Much depends on what the pledge amount is. Is it the total amount the donor intends to pay, or only the charitable donation amount?
Of course for fundraising purposes you may only count the charitable donation amount in your totals. But if you have a way of separating the charitable amount from the benefit amount in the "pledge" there's no reason you cannot record the full amount you anticipate receiving. You just need to make sure that you report only the gift amount.
And when you receive a payment you very likely do need to record both the gift amount AND the benefit amount as two separate transaction in the accounting system. The accounting folk will certainly want you to account for the full amount paid.
But you may also opt to only book a pledge for the net gift amount. So in your scenario the donor would have only "pledged" $450 in tax-deductible donations. Therefore when their payment comes in the net gift amount equals the pledge amount and you are all set.
But I prefer keeping track of the total amount to be paid and simply take care to count only the gift amounts in my totals. So again to your example, the $600 payment would essentially pay off the $600 pledge in two pieces. But again this assumes your development system has a way to capture two different pledge amounts - total to be paid and gift amount.
As for how these things affect membership levels that's entirely up to you. I have seen it work both ways - membership granted based on the total amount paid and membership granted based on actual charitable donations. This was addressed in one or two of the questions posed in the donor recognition/soft-credit survey I conducted - and Charlie Hunsaker analyzed - back when I was at CASE in 2004. While there is no "national standard," you can see how many institutions handle this by looking at the survey results found on this page:
You will find the related question on page 11. And you'll note that in the majority of cases donors are recognized based on total amount paid.
Transforming the base of the pyramid
119 Champlain Street
Decatur, GA 30030
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I thought I saw a discussion about this on the listserv, but I was unable
to find it. Would you mind helping me out again?
We are trying to fine-tune the accounting and receipting of quid pro quo
transactions, specifically athletic gifts with premiums offered for
various membership levels.
My question has to do with applying the gift portion to the donor's
pledge. When donors accept their benefits, I understand we are to enter
only the gift portion in our accounting system and that's the amount we
can tie to the pledge. But what about the difference? Here's an example:
- Donor pledges $600.
- Donor makes payment of $600 and accepts membership benefits valued at
- Gift accounting staff records $450 as a gift and applies it toward the
- The balance remaining on the pledge is $150.
What is everyone else doing with the balance? Do you inform the donors
they are responsible for fulfilling the entire pledge or do you write off
the balance? And in your database, would you just mark/code the
pledge "paid" (even though $150 still appears as a balance) or would you
reduce the amount of the pledge to $450?
If you reduce the pledge, how does that impact your gift
society/membership level calculations?
Any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated!
Cheryl Mitchell, Director
Dev. Research & Information Services