How Pledges Work (Legacy)

How and when pledges are charged and what happens after a campaign ends.

Jenna Notarfrancesco avatar
Written by Jenna Notarfrancesco
Updated over a week ago

Pledges are available on any campaign that uses Stripe for its donation processing, and they allow donors to commit to a large pledge paid off in more manageable payments over time.

Pledges are divided into two types:

  • Automated pledges - pledges made through the donation form. Invoices are automatically charged according to the amount pledged, interval and period chosen by the donor.

  • Offline pledges - pledges created through the admin. These don’t have a payment method attached to them and invoices are created and updated manually.

Pledges give your donors more flexible payment options by allowing them to donate through installments over a certain period of time, and help you to increase gift size, donor happiness, and financing opportunities for your organization.

Learn more about the benefits and functionality of pledges below.

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Benefits Of Pledges

  • Increase gift size: Automatically source larger donations over a period of time so anyone can become a major donor!

  • Automatic fulfillment: Automatically charge pledge installments, send donation receipts, and keep. track of pledge fulfillment progress. (No manual processes!)

  • Predictable revenue: It's easy for donors to select a donation schedule that fits their needs. Improve donor retention; annual gifts help you retain donors year after year.

  • Increased donor happiness: Donors can commit to giving now, and pay later for more convenience.

  • Expand financing opportunities: Prove backing for capital initiatives for loans, grants, and more!

  • New fundraising opportunities: Extend peer to peer fundraising with pledge style campaigns. Use auto-pledges to pay for memberships for up to 5 years.

The Donor Experience

Your donor selects a pledge amount and one of the preset installment periods: monthly between 3 and 60 months, and/or annual periods between 2 and 5 years.

You can set up pledge-specific donation tiers on the donation form. These can be different than the one-time or recurring donation tiers.

Donors will be charged the same day every month or year following their first installment payment.

In the backend, you will have easy admin, with access to:

  • Enhanced installment payment receipts to include payment details.

  • Track all pledge transactions and profiles.

  • Export pledge data.

  • Enhanced pledge counter to display total pledges on the campaign, personal, and team pages.

Pledge Receipts

When a pledge donor completes their first installment payment they will receive an installment receipt for the amount they donated that day. Every month or year going forward they'll be automatically sent a receipt after every transaction is processed.

How Do Pledges Reflect Toward The Campaign Goal?

Once the first installment payment is processed, the full pledge value will reflect towards the campaign goal.

Donation tipping only works on the first installment processed at this time. The tip amount that donors add to cover fees won't be added to the following installments, however, the Stripe and CauseVox Tip or platform fees will still be applied. Learn more about the CauseVox Tip.

Failed Installment Payments

For failed payments on automated pledges, please note the following:

  • Credit card - A failed attempt email will be automatically sent to the donor. After 3 failed attempts the pledge is marked as "past due" to help you know which pledges need attention.

  • ACH - A failed attempt email will be automatically sent to the donor. We immediately mark the pledge as "past due". This is because ACH can trigger overdraft fees.

After 3 failed attempts on an offline pledge, the pledge will be marked as "past due" and can be re-enabled by marking all outstanding invoices as paid (or deleting them) first.

Learn how to resolve "past due" status for pledges.

How To Cancel Pledges

To cancel an automated pledge and stop future payments, you can void the pledge.

All future payments will be stopped and the pledge will be marked as uncollectible.

To cancel an offline pledge, you can void or delete the pledge to delete all invoices and payments.

Voiding and deleting pledges cannot be reversed and will remove the pledge from counting in totals.

What Happens To Pledges When A Campaign Ends?

When a campaign ends or is turned offline, installment payments are still automatically processed until you void the pledge.

Installment payments cannot be processed if your account is suspended or cancelled.

Additional Notes

  • Automated pledge invoices cannot be edited and payments cannot be deleted. Payments can be refunded, however.

  • Offline pledge invoices can be edited (date and amount) or deleted. You can add up the invoices to be over the pledge total if you want, etc.; this is for flexibility.

  • Learn how to Set Up Pledges.

  • Learn how to Manage Pledges as admin.

For more information about using pledges, contact [email protected].

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