Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

american culture street donations

Do you feel as if there are a lot of places looking for donations in the United States?

Do you often feel like you’re asked to donate to several charities all on the same day?

It seems that when you walk around town,  there  are a  lot of people asking for donations to certain organizations on the street. 

Though this is a very common occurrence within the United States, you want to know how to handle such situations politely and effectively.

We’re going to help you with the right things to say no politely in English, and how to handle these situations in general.


Here’s an interesting and important question  about this topic.


Hello!!! I have been learning from you for almost two years. You three beautiful girls are like family to me. I´m from Cuba originally, but now I live in the US.

I have a question  for you, and it’s about donations. This came to my mind when you talk about tips. I have made donations in the past,  and I would like do it in the future. Sometimes in a single day they ask for money in a couple of  different places, often for  the same cause. Maybe I don´t have cash or I can´t do it right now. I now it´s a nuance problem and you´ll love to talk about it. We learn a lot about the US culture with this kind of topic. I don´t want to be rude if I have to say no. I hope you can show us the best way to handle such situations.

Thanks in advance because I know you´re gonna take my question,  since you love specific questions like this.

Roberto Saborit


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Knowing How To Handle These Requests Matters Greatly

There many places that may ask for money for an organization of some type.

It may be somebody from the Girl Scouts or kids raising money for their sports team or something more formal. 

It may feel as if some days you’re being hit up in every possible direction.

It may be somebody on the street corner or even somebody at the grocery store asking if you want to donate.

You might feel less guilty by donating, but you clearly can’t do it all the time.

This may be a cultural thing, but knowing what to say in these situations is so important.


The Very Best Responses

Knowing what to say matters greatly.

There are a few ways to handle these donation requests, and they can make all the difference in the world.

  • You can physically say no. People are used to others waving them off. It may feel rude to you, but they see hundreds or more people a day and they won’t remember if you wave them off. This doesn’t have to be done, and shouldn’t be done, in a rude way. You can just give a slight wave and even mouth that you already donated or if you don’t have money just give a motion.
  •  I actually already donated but good luck! This shows you support their cause and wish them luck in the future. It also gives you an out, but realistically you don’t have to give any more information than this.
  • I gave you a donation earlier. Hope it’s going well!  This is very similar to the first one, but it can get people to leave you alone in a polite way. You have to let them know that you have already donated, and then they will likely stop asking.
  • I’m so sorry but I actually don’t have any cash with me.  You’re being honest and friendly, but to the point. This stops them from asking you repeatedly because you can’t give them what they need.
  • So sorry. I don’t have my wallet with me, but is there a website where I can donate?  This takes it a step further. It shows you want to give but can’t at this moment. It may be met with resistance, but it’s a great honest approach.
  • Sorry I can’t give right now. I support your cause, though!  This lets the person know you appreciate what they do. It’s also direct though so that people catch what you’re saying and let you be.
  • I’m sorry I gotta run, but thank you for what you’re doing!  You’re being polite but straight forward. If they know you don’t have time, then hopefully they won’t keep asking.


Any of these can be great ways of saying no but doing so in a polite way.



It’s okay if you can’t always donate for any reason.

It’s nice to donate, but don’t worry if you have to tell someone no.

They ask so many people walking by so don’t worry or feel too bad.

You can’t give everything to everybody, so just do what you can.

It’s a part of the culture in the US, but knowing how to politely say no can help a lot.


If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 


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