Thank you all who participated in our annual pledge drive results survey. Thanks too to those
who joined us last week for our Wednesday Wisdom gathering to provide some results and have discussion about them. The results varied widely with some congregations struggling and others doing quite well, compared to their own previous years and compared to other congregations.
We had good participation in the survey, and from congregations of different sizes and budgets. You can see the results in the slideshow: S4Us Wednesday Wisdom Pledging Survey Results May 2023 (PDF) . A couple of things we observed that might improve people’s results going forward:
- Although we can now gather safely, from a health perspective, many congregations continue to use more impersonal methods during their pledge drive, like email and postal mailing. More effective methods are small group or one-to-one conversations about stewardship.
- Many congregations are orienting their drive to congregants who attend in-person (based on the poll during the meeting) and hope the virtual folks respond, rather than also crafting strategies specifically for the people who join them through the web.
- Pledge fulfillment has slipped compared to previous surveys. Good follow up throughout the year and orienting new member into pledge fulfillment can help with this.
- A general concern is that budgets seem to be growing, yet pledging amounts are not keeping up. Endowment revenue, rentals, or other income may be filling those gaps. Yet we heard from congregations struggling in this regard.
Pledging trends show that the most efficient methods in stewardship are rarely the most effective.
On the other hand some congregations are growing membership and have had good pledge results. Generally speaking, we find congregations are successful in their pledge drives if they recruit a team of people early, start planning far in advance, orient toward the congregation’s mission and impact, are warm and personal, and tell powerful stories. The most efficient methods in stewardship are rarely the most effective. Let Stewardship for Us know if you need more information or help!