As 2018 year draws to a close, most churches are getting ready to issue annual statements to their donors. Here is some good news and a few tips for making this year’s annual donor statement operation a success.
Coming Soon: Joint Donor Statements
Our team is actively actively working on support for Giving Units. Version 1 of this new feature will allow you to identify donors who give jointly and then issue combined donor statement to that couple.
Normally we try and keep quiet about features that are in active development. We're breaking that rule now because so many customers have asked about this feature, hoping it will be ready for this statement season. We plan on having this tested and released before you issue your donor statements in mid January.
New Video Tutorial
We've created a new tutorial video for how to issue bulk statements in Giving. If you're a new customer or you just need a refresher on the process, hit play (and go fullscreen to see the details):
Last Minute Donations
During the countdown to the new year, some people are lighting fireworks. Some people are watching the ball drop in Times Square. Some people get to 11:58pm on December 31st and think "Hey, I should donate to my church!"
Here's how to handle last minute donations in Giving and what to expect.
"Received at" date: In Giving, this is the date where the system considers the donation as given by the donor. If this date falls within 2018, the donation will appear on a 2018 donor statement. This is true even if the transaction doesn't settle until many days later (as can be the case for ACH bank transfer donations) or when your church actually gets the money into the bank account. The important date, as far as statements are concerned, is when the process of giving money actually started.
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. This means that a donation must be sent on or before December 31 to be included for 2018. As always, be aware of post-dated checks when entering a check donation. A "received at" date should never be earlier than the actual date on the check.
Online donations: Credit card, debit card, and ACH bank transfer donations all get a "received date" the moment the donor hits "Give $__" button. If that happens before the clock strikes midnight in your local timezone (as set in Accounts) then the donation will be counted for 2018. If you ask donors to enter their credit card information on paper (which, you really shouldn’t) for the office to enter later, the date you charge the card is the “received at” date. There’s no changing that later.
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 takes 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 in 2018.
We recommend creating your 2018 donor statement now and checking out the Deliverability Report at the top to see if your database is in good shape. For example, if you plan on delivering statements by mail, now is a good time to see which donors are missing mailing addresses!
For more information, see the Sending Donor Statements article.
We've got a lot planned for next year and we can't wait to show you! Thank you for being our customer and helping us make Planning Center Giving better every day.