Learning to say "No"

As I headed to the subway platform, I was stopped and asked to donate to the Humane Society. The “fundraiser” as she called herself, sold me on saving/rescuing dogs from dog fights. She talked about how they work with the police to stop dog fight rings and rescue the dogs. So I gave in, donated and left after showing off pictures of my dog to compare with the fundraisers’ pictures of their dogs. One had Havenese too. I got on the subway with two shirts and a big smile on my face. Then I realized that I would go broke if I gave to every person who asked in the subway and/or knocked on my door. Though, saying no seems so cold. My solution is each year to make a designation as to the category of nonprofit where I will donate money. This way, I can say “no” nicely by saying “Thanks, but no. I have decided this year to focus my giving on X.” This doesn’t mean I will stop giving to my high school or synagogue. My client and I were talking yesterday about learning to say no and with a 1-year old, he said he uses “we can’t get a baby sitter”. Here’s something better to say, “I want to spend time with my family, so I only do a limited number of evening events a week and I am already booked up that week.” The person feels that you value their event and will understand your valuing your family as well. Plus, this can be said even as you kid gets older and ages out of babysitting. When you turn down another invite to a holiday party, “Say sorry to be a Scrooge, but I only do a certain number of holiday parties each year and I have maxed out already. I’ll miss your egg nog.”