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Friday, February 6, 2009

You made a pledge, but can no longer afford to pay it . . . now what?

While the scenario described above may want you to run and hide, or not answer the phone when the charitable organization in question calls, this is not the best course of action, either for you or the charity. While it may be embarrassing to have to come clean and explain your financial situation, you are not alone. Instead of thinking of you negatively, the charity will be very grateful to know what they can expect from you, and will be willing to negotiate alternative ways to fulfill your pledge. Shelly Banjo, of the Wall Street Journal, wrote a great article in that newspaper regarding this situation. In it, she gives some ways of dealing with the situation that will not only allow the charity to plan for the future, but at the same time, shows the organization that you are still committed to the mission. Because of dealing with this situation head on, you will be viewed with respect; reputation and ethics in tact.
Banjo suggests donors work with the charity to see if the pledge can be earmarked for more pressing issues, or if payments can be rescheduled. Alternatively, maybe a bequest or charitable gift annuity are options that can be beneficial to both you and the charity. If you are truly strapped, and are in no way able to contribute financially to the organization, offer to help the charity by volunteering.
As always, if you are considering supporting a charitable organization, now, even more than ever, it is important for your dollars to stretch as far as possible. One way of making sure that happens, is by starting your research on Charity Navigator’s website.

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