Unfulfilled pledges are the bane of parish treasurers everywhere. Well, that and simply being the parish treasurer. But this time of year is particularly hairy for parish leaders relying on those last-minute donations to balance the budget.
Strategies for "encouragement" include:
1. Reminding people about the tax advantages of getting their donations in before the end of December.
2. Pleading, cajoling, begging during the announcements.
3. Making people feel like church vandals if they don't fulfill their pledges ("You stole our sacraments! And drank our coffee!").
4. Sending out the parish "bag man" to collect the rest (usually the beefy assistant treasurer who stands at the recalcitrant pledger's front door cracking his knuckles).
5. Compelling them to usher at the 4 pm pageant service (the "Zoocharist") and risk being trampled unless they pay up before Christmas Eve.
6. Threatening to print the list of people who have not fulfilled their pledges in the Midnight Mass bulletin (something that will never be more than an idle threat).
7. Refusing to accept their pledge for the following year until they're all paid up (Um, wait, that's not much of a consequence).
8. Cleverly disguising quarterly statements as bills to be paid.
9. Organizing the Youth Group to serve as pickpockets during Coffee Hour.
10. Did we mention the tax benefits?
Of course, unless there are unexpected financial hardships involved, most people do fulfill their pledges. We have only the best of intentions but are unaware/lazy/overwhelmed this time of year. Thus, I encourage you to save your treasurer's sanity and send it in now! He/she will thank you and you'll have a guilt free Christmas. Well, guilt free as long as you've already submitted your pledge card for 2012...