How to Collect on Unpaid Fundraising Pledges
As Fundraisers, our objective is to obtain gifts and pledges to sustain the work of our organization. When a donor makes a potential then doesn’t pay, it can be a sticky situation. Here’s a question I got recently about handling unpaid pledges.
“We had a great event last March where about 60 people agreed to 1 – 3 year pledges. The first invoices were sent a few months ago and there are 3 or 4 folks who have nevertheless not sent in a payment. How do we manager this?” Vic
I’m assuming you thanked the donors appropriately after the event and let them know when their first payment was due and how much it is. It’s a good idea to remind donors of these details of their potential because they likely don’t remember what they committed to.
It’s time now to send them another invoice with a letter reminding them of the event and the potential they made. Often, people get busy and they forget. Another reminder will probably bring most if not all of the payments in.
In the letter, I’d tell them that if their circumstances have changed and they need to change their potential, to simply call and let you know. With the economy the way it is, it’s possible that someone’s ability to pay a potential right now may be impacted. Be patient and work with folks, and already let them off the hook if need be. You’ll lose a potential but gain a long-term friend to the organization by treating them with the utmost respect.
If you nevertheless have unpaid pledges after you send the reminder letter, it’s time to pick up the phone and call. If you can’t reach the donor, then you may have to simply write that potential off as uncollectable. It’s unfortunate, but it does happen now and then.
Be kind and understanding when collecting on unpaid pledges and you’ll likely get the consequence you are looking for – potential payments!