Seven Guidelines for a Successful Pledge Campaign

Churches have found that when it comes to raising funds for a specific ministry project there is a greater success rate when you do a Pledge/Faith campaign. In fact it is proven that a well run and prayed for campaign increases general church Tithing/Giving as well. Thirty years of ministry with several completed and almost completed Pledge/Faith campaigns testify to this truth. They have also taught me a few things which I will pass on to you. So before you swing into action let me point out seven guidelines that can help.

SEVEN GUIDELINES

1. STATE YOUR PURPOSE

Have a clear concise statement as to what you are needing the funds to do, purchase, build, …etc. When possible make sure you connect to the needs of people.

2. SET YOUR GOAL

Your needed funds goal amount should be spot-on. Don’t make the mistake of asking for too little or too much. The backlash is not worth it. Integrity is key to a successful campaign.

3. HAVE A CAMPAIGN COMPLETION DATE

Generally a campaign is no less than a month and no more than a year. A specific date helps both the church member and the church to evaluate progress toward the goal. This might be a good place to say that you should be VERY selective as to how many campaigns and how close they are planned to the previous. Give your church time to breath between campaigns.

4. KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS

Obtain a pledge recording and reporting software program. It is essential that you keep accurate records and maintain good financial accountability. Remember that this is unique to churches and most common software like Quickbooks do not provide pledge management.
Church Office Online provides a very inexpensive solution to this with the Pledge Management Feature. http://www.churchofficeonline.com
There is a growing number of online services that also provide pledge management, so shop around. Beware of those that ask for set-up fees.

5. MAKE IT EASY TO GIVE

On-Site
Provide Pledge/Faith campaign instructions and card/envelopes in the bulletins or pews. See attached doc for a sample card.

In Person
Receive funds during the week through the church office.
Acquire a merchant debit card processing swipe device for anyone who would prefer an electronic option. Check out COSTCO for an inexpensive solution to this in their business section. Merchant Credit Card Processing (1.48% plus 20¢ for Retail Classified Transactions*)

Online
Bill Pay – Through your Bank- many offer free bill pay service up to a certain limit.
Website Donation Button – I would recommend Google Check-Out as they are providing NO fee set-up and transactions for Non-Profits (You must apply for this grant each year.)

Pledge/Faith Promise Cards/Envelopes
Make sure you have easy access to campaign brochures, Pledge/Faith Cards and giving envelopes.

Non-Pledge/Faith Promise Giving
Remember not to discourage those who do not want to enter in a Pledge or Faith Promise from giving. Make sure you include them in all communications.

6. HAVE A COMMUNICATION PLAN

Pre-Campaign Communication
Teach Biblical Stewardship and Giving
When church leadership taught and exampled Biblical Stewardship and Giving to their people it provided the foundation for all future giving campaigns as well.

Share the Vision
Let the church in on the vision of what might be before it is. Seeding the vision of what God is leading the leadership of the church to consider in the future is paramount to the church feeling included.

Calendar the Campaign
Post a Calendar of all campaign meetings, deadlines, publication mail out dates, announcement dates, campaign update reports,..etc. Make sure all members of the campaign team have access to it.

Campaign Communication
Share the Need – put a face to the need, if there is no face than connection to the need becomes difficult.
Share the Opportunity to Support - allow people to invest in the goal.
Personal testimonies - should be included in services as well as other publications from those who have experienced the blessings and lessons learned from giving.
Share the Progress – it is perhaps the easiest part of a campaign but often the most neglected.

Post Campaign Communication
Report the Results
Celebrate the Blessing – have a celebration event/service

7. LEARN FROM WHAT WORKED AND WHAT DIDN’T

Every church is different. We learn how different when we take the time to learn from what worked and what didn’t. I have always been surprised by the results as I am sure you will be too. Learn from them. The sooner your campaign team meets together after the campaign to review it the more you will learn to the benefit of future campaigns.

Please Note:

A Pledge is a promise to make payment toward a set goal amount. It is considered by some to specify an agreement between church member and church. It can be for the sum of a year’s tithe, total of a short term mission’s trip, or a couple’s summer conference just to mention a few.

A Faith Promise is a promise to make payment toward a set goal amount. The use of the word “Faith” denotes an amount set by “faith in what God would have one give”. Like the “Pledge” it can be used toward the same things.

In the context of the church I would contest that both Pledge and Faith Promise require seeking divine guidance.

Attached is a sample church Pledge/Faith Promise Card for you to use and distribute.

Mike Smith
Church Office Online

SamplePledgeCard.pdf (327.29 kb)

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