When people come to the door asking for donations how do you politely end the conversation and close the door? Some of the causes are very worthy but I don't have the money. I had jobs before where managements makes sure you try at least 3 times before taking no for an answer so I don't want to take it personal. I noticed one of there techniques is to ask simple questions like "have you heard of us?" and then continue talking for 5 minutes at a time.

  • related interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/249/…
    – Jesse
    Dec 3, 2019 at 6:17
  • 2
    Hi there! What have you tried so far to dismiss their request? How did it go? What is your exact goal, do you want to make it clear to them that you think they support a cause you think is laudable or maybe you don't want to hear any of what they have to say? Could you edit your question to add this info because it's too broad to be correctly answered right now. Thanks!
    – avazula
    Dec 3, 2019 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


As I've gotten older (and made more professionally), the number and frequency of appeals has increased. And with that has my method of saying 'no'.

One thing to keep in mind is that as long as they're talking to you, there's a chance. Additionally, fundraisers are trained to get "3 nos".

If someone's at my door, I just say something like "I have my charities I already donate to. Good luck!" and shut the door. They'll ask questions as you shut the door- that's what they're trained to do. Remember, YOU own the door. YOU control whom you talk to. YOU decide what you donate to. WRT the question "Have you heard of us?" I will respond "I have not" and after I've heard enough I'll say "Thanks for the info. I don't mean to be rude but I don't have time right now. Good luck with your fundraiser" and close the door.

These folks also rely on your not feeling impolite. They'll say things like "can I just do my job? " or "I need to tell my boss I..." These are not your problem. Stay firm; don't bend. You're not giving to them anyway, so the longer you argue or discuss with them, the more of their time you waste.

You aren't being rude by giving a firm yet polite "no" and closing the door.

  • Knowing what they know is important. Their entire training is about keeping you in conversation, because the moment the conversation stops, their chances drops to 0. It's not necessarily being unscrupulous, but that's part of the training. The more you talk, the more invested you become, and you eventually cave to give so that you don't "feel bad" about taking up their time. It is a well known sales tactic. This is why sales people will give you stuff, talk with you, give you sample, let you borrow the device for a day or two, etc, etc etc. They're just trying to take up your time.
    – Nelson
    Dec 9, 2019 at 2:23

I'd like to echo the other warnings about worrying about feeling impolite - as others have said they are relying on and exploiting your politeness.

One easy way out of this that I often use is to smile and simply answer, "No thanks". No matter what the question was. Then, without hesitating or lingering and using body language to clearly indicate the conversation is over, close the door. If they interrupt at this stage it is they who are being rude, and then of course you can be as impolite as you like without feeling bad.

It might feel weird to say this - usually answering a question they didn't ask (or they might not have even asked a question). And to thank them no less (considering they weren't actually offering something). But they are deliberately relying on your desire to answer the questions asked, and phrasing their questions thusly, so you just need to get used to bypassing all that.

The "thanks" is for your own benefit (so you don't feel rude!). It also makes it clear that you are addressing their ultimate question, not the one the originally asked (e.g. "Have you heard of us?")

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