Recurring Contributions and Pledges are two different ways of collecting money. Although both recurring contributions and pledges collect money over intervals of time, they operate differently. A pledge is a promise to pay, but a recurring contribution are actual payments.
A Pledge begins with the promise to pay a predetermined amount, such as $500. Then you decide how many payments you would like to make; as you type in the number of payments you would like to make, the Add Pledge screen will calculate what the amount of each payment.
Looking at the screenshot below, you can see $500 for the Total Pledge Amount. We want to pay this pledge off in 10 payment, so in "To be paid in" we have put 10 installments. The screen then calculates that for $500 to be paid off in 10 installments, the installment amount must be $50.
You can then decide if the installments will be daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.
Recurring contributions operate as a credit card subscription: You pay a certain amount of money each month for a certain number of times. Recurring contributions are NOT pledges. A recurring contribution begins with an initial credit card payment. For example, you could decide that you want to pay your synagogue $50 every month for 10 months.
Below is the Recurring Contribution set up screen. The Total Amount is the amount that you will pay each month (or day, week, year).
Although the total amount collected in these examples are the same, the way in which the money is being collected is different. In the Pledge, the payee still needs to pay, either by sending a check or make a credit card contribution in order to fulfill the pledge. The recurring contribution, the payee is already making payments, first with the initial installment, and then every month (or whichever interval have been chosen) until either the installments have been completed.