Q: We are in the final stage of editing a pledge card and my volunteer host committee thinks that the examples of what donation amounts can provide is too confusing because of the issue of designation....can you provide a couple of samples of pledge cards? How do we determine the giving levels when there is a big range of donors attending?
Karen in Texas
A: The pledge card is a small, but critical detail of your Free One-Hour Ask Event. The best template for the pledge card is included on page 212 of our newest book, The Benevon Model for Sustainable Funding, a Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Right. You will see in this template that the card will include the name of the giving level and the dollar amount.
The name of each giving level should convey the impact of an unrestricted gift in that area of impact. The levels need to be broad enough to be relevant and lasting for all future years. A few examples of names for the three levels would be: the Gift of Help, the Gift of Hope, the Gift of Healing, or Support a Child, Strengthen a Family, Transform a Community.
The dollar amounts should be selected based on criteria that you can find on page 103 in our latest book. The two options are $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 per year for five years, or $1,000, $10,000 and $25,000 per year for five years. These five-year giving levels are essential to having a true Benevon Ask Event.
The financial objective of the Ask Event is to have at least 10 percent of the attendees join your Multiple-Year Giving Society and to have a total of 45 to 50 percent of all Ask Event guests make a gift of any amount. In other words, the objective is not to have the majority of the attendees make a gift of any amount. You will only attain these metrics if you have at least 40% of your Ask Event guests be the very same people who attended your Point of Entry Events in the prior year. This allows you to identify the donors who are truly on board and who are committed to supporting your organization long-term. These are the donors you will be diligently cultivating and eventually the people you will ask to increase or renew their commitment to your organization.
While the examples of what a gift at each level makes possible will not be printed on your pledge card, your Pitch Person will include an example in their remarks. The script for the Pitch Person is also in the new book (page 210), and it is essential that the person asking for support at your Ask Event be willing to follow it. When they get to the section where they are walking guests through your pledge card, they will give an example of what a gift at that level makes possible, ideally tying back to something we've heard as part of the vision for the future from your Visionary Leader. These should be worded to convey that they are simply examples, and are always prefaced by telling guests that all funds raised at the event will go towards the unrestricted operating funds of your organization.