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Friends’ causes don’t have to be your own

Fri., Dec. 21, 2012

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am inundated with holiday season requests from friends and colleagues to make charitable donations to one cause or another. I read the stories associated with each of these causes, and they all appear to be fine organizations worthy of support.

However, I have my own special foundation (it supports cures for a physical disability I have) that is also quite worthy of support. My charitable giving budget, such as it is, is consumed between donations to this group along with the universities that I attended.

I would not dream of asking friends to make donations to support my cause and somewhat resent that they ask me to support theirs. However, I know they mean well and am wondering how I can respond to them with a nice, but firm “No, thanks.” Up to now, my typical response has been no response, which doesn’t seem appropriate.

GENTLE READER: Written solicitations need be answered only by those who want to comply with the requests for money, and Miss Manners presumes that you are not silent when friends approach you face to face.

It is the latter situation that is awkward, and intentionally so. Friends figure that you will be embarrassed to turn them down; that is why they ask. That you are philanthropic without using such tactics is as rare as it is commendable.

Your response should be, “These are certainly worthy causes, but my charity budget is committed elsewhere.” Should anyone be so rude as to argue, Miss Manners gives you leave to say, “Why, are you interested in contributing to my causes?”

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, dearmissmanners@; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.


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