CMS Contributions - How to Set Up a Pledge Drive/Fundraising Campaign

Whether it’s the first time, or the twenty-first time you’ve set up a pledge drive, everyone dreads the Pledge Campaign season for their own personal reason.

· “Did I miss a step?”

· “Is there an easier way to track this information?”

· “Did anyone fall through the cracks?”

· “Ugh! Not another mail merge!?!?”

Using your CMS Contribution System, you can easily glide through the steps you’ll need to take to successfully track your Fundraising Campaign!

The first thing you’ll want to look at is the length of the pledge drive. Is this a single year pledge drive or does it span several years?

Usually, your General or Operating Fund will have a single year pledge drive that’s renewed each year (new pledge cards go out each year). This will help you plan your budget for the upcoming year. This is considered a Single Year Pledge.

A Building Fund or Capital Campaign will normally span several years (this is considered a Multi Year Pledge). You’ll enter the pledges only once at the beginning of the drive, and the system will track the contributions made through the years when calculating the pledge balance.

Both the Single Year Pledge and the Multi Year Pledge are entered in the same manner, and contributions are entered the same as you always have. The difference is how they’re handled at the end of the contribution year.

Okay, so let’s say it’s November and you need to get going on your next year’s pledge drive. Where do you start?

1. Set Up The Pledge Drive

This optional process is used to define the households/persons to be contacted in the fundraising campaign (Process | Set Up Pledge Drive).

The system will set the Pledge Type field for the Head or Spouse to “Potential” or “Not Potential” (i.e. Deceased, Transferred/Moved, Businesses, will be considered Not Potential), based on existing contribution, pledge, envelope number, and Member and Participation Status information.

As people return their pledge cards, the pledge type is changed to record their response.


If you’ve never run this process before, we recommend you run it for both the current year and next year pledge drives. It will not overwrite any existing pledges, but it may pick up those people in the current year drive who may have slipped through the cracks!

2. Print Next Year Pledge Report

Now that you have your Potential and Not Potential Pledgers coded, print the Next Year’s Pledge Report by clicking Reports | Pledge and Contribution Summary | Next Year Pledges. This will give you a base report you can review for accuracy. If you need to refine your Member/Participation Status selections, re-run the Set Up Pledge Drive Process, now is the time.

3. Print Pledge Cards

You can solicit pledges from those coded as Potential Pledgers and print Pledge Cards directly from your CMS Contribution System (Reports | Pledge Cards). You can print these cards either on Avery 5388 cards or on standard 8 ½ “ x 11” paper/card stock and cut into thirds.

If you're comfortable with Mail Merge, you can even print out customized pledge cards using CMS and Microsoft Word.

You may also want to consider the back of the pledge card! Do you have some words of encouragement, or calculations for the contributors that you could print on the back of the pledge cards? Do so before breaking them into thirds!!

4. Print Mailing Labels/Form Letters

Use your CMS Contribution System Labels/Letter-Mailer to produce a generic, but personalized, form letter to accompany each pledge card.

5. Enter Pledge Responses

As the Pledge Cards come back from the contributors, you can quickly enter their responses into the CMS Contribution System using the Quick Next Year Pledge process (Process | Quick Next Year Pledge Entry).

Use the Response Date to track the date the pledge cards were entered into CMS. This Response date will become vital in future steps! Click OK.

You'll have better results when you enter the pledge as the contributor indicates on their pledge card. If the contributor wishes to contribute weekly, enter the pledge as a Weekly pledge. Don't try to convert all of your pledges to Fixed or Yearly. You may just end up confusing your contributors, and your reports won't be as meaningful.

When you’re on the Quick Next Year Pledge Entry screen, just right-click the contributor’s name to display a Pledge Information Screen, where you can enter an Initial Pledge, change the dates, or just verify the Total Pledge.

6. Print Next Year Pledge Report

Select on the Response Date on the Next Year Pledge Report (Reports | Pledge and Contribution Summaries | Next Year Pledges) to print a “pledge edit list” to verify your work for the day.

You can also select on the Response Date to track how many pledges came in each week.

Select on the Pledge Type and print a listing of just those who chose to pledge (or NOT to pledge).

7. Print a Pledge Comparison Report

Print a Pledge Comparison Report (Reports | Pledge and Contribution Summaries | Pledge Comparison) to view those people who increased, decreased, or pledged the same.

8. Complete Thank You/Confirmation and Follow Up Mailings

Print Mailing Labels (Reports | Contributor Labels) by selecting on Response Date for Thank You cards/letters.

Create personalized form letters (Process | Merge/Export File) by selecting on Response Date to Confirm the Pledge.

Print generic personalized form letters (Reports | Contributor Lables/Letter-Mailer) for follow up letters to those still marked as Potential or Can’t Contact.

9. Enter Prepayments to a Pledge

If a contributor decides to make a payment on a pledge that doesn’t start until the next calendar year, you can mark that contribution as a prepayment and it will adjust the balance due on their pledge the following year.

Enter the contribution to the pledged fund as usual; just check the Pre-Pay box on the far right column on the Contribution Entry screen. Post as normal.


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