It’s Okay to Say No

Nonprofits operate on different types of donations. Although the essential aspect of nonprofit organizations is fundraising, not all money is worth taking!

In 2015 Girls Scout of Western Washington had to make an important decision. They were offered a $100,000 donation, but the donor insisted that they promise not to use that money in support of transgender girls. Although, this was a big donation for them, they said no, and they started an online fundraising campaign to recoup for the lost donation with the name of “we won’t exclude ANY girl.” You can read more about it here.

Nonprofit organizations should be very careful about the strings that might be attached to a certain donation. Organizations should pursue donors who truly believe in the nature of their mission. Some individual donors offer a considerable amount of money, but they will put the organization in a danger of mission drift, which means they ask for major changes in the organization that would not align with the goals and priorities of that organization.

This can also be true with corporate donations. It is important to partner up with corporations that their missions are aligned with your organization. A wrong partnership can result in a very negative image in public. By saying no to certain money, you will show the dignity and transparency of your organization. A transparent and accountable organization will appeal to a larger number of people in a long run. Saying no to a “wrong” donor can result in saying multiple yeses by donors who truly care about what you are doing without setting any conditions.


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Sarah Cortell Vandersypen

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