Michael Rosen raises some good points here. Integrity is important and showing it with whom you take money from does make a difference. Maybe you will raise more money and maybe you won’t. You will, however, sleep better at night.
The idea of rejecting a major donation usually sends a chill up the spine of nonprofit executives. After all, nonprofit organizations are not in business to return donations. Instead, charities employ hardworking fundraising professionals to bring in contributions. For many nonprofits, donations are the lifeblood of the organization.
However, rejecting a gift can actually help a charity protect its mission. Recently, I reported on two organizations that rejected or returned major gifts:
- “When Should You Refuse a Gift?” — tells the story of Lucy the Elephant rejecting a grant offer from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
- “Update: Spelman College Returns Gift from Bill Cosby” — relates why a major gift from Cosby was returned
Not long ago, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington demonstrated that a nonprofit can protect its mission and raise more money by mindfully rejecting a donation. In the case of the Girl Scouts, the organization rejected a $100,000 gift and raised over $250,000 in the process!
When the Girl Scouts received the $100,000 gift, the staff was understandably thrilled. The money equaled approximately one-third of the organization’s financial assistance program budget for the year. The Girl Scouts offer financial assistance so that any girl can join despite economic obstacles.