Discipling people in the area of stewardship and regular giving can be a challenge. To help, we've included pledge functionality within the Giving module, enabling people to make non-binding stewardship commitments to the church they attend or the organisation they are supporting. Pledges are extremely helpful in planning and projecting future income based on active pledges 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 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, a Giving module User can link a donation to a giver's pledge, which will enable accurate pledge progress tracking. When adding or importing donations ChurchSuite will attempt to automatically link donations to a pledge where there is a definitive 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-linked 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. A user can always manually select a pledge to link the donation to.
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 pledged to be made. The pledge End date is optional or can be added if the giver later chooses to end their pledge. A pledge can comprise a One-off Amount and a Recurring Amount which will; be given from the Start date and Frequency. In the example below the giver is pledging £25 each month from 1st September and a one-off amount of £50 (which though likely given with the pledge may be given at a later unspecified date).
The pledge is added to the Pledges tab on the giver's profile. Note the option to Edit or Delete a pledge. Note that deleting a pledge will simply unlink any previously-linked pledge donations - the donations are not themselves deleted. Note also, in the example below, there are two Donate 'subscription' pledges, each linked to a card payment Method) - see our related support article on Accepting online donations using Donate for further information.
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 and Date will be listed in the Pledge matching results. Where a definitive pledge match on Fund, Date and Amount can be made, the donation will be linked to the pledge, otherwise, the user can select a pledge to link the donation to.
The Donated indicator shows pledge progress as of 'today'. In this example, as of 'today', the giver had pledged a £50 one-off donation and their first recurring amount of £25 and has made donations totalling £75 linked to the pledge i.e. 100% pledge progress. However, where a pledge has a defined End Date the Donated pledge progress indicator reflects the % of the total pledged amount based on actual donations made to date within the pledge date range.
Pledge reporting in ChurchSuite
A linked pledge indicator icon is shown whenever lists of donations in the Giving module are viewed. Hovering your cursor over the pledge link icon will show pop-out pledge details:
- in the Donations section of the module
- on the Donations tab of a giver's profile
- when viewing a donation Batch
- donations included in a Gift Aid claim (UK customers only)
- in the Donation Total and Gift Aid Donations reports
The ChurchSuite Giving module includes several pledge-related Reports grouped in 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 help identify 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 shown 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 other donations have not been linked to the pledge or it might be because she did only give £40. The timing of a donation may also cause the report to show 'over' (in green) and 'under' (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 respect 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 My ChurchSuite access can view a list of active (and expired) pledges and pledge progress in their My Giving section. The Pledges section is only shown if pledge management is first enabled in the GIving module settings.
From the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner of the module, click on the My ChurchSuite Options tab and check your Settings and Enable My ChurchSuite access is enabled.
Scroll down to the Pledges section and 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 will be unable to add new pledges. An optional Message can be added to provide further information to your givers about pledges - the message is displayed on the Pledges tab when a giver is viewing their My Giving details.
Once enabled, and perhaps when running a stewardship campaign, it's really easy to direct givers with My ChurchSuite access to respond and Add a pledge. In the example below, note the giver's existing pledges are listed comprising a manual pledge they have previously made and two subscription pledges. Givers can Manage subscription pledges - perhaps to change their linked card details, or their pledge amount, or cancel their online giving - however, manual pledges cannot be self-managed in My ChurchSuite (this can only be done by a Giving module user). Expired pledges continue to show for two months after expiry, after which time they are hidden in My Giving (but still accessible by Giving module Users on giver profile pages).
A giver can add a new pledge by clicking Add pledge on the Pledges tab. A pledge must always have a start date - the end date is optional and the pledge is considered 'enduring' if the end date is omitted. An enduring pledge can only be ended by a Giving module user adding the end date. A pledge is always for a selected Fund - only funds with visibility set as Show in Donate are shown. The giver can select the pledge Frequency and enter the amount - note how a pledge can optionally comprise a Recurring Amount and a One-off Amount.