End-of-Year Giving and Donor Statements for 2020

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Towards the end of every year, we publish this short guide for the busiest giving season of the year. We want to make sure you're set up for success in these final weeks and for January as you start sending donors their annual statements.

End of Year Giving

Make Sure Your Stripe Account is Ready!

In the fall, Stripe typically does an audit across their system to make sure each account has the required information and verification details in place (as required by US law). It's important to take a moment today, log into your Stripe account, and make sure there are no big warning messages at the top of your dashboard. If there's a problem, you'll see a message like this:

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If you a warning message like this, it means two things: 1) You need to act immediately or risk having your Stripe account locked. That's the last thing you (and Stripe) want during the busiest weeks of the year! 2) You've been missing important email messages from Stripe. Visit the Stripe Info page in Giving and make sure the Account Contact email for Stripe is accurate and has an inbox that's being actively monitored.

How Last Minute Donations Work

Believe it or not, there’s always a huge spike in donation activity during the last hour of the year. Here's how to handle last minute donations in Giving and what to expect:

  • "Received at" date: Any successful donation with a “received at” date that falls within the statement’s date range will be included in the statement.
  • Online donations: Credit card, debit card, and ACH bank transfer donations all get a "received date" the moment the donor hits "Give $X" button. If that happens before the clock strikes midnight in your local timezone then the donation will be counted. Online donations cannot be backdated. Take a moment to verify your organization timezone is correct.
  • Donations by mail: The US Treasury Department's rule (Treasury Regulation 1.170A-1(b)) holds to their longstanding “delivered when mailed” rule. Mailed means postmarked by the USPS. So, the "received at" date you enter should be the postmarked date on the envelope. As always, be aware of post-dated checks when entering a check donation.
  • Recurring donations: Donations set to occur on December 31st will be processed in the early morning hours of December 31st. If a card donation fails, the system will know immediately and will alert the donor that their donation didn't go through. For ACH bank transfer donations, donor banks take multiple days to indicate that an ACH payment has failed. That means if a recurring ACH donation is set to trigger on the 31st, and the donation fails, the donor has missed their window for that donation to count toward their year-end donations.

Annual Donor Statements

Start Preparing Now

Annual donor statements are usually sent sometime in January. There are a couple pieces of information you’ll want to gather before then:

  1. If you have couples at your church that would like to receive a single, combined donor statement then you’ll need to join those donors. You may want to make an announcement and give people a way to contact the church to make this specific request. This is a great way to use People Forms!
  2. If you plan on issuing physical paper statements to your donors, encourage them to log into their donor profiles and make sure their mailing address up to date. They can do this on the web or via the Church Center mobile app.

Walkthrough Video: Donor Statements

Here's to a fruitful rest of December and a smooth sailing January!

Sincerely,
The Planning Center Giving team

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