Sometimes people will approach me in public places (such as a train station) and ask me to make a donation or to buy an item for charity.

Usually they’re positioned at an entrance, exit or in such a way that trying to discreetly avoid them is impossible.

Without coming across as rude or selfish, how can I tell them that I’m not interested?

  • Is there anything in this other question that isn't helpful to you? Could you please clarify what makes your question different, why this other question that isn't helpful to you?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jan 24, 2018 at 16:15
  • Although these are not technically street vendors (they're asking for a contribution and not selling a product), the responses listed in the duplicate question are the same ones that are being recorded here. Jan 24, 2018 at 16:51
  • 3
    Please don’t write answers in comments. It bypasses our quality measures by not having voting (both up and down) available on comments, as well as having other problems detailed on meta. Comments are for clarifying and improving the question; please don’t use them for other purposes.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jan 24, 2018 at 17:01
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    @Astralbee, the other question makes mention of both charity collectors and street vendors though, so if you think your answer adds a new perspective it should really be added there.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jan 24, 2018 at 17:03
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    @Tinkeringbell The other question has an accepted answer. I'll just wait and see if this question gets deleted. I'm here to help by answering questions, I'll leave the decisions about what makes an acceptable question to you and the gang. x
    – Astralbee
    Jan 24, 2018 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


With a smile.

Seriously Just smile and say:

Not today thank you.

In most places in the US saying the above with a smile should effectively communicate that you are not interested with out coming across as rude.

Once you have said "no thank you" just continue with what you were doing before you were interrupted by their request. By continuing on with what you were doing before you send a strong signal that you will not be persuaded otherwise.


A good question. There is a difference between dealing with charity collectors and other street vendors for two reasons I can see. Firstly, charity collectors are governed by laws* as to how they invite donations, so they ought to be less aggressive in their approach than the typical sales pitch of vendors. Secondly, it somehow feels worse saying no to a charity, especially if it seems a 'good cause'.

In this financial climate you shouldn't feel obligated to donate to charity, and if you can afford it, most people have a 'preferred charity' that they donate to rather than spread their cash around thinly.

Some brief things you could say, if you feel obliged to say anything at all, are:

  • I already have a charity that I donate to, thanks.

  • Not just now, thank you.

  • No thank you.

If saying no to a charity is really bothering you on a conscience level, do some reading about charity transparency. For the UK try Charity Clarity or for anywhere else check out GiveWell. I personally don't feel bad turning down charities that have a dozen executives all paid more than the British Prime Minister, and there are several of those on the high street! Also worth educating yourself on this in the event that you get drawn into a debate.

But despite all of the above info, if you don't want to give, or cannot give, just walk on by, don't feel guilty.

*I am in the UK. For information on the law governing charity fundraising in the UK you can go here.

  • What do you mean by, in this financial climate?
    – gerrit
    Jan 24, 2018 at 18:11
  • You mention laws, but which country are you referring to? At this time, the OP doesn't specify where they are.
    – user4788
    Jan 25, 2018 at 13:09
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    @雰囲気読めない人 I have updated answer to clarify that I am in the UK, and have added a link to further reading on UK charity fundraising laws. I feel this is enough to qualify my answer and prompt further research on the part of the reader. The crux of my answer isn't really about the law anyway.
    – Astralbee
    Jan 25, 2018 at 13:29
  • Thanks! I agree that dealing specifically with charity collectors and an umbrella answer for vendors is different, and found the part about the law interesting (I'd never heard of it before)
    – user4788
    Jan 26, 2018 at 6:30

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