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Hosting a pledge drive is a great way to engage donors and raise funds for your organization. A pledge drive is a fundraising campaign where donors pledge to donate a certain amount of money depending on you or your participants’ goals. This type of fundraising can be highly effective in building long-term donor relationships and securing consistent support for your cause.

In this article, we’ll discuss the steps to hosting a successful pledge drive and how to engage your community in supporting your cause.

What is a Pledge Drive?

A pledge drive involves donors pledging to give a certain amount of money if your organization or your pledge drive participants achieve a certain goal. For example, your walkers in a walkathon might ask their friends and family to pledge $20 for each mile walked. Or, in a matching gift drive, you might have a corporate donor that’s pledged to match your total as long as your drive reaches $5,000. There are a number of different ways to host a pledge drive, but most will have the same needs. 

Why Host a Pledge Drive?

Pledge drives are a popular fundraising method for many organizations, and for good reason. Here are some of the benefits of hosting a pledge drive:

Donor Engagement

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Pledge drives are a great way to engage donors and build relationships with them. By asking donors to pledge a certain amount of money over a period of time, you are creating a sense of commitment and investment in your cause. This can lead to long-term support and loyalty from your donors.

Consistent Support

Pledge drives can provide your organization with consistent support over a period of time. This can help you plan and budget for future projects and initiatives, knowing that you have a steady stream of donations coming in.

Community Support

Hosting a pledge drive can also help you engage your community and raise awareness for your cause. By involving your community in your fundraising efforts, you are building a sense of community support and creating a network of individuals who are invested in your cause.

Steps to Hosting a Pledge Drive

Now that you understand the benefits of hosting a pledge drive, let’s dive into the steps you need to take to make it a success.

Step 1: Set a Goal

Before you start planning your pledge drive, it’s important to set a goal. This will help you determine how much money you need to raise and how long your pledge drive should run for. Make sure your goal is realistic and achievable, and consider setting a stretch goal to motivate your donors to give more.

Step 2: Create a Plan

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Once you have a goal in mind, it’s time to create a plan for your pledge drive. This should include a timeline, a budget, and a list of tasks that need to be completed. Consider involving your team or volunteers in the planning process to ensure that all aspects of the pledge drive are covered.

Step 3: Choose a Theme

Choosing a theme for your pledge drive can make it more engaging and memorable for your donors. Consider a theme that aligns with your cause or organization, and use it in your marketing materials and communications to create a cohesive and impactful campaign.

Step 4: Promote Your Pledge Drive

Promoting your pledge drive is crucial to its success. Use a variety of channels to reach potential donors, such as social media, email marketing, and traditional advertising. Make sure to highlight your goal and the impact that donations will have on your cause.

Step 5: Make it Easy to Pledge

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Make it as easy as possible for donors to pledge their support. This could include creating an online donation form, providing a phone number for donations, or setting up a physical donation booth at events. The easier it is for donors to pledge, the more likely they are to do so.

Step 6: Engage Donors Throughout the Pledge Drive

Don’t just ask for donations and then disappear until the pledge drive is over. Keep your donors engaged and informed throughout the process. Share updates on your progress, highlight the impact of donations, and thank donors for their support.

Step 7: Follow Up with Donors

After the pledge drive is over, make sure to follow up with your donors. Send a thank you message and update them on the final results of the pledge drive. This is also a great opportunity to ask for feedback and suggestions for future pledge drives.

Tips for Engaging Your Community in Your Pledge Drive

Engaging your community is key to the success of your pledge drive. Here are some tips to help you get your community involved and excited about supporting your cause.

Partner with Local Businesses

Partnering with local businesses can help you reach a wider audience and build relationships with potential donors. Consider asking businesses to sponsor your pledge drive or donate a portion of their sales to your cause during the pledge drive.

Host Events

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by Jorge Gordo, Unsplash

Hosting events is a great way to engage your community and raise awareness for your pledge drive. Consider hosting a kickoff event to launch your pledge drive, or a wrap-up event to celebrate your success and thank your donors.

Use Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for engaging your community and promoting your pledge drive. Use hashtags, share updates and progress, and encourage your followers to get involved and spread the word.

Offer Incentives

Consider offering incentives to donors to encourage them to pledge. This could include exclusive merchandise, a chance to win a prize, or recognition on your website or social media channels.

Final Thoughts

Hosting a pledge drive is a great way to engage donors, raise funds, and build community support for your cause. There are many great examples of successful pledge drives you can look to, like Relay for Life, or the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge you may remember took over social media in 2014. 

PBS’s annual pledge drive fields more than 170,000 calls and 35,000 donations over the course of a month. The first of these classic tele-thon fundraisers raised $5 million in 1975 (and reached $6 million in matching grants). Though PBS has modernized with text-to-donate, online donation pages, and other formats, their annual pledge drive remains a staple of their fundraising efforts.

By following the steps and tips outlined here, you can plan and execute a successful pledge drive that will help you achieve your fundraising goals and make a positive impact on your community.