End-of-Year Giving

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For most churches, the end of the calendar year is a busy time for charitable giving. Soon after, in January, churches are often busy sending annual statements to their donors.

This guide has tips for making sure you are ready to receive those last-minute donations and send statements at the beginning of the year.

Review Your Stripe Account

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). 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.

Before generating statements, log into your Stripe account, and make sure there are no big warning messages at the top of your dashboard, asking you to verify your account.

If you see a warning message:

  • 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!

  • You've been missing 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.

Manage Last-Minute Donations

There is usually a 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" when the donor presses the Give $ button. If that happens before the clock strikes midnight in your local timezone, then the donation will be counted for the previous year. Online donations cannot be backdated.

  • Donations by mail: The US Treasury Department's rule (Treasury Regulation 1.170A-1(b)) states that a donation is considered delivered when it's 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.

    Make sure your donors know that you will enter checks based on the postmarked date, not the date on the check.

  • Recurring donations: Donations set to occur on December 31st will be processed in the early morning of December 31st. If the recurring donation fails:

    • Card donation: the system will immediately alert the donor that their donation didn't go through.

    • ACH bank transfer donations: banks take multiple days to indicate that an ACH payment has failed. If an ACH donation is set to trigger on the 31st, and the donation fails, the donor has missed the window for that donation to count for that year.

Update Donor Information

Annual donor statements are usually sent sometime in January. There are a couple of things you might want to do before then:

  • If you have couples at your church that would like to receive a single, combined donor statement, you'll need to join those donors . You might want to make an announcement and give people a way to contact the church to make this request. This is a great way to use People forms!

  • Encourage donors to log into their donor profiles and make sure their mailing address is up-to-date, especially if you plan to issue physical statements. They can do this online or via the Church Center mobile app.

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