As Fundraisers, our objective is to secure gifts and pledges to support the work of our organization. When a donor makes a pledge 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 still not sent in a payment. How do we handle 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 pledge 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 pledge 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 pledge, to simply call and let you know. With the economy the way it is, it’s possible that someone’s ability to pay a pledge right now may be impacted. Be patient and work with folks, and even let them off the hook if need be. You’ll lose a pledge but gain a long-term friend to the organization by treating them with the utmost respect.
If you still 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 pledge off as uncollectable. It’s unfortunate, but it does happen from time to time.
Be kind and understanding when collecting on unpaid pledges and you’ll likely get the result you are looking for – pledge payments!