What You Need to Know

We are excited to announce this year’s transition from the kind of annual fund raising campaign we’ve done for years to a “one and done” pledge. We’re calling it The Last Pledge Drive Ever. It’s a simple idea, and one that is working for many churches. We won’t need to chase down everyone’s pledge card by a particular date, and we will use that energy and good will for more strategic and sacred work. Here are the highlights:


Last Pledge Drive Q&A

Why are we changing the way we do our pledge drive?

  • The part of the pledge drive that involved making sure everyone submitted a pledge card by a particular date was time-consuming and wasn’t especially spiritual or fulfilling. We can use our precious time together better.
  • We have fewer volunteer hours than before and there is more demand for limited staff hours. We need to do all our work more efficiently.
  • Every-day technology supports new ways to manage pledges, more in keeping with our lives.
  • There is evidence to suggest that eliminating long pledge drives is rewarded with praise and money.

How will pledging process work now?

  • We may each make, review and change our pledge at any time. We can pledge online, with a phone call to the church office (434-293-8179) or by dropping off a pledge card.
  • Your pledge will stay in place, continuing to renew, until you change it.
  • Our pledge teams won’t need to track down every person to make sure they’ve submitted their pledge card. That’s a thing of the past.
  • We will continue outreach to new members to demystify pledging, and we will continue to make an annual case for increased investment in our mission.

So my current pledge will renew automatically unless/until I adjust it myself?


How will the budget work?

As it has. We’ll create a church budget in the early spring for approval at the Spring Congregational Meeting.

Won’t it be harder to get the increases we need as church costs go up?

Churches that have converted to this kind of plan say that is the challenge. Here is what has worked:

  • Using many opportunities to communicate what the church is doing in the world so we can appreciate the power and reach of our investment.
  • Using our annual budget cycle, and opportunities throughout the year, to communicate the church’s contributions to the world as well as its needs.
  • Creating a culture that expects and supports cost of living increases—one in which many of us increase our pledges annually. (Some churches automatically renew pledges with a cost of living increase. We have not embraced that choice for this year, but will consider it in the future.).
  • Making it easy for us to revise our pledge with a published Cost of Living increase.
  • Making sure new members embrace pledging to support the work of the church.

May I volunteer instead of pledging?
What if I feel as if I can’t pledge?

  • Our volunteer gifts and financial gifts both make this church powerful and sustainable. We depend upon both.
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church asks all of us who are part of our community to pledge—to make a commitment to an annual financial gift–so that we can plan our spending for the year.  We ask everyone to give what we can, not more or less. Every pledge is equally valued.

What does Stewardship look like under this new model?

Ah, that’s the best part.

  • We won’t need to cluster our conversations around a fiscal deadline.
  • We’ll be able to talk to each other, through the year, about our hopes and dreams for the church, our philanthropic goals, our thoughts of legacy, and how our donations are changing lives.
  • We can talk about how we really want to shape our church’s future through gifts to the Endowment, through end-of-life and Memorial Bequests, through Capital Campaigns, etc.
  • We can talk throughout the year about how our mission is being made manifest. We can have many seasons of giving.