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Summary of Key Points:
- Pledge campaigns differ from other fundraising campaigns by focusing on activities that students participate directly in. These campaigns are excellent ways to encourage families and friends of students to make donations.
- Successful pledge campaigns should focus on an event participants can watch (“A-Thon” style events like Walk-A-Thons are great ideas). They’ll also need to be carefully planned, promoted, and run—so that donations can be collected properly and accurate reports can be generated.
- Pledge campaigns need to follow the same rules and regulations as other types of fundraisers to ensure compliance (although you won’t have to worry about restrictions on selling goods, since that’s not how you’ll be raising funds). Future Fund’s platform is designed for easy compliance, and also provides financial reporting and donation collecting tools.
A pledge campaign is a special way to raise funds for your PTA or PTO by encouraging supporters to donate money in support of students who participate in activities or events. These campaigns are particularly effective at encouraging each participating student’s family members and friends to donate, since they’ll be invested in watching the student succeed!
Pledge campaigns can be powerful, but they can also take a lot of careful planning to set up and execute properly. We built Future Fund to help streamline the process with automatic registration, donation management tools, and more—so in this blog, we’ll share what we’ve learned about successful pledge campaigns and show you what it takes to run one.
What Is a Pledge Campaign?
Pledge campaigns differ from other types of fundraising campaigns because they focus on supporting students and celebrating their accomplishments. The most effective pledge campaigns usually involve students participating in events that supporters can witness directly—at Future Fund, we call these types of events “A-Thons”.
Examples of “A-Thons” for Pledge Campaigns Include:
Having an event that people can witness makes your pledge campaign exciting and gives it a sense of urgency that can compel people to donate if they’re on the fence, or encourage them to donate more than they might otherwise.
Via Adobe Stock.
How Do Pledge Campaigns Work?
Every pledge campaign requires diligent planning, effective promotion, a way to collect and organize pledges during the event itself, and compliance tools for accurate reporting afterward. Here’s how you can run a successful pledge campaign with Future Fund:
Creating Your Campaign
Log into Future Fund, then click the tab marked “Store” on the left of the screen. Here you can see key details about current campaigns.
Now click the “Campaigns” tab and go to “Create Campaign” in the top-right:
This brings up the Campaign Management window with a list of options. Name your campaign and enter a description, then select “Pledge A Thon” from the first drop-down menu. Use the next drop-down menu to choose the account the funds you collect will go into.
Once you’ve done that, you can fill in the different amounts donors can pledge during the campaign and write an email template participants will be able to customize and send when trying to recruit pledges.
When you’re done, click the “Create Campaign” button. This window will now close and your pledge campaign will show up on the “Campaigns” page.
Editing Your Campaign Details
Click the “View” button for your campaign to see its dashboard, then click the “Design” button at the top of the page. You’ll see a screen where you can change the details of this specific campaign.
Here, you’ll be able to upload an image for your campaign and see a preview of what it will look like on your school’s online store. To change the details of this campaign, click the “Edit” button in the “Settings” section of the screen.
Ticking “Make pledge available for sale” makes your campaign publicly visible. You’ll only want to check the box underneath that one if links have been shared for a campaign that’s sold out or no longer running.
You can also use this window to make pledges to your campaign tax deductible or attach a video via YouTube or Vimeo.
Promoting & Sharing Your Pledge Campaign
Sharing your pledge campaign is essential to its success, which is why Future Fund has built-in tools to make this easy.
Click the “Share” button on your Campaign’s page and you’ll get a link that can be sent out to sign up participants (every participant who signs up will get their own unique link that they can use to collect donations during the campaign).
Once people start signing up for your campaign, click the “Participants” button for a list of everyone who’s collecting pledged donations and how much they’ve raised.
Reporting On Your Campaign’s Success
After your pledge campaign ends, Future Fund can create reports summarizing the results. Just go back to the “Store” tab and click “Reports” near the top of the screen.
Selecting “Campaign Summary” from the drop-down menu will give you an overview of how well your pledge campaign did—making it easier to plan successful campaigns in the future and follow compliance regulations pertaining to your PTA or PTO.
Via Adobe Stock.
PTAs and PTOs need to be compliant with the same laws and regulations as all other fundraising campaigns. Make sure you are aware of your organization’s obligations in the following areas:
- Tax Exempt Status: while your PTA or PTO may be a tax-exempt organization, you’ll still need to follow all applicable reporting requirements and abide by restrictions on political activities.
- Compliance with State and Local Laws: these might include charity registration requirements, consumer protection laws, and advertising and marketing restrictions.
- Liability and Insurance: you’ll need to make sure potential legal liabilities are covered for any events you hold on or off campus and make sure you have proper insurance coverage.
- Data Privacy and Security: your organization must follow all applicable data privacy and security laws when collecting, storing, and using personal data from students participating in the pledge campaign or the donors who support them.
If you aren’t sure what specific laws or rules apply to your upcoming pledge campaign, we strongly recommend that you seek legal counsel. Future Fund is designed to make compliance easier by keeping all collected personal data secure and generating accurate financial reports, so this is one way to avoid potential legal issues.
Powering Up Your Pledge Campaign with Future Fund
Once you’ve decided on the kind of event or activity your pledge campaign will be based on and planned the event, you just need to put the word to your school and community—then make sure you can collect, track, and report the results! To learn more about how we can help you with promoting and implementing your campaign, get started with Future Fund here. Together, we’ll help you set up your pledge campaign for success.