How to Make a Pledge Card

Donation pledge cards are in integral part of nonprofit fundraising. In fact, before you ever found yourself working in fundraising, you probably had seen pledge cards yourself from various organizations you care about. Can you remember any of them specifically? If you can, then chances are the pledge card design was intentionally thought through.

As your nonprofit sets out to create fundraising pledge cards, you may be wondering what is the trick to an effective pledge card? So much of how well your pledge card is received by its audience has to do with how it looks. As such, we’ve put together three of our pledge card best practices.

Ensure your pledge card template has an easy-to-read design

It sounds simple enough—make sure people can read your donor pledge card. But you’d be surprised how tough this design parameter can be. A lot of times, organizations are tempted to put every single detail they can think of about their organization onto the card, plus ask strings or gift arrays, plus sign-up information for communication, plus return label information, and so on and so forth.

Resist the temptation to overcommunicate and instead, spend your thought and effort on creating a piece that encompasses the most important aspects. Consider using this pledge card example:

  • Your organization’s visual logo
  • Your organization’s contact information
  • A space for your donors contact information and phone number
  • Ask strings (gift arrays, gift tables, amount of money) and an “other” box for the pledge itself
  • A brief statement about your organization and call for pledges

Remember: the more thoughtfully this is laid out, the better. Less is more on a pledge card.

Print pre-determined ask strings on your pledge form

To make things extra easy and convenient for your recipients, and for the most effective fundraising, you should print pre-determined ask strings on your card.

When determining how to personalize ask strings, use your nonprofit donor management system to consider the donors’ giving history to decide on the values. For first-time donors, decide on the anchoring (the first value in the ask string) and lift increments (values 2, 3 and 4) that feels right for your nonprofit.

You want the person looking over your pledge card to make a selection quickly and easily without having to think too hard about how much to give – that’s why it’s important to be specific and consider the donors’ previous gifts to maximize the donors commitment.

Also, you should consider including a blank space for an open-ended ask so the donor has the option to donate an amount that’s not provided in the ask string.

Encourage donors to donate online

While pledge cards are often issued through the mail or in-person at events, it’s always a good rule of thumb to direct donors to your website. Whether that’s to complete their gift online, or to bookmark your page for future visits, directing traffic to your website should always be a goal of your organization.

Typically, when it comes to pledging, the funds are likely to be deposited or transferred instantly into your organization’s fund when donors give online. This is in contrast to having to wait for the pledge card to arrive via return mail, and then adding any additional processing time that would relate to following up with that donor to complete their gift.

Use these strategies the next time you create a capital campaign pledge card. Not only will you raise more money, you’ll see higher engagement from your donors as well.

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