End of Year: Sending a Tax Letter
Training webinar on how to send a tax letter in DonorPerfect.
*for the US
Categories: End of Year, Training Webinars
End of Year: Sending a Tax Letter TranscriptPrint Transcript
Hello, thank you so much for joining me today. Today, we will be going over the US end of year tax letter procedures. Specifically, this is for our US clients. If you are Canadian, you do have a different system for genuine generating your end of your tax Read More
Hello, thank you so much for joining me today. Today, we will be going over the US end of year tax letter procedures. Specifically, this is for our US clients. If you are Canadian, you do have a different system for genuine generating your end of your tax letters. And we do have a separate video just for that. We also have a separate video for the US end of your tax email if you were looking for that, we do have that information located in a separate video. Hello, my name is Sean Matera, I’m a training specialist here at DonorPerfect. Usually I’m working one on one with clients today, I get to teach all of you about end of year procedures generating that end of year letter when you’re ready for it. Before we get started, we do recommend creating a backup of your database. This isn’t something that you do very often at least once a year is a good time to do it. Maybe around now, as well as merging duplicate records, duplicate donors in your database is a fact of life for everybody. This is a good time of year to clean that up so that you’re only sending out one letter. Now, the first thing we’re going to need to talk about is your and calculated fields. If you don’t have these, you’re going to need to reach out to the Support Department to receive them. Essentially, these are needed to accurately total how much a donor can claim as tax deductible from the previous calendar year. If they are missing, you’re going to need to reach out to the Support Department for assistance with their creation. To show you exactly what it is I’m talking about. I’m gonna go into DonorPerfect and pull up an example donor here. This is a fake database, fake people fake donations. None of this is real. And since everything is customizable, the way my database looks is gonna look a little different from yours. Here on the gift screen, I have a few different fields set to preview about the donations that we’re seeing here. This one donation here at the bottom, fairly typical for a donation, we’re going to see the date of gift when it was given the gift amount and the receipt amount, the receipt amount, that’s how much they can claim on their taxes. And here if this was cash or cheque like a regular donation like most donations have, they can claim the entirety of it. Same thing for this $50 donation. No fair market value is taken into consideration here because they are not getting anything in return from a donation. Now if it happens to be something like a ticket sale for let’s say a golf tournament or a gala some type of event that you’re doing, the gift amount is still going to represent the monetary transaction, in this case $100. But perhaps with that ticket sale, there is a fair market value and amounts that is calculated to show what it is that the donor got out of this, the difference is going to be what they can claim on their taxes, the receipt amount. Here’s a normal donation just a gift amount of $100. They can claim $100. in kind donations added a little bit differently for monetary transactions for donations still has a date, but the gift amount representing the monetary amount is going to be $0. For an in kind donation of goods or services. However, there is a fair market value. The Declared Value for that good or service that’s going to be recorded, there still is accurately going to show what the donor can claim as the receipt amounts, the deductible amounts here. Now, if you don’t have this field, and it isn’t accurate, accurately calculating, you’re going to need to reach out to the Support Department. Besides add in donations, a good way to tell if you have these calculations is to go into settings. This field does have a little magic behind the scenes. That’s going into how it calculates this based off of gift amount and fair market value. If I go into settings and calculated fields, I’ll be able to find out. I can do a search here at the top. You might be able to find it pretty easily. But what you’re looking for is three different calculations working off of RCPT underscore amounts. If you’re not seeing these, please reach out to the Support Department for assistance with their creation. Now the name of this will vary but you’re also going to need To another calculated field, that adds up all of the receipt amounts for last calendar year. If you don’t have this, please stop the video, reach out to support have those added to your system and then return. So you can start working on the actual mail merge template. If you’re not using fair market value, then none of that is necessary for you. If you’re just taking donations. You can just use our standard letter template. This is what it looks like. It is a Word document you are going to need Microsoft Word Microsoft Word installed specifically, Google Documents doesn’t work with it. Online, Microsoft Word does not work has to be installed. Even if it’s 98, Microsoft Word 98. It’ll work. You might have a end of year letter in there already from previous years. If not, we do have you covered, there’s going to be a link in there that you can go to where you can get a version of ours that you can then customize to meet your own specifications. From there, there’s two ways you can customize it. Edit arounds. Our version which is pretty bland has some vague messaging in there but is functional. As far as the merge fields go, you could edit around that make it your own. Or you could copy the functional parts and paste it into your own version. It’s a Word document. If you’re familiar with Microsoft Word, this should be no trouble at all for you. To find that Word document, you’re going to go to settings. And then you’re going to go to mail merge templates. From here, you’ll see all of the Word documents that have been uploaded for use with your organization, you may find an end of year letter in here already from previous year, which is the case for me, I’m going to ignore some of these existing end of your letters. And I’m going to upload a new one. Now, if you do see an end of here letter in here that you want to use that you want to go with, there’s going to be a little gray down arrow next to it that you can use to download it and edit. Otherwise, you can go to this link at the bottom right. Right click on it, open it up in a new tab so that it doesn’t redirect you away from DonorPerfect. Let’s go over here to our mail merge templates. In here, just so you know, we do have a lot of good examples of documents that you could use for general outreach, envelopes, acknowledgments thank yous, many different word documents in here for many different purposes. But the one you are looking for, for your end of your letter is called the end of your letter with multiple gift list fields. Recommended for end of year letters, it’ll say in bold. Click on the name of the file, it’ll show you a little preview. Doing this in Chrome, this is how it looks for me. If I stop moving my mouse around for a few seconds while you’re looking at the preview, the option to download goes away just jiggle your mouse and you’ll see it up here at the top download. Here it is Chrome it pops up at the top right might be a little different for you depending on your setup. Here it is, here’s what we start you out with. Let me zoom in here a little bit to point out some of the elements here. We have a merge field here that’s always going to show you today’s date. And many others that are in here anything that has this little bracket next to it. When you click on it, it’s a dark gray, light gray highlight. These are merge fields, these are placeholders that will have information put into it taken from a data source. In this case, that data source is going to be DonorPerfect last year’s donor. Here’s the salutation. If you right click on these merge fields, you can click on toggle field codes. It’ll show you that behind the scenes, there’s just a little bit extra going on behind here in order to get these things to work. That is also the case for the address block at the top of the address block is something that should not be edited. It may look a little off at six lines. It doesn’t look like it would have name information in it. But if I do
that same thing to the address blog to show the hidden codes on the back end. We can see it’s actually rather complicated. Essentially This conditional coded statement is saying if it’s an organization, it merges one way, if it’s an individual, or a person, it merges a different way. And all of this has to stay as is, in order for information to merge correctly in your letters. Well, you do have a little bit of flexibility with is the columns that we have here, you can have up to five columns, we do put in date, Gift Amount, bare minimum here. But you can also have general ledger code, the type of gift and the check reference number. If you’re going to keep something like the general ledger code in here, your constituents aren’t going to know what general ledger is. But they might understand what a funds or a designation is, the financial bucket that this money is going to be used for. You could also remove one of these columns, highlight it, and remove it entirely if you don’t want it to be included. Something else to consider here is the size of these columns. If you wanted to resize them, you’re going to move your mouse between the two fields very delicately, very delicately. If you want to resize them, it always takes me a few moments, delicately move your mouse between the two fields. Until here we go until it looks like this. two perpendicular lines with arrows pointing away from each other. At that point, you can left click and drag to resize. It’s a very small area your mouse has to land and to do that need a little patience. Now, if you are you using fair market value for data entry, then this field is not going to work for you. You’re going to have to have the support department assist you updating this field for everybody else. This merge field is good to go. This calculated field is last year calendar year to date. Adding up all of the gift amounts, not the receipt amounts, which you’ll need for fair market value everybody else you are good to go. Yeah, you can put in your name, picture, logo, message branding, tax ID signatures. As much as you can edit a Word document you can do so here. Or you could also as I said, copy the functional merge fields out of here, highlight them, copy them, paste them into your own version. Same thing for the salutation in the address block at the top, copy it, paste it into your own word document, however you want to go about it. Once you have your final version, setup and good to go, you can go to File and then Save As take a few moments. If you have a organization system. If you want to put it somewhere that you will remember it as best practice because we’re going to be looking for it in just a few moments. Give it a name you’ll recognize and then save it
from here, we can go back into DonorPerfect. At the bottom right we have a big blue button that says Upload New. From here, click on browse your computer. It will then open up your file explorer where you can then find and locate your file. It will take the file name and make it your template name is going to be how the letter is presented from a list when you go to use it. And then upload from there. Now if you ever wanted to go back and make an edit to the name you can do so with the blue pencil, you can always go back and change the name if you need to. You can even change the file if you want to. If it is already uploaded. If the version is already up here and you just downloaded it and made a change. You could replace the existing version with a new one. Otherwise, we’ll just upload it once And there we go. Now we have a Word document that we can use for our end of year letter, how are we going to merge it, we’re, you’re going to merge it with what I like to think of as our Swiss Army knife of reports, something called the export to file. These are the steps that you’re going to go through to generate it. Let’s do that now. hopping back into DonorPerfect here, let’s reset, let me go to the home screen. From here, you’re gonna have to go to the white ribbon at the top. Go to the little pie chart that has the word Reports. From the drop down menu, select Report Center. On the left hand side, select the folder that says listings. And then from within that folder, select the report name, export to file. Now we need to put a selection filter on here, a selection filter is always going to be selecting our results. And in this case, I have a couple of main criteria that I want to consider. They have to have had a date of gift of last year. And address is not blank. Sending this through the Postal Service, I will need to have an address for them. Everybody else will get an email that’ll be covered in a different video. Let me build out this selection filter. I’ll click on Apply. Right now no filter is selected. It’s possible if you were running reports before going through this procedure, there may be a selection filter there. If so click on the blue X next to it. If not just click on the word apply and then add a new filter. From here, I can start with one of my two criteria. Let’s say I want to start with my date range. So I’ll select in box one gift pledge, which then allows me to select date of gift in box two. And box three, I’m going to select between. and In Box four, I’m going to be entering in the date range for last calendar year. The date of this recording it is November 18 2023. To give you a good representation of what this process is like I’m going to be entering in a date range. For 2022. This will not be the case for you. If you’re watching this in 2024, it will be entering in 2023. So ignore this small change. For now, just looking at the last calendar year. That is one of our criteria. In box five I’ll click on add more criteria. And my second criteria is on the main screen what my address field to not be blank. So let’s mean bio in box one. in box two, you’re going to have to select all fields. Next to display, probably not going to be one of your favorite ID fields. From here you can find and select address. And in box three is not blank is what you’re looking for. Click on Continue. You can give this filter a name
share it across your colleagues. And lastly, exclude pledges and linked gifts are not going to be included in this process. Then click on Done. Make sure that this is checked off include no mail names. This is going to include anybody that has do not send mail checked off because they have a bad address don’t want to be solicited or a variety of other reasons. We’re no such solicitation here it is just a hand of your tax letter. Now, we’re also gonna have to take a couple steps to make sure that all of the fields in this document are populated. These gift list fields in these columns, these can technically be whatever I want them to be
here is a checkbox include gift list and mail merge Check this box off, make sure this is checked, we want to include the gift list, those are going to be our columns here. And to the right of that check box, click on the gear icon.
Since these columns can be anything you want, you do have the ability to click on these dropdowns and select a different field for use. Alternatively, if you were doing less than five fields, the very first option is a blank option if you don’t have anything going in there. Otherwise, my goal here is to make sure that these fields line up with this document. Date amounts, the fund the GL, the type of gift and the check, reference number are all are all in there might not be the case for you if you’re doing this for the first time. Something else to keep in mind as well is for anything that is a drop down menu, like type of gift, where you select cash, check credit, etc. Or your funds your GL Code. These are coded fields. And he such coded fields and he dropped down dropdown menu, make sure you’re selecting display description and it’s set to yes, you should also have individual fields selected and positions one through five in descending order. With that established, you can click on Save. And that makes sure that our gift list gets populated with the right fields. Now, to make sure that the rest of our fields are populated, like our address and name information. And the cumulative given total. We’re going to have to have an export template. Now this export template down here, this is a list of fields, it could be dictating the output for a report. But in this case, what we need to do is pick one of these lists of fields that has all of these fields in it, name, address, city state zip, I have a checkbox that’s taking care of my gift list. But last year calendar year to date that might not be on this list. Now, in your drop down, you might have something called an interviewer template. And it should maybe have that field in there for you already. If you’re not seeing something like that you can create a new one by clicking on add new template, give it a name. So you don’t need to do it again next year. Call it your eoy template and need to make sure that all of your selected fields are in there for the mail merge, which whenever you’re creating a new list, a new export template, it has a lot of the popular fields that you need for a mailing anyway, really the only thing that is missing from my available fields on the left hand side is the calculated field for last year. See YTD again. For anybody using fair market value, instead of this, you would be using your custom calculation. With that selected, I’ll use the right arrow to move it. Save and close and then with your end of your template selected, you can click on Insert Merge. From here, select your mail merge template and then click on merge. Give it a few moments. I have a couple 100 that are merging here it’s going to take about maybe 10 seconds depends on time of day your internet speed. But if you are expecting 1000s of letters to be merging, it may take a few minutes. A lot of work going on behind the scenes, but there we go, it’s completed. And I really would say your last, your last step would be to verify the accuracy of this. Make sure that all your merge fields are spelled correctly. A very common mistake is something like the salutation potentially, this letter here for this donor Justin Ackland. Well, if that donor profile for Justin didn’t have a salutation, the sounds Patient field would be empty. But at the very least, we made sure that we have an address for all these folks. And we also made sure that we’re grabbing donations from the previous calendar year. Again, folks, if you’re watching this, in 2024, you’ll be doing this for 2023. I just use 2022. For an example here. If you’re seeing a spelling error in the body of the letter that’s coming from your Word document, and have to go back, download the Word document, edit it, and re upload it, so it’s not there.
And there’s probably going to be a lot in here. I really do advise double checking everything before you put it out in the post office, see if there’s anything amiss that you might be able to catch before a mistake is made. There that’ll cover everybody that donated last calendar year that needs a tax letter. What about everybody that needs an email, maybe you don’t have address for everybody. For that, you’re gonna have to watch our other video on the end of your tax email. Thank you for joining us. If you run into any problems during this procedure, please reach out to the Support Department for assistance. Thank you. Take careRead Less