One thing that we are seeing as a result of this past recession is that pledging is less than in the past. We are seeing two things happen. One, those that pledge are committing less than before. We consistently hear from pastors that members are telling them that they made a pledge but hope to give more. When donors worry from one day to the next if their business will make it or they will have a job they tend to be less aggressive in their pledge. Until that fear and angst diminishes pledge totals will be less.
The second thing we are seeing is an increased number of people giving towards a campaign but not filling out a pledge card. While there have always been a number of people that simply would not fill out a card but would give that number is on the increase. As the fear and uncertainty of the economy continues we expect this group to remain larger than in the past.
So why lead your people to make a pledge towards your project in a campaign?
First and foremost several studies have shown that those that make a pledge give more than those that do not. If I pledge $10K or $5K I am driven to fulfill my promise I made. If I don’t pledge an amount then I will only give as I feel led or when reminded of giving to the campaign. My giving is more on a whim than driven by a commitment I made.
Pledged giving is consistent and regular non-pledged giving is less dependable. One reason I love automatic withdrawals for contributions is that giving is guaranteed. The same basically holds true for pledges. Most people set up a regular and consistent way to “pay down” their pledge. This better ensures the amount will come in. Those that don’t pledge are led to give only when reminded.
Churches typically do a poor job of follow up on a campaign. Follow up is a two way street. One our part we need to stay engaged with the church. However many churches ignore the advice from their stewardship firm or never even respond back. What follows is that they don’t focus on continuing to cast the vision of the campaign. As a result giving falls off.
Here are two things to consider as a result.
Call your members to make a pledge. While the pledge total might be less than in years past it still is more money than if you did not have a campaign and ask for pledges. Those that pledge will give more money. So, don’t go soft on asking members to make a commitment.
Keep the focus on the vision for the length of the campaign. The reality is that a percentage of any church will not make a pledge to your campaign but will give if given the opportunity. So make sure you have a good follow up plan to garner those dollars. Keep a continued focus on the vision and these people will give. You might find as much as 20% of your dollars come from this group. In the end that is a lot of money. Don’t miss out!
Do you have a plan? If not that is what we do best. We stay with churches for the entire length of their campaign. Call us today to see how we can help.
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions