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Be professional when seeking financial assistance

We get emails every single day from people who need financial assistance for their bills or may want free stuff like food, clothes, or more. If and when you ever need help at some point in your life, be professional in your communication. It can make a major difference.

As we have noted before, we receive countless emails with multiple spelling errors, significant grammar issues, entitled communication and more. It is so unfortunate, and that type of unprofessional communication can be a difference maker when seeking financial help.

So how can you be more professional? A few simple suggestions are below.

Run spell and grammar check! We totally understand that many people who need financial help often have language barriers, such as maybe English is not their primary language. Or maybe they have a disability or some another challenge. But those issues do not prevent someone from literally hitting one key on a keyboard or in their email application to use a spell and/or grammar check.

Now spelling is easy to correct using technology. Grammar is more challenging. But emails do not need to be “perfect”. Heck our communication on this website is far from perfect. But not writing out the word “you” and using the letter, not capitalizing the first letter of a sentence, using words like “cuz”, sending a text using abbreviations, and quite frankly being lazy is completely unprofessional. We see so many emails where it is very clear people took literally zero effort in trying to draft the email, and that lack of even making any effort is completely unprofessional.

Tell what you are going to become self-sufficient. Just asking for financial assistance for paying bills is not enough in itself. You need to be taking action to regain self-sufficiency. Otherwise the request for financial help would be “never ending”. Do people really expect a charity to say pay their bills or rent month after month?

If you lost a job, be ready to explain what you are doing to get a new one or new career skills or what you are doing in the meantime to make ends meet. If you are sick or taking care of someone ill, explain what doing to cut back on expenses and what the plan is. If you are a single mom or dad with no hope of every keeping up with the bills, explain how you are maybe moving back home to get back on your feet. Professional is finding a sustainable solution. Be ready to prove all of this when applying too.

Explain what happened and why you are struggling. You do not need to explain your entire life history, but short communication on why you need financial help can also be professional. Such as my job was outsourced, my child got very sick, I was injured at work, had a reduction in income or whatever. Someone just asking for say money or financial help for their bills, without giving any context, is sketchy and unprofessional. Be prepared to provide proof of this as well when actually applying.

Be grateful. So many people in this world are entitled. We can’t tell you how many messages we see in which people “expect” help. It is so unprofessional, that sense of entitlement. No charity, non-profit, or agency is under any obligation to help anyone. These agencies rely on hard earned money being donated to them from others and volunteers. For example, the Salvation Army collects money each year from campaigns, and that money comes from people who more often than not work a job every single day for it. The generosity of others is what allows you to get financial help.

Now as we have noted, those low income or struggling people who expect help are entitled, but entitlement can impact people of all income levels, ages, and backgrounds. The wealthy can be just as entitled as someone who is in poverty. Entitlement is so unprofessional and puts a “bad taste in the mouth” of people who receive the request from an entitled person.

Use manners. Professional communication can involves saying please, thank you, and being polite. Manners are often sadly lacking in today’s society, but having and communicating them can make a big difference. It may be the difference in someone taking an extra step to try to help you.

There are many other things to do to be professional. The point being take any request you send for financial help seriously. Even have someone proof read the message before sending it out for a second set of eyes to review it. As any charity, person, or non-profit organization is under zero obligation to help anyone. Being professional may help them understand your situation, what you are doing about resolving it, see you are serious, and maybe make that charity or person more willing to help you.


Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

3 thoughts on “Be professional when seeking financial assistance

  • August 7, 2019 at 9:40 am

    It’s way too high of an expectation to think that people are going to respect and be professional. It’s a myth that you can’t effectively get help without liking and respecting others. Yes, but it’s too bad too many people who want assistance do not have a job, but continue to believe they should be paid for doing nothing. Too many people whether working or not or poor or rich are doing horrible, mean things to our society and our economy.

  • August 14, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Thank you for this comment. I work for the Salvation Army – we often get the rudest un-considerate people. They just want, want, want & often yell at us. Then we get the rudest emails of people that want help. The spelling & grammar they use is so bad. We even get text messages from those in need – yes, they really send text messages requesting assistance. I think manners, kindness, and all ability to communicate is gone in America, and many of those who need help can put a bad name to others who really try their best.

  • December 13, 2019 at 6:43 am

    Unfortunately, many people take kindness and assistance for granted. Many people are unprofessional. However, language barriers may be one part of that and are due to upbringing and environmental surroundings. Turnover on jobs need to be analyzed as to the gross laziness, incompetent, unprofessionalism and security. Give incentives to stay at one employment to build a solid foundation and professional skills. Stop dismissing employees because they lack skills and train them to make a difference and then they will not need assistance. Treat others the way you desire to be treated. Now my support people (mom and dad) have departed in 2014 and this past July 2019. But God is still here. Thank you for your time. Please share!


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