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Entering and Updating Pledges

When your organization receives a pledged gift, it can be tricky to know how to enter it in order to most effectively utilize reports and properly track these donations. This article seeks to clarify matters and help you utilize features most effectively.

Anything Can Be a Pledge

You are not limited to using the label “Pledge”. For example, you could enter a gift type of Sponsorship and have it be a pledge that’s due on the date of the event. So for this first scenario, we’re going to enter a Sponsorship pledge for our Capital Campaign on April 30. 2024. The donor will sponsor at the $5,000 dollar level, and part of the sponsorship agreement requires them to pay by September 1, 2020. First, we’ll enter the basic donation information at the top of the screen. The date would be the date that the donor committed to the sponsorship:


At the bottom of the screen, we will set the payment information. To make the sponsorship function as a pledge, select “Yes” for the question “To be paid at a future date, or in installments?“. Since the donor hasn’t paid yet, select “No” for “Has First Payment Been Made?“. The donor expects to pay for the complete sponsorship in one payment, so we’ll leave number of payments as 1. Payment frequency does not apply in this instance. Finally, set the Expected Payment Date to April 1, 2024.

The donation now appears and is marked as unfulfilled.

When the Payment is Made

When a payment is received for a pledged donation, rather than adding a new donation, you need to scroll down in the donor’s profile to see if there are any outstanding pledges. In the case of our sponsorship, the unfulfilled sponsorship appears like this:

Once we have our $5,000 check in hand, and we need to enter it in. On the unfulfilled pledge seen above, click the View button. That will bring up the list of payments that we are expecting to come. Click the downward arrow next to the View button to display the edit option:

On the edit screen, we’ll want to fill in the amount received, the date we received it, the payment type and reference number:

This will now make the pledge appear as fulfilled since the full amount has been received.

When the Donor Changes the Pledge

There are times when the donor changes their pledge, whether because they find that they cannot pay, or because they need to break the payments up into smaller chunks. What do you do in this case? Well, let’s say that our sponsor sends in a check for only half of the sponsorship amount, $2,500. They say they’ll send the remainder by the due date, April 1st. How do we handle this?

The process is largely the same. Find the donor, find the sponsorship, view it, and edit its payment. However, now, rather than entering the full $5,000, you must enter the $2,500 amount as the amount received. Importantly, you must also change the expected amount:

These amounts must match in order for the system to properly calculate the amount owed. (NOTE: Technically, you could leave the amount expected at $5,000, but then when entering the additional payment [see below], the amount expected would need to be entered as $0.00. Thus, we recommend adjusting the actual and expected amount to be the same.) Once this step is done, you will be taken to the payment view screen. Click View Donation to return to the main view for this pledge:

You will now see that the pledge is shown as if it were complete. We need to now add the extra, additional expected payment that the donor will send on September first. Click the Add Payment button.

On the Add Payment screen, the only things you should need to enter are the expected date and amount of the final installment of this sponsorship:

Once you click submit, and then return to the View Donation screen. You will see the pledge now displaying correctly as needing an additional payment of $2,500 for the full amount:

Pledges and Reports

There are a few specialized reports that are used commonly with pledges. The first is the Unfulfilled Pledges report. This report shows any pledges where the whole total of actual payments received does not match the total amount of expected payments received. After editing the gift above, our sponsorship will appear in this list:

One important thing to remember is that when a pledge is entered, it will only appear in donation reports for the year it was entered. This means that if a pledge for $5,000 over 5 years is received and entered in 2023, and you run a Donation History report in 2024, this $5,000 pledge will not appear. It is tied to 2020 when the pledge was first made. However, subsequent payments that are received for this pledge will show up in payment reports for 2020 thru 2024.

To help you identify which payments are due soon so you can send reminders, you can use the Upcoming Payments report. This report will show you any payments which are due to arrive based on the time range and other filters you set:

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