Now don't get me wrong, I know the title of the question can feel a little awkward, but I am a person who chooses his "battles" very carefully, therefore helping those in need is something that I don't do often, that I surely ponder a lot, and (sorry if this may seem arrogant) I get to choose who I am helping and for what.
I wouldn't have any problems sparing some change, but I really feel bad, when I have to lie about it ("I'm sorry I don't have any money with me"), because I get pestered. This happens especially if people are asking for money for organizations that help children.
My brain gets irritated every time I get stopped by someone who asks "are children important for you?" and my heart feels broken because I don't have the words to say "they are, I realize what you're asking, but no".
Ignoring people stopping me makes me feel the same way.

How do I avoid to feel like a major a*****e and get so say "no" anyway?

  • 3
    Even if this question was on topic we would not be able to answer questions about how you will feel. We have no way of knowing the specific workings of your mind.
    – sphennings
    Feb 2, 2018 at 14:45
  • 4
    If you want advice on how to dismiss strangers asking you stuff on the street (whether selling you stuff or an organization), take a look at this. It won't help with feeling bad after saying no to donating stuff, but at least you won't feel rude.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Feb 2, 2018 at 14:47
  • @AnneDaunted Well, we shall agree to disagree. I see a lot of people asking question about graciously doing X. Being graceful is something that works for you too. This question goes "both ways" as well. Feb 2, 2018 at 14:47
  • 1
    Donor-Advised Fund. It relieves me of the duty to hand over cash; I say "Write your EIN on a flyer". For-profit fundraisers (who intercept 60-91% of it) are not happy, neither are scammers. (EIN is a tax ID every nonprofit has). Feb 3, 2018 at 2:32

2 Answers 2


I have similar problems; I cannot say no to charities, especially children's charities. When I saw charity ads on tv, I used to have to turn it off. I used to go out of my way to avoid charity reps on the street asking for money. It used to make me feel quite bad.

However, the answer you are looking for is in your question though.

I get to choose who I am helping and for what.

The way I got over feeling guilty saying no is by helping in the charities I feel the most passionate about. There are a few charities that I actively volunteer for. Even an hour volunteered in an understaffed charity is worth more than a few spare change.

And if you can't volunteer, simply donate to the charities you are passionate about. No one can help everyone and so the money you do donate could change someone's life. The feeling of giving should cut away the guilt.

  • This is a good answer. I have few monthly donations set up. Only for what I consider is important. And I reached the limit so cannot donate more without feeling guilt.
    – Piro
    Feb 2, 2018 at 18:00

If you don't need to have a lot of money on you at all times, that would solve your "lying" problem. I pass every work day in front of at least 2 homeless people, and most days I don't have money on me as I mostly use a credit card.

As for the charities people, I often either put my headphones on or just tell them I'm in a hurry and they have to trot along if they want to give me their speech. Seems to deter most of them. I don't feel bad about that because a different charity will have its people there every single day, and I lost a lot of time being given their speeches before I developped this way of dealing with them.

Also, you can tell yourself that they're just trying to manipulate you into giving them money. They are trained to give specific speeches to make people feel like they have to give money. That makes it even easier to not feel bad about not giving anything.

In the end, it's your money, and you can't help everyone in need, so all the better for you to chose wisely which charity to give to. There shouldn't even be any bad feeling about this whole situation in the first place.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.