Discipling people in the area of stewardship can be a pastoral challenge. To help we've included pledge functionality within the Giving module, enabling people to make non-binding stewardship commitments to the church they are attending or the organisation they are supporting. Pledges are extremely helpful in planning and projecting future income based on active pledges in order to steward resources wisely and produce budgets, and also to help givers keep track of their pledge progress.
In this article
Every organisation will have its own pastoral processes for promoting how pledges are solicited. However, once a pledge is received it can easily be recorded in ChurchSuite against the giver's profile. Givers with access to the member-facing My ChurchSuite are also able to add pledges themselves within the My Giving section, if you wish.
Recurring online donation pledges
In addition to the pledge functionality described in this article, a pledge is also created automatically when a giver makes a recurring online donation through ChurchSuite Donate. The Method column on the list of pledges will help you distinguish recurring online giving pledges by card/direct debit from your other pledges. Pledges in respect of recurring card and direct debit donations cannot be deleted - but under certain circumstances they can be edited or cancelled. For further information see the related support article Accepting online donations.
Automatic pledge matching
When adding donations, Giving module Users can optionally assign the donation being added to a giver's pledge in order to report on pledge progress. Additionally, when importing donations, ChurchSuite will auto-assign donations to a pledge where there is a match for:
- a single pledge for the fund on the donation date, or
- there are multiple pledges for the fund on the donation date AND the donation amount is either an exact multiple of the pledge recurring amount or the exact one-off pledge amount.
Donations will not be auto-matched to a pledge where the donation could match multiple pledges based on fund and date, and where the amount is neither a multiple of a recurring pledge amount nor equal to a one-off pledge amount.
Working within the Giver section of the Giving module, select the Pledges tab on the giver's profile. Click Add pledge.
On the Add pledge pop up, complete the pledge details. A pledge is always for a selected Fund and must always have a Start Date - the date on which the first donation is expected to be made. An ongoing pledge can be created by leaving the End Date blank. Note how pledges may comprise a Recurring Amount and a One-off Amount...
A Frequency selector is only available when a Recurring Amount is entered. Once you've entered all the pledge details click Save.
The new pledge is added to the Pledges tab on the giver's profile.
Now, when adding or editing a donation you will be able to select whether to assign it to a pledge - only active pledges for the donation's Fund will be listed in the Pledge matching results...
The Donated progress indicator for the pledge on the giver's profile will update accordingly. Where a pledge has a defined End Date the Donated progress indicator reflects the % of the total amount pledged based on actual donations made within the pledge date range...
However, where a pledge is ongoing (i.e. no End Date) - the Donated progress reflects % of total pledged between the pledge start date and today. In the example below the pledge progress is being viewed within one month of the pledge start date and the expected monthly donation of £100 has been made in that month, so pledge progress is showing as 100%. If we were viewing this same pledge progress a month later and no further donations had been made, the pledge progress would show that 50% of expected pledged donations had been made.
You can further Edit, or even Delete a pledge at any time - perhaps to add an End Date to an ongoing pledge. Historic donations made will not be affected by pledge changes or deletions. Where subsequent changes are made to a pledge after the initial entry, the View changes option surfaces the Changes log for the pledge
You can easily Delete pledges that have been added by a User in ChurchSuite or a giver through My ChurchSuite. In this context we are not referring to cancelling "subscription" pledges that get created by ChurchSuite Donate when a recurring Stripe or GoCardless subscription is created - see our related support article called Accepting online donations using Donate for information about deleting "subscription" pledges. Deleting a pledge will unlink all previously-linked donations - the donations are not deleted.
Pledge reporting in ChurchSuite
A Pledge indicator is surfaced whenever lists of individual donations in the Giving module are viewed. For example, here in the Donations section of the module; hovering your cursor over the pledge icon will pop up the pledge details. The Pledge indicator is further surfaced on the 'Donations' tab of a giver's profile, when viewing batch donations, donations in a Gift Aid claim (UK customers only) and in the Donation Total and Gift Aid Donations reports.
Additionally, ChurchSuite provides several pledge-related reports in the Giving module's Reports section. Scroll down to the end of the list of reports to the Pledges section.
The Pledges Active report is designed to display a list of pledges that are active on a given date. Filters are provided for Funds, Method, Tags and % Donated and the report can be Ordered by Giver or Pledge Start Date, Pledge End Date, or Pledge Amount. Click Generate each time you change the report's filters. The Donated progress and Total Pledged columns represent the actual donations made and the total pledge amount from the start of each listed pledge to the On date being reported.
The Pledges Progress report shows a breakdown of monthly pledged and received donations for your givers. This report may be helpful for identifying donations processed that have not been linked to a pledge or donations that have been incorrectly linked to the wrong pledge.
In the example below for Colleen's pledge, she has made donations of £100 in January that have been linked to her pledge. She pledged £60 monthly, hence the £40 excess in her pledge progress showing in green. In February she donated £60 as expected but in March, she donated only £40, resulting in a shortfall of £20 showing in red. This might suggest there were other donations that have not been linked to the pledge or it might be because she really did only give £40. The timing of a donation may also cause the report to show 'overs' (in green) and 'unders' (in red) vs. the expected pledged donations for a month.
The pledge Recent Changes report can be used to display a list of all changes made to your pledges.
The Total Pledged report calculates the amount pledged over a given range of Dates and a list of the related pledges for that period. The progress bars in the Donated column of the report respects the filtered Dates, meaning that you can use this report to forecast pledged income and predict donations attached to pledges.
Managing pledges in My ChurchSuite
Givers with access to the member-facing My ChurchSuite can easily view their active (and expired) pledges and see their pledge progress, helping them to stay on track. Pledge management is part of the My Giving section of My ChurchSuite.
To use this functionality it must first be enabled in the Giving module's settings, on the My ChurchSuite Options tab.
Scroll down the My ChurchSuite Options page to the Pledges section. Click Edit to make changes and Enable pledge management. Optionally tick to Allow new pledges to be added - without which, givers will only be able to view their existing pledges and unable to create new pledges. An optional custom Message can also be added to provide further information to your givers about pledges - the message is displayed on the My Giving page at the top of Pledges section.
Once enabled, whenever you're planning a financial giving campaign, it's then really easy invite members who respond to Add a new pledge in My ChurchSuite on their My Giving page in the Pledges section. When adding a pledge they can specify which fund(s) they are pledging to. Pledges are colour-coded according to the Fund colour you specify in the Giving module. Expired pledges will continue to show for two months after expiry, after which time they are hidden (but still accessible by Giving module Users on giver profile pages).
Members can create a new pledge by clicking Add pledge on the My Giving page. A pledge must always have a start date. An 'enduring' pledge can be created by leaving the end date blank. A pledge is always for a selected Fund - only funds with visibility set as Show in Donate are listed. The giver can select the pledge Frequency and enter the amount - note how pledges may comprise a Recurring Amount and One-off Amount.
Pledges added by members through My ChurchSuite are immediately added to the Pledges tab on the giver's profile in the Giving module. Note that only pledges in respect of recurring online donations can be managed from with the My Giving section - givers can manage their recurring card or direct debit donation details. Pledges added manually by a giver cannot be changed from within My ChurchSuite - changes can only be processed by a User within the Giving module.
As mentioned above, the funds listed on the drop-down Fund selector on the Add pledge page is determined by the fund's visibility settings set in the Giving module. For each fund that you wish to be visible and selectable in ChurchSuite Donate and on the Add pledge page within My ChurchSuite, be sure to tick the Show in Donate option on the Fund's "Edit" page within the Funds section of the module.
You can see a quick overview of fund visibility in the Funds section of the Giving module. Funds that are set to Show in Donate are distinguished with an eye icon in the list.
To make any changes to a fund, select Edit from the fund's Action menu on the right hand side of the page.