When Benefactors Default (What Should Happen?)

Recently the Metropolitan Opera took the unusual step of prying off a donor’s name from its building when the promised gift failed to arrive. So “what can be done when donors can’t meet commitments? Nonprofits can bring lawsuits to force donors to pay up, but seldom do so. Lawsuits are unproductive if the donor does not have the funds and usually spell public relations disaster for both parties. The public, off-with-his-head (or in Vilar’s case, off-with-his-name-plaque) approach may be the last, necessary resort in some cases, but it’s not likely to win future support from the donor if his fortunes recover. It also may have a chilling effect on prospective donors.