Fundraise Well #10: When to turn down a donation



It sounds crazy, right?! Why on earth would your nonprofit ever turn down a charitable gift? Well, every once in a blue moon a situation arises in which you need to consider rejecting a gift in order to protect your nonprofit's time, resources, and reputation.

Here are a few of these situations:

1. Small gift, impossible expectations. A donor will give you $250 but only if you give them the title sponsorship of your gala. Or they expect that such a gift means they have free reign to call you every day. Not okay!

2. Controversial donor. Clearly, if you advocate against tobacco use, you wouldn't accept money from companies affiliated with tobacco! Also watch out for a divisive character in your community--maybe someone has been garnering a lot of negativity in the press and wants to give funds to improve their reputation. Be scrupulous.

3. A "match" not made in heaven. Matching or challenge gifts/grants can be great! They might inspire additional donations to your nonprofit. This is wonderful, but just be sure to clearly define the terms and parameters of the match in advance to avoid problems down the road with the original donor.

I can assure you that 9 times out of 10, a gift should absolutely be accepted and celebrated by your nonprofit! Simply keep an eye out for red-flag situations that might put your nonprofit in a less than ideal position. 


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