A Pledge is intended to be used as a "promise" to donate a specific total amount to the organization. There is generally a set amount that will be contributed over a scheduled period of time. A Pledge can be fulfilled through one payment or multiple payments, which can be auto-scheduled so they run automatically or manually entered if they prefer mailing in their payment. We can also track the pledge balance and the amount in arrears.

For example, if your donor would like to contribute $5,000 to your organization, but he/she wishes to make $1,000 payments on this promise over five years, you would add a Pledge to record the original $5,000 promise and Pledge Payments to record the $1,000 payments each year. 

A Recurring Gift is used when a donor would prefer to continue donating the same amount on a scheduled basis. In this case, there is no set total amount that will be donated, the donation will continue until a Stop Date is added to the gift. There is no balance or amount in arrears for a recurring gift because it is not being compared against a total promise. Similar to auto-scheduling Payments, we can also auto-schedule a Recurring Gift.

For example, if your donor would like to contribute $100 on the 1st day of every month, you will use a Recurring Gift to record this. When the donor is ready to end their donation, you will stop the auto-processing recurring gift schedule.