Discipling people in the area of stewardship and their personal finances is often a challenge in churches. To help you we've included pledge functionality in the Giving module, allowing people to make non-binding stewardship commitments to the life and ministry of the church they attend. Pledges are extremely helpful to churches in planning and projecting income in order to steward resources wisely and to produce budgets.
In this article
Every church will have its own processes for administering how pledges are solicited. Once pledges are received they can easily be recorded in ChurchSuite against giver profiles (and even added by church members through My ChurchSuite if you wish).
Recurring online donation pledges
In addition to the pledge functionality described in this article, a pledge is automatically created 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 or direct debit donations cannot be deleted - but in certain circumstances they can be edited or cancelled. For further information see the related support article Accepting online donations.
Automatic pledge matching
When adding or importing donations, ChurchSuite will auto-allocated them to a pledge if:
- There's a single pledge for the fund on the donation date.
- 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, but the amount is neither a multiple of the recurring pledge amount nor equal to the one-off pledge amount.
Adding a pledge to a giver in ChurchSuite
On the giver's profile in the Giving module, select the Pledges tab.
Click Add pledge and complete the pledge details. A pledge must always have a Start Date. An enduring/ongoing pledge can be created by leaving the End Date blank. A pledge is always for a selected Fund. Enter the pledged donation Frequency and the amount - note how pledges may comprise a Recurring Amount and/or a One-off Amount.
Click Save Changes before navigating away from the page.
Now, as you process donations into the Giving module, you'll have the option to link the donation to a pledge - only active pledges will be listed...
The progress indicator for the pledge on the giver's profile will update accordingly.
Note also that you can Edit or even Delete a pledge at any time - perhaps to add an End Date to an enduring pledge. Historic donations made will not be affected by pledge changes or deletions.
Pledge reporting in ChurchSuite
ChurchSuite provides pledge-related reports in the Giving module's reports section. Scroll down to the bottom of the list of reports to the Pledges section.
The Pledges Active is designed to display a list of pledges that are active on any given date. Filters are provided for Funds, 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 filters. The Donated progress and Total Pledged represents the actual donations made and the total pledge amount from the start of each pledge to the date being reported.
The Pledges Progress report is designed to show a breakdown of monthly pledged and received donations for your givers. This report may be helpful in identifying donations that have not been linked to a pledge, or donations that have been incorrectly linked.
In the example below for Gemma's first pledge, she has made donations of £200 in August that have been linked to her pledge. She pledge £100 weekly, which would be £500 for this 5-week month, hence the £300 shortfall in pledge progress showing in red. In October she donated £25, but the pledge amount for that month should have be £400, hence the shortfall in pledge progress of £375 showing in red.
The Recent Changes report can be used to display a list of all recent 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. The progress bars respect the filtered date range meaning that you can use this report to forecast pledged income and predict donations attached to pledges.
Managing pledges in My ChurchSuite
Your givers can easily see their active (and expired) pledges, and the progress they are making - helping them to stay on track. Pledge management is included within the My Giving section of My ChurchSuite.
To use this functionality it must first be enabled in the Giving module's options (on the My ChurchSuite tab in the module's settings). Scroll down the My ChurchSuite settings page to the Pledges section and tick to Enable pledge management. An optional custom message can also be added to provide further information to your giving church members about pledges.
Whenever you're planning a financial giving campaign, it's then really easy invite your church members who respond to Add a new pledge in My ChurchSuite. They can even specify which fund(s) they are pledging to. Pledges are colour-coordinated according to the fund colour you specify in ChurchSuite. Expired pledges will continue to show for two months after expiry, after which time they are hidden (but still accessible in your Giving module).
Church 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. The giver will enter the pledged donation frequency and the amount - note how pledges may comprise a recurring and/or one-off donation amount.
Remember to set your Fund(s) as Show in Donate in order for your church members to be able to pledge to the fund it (and give online too, if you have enabled online donations).
To check the visibility of each of your funds, head to Giving > Funds. Funds that are visible in Donate will be listed with an 'eye' icon in the list. To make any changes, click to Edit from the fund's action cog on the right hand side of the page.