Donation Pledges

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What are donation pledges?

Donation pledges are donors’ promises to give a certain amount of money to an organization over a set amount of time. Donors can make pledges that are conditional, meaning payment will only be made once a condition is met, or unconditional with no strings attached.

Nonprofits typically use donation pledges for campaigns built around specific and often urgent projects. These projects could include disaster relief, advocacy work around a specific social or political issue, or major programs or community projects.

What’s the difference between pledge and donation?

It can be easy to confuse a donation and a pledge because they are closely related. Both a pledge and a donation result in donors giving money or goods to a nonprofit. But the big difference between a donation and a pledge is the timing. A donation describes the immediate exchange of money or goods from a donor. A pledge is the promised exchange of money or goods from a donor. A pledge results in a donation eventually, just not right away.

How do you get donors to make pledges?

Supporters make donation pledges when they feel a deep connection to the project and an attachment to the work of the organization. Get donors to make donation pledges by tapping into the emotional connection your donors have with your organization and the community. Organizations can do this by communicating their need for support in a powerful way.

How do you receive donation pledges?

There are several ways to get your supporters to make a pledge. Here are four popular methods:

Pledge Cards

Pledge cards are filled out by donors to show their commitment to supporting an organization. Pledge cards ask donors to give information like their name, address, and phone number, as well as a pledge amount. They also offer any important information concerning the donor might need, such as payment methods accepted by the organization.

Donation Pledge Form

Like pledge cards, pledge forms are filled out by donors with information about their intended pledge. Forms, however, include a space for payment information so that donors can begin to give immediately.


Like text-to-give, text-to-pledge allows supporters to use their mobile devices to make monetary pledges to organizations. Many prefer a technological method like this because it eliminates manual data entry. You can check and see what options your donor management system has to collect pledges virtually to help automate the process.

Donation Page

Some online fundraising tools allow you to collect pledges right from your donation page. The benefit of this option, like text-to-pledge, is that the information automatically syncs with your fundraising and donor management software, eliminating the need to enter information manually.

How do you receive payment for donation pledges?

Most donors pledge to give a sum of money slowly over the course of a few years. Donors can pay their pledge by check, credit card, or automatic withdrawal.

Check your fundraising and donor software to see how they integrate pledges in the system. For example, when you use Kindful for pledges you can set the due date for the pledge and track the status as open, past due, completed, or canceled. You can then collect your donor’s payment through your integrated payment processor or mark it as paid by check or cash.

Use a pledge reminder letter to remind your donors to give

Pledge reminder letters help keep donors on track of their pledge payments by letting them know a few weeks before a payment is due. Pledge reminder letters should first and foremost express gratitude to the donor for their commitment to your organization. It is also helpful to include the date the donor made their pledge, the amount of the pledge, the next payment amount due, and the date the next payment is scheduled. You can automate your pledge reminder letters using the mail merge feature on most donor management systems.

Bottom line

Pledges are a great way to secure consistent support over a prolonged period of time. Donors make pledges to show their deep connection to and support for an organization.

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