Managing Donors

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This document is for Administrators in Planning Center Giving. If you're a donor looking to manage your own donor account, check out the Donors section.

Adding Donors

Donors don't have to establish a username or password in order to have a donor account; it's all tracked behind the scenes with no interruption. Learn more about the Donor Portal.

Here's how donor profiles are created:

  • When people give their first donation online, Giving will use their email address to match the giver with an existing profile. If there's no match, a new profile is created automatically.
  • If their first donation is by check or cash, your counter will create their profile while counting the donation. Learn more about Batches.

In either case, if the person already exists in your Planning Center People database, Giving will understand this and match the donation to the existing profile in Planning Center People.

Merging Donors

Planning Center makes it easy to detect duplicate profiles and merge them. Both processes take place in Planning Center People.

Causes and Prevention of Duplicates

Giving creates donor profiles on the fly, right when people give. The up-side to this is that the donor doesn't have to be interrupted and asked to create a donor account when they give their first donation. The down-side is that there are a few scenarios where it's possible to accidentally create a duplicate donor profile.

Example: A donor decides to give using a new email address that is unrecognized across Planning Center.

Example: A "Bob Johnson" already exists in your database, but the name on a check says "Robert Johnson".

In both examples above, you'll notice that the root of the problem is incomplete profile information. Merging the profile will bring the new, unrecognized piece of information into the correct profile. Because of this, the new email address, nickname, phone number, or whatever piece of data was originally unrecognized won't keep triggering new duplicates.

Merge a Known Duplicate

If you're looking at a duplicate profile in Giving, use the app-switcher to quickly pull up that same profile in Planning Center People.

From the People profile, click the Potential Duplicate Profile link to launch the Profile Merge tool in People. If there are more duplicates, you'll be able to consolidate all the information into one profile on this screen.

For this action, you'll need at least Editor level permissions for Planning Center People.

What Information Is Merged

When you merge two known duplicates in Planning Center People, all past information for that person is blended. This has important implications for every application in Planning Center.

For Giving, here is what gets combined:

  • Entire donation history
  • Recurring donations
  • Payment methods (cards and bank accounts)
  • Text-to-Give phone number
  • Contact data (which could impact where their donation receipts get sent)

After a merge, you'll want to pull up the donor profile again in Giving and ensure that everything looks right.

Removing Donors

If a donor has moved, died, or otherwise left your church, your instinct as an Administrator may be to remove them from all your Planning Center applications. However, there are so many cases where you'll want to retain historical data even if someone is no longer active in your church.

In the case of Giving, you obviously can't simply erase financial transactions from your books. The right thing to do in any of these cases is to mark the donor as Inactive in Planning Center People.

Here are some things to keep in mind about inactive donors:

  • Inactive donors are issued Donor Statements for any year in which they have given donations.
  • If a person who was inactive makes a donation or has a recurring donation go through, they will be made active again in Planning Center People.

Inactive profiles are treated differently in every application. For example, when you create lists in Planning Center People, inactive profiles are excluded by default. If they were a member of any groups in Planning Center Groups, marking someone as inactive will remove them from any active groups.

Before making a making a donor inactive in Planning Center People, it's a good idea to check for any existing recurring donations first and delete them.

Deleting Donors

Wait! It's likely that what you really want to do is mark a donor as inactive. Please read the Removing Donors section above.

The only scenario where it might make sense to permanently delete a donor profile is in the case of a junk testing profiles like Bob Testerson. If you created a few of these while you were testing out Giving, and it pains you look at them, consider refunding any test transactions and then using the Delete option.

After the delete operation is complete, if there are any donations left in your Giving database, they'll be marked with (Deleted).

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