Collecting pledges and recording them in Realm can be a hectic, busy process for your financial staff. Not to mention the confusion your contributors face when thinking about recurring gifts versus pledges.
Well, if you like Giving Forms in Realm, you’ll love this: Online Pledging in Realm is here!
Similar to giving forms, you can create online pledge forms enabling your congregants to pledge online and even add a gift quickly and easily.
With Online Pledging in Realm, you will:
- Save your finance staff time by reducing the administrative burden of tracking and inputting pledges from various sources.
- Reduce congregant confusion around pledging and online giving by connecting the two in one seamless experience.
- Allow your staff to generate budget and planning forecasts more efficiently and accurately as online pledges update in Realm in real-time.
- Build upon your giving forms by providing a similar experience for pledging, making it familiar for your contributors.
- Give your staff a modern way to promote pledging in addition to your traditional stewardship practices.
Let’s take a look at how the new Online Pledging in Realm works.
Create your pledge campaign.
Pledge campaigns help you budget for specific needs and ministries. Your congregants benefit from pledge campaigns as it holds them accountable to give faithfully towards a specific ministry. For instance, you want to create a pledge campaign for your General Fund. You can add a year-long campaign and your members and guests can pledge to help with that campaign. You can see how much has been pledged so you can estimate what your budget will be for that fund.
In Realm, you can create a pledge campaign in just a few quick steps:
- Sign in as an administrator or user with the appropriate permission.
- Click Giving > Pledge Campaigns.
- Click Add Campaign.
- Enter the Fund name. As you type, a list of matches is displayed.
- Complete the remaining fields, then click Save.
Once you have created your campaign, the fun with online pledging begins!
Customize your online pledge form.
Pledge campaigns are beneficial, but without online pledging, you’re missing out on many pledges and online gifts. In Realm, you can create a customized form for your pledge campaign that matches your website or the specific ministry for the campaign.
In the General Settings of your pledge form, you can choose a default frequency, whether or not you want to allow contributors who haven’t signed in to Realm to create an online pledge, and if you want to ask for online gifts when a pledge is completed.
Once you have your General Settings set, you will be able to customize the look and feel of your pledge form. This includes:
- Adding a Title and Subtitle
- Writing an Intro Message
- Choosing a photo that represents your pledge campaign
- Selecting the background color for the header
- Selecting an accent color
- Selecting additional options such as using dark mode for the frame and/or form body
- Choosing which style fits best (modern, traditional, or bold)
As you’re selecting your customization options, you will see a preview of what your online pledge form will look like once it is live. This allows you to adjust as needed until it is the perfect fit for your pledge campaign.
Once you have your design options set, you will be able to write a custom Thank You Message that will display once a person has completed the online pledge form. And here’s an example of what that pledge form will look like for your contributors:
Share your online pledge form.
What good is having an online pledge form if no one knows it exists? Realm gives you everything you need to share your online pledge form with your members and guests. After creating your pledge form, you’ll be given a direct link to the online pledge form that can be shared in your newsletter, in targeted emails about the pledge campaign, and on social media. In the next few weeks, you’ll also see an embed code to use on your website so contributors can give directly from there.
Once your online pledge form is created, those in your Realm Community will see it as an option when they go to set up a pledge within Realm. They will see a pledge card that shows the name of the pledge campaign and the dates for that campaign. They can click that pledge card and walk through the online pledge form to complete their pledge right then and there.
Online Pledging is also available in the Connect mobile app. When a contributor clicks “Make a Pledge” in the Connect mobile app, they will see the pledge card view if there are multiple pledge campaigns available.
Simplify pledges versus recurring gifts.
How many times have you heard, “I thought I created a pledge when I set up my recurring gift”? What about, “I created a pledge, is that not the same as setting up a recurring gift?”
We know those are common questions that highlight the confusion between pledges and recurring gifts. Online Pledging in Realm connects the two so your contributors see how they connect with one another but are two separate things.
Let’s say I am pledging to the General Fund pledge campaign. I’ve chosen to pledge $100 once a month for the next year. Once I click “Save Pledge” I’m going to see the option to “Make this pledge into a recurring gift.” Right then and there, I can check that box and add my payment method. This ensures that I’ve not only pledged, but I’ve set up a recurring gift to fulfill my pledge.
Not only does this clear up confusion, but it also increases the likelihood that more pledges are fulfilled for your pledge campaigns.
We are excited to bring you Online Pledging in Realm as we know it will increase your pledges and support you in meeting your ministry’s budget goals.
If you’re already using Realm Giving, you’ll automatically see Online Pledging options in Realm. If you’ve not yet signed up for Realm Giving, we encourage you to take a look at the Stewardship area of our Realm Guided Tour to see how you can increase your giving and provide your church more ways to give.