This is a really tough one, so I’m throwing it out to readers to help with. A reader writes:
I’m writing to you seeking help about a sensitive circumstance that has taken place at my work. My coworkers know I am writing to you and there is agreement about my submission to you.
At the beginning of February, the wife of one of my coworkers gave birth to a premature baby, 16 weeks before her due date. A collection was taken up for him and his wife because the baby was in intensive care and it was a stressful and draining situation for them. A manager deposited the money in the bank and was to write a check for him and his wife (a confidential spreadsheet was kept of the donations and everyone signed off on the amount that the check was to be for).
The next day the manager who was supposed to write the check was killed in a car crash. We hate to even be thinking of this, but we have no way to access the donations and only her family can access her bank account. It was a significant sum of money (over $1,500). The crash made the news and her family has started a fundraiser to pay her hospital bill and funeral expenses as they cannot cover it on their own.
Our question is how we can tactfully ask them to give us the money so we can donate it to our coworker who had the premature baby as intended? We don’t work for a large company with the funds for another check, it’s a small business. Many people here dug deep to give a donation and no one can really afford to do it again. We don’t want to upset or hurt her family but that money wasn’t hers. None of us want to offend her family because they are struggling too.
Oh no, this is terrible. I’m so sorry for everyone involved.
I hate to say it, but I don’t know if there’s an easy way to get that money back. Her family may not even be able to access her bank account yet.
And then of course, there’s the sensitivity around approaching a grieving family and asking for the money back — that’s a tough thing to do, especially when they’re in the middle of raising funds themselves.
I’m stumped on this one. What do others think?
we raised a lot of money to help a coworker — but the person holding the money died was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.