Managing Pledge Gifts
During a campaign drive, donors may choose to make a pledge gift which will be paid over time. Pledges help you reach your goal for the campaign while allowing donors flexibility in paying for their commitment.
Once a donor indicates that they would like to make a pledge, a gift record can be recorded in The Raiser’s Edge with the information for the pledge. After selecting the gift type of Pledge, a Schedule button appears where you can set up the payment schedule for pledge management.
Sending Pledge Reminder Letters
If you’ve given your donors the option to create different schedules, with various installment dates, it could potentially be a struggle to send out pledge reminder letters if you tried to do it based on the particular schedule each donor set up. Rather than sending out multiple sets of reminders, at different times each month, it often works better to simply have a set day of the month to send out all of your pledge reminder letters.
The Mail > Reminders task within The Raiser’s Edge 7 allows you to send out reminders for upcoming pledge payments.
You can use the 3-column or 5-column forms from Blackbaud, or you can use another program, such as Microsoft Word, to export a mail merged document. In this post, we’ll be using the mail merge option.
To create a mail merged document, in the Reminders parameters, choose the Reminder Type, Create custom data file. You can optionally use a query of constituent records, especially if you’ll be sending different letters to different groups of donors.
Under Include Gifts with these Dates, it’s a good idea to use the <Specific range> option with the first day of the campaign as the start date. This will include all pledges from that gift date forward. The Run date will determine which installment(s) to include. The run date will also calculate the total amount due at that time. Typically this date is a month out from when you are sending the reminders.
On the Fields to Include tab, you can decide which mail merge fields you would like to include. The default options include address block information as well as some gift information such as the total pledge amount, pledge date, pledge payments, and total due. Under Available Fields you can expand the folders to choose other fields. A good one to include under the Gifts folder is Installment Date.
If you have several campaigns going at the same time, and only wish to send out reminders for one campaign in particular, you can use the Filters tab to choose which Funds, Constituent Codes, Appeals, Campaigns and/or Solicit Codes to include.
Under the Gift Types tab, you may need to limit the option to Pledges as well.
After setting up your Reminders parameters, click on the Merge button to begin the mail merge process. You will receive a prompt to update the gift’s reminder history. Choose yes to record the history of when you sent pledge reminders on the pledge gift.
The Reminder Sent date will be the Run Date and the date for Installment Due On is determined by the option selected in the Reminders parameters. If the reminder is based on the pledge then the installment date in the history will be the original gift date. If the reminder is based on the installment then the installment date in the history will be the scheduled installment date.
Linking Gifts and Paying Down the Pledge
After you receive payment, linking the gift to the pledge is as simple as clicking a button.
Whether you’re adding the gift to a batch, or entering it directly on the constituent’s record, when you start the new gift you’ll be presented with a pop up box asking if you would like to apply the gift to an outstanding pledge. You will see this interactive box whenever a constituent has an outstanding pledge on their record and you add a new gift in RE.
Sometimes a donor will realize, after making a pledge, that they cannot fulfill their commitment to your organization. While this is unfortunate, it is a reality of fundraising. When a donor notifies you of such a situation, RE allows you to handle it by writing off part, or all, of the pledge gift. To do this, open the original pledge gift, go to Gift on the menu bar, and choose Write off. You will be able to specify how much of the pledge to write off, and provide an explanation, in the screen that comes up. Additionally, your organization may have a policy of writing off all outstanding pledges after a certain period of time passes without receiving any payments. Writing off pledges can help your organization maintain a more accurate expectation of incoming monies.
Pledges are an important type of gift that can help your organization reach its fundraising goals. Being important doesn’t mean they have to be difficult to manage, though. With the help of The Raiser’s Edge 7, you can have an organized system for your incoming pledges.
For additional resources, check out these other Raiser’s Edge® Tutorials:
- How Integrating RE and Salesforce Can Benefit Nonprofits
- A Possibility Becomes Reality: Integrating The Raiser’s Edge and Salesforce
- Crystal Reports Not Cutting It? Consider a Custom UI with a Raiser’s Edge™ Plug-In!
- Extend Raiser’s Edge™ and Financial Edge™ to solve your organization’s challenges
- To the Cloud! Tips & Tricks to Link Online Documents to Raiser’s Edge
The Raiser’s Edge® is a registered trademark of Blackbaud, Inc.