Learning to say no

You learn things from most unexpected experiences. I learnt to say No from such a small but repeated encounters.

I usually get down at a point and walk about 2 km while coming back from work. There is a famous bookstore on the way and few eateries around it. At any given time one can see about 20, 25 people in that area.

Almost every other day one can see a young group of 4 or 5 representing various NGOs talking to people. They will be seen trying to convince them that they are not doing anything to this world and donating to the NGO they represent will help them attain salvation. Now, I am all up for charity. But I refuse to give to any random organization.

My first encounter with them was lengthy. Being a self-proclaimed polite person,  I patiently heard for 15 full minutes before saying that I am not interested. I genuinely wanted to hear what they do but I support another NGO that I believe in.

The frequency of my encounters increased and it was getting a bit frustrating to talk to some NGO rep every day. Time was getting wasted for us both. Over the time, my replies became shorter and crisp. This is the evolution of my replies.

“That is so nice of you people to volunteer but I support another organization”

“Sorry, I support another organization”

“UNICEF? I talked to you guys already”

“Greenpeace.org? I talked to you already”

“Children’s relief fund? I talked to you already”

“UNICEF? I talked to you guys already. Didn’t you get enough funds yet? You have been asking people every day”

“UNICEF again? Talked to you last week”

“Already contributed”

“Already contributed?”

“Not interested”



“Lost my job”






There are some questions that keep surfacing in my mind

  • Why do these organizations always need money?
  • Can they eventually help all the people ever?
  • How about the admin costs? Surely not all the people are volunteering?
  • Can there really be an organization that is formed with volunteers only and the money collected is spent completely to the cause?
  • Why do big NGOs like UNICEF ask ordinary people to contribute instead of targeting corporates or wealthy?
  • Does anyone who is contributing even read the financial statement to check where the money is being spent on?
  • How do we choose the organization that we can trust?


5 thoughts on “Learning to say no

  1. To answer one question of many you have posed: I have seen on the Greenpeace website that they do not accept money from corporate donors because they do not want to be controlled by vested interests. That makes sense to me!

  2. I completely agree with you Sadagopan, huge cost is involved for these guys who keep asking people for funds. A NGO should not ask money ever rather it should be a person’s wish to donate. Even at my workplace UNICEF guys showed me a book with all the photos, I think that money spent for printing and promotions could be used more efficiently somewhere else.

  3. I also say NO to all the people. Once these people from CRY managed to get into my house and waste half an hour. They got me interested because I was thinking of volunteering. But all I could gather was their marketing tactics and attempts to get money from me. When I told them I want to volunteer on the field, they were like we’ll let you know about it, but consider donating. I made them leave within 2 mins. 😛

    The org always need money to fill their pockets and of course, for the cause.
    They can’t help all the people, but I would like to believe that they do help some.
    I am associated with an NGO which is a volunteer only org and all the money donated is used for educating children. They’ll be completing 5 years this May.
    Why do big NGOs like UNICEF ask ordinary people to contribute instead of targeting corporates or wealthy? That’s a good question but I can’t think of an answer
    I don’t think ppl chk the financial statements. I wonder if they know that there’s something like this that can be done
    I really didn’t trust in the NGOs. When my friends started one, I was doubtful about their plan. But in these 5 years, they have really changed my perception. Working closely with them may help you understand if you can trust them or not. Or maybe if you talk to someone who has worked with them, they can help you know the inside talks. It doesn’t have to be somebody from the administration, a volunteer who has worked on the field would be able to tell you better.

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