Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 7 seconds

Pledgemaker ( makes no bones about its target market... the larger, multi-chapter organization involved in fund raising activities. In order to address that market the system includes a variety of facilities that address the needs and concerns of those organizations needing to manage and track activities centrally for multiple locations.

Pledgemaker can be installed as an application resident within the organization's data center or delivered as a service with hosting and management provided by Pledgemaker. In either case, users access the application using an Internet connection linking a locally installed Java client application to the back end Oracle server.

While the installation of the server components of Pledgemaker is a highly technical task, I was able to install the Java client on my local computer by simply clicking the link on the Pledgemaker web site. The application took less than a minute to download and once done, behaved just like a locally installed application.

The Pledgemaker applet is an advanced web service application combining the advantages of remote centralized data, the global access of the Internet, and the power and resources of the local PC. I found it responsive and easy to use. There was none of the typical delay in updating the screen as found in many remote applications. I was able to print documents locally, and use a combination of my locally stored documents as if they were part of the larger installation.

Pledgemaker is designed to be segmented into multiple organizational entities. The specifics of the segmentation is based on the organization's needs. Structures can be as simple as a single management office with remote staff. At the other end of the complexity matrix, Pledgemaker can support multiple organizational entities with matrixed oversight and widely distributed field offices.

This diversity of duties is made possible by a robust role-based security system that lets managers assign access to various applications and data based on an individual's status within their organization.

In Use
Pledgemaker contains a wide variety of application components, but as I worked with the system I was impressed with the ease of moving from one task to another without the need to go through a complex series of menus. Pledgemaker makes extensive use of the right mouse button. When I clicked the right mouse button while pointing to a particular field, the menu that appeared displayed functions and options that were pertinent to that information.

I found it easy to use the right mouse click to drill into the details of information in a natural flow. I was able to view the summary of a member's gifts, then click to view a detailed list of the gifts. Another convenient feature is the ability to customize the view by selecting and moving the fields in the report. I was able to change the query to show just the information I wanted, then save that setup for use again later.

Customization of Pledgemaker is not limited to the user interface. The system can be, and in fact always is, modified during installation and even after the initial setup to conform to the organization's specific structure and needs.

Users of Pledgemaker have a lot of flexibility in the way they interact with the system. While it's simple enough for a new user to understand the system, users who have experimented with the software's facilities have the ability to set up their own displays in ways that make the most sense to them. Pledgemaker calls the view of the constituents a 'chalk board'. This is a summary of the individual donor that shows an overview of the contact. It can include their interests, giving history, and information from any other areas of the system that are relevant.

Those other areas include up to 1,000 user defined fields that provide flexibility and customization to the system. I liked the way it was possible to change the labels on any of the fields to suite the way the system is being used without changing the underlying structure of the information. Once the user has created a view, they are able to make it their default view by simply clicking a button on the page.

Pledgemaker includes order entry and inventory systems as web services, making it relatively simple to integrate contributions with shopping in a single web site. The system allows a range of options for payment processing ranging from immediate to batch updates.

Pledgemaker is a robust system designed to be used in larger organizations. Its role-based security allows for multiple organizations or segments of the business to be separated but managed under a single interface. The system is meant to be centrally installed and accessed via the Internet using its advanced Java desktop application that delivers exceptional ease of use and flexibility to the system's users.

  • Supports large organizations
  • Robust security
  • Distributed operations
  • Highly configurable

  • Pricing not published
  • Not for smaller operations
Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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