspiracy theories will pass you over simply to avoid having to hear you rant.

There are of course many ways to avoid charity and there’s much room for improvisation–Indeed I like to think of dodging philanthropy as the modern equivalent to jazz music–but these basic building blocks should get your started. If you’re ever caught off guard or you don’t feel ready to use these techniques, remember that nothing helps avoid giving away your money like simply running away. And if you’re portly, a well-timed fake heart attack can be your best friend.

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