A Pledge is defined as a commitment of money over a specific amount of time to a specific Fund at the church. Pledges assist the congregation in setting monetary goals of giving to the church which in turn can help establish spending and budgets. The end of the year is a great time to enter new pledges, or renew existing pledges for the next year.
Pledges are kept within the Pledge Grid. This grid gives you an overview of your contributors’ pledges including their progress toward their pledges. Before you start adding pledges, there are a few rules to keep in mind:
- No two pledges can be entered for the same contributor (same envelope #) for the same contribution fund with overlapping date ranges. Churches that want to be able to do this should set up multiple Funds that represent one actual Fund (for example, Building Fund A, Building Fund B, Building Fund C). Funds of this nature can all be tied into the same Bank and Offset Accounts for auto-deposit.
- Pledges can be entered at any time, regardless of dates. This means you can enter next year’s pledges before the current pledges are complete. This is important because of the next rule.
- Offerings entered after pledge is entered will be credited towards the “active” entered pledge. Offerings entered before a corresponding pledge is entered will not be automatically credited toward the pledge. In other words, offerings only get applied to a pledge if the pledge is in the database before the offerings.
- Pledges that are entered later than the offerings must be recalculated to get the offerings attached to the pledge. To recalculate a single pledge, just Edit the existing Pledge and press Recalculate. If you want to recalculate all pledges, see the page entitled “Recalculating Pledges.”
- When an active pledge changes in any manner, that pledge needs to be ended and a new pledge started. For information on this task see the page entitled “Ending a Pledge.”
- New pledges should be entered each year. Do not create new pledges by editing the existing Pledges and changing dates or amounts. If you find that your contributors are using the same types of pledges every year, consider using Renewable Pledges. See the page entitled “Setting Up Renewable Pledges” for more information.
Note: Pledges can be fulfilled by a gift-in-kind. When adding your gift-in-kind, check the box labeled "Count towards fulfilling a pledge"
To add a pledge, follow the steps below:
- In Contributions, click on the first P on the toolbar to open the Pledge Grid.
- At the bottom of the Pledge Grid, click the Add button.
- Select the contributor the pledge is for in the "Pledge Record for" box, and the Fund the pledge is for in the "Fund" box
- Next, before you enter any amounts, set your date range for your pledge in the "Pledge Dates" boxes. If you click the button with the circular arrows, Shepherd's Staff will automatically select January 1st of your next year to December 31st of your next year. If you click the button again, you'll instead get January 1st and December 31st of your current year. You can also click in the boxes and fill in the dates you want.
- Next, select how much and how often a person will give. To do this, you can enter the amount the person is going to give per the frequency of which they give (So, for example, if a person has pledged to give $100 per month, you would fill out 100 in the amount box and "Month" in the frequency box.) This will automatically fill in the total pledge box with the amount that person will give over the life of the pledge.
- If you would like to enter a note about that pledge, click the "Note" button and fill in any note you want about the pledge. Then, if you only want to enter that one pledge, click "OK". If you need to enter another pledge, click "Add Again"
If you want to enter multiple pledges for the same amount over the same time period, you have that option as well. This can be useful for church-wide pledge drives where people commit to give a set amount. To mass-add these pledges, follow the steps below:
- In Contributions, click on the first P on the toolbar to open the Pledge Grid
- At the bottom of the pledge grid, click the button with the yellow plus sign and multiple windows.
- At the next screen, select the fund that each of these pledges will be for, the frequency of which people will be giving, the date range for the pledge, and the amount they'll be giving for each interval of giving (So, for example, for a pledge to the general fund where people give 20 dollars monthly over the course of a year, in the Contribution Fund box, you would select the General Fund, the Frequency box, Month, in the Date Range box, you'd fill in 1/1/20XX to 12/31/20XX, and in the amount box $20)
- At the next screen, you'll be presented with a checklist with all your givers. Check the box for each giver who will be making this pledge. This screen is sorted by envelope number by default, but if you'd like to see it sorted by name, check the "Sort by name" box. The names may also be truncated, but if you'd like to see the full names of the envelopes, check the "Scroll adjustment" box. When finished, click Next.
- The next screen gives you a chance to double check your work. Make sure you have selected all contributors you want to have this pledge, and that the fund, frequency, date range and amounts are all correct. If so, you can click print to print a listing of this information, and when finished, click "Finish". This will enter the pledges into the system.
At the beginning of a new year, you may want to give yourself a head start on entering new pledges. Renewing your pledges can do just that. If a fund has been designated as one that allows for renewable pledges, then you can use the "Renew Pledges" utility to create a copy of the pledge from the previous year for the current year. This will then let you edit those pledges for the new year.
- Before renewing your pledges, make sure to make a backup of your Shepherd's Staff database.
- In Contributions, click on Utilities along the top bar and select "Renew Pledges"
- Confirm that you want to renew pledges that have expired between one year ago from the current date and the current date by clicking Yes.
- This will then create pledges for any fund that has been designated for renewable pledges.
- To review these pledges, click on the first P in the toolbar to open the Pledge Grid
- Click on any of these pledges and click edit to make any needed changes.