It's time to produce Tax Summary letters (also called End of Year letters) again. They are usually sent in January after the last donation for the year is in. To help you breeze through this process, here's a coherent plan of attack for FundRaiser users.
First, start by deciding how you want to list the donations in your letter. Two merge functions found in the FundRaiser word processor are used specifically for this type of letter.
- GiftList function
- GiftTotal function
You may decide to use either or both of these merge fields in your letter.
The difference between these two functions is the level of detail they give. GiftList provides a list of donations. GiftTotal provides a single total amount.
- The GiftList is a mini report-- it shows a list of individual gifts.
In FundRaiser Spark, Select and Professional, you can choose which columns will be displayed, like Mode (check, charge) or Benefit (if the donor received any goods or services from you in return for their donation). With Benefit, you can display the amount and description of the benefit, and GiftList will subtract the benefit total from the total given and show the actual tax deductible amount.
Gift Totals Function
The GiftTotal function simply calculates the total dollar amount for a date range that you specify when entering the function. Usually you use this merge field in the body of the letter, where you would say something like "Thank you for donating a generous total of [GiftTotal] this year."
Other Merge Functions You Might Use in your Letter
In FundRaiser Sparl. Select and Professional, you can configure the GiftTotal merge function to show the "net amount" (total given minus any benefits). You could then, for example, add that function to the end of the sample line above, like: "of which %[GiftTotal] is tax deductible".
Another merge function in Select and Professional is GiftCount, which allows you to say how many donations the donor gave. You could say, for example, "Thank you for your 7 gifts totaling a generous $500, of which $375 is tax deductible."
After you've decided how to list donations, get your letter template ready. There is a sample letter called EndOfYear that comes with FundRaiser. Click on the WP (Word Processor) button in FundRaiser to open up the built-in word processor. Edit the message to suit your organization's mission and change the year for the GiftList merge function by deleting the function, then re-inserting it. If you've decide to use the GiftTotal function in addition to (or instead of) GiftList, then make that change to the template also.
If you already have a letter that you used successfully last year, then all you need to do is reset the GiftList and/or GiftTotal functions in your letter template, so that you can change the date range from to the correct year. To reset these functions, just double-click on them to bring up the criteria window.
Before you print your letters, and now that you've gotten all the details of the letter done, double-check that you have all of your gifts from the year entered into the system. It sounds like an obvious matter, but it will be much easier to print letters for all donors, rather than having to go back and print letters one-at-a-time for those that were somehow overlooked. Maybe while you've been getting the letter details ready one last check has surfaced.
Now, create a Grouping of everyone who donated last year, or you can simply use the Advanced section of the Mass Mailings to select those who have given gifts during the past year. Whichever way you decide to do it is fine, but the Grouping is more permanent, in that the instructions you give FundRaiser to create the grouping are saved in a file, and the grouping can then be used at any time in the future, too.
When creating the grouping, you might save a little money by selecting only those who gave more than $20 or so during last year, but we recommend that you send a letter to everyone who gave, regardless of amount. Why? Because this is the perfect time to re-establish your relationship with all your donors. Even if someone gave only $5, you may be able to convince them to give more or to give more often. You can be pretty certain that they will not give even the $5 if you do not maintain your relationship with them.
To print letters, click on the Print menu, then on Mass Mailings. In the Specifics tab, choose Letter, making sure you also select the letter you want from the letter dropdown in the center of that page. Also remember to set your print choices, especially if you have some folks who prefer email. In the Who page, select your Grouping. You may want to Exclude those marked Deceased, but not necessarily those who are Inactive, Anonymous, or Exclude from General Mailings.Click on the Print button, then preview your letters to make sure they look okay (this assumes you’ve got the Specifics tab set to preview first), and then click on the printer button in the upper left of the preview window to print.
To print labels or envelopes, return to the Mass Mailing window, and on the Specifics tab, choose Labels or Envelopes. Check the Who page again, making sure the same Grouping is chosen, with the same settings, and then choose to print. You’ll get another window where you can choose the defaults for your particular Labels or Envelopes. Unless you changed settings on the Specifics page, the labels or envelopes will be printed in the same order as the letters.
To learn more about how FundRaiser can help with keeping in great contact with your donors
Take a look at some of the basic features of FundRaiser donor management programs