For most churches, December is a busy month for charitable giving. Soon after, in January, churches are often busy sending annual statements to their donors.
To prepare for this busy season, we’ve put together this guide.
End of Year Giving
Is your Stripe Account Ready?
This year, Stripe has had to do additional verification of account holders (as required by US law). A couple months ago we encouraged all our customers to take a moment and review their Stripe account. If you haven’t yet done this, we’d suggest you do this now. If a large donation comes in and your Stripe account has missing verification requirements, the account could become locked by Stripe. In some cases, payment processing could even get disabled. That’s the last thing you want in the final days of 2019!
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 for 2019. Online donations cannot be backdated. Verify your organization timezone is correct here.
- 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 in 2019.
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:
- 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!
- 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 n the Church Center mobile app.
Get Familiar With New Features
We’ve added some new functionality to the donor statement process. In case you missed it, here’s what’s new: Improved: Donor Statements
Walkthrough Video: Donor Statements
This video will demonstrate the entire process of sending donor statements in Planning Center Giving
Here's to a fruitful December and a smooth sailing January!
The Planning Center Giving team