Friday, 6 July 2012

Pledging – Offer Time To Pay

“Thought will spread across the world with the rapidity of light, instantly conceived, instantly written, instantly understood. It will blanket the earth from one pole to the other—sudden, instantaneous, burning with the fervour of the soul from which it burst forth.” 

                                                                                                     Alphonse de Lamartine

French poet and politician, Alphonse de Lamartine, wrote these words in 1831 to describe the emergence of the daily newspaper. Anyone would think that these words describe the present online media environment with its feeds, streams, texts and tweets. We live in a world where we have everything at our finger-tips. We want information and we’re not willing to wait for it.

Sometimes when we're in our fundraising bubble, we want gifts in, targets met, memorandums of understanding signed but we have to keep our donors' needs in the forefront of our minds. 

By asking for a gift over a certain period of time, one reduces the ‘pain’ of the gift and this is particularly important in the current environment. 
Normal pledge periods are three to five years and many donors end up paying them off early. I always ask them to sign a pledge form which is of course non-binding legally but it helps make the process more formal and it's always good to sign on the dotted line.  A  pledge allows the donor a way out should exceptional circumstances prevent him or her from honouring the pledge. In the 10 years that I've been working in fundraising there have been very few pledges that have not been paid in full. 

It also helps with donor stewardship and rememeber every gift a donor makes to your organisation is a down-payment on the next, so get thanking!

How do you soilicit major-gifts in your organisation? Do you give you donors options? I'd love to hear more, contact me @niamhini

Niamh, @niamhini

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