pledge fundraisingDid you know that 84% of fundraising pledges are fulfilled and that the average mobile donation pledge for fundraising events is $167? These are only a few of the statistics that show how effective pledge fundraising can be for nonprofits.

Because it can often be easier to get donors to commit to a pledge than to complete a donation, pledges can really help you increase fundraising when done right. To help you maximize the efficacy of your pledge fundraisers in 2022, we’re going to cover:

1. What is pledge fundraising?
2. How can I use pledge fundraising in 2022?
3. What type of pledge fundraisers should I try?

Whether you’re running a simple pledge campaign or combining it with a fun virtual or in-person fundraiser, pledge campaigns can work for any nonprofit organization. If you’re ready to see how they can help you raise more, let’s dive in.

What is pledge fundraising?

A pledge campaign is one that accepts pledges of promised support at a later time instead of the actual funds immediately.

Three of the major differences between pledges and traditional donations are:

  • Payment time frame. In traditional fundraising campaigns, the donor is asked to complete their donation on the spot, but pledge fundraising allows for a more flexible payment. Sometimes, this is because their donation amount is contingent upon another action, like how many miles someone runs in your fun run.
  • Type of campaigns. Pledges work really well in urgent situations, like fundraising for natural disaster relief. This is because it’s often easier for a donor to commit to a pledge on a moment’s notice than it is to get their credit card out right then and there. Pledges also work great for a-thon fundraisers where donors support friends and family participating in a fundraiser by pledging a certain amount per mile run, hours spent knitting, or books read.
  • Momentum: Pledge fundraising really capitalizes on speed and excitement. Instead of risking donors losing momentum when they go to search for a credit card or double-check their budget, pledge fundraisers get a commitment from donors while the excitement is still running high.

The main focus is on using the emotional connection between the potential donor and your message. Learning to use that connection and combining it with a sense of urgency or excitement is what will lead to success with pledge fundraising.

Why pledge fundraisers work

pledge fundraisingWhile you always want supporters to complete their donations, it can sometimes be more time effective to get a larger group of people to commit to pledges.

Although you can’t guarantee that every pledge will be fulfilled, pledges make it easier to catch the attention and initial commitment of much larger groups of supporters than straightforward fundraising appeals, especially in urgent contexts. If a large percentage of those supporters then fulfill their pledges, you’ll come out above what you likely would’ve secured otherwise.

How can I use pledge fundraising in 2022?

By using excellent online software, text-to-give, and social media, you can create a successful and exciting pledge campaign. These tools will allow your campaign to reach a wider audience and provide a user-friendly giving experience that will work together to draw in those funds you need.

By using excellent online software, text-to-give, and social media, you can create a successful and exciting pledge campaign. These tools will allow your campaign to reach a wider audience and provide a user-friendly giving experience that will work together to draw in those funds you need.

What type of pledge fundraisers should I try?

A pledge fundraiser can be a simple fundraiser in response to an urgent problem, or it can be part of a less-urgent fundraising campaign. You can incorporate pledges into many different types of fundraisers that you may have already tried before:

  • Text-to-give. If there is an upcoming affinity month, ongoing issue in your community or upcoming legislation related to your mission, you could start a pledge campaign via text-to-give, using that event to create a sense of urgency.
  • Walk-a-thon. This original marathon-style fundraiser is perfect because it’s accessible to everyone and can even be done in a hybrid format if necessary. Have supporters sign up to participate and get their friends and family to pledge a donation for every minute, hour, mile, or lap they walk.
  • Dance-a-thon. Similar to a walk-a-thon, this type of pledge fundraiser is great to do with a younger crowd and can be turned into a fun, themed event.
  • Giving day. We’ve all heard about Giving Tuesday, but you don’t need to wait until November to do your own giving day. Make sure to track progress throughout the day using a publicly visible fundraising thermometer to keep the excitement high!
  • Social media challenge. Remember the ALS ice bucket challenge? You can create a similar challenge and have supporters pledge a certain amount for every participant in the challenge, or every share. According to Getting Attention, branding your social posts can help further spread awareness of your cause as your challenge spreads on social media.

If you’re willing to get a little creative, there’s no end to the possibilities for hosting a successful pledge fundraiser. Get your team together to brainstorm and discuss which type of pledge fundraiser will be best for your organization. Then, make sure you give donors the opportunity and encouragement to share their pledges on social media to inspire others to pledge as well!

The Bottom Line

Pledge fundraisers can be very effective in a variety of contexts, especially with the right marketing efforts to get the attention of your supporter base. Make sure it’s easy for donors to pledge and give them ample opportunity to share their pledge with others. Try out a pledge fundraiser with our tips and ideas to see how it can work for your organization!

About the Author

guest postJohn Killoran is an inventor, entrepreneur, and the Chairman of Clover Leaf Solutions, a national lab services company. He currently leads Clover Leaf’s investment in Snowball Fundraising, an online fundraising platform for nonprofit organizations.

Snowball was one of John’s first public innovations; it’s a fundraising platform that offers text-to-give, online giving, events, and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofits. By making giving simple, Snowball increases the donations that these organizations can raise online. The Snowball effect is real! John founded Snowball in 2011. Now, it serves over 7,000 nonprofits and is the #1 nonprofit fundraising platform.