New Multi-Year Pledging Features

I’m working with a fundraising consultant who helps churches with multi-year capital campaigns, and we are designing a set of improvements to DONATION to more properly handle multi-year pledges. (Currently, as you probably know, DONATION has only an Annual Pledge field for the current year’s pledge, which is assumed to be for the donor’s total donations.)

I’d like your comments on the following suggested set of features. Anything sound wrong? Anything missing? I’m not trying to cover every possible pledging situation at this point, just targeted multi-year campaigns, but if you feel that focus is inappropriate, do let me know.

  • Sort of like with the Donation Description field, add an option (in Maintenance -> Main Windows Options’ Donor Details tab) to add a drop-down arrow on the Annual Pledge field, that if clicked, brings up a small window for specifying multi-year pledge information. If this option is not selected (which by default it will not be) then multi-year pledging will not be supported in the program, and most of the following features will not appear. (Annual pledging will still work as it does now.)
  • If you do select that option, then if you click on the drop-down arrow in the Annual Pledge field, a small window will come up that allows you to enter the following fields:
    • Number of Years in the pledge. The control for this might be one of those controls that shows a number, and has up and down arrows to increase or decrease it, between specified limits (such as 1 to 10).
    • Start Date of pledge
    • End Date of pledge (not entered – calculated based on the previous two fields)
    • Total Pledge Amount (i.e. for the entire multi-year pledge period)
    • Perhaps also a not entered but calculated field for the annual pledge amount, which is the total divided by the number of years?
    • Drop-down for the Donation Category that the pledge is for. (This will show all categories, and also have an option “All Categories”, which means the pledge can be fulfilled by any donation the donor makes in any category. If a specific category, like “Capital Campaign”, is selected here, the pledge can only be fulfilled by donations in that category.)
    • A button to display the current Amount Outstanding (not yet paid) on the multi-year pledge. (I don’t think this should be displayed immediately and automatically, because it wouldn’t make sense while the user was filling in these fields, or while they were in the middle of changing them.)
  • If the user has entered multi-year pledge info in this way, then when they return to the main window, the field label “Annual Pledge” in the Donor Details area will change to something appropriate, like “5 Year Pledge”.
  • Also in Maintenance -> Main Windows Options’ Donor Details tab, there will be a drop-down for “Default Multi-Year Pledge Category”, with the same options as in the popup pledge details window – “All Categories”, plus all donation categories. If this has been specified, then whenever the multi-year pledge window is opened for a donor, where that info has not been previously filled in for that donor, this selection will be made automatically.
  • When you start a new year, with Maintenance -> Change Year -> Next Year, and it is copying the donor details from the one year to the next, all multi-year pledge fields will also be copied. The one exception will be pledges that have expired (their end date was in a previous year) – those will be deleted, but only from the new year’s donor record.
  • Two reports will be added (can you think of others that might be needed?):
    • One report with the columns donor name, start date and # of years (also end date?), category, pledge amount, and total given against that pledge (e.g. in the category) within the time range. Maybe also amount still outstanding? Sorted by name?
    • One report of only those who have fulfilled their whole pledge, sorted in descending date order of when it was fulfilled. For organizations that are collecting pledges through monthly pre-authorized debits, this could be used to determine when to turn off the preauthorized debits for those donors who have paid up in full.
  • Add mail-merge fields (at least to the Total Donations Information letters) for Total Pledge Amount, Pledge Duration (e.g. “5 year”), Pledge End Date, Total Pledge Paid, and Total Pledge Outstanding (unpaid so far). The three amount fields are already there, but will be re-interpreted to apply to multiple years in the case of multi-year pledging.
  • Add a sample mail-merge letter for informing donors about the status of their multi-year pledges.

That’s all I we have come up with so far in terms of requirements. Note that some things I am not proposing to handle are partial-year pledges (e.g. monthly or quarterly), or pledges for multiple categories (so much for the General fund, so much for the Building fund).

Please give me your comments, as usual ideally through a Reply to this blog posting. Thank you!

4 thoughts on “New Multi-Year Pledging Features

  1. Sounds like a good idea. I haven’t had time to think of all possibilities yet, and we haven’t needed it at our church up to now, but I can think of a time in the past where we could have used it (before we had DONATION software), and perhaps in the future this would be a great asset.

  2. Dan..FWIW.. we don’t use pledges at present, but if there is a need for multi-year pledging for others, this sounds like a good implementation.


  3. Dan,
    You seemed to have covered most of the bases. I have some comments to do with the reporting period info.
    Although you are not going to handle partial year pledges I think most people would like to know what the pledge status is for a particular tax year
    ie. if I start donating in May 2011 I would like to know what my annual status is for 2011 not necessarily for the multi-year pledge term. So a button to display the current Amount Outstanding should reflect the current year and perhaps also the term of the pledge.
    If the pledge is for a specific category could category be displayed in the user pledge field eg building fund?

  4. Pingback: DONATION Beta Version 3.35 – Pledging etc. « Software4Nonprofits Blog

Comments are closed.