Adding or importing donations

There are a variety of ways to add donations into the Giving module; each designed to suit the different workflows of churches. Once added, the donation records form the basis for powerful financial reporting, giver statements, accounting journals and for UK churches, Gift Aid claim submissions.

In this article

Adding individual donations
Adding donations as a batch
Importing donations

Adding individual donations

You can either navigate to a giver's profile page and add their individual donations using the Add donation button located on the Donations tab - this will open an Add donation pop-up with the giver pre-selected...

...or, from the Donations section of the Giving module, select Add donation from the Add drop-down menu.

On the Add donation pop-up, unless pre-selected, begin by searching for the Giver - you can search by first name, last name or giver reference - matching suggestions are listed as you type.

In the event that no matching existing giver profile can be found, click Add giver to create a new giver profile.

Next, you can optionally assign the donation to an existing donation Batch.

Next, select the Fund - funds are ordered with the search results according to the order set in the Funds section of the module.

Where the selected giver has one or more active pledges you can optionally assign the donation to the appropriate Pledge. Remember, 'pledge progress' can only be accurately reported if donations are correctly assigned to the corresponding pledge.

Enter the donation Date and Amount. The amount is recorded in the local currency of your ChurchSuite account.

UK customers have the option to override the Gift Aid Auto-detect for the donation. Ordinarily, the system will auto-detect if there is a valid Gift Aid declaration covering the donation date and fund, and set the donation's Gift Aid status to either Unclaimed or Not-claimable accordingly. However, it's also possible to Override a valid declaration for situations where a giver has specified Gift Aid is not to be claimed on the donation (and also for GAYE, CAF Voucher, Stewardship, where Gift Aid has already been claimed at source), even if there is a valid declaration for the giver - the donation's Gift Aid status will be set to Override. Similarly, it's possible to set up a One-off declaration to be automatically created against the giver to cover the donation date and fund - ideal for processing Gift Aid envelopes, where the envelope is the declaration - the donation's Gift Aid status will be set to Unclaimed.

North American customers have the alternative option of specifying whether the donation is Tax Deductible.

For UK customers, if the giver is designated as a Couple, you will also have an option to override the Gift Aid Split between the Giver and their Spouse (the default % split is set in the Giver profile). The total split % must add up to 100%.

Next, select the relevant giving Method. If the "Cheque" method is selected, an additional Cheque # field is provided. Optional donation Notes may also be added.

Click Save to add the donation. The donation is added against the giver's profile and also listed within the Active list of the Donations section of the Giving module. You can further Edit a donation from the Donations section of the module.

Donation notes

Donation notes are distinguished by a note icon shown on pages in the Giving module where donations are listed and within on-screen reports - hovering your cursor over the note icon displays the donation's Notes.

The full donation note is included in CSV report downloads where donations are listed in the report results.

Adding donations as a batch

Whenever donations are imported into ChurchSuite from a CSV file, a donation 'batch' is created for those imported donations (see next section). But batches have other uses too! Batches enable you to group donations together; for example, when inputting your weekly collection, you can group together all the donations from that collection into a batch. Adding donations to a batch works in exactly the same way as adding individual donations (see previous section).

Let's begin by first add the batch. From the Donations section of the Giving module, select Add batch from the drop-down Add menu...

...or select Add batch from the Batches section of the module.

On the Add batch pop-up give the batch a Name e.g. "Christmas Offering", "Sunday Collection"

Next, enter the Batch Defaults that will be applied to donations added to the batch - these defaults can be overridden when adding donations - but are helpful where there are recurring themes to the donations to be added. All default fields are "required".

Click Save. The new batch is saved and ChurchSuite assigns the next consecutive Batch Number. You can return to this page via the Batches section at any time in the future, perhaps to Edit the batch name or batch defaults. You can now begin adding donations to the batch - click Add donation.

The process for adding a donation is exactly the same as the process described earlier in this article - the Add donation pop-up is the same (minus the Batch field). Click Save.

Continue adding donations as appropriate.

As you add donations, the batch's Statistics are updated accordingly - ideal for reconciling to the journals you might process into your accounting system.

You can return to the batch "View" page at any time in the future, perhaps to Edit or Delete a donation. Comprehensive changes logs are maintained for each donation - select View changes. Importantly, not that deleting a donation does not remove the donation from the batch or from ChurchSuite, but simply changes the donation's status from active to deleted (thus always preserving a financial audit trail). Note that you cannot delete a donation that has been included in a Gift Aid claim (UK customers only) - but you can process a Gift Aid overclaim and reverse the donation - see our related support articles for further information about handling Gift Aid Overclaims.

Where a batch includes deleted donations, an information message is displayed enabling you to easily switch between viewing just active donations (the default view) or all donations (active and deleted) in the batch. Notice the Set as active action available for deleted donations, making it easy to reinstate a donation that has been deleted.

Working with the Batches section you can easily View, Edit and Delete batches. Batches can only be deleted if they do not contain donations included in a Gift Aid claim (UK customers only). Use the View selector to switch between viewing Active and Deleted batches. When viewing Active batches, the Batches Total column reflects the value of active donations in the batch (excluding any deleted donations); and when viewing Deleted batches, the Batches Total column reflects the total of active and deleted donations in the batch.

The Pending column represents import batches that have been paused, showing the number of imported donations yet to be processed into the batch...

Clicking on the Pending counter for a batch will navigate you through to the Donation Imports section where Partial Imports are listed - click Resume to continue processing the import. See next section for further information about importing donations and managing import batches.

Importing donations

Overview

It's incredibly easy to import donations into ChurchSuite. Imported donations are grouped together into batches. You can even import donations from your bank statements straight into the Giving module. During the import process, ChurchSuite "learns" the bank statement reference associated with each giver so that donations are automatically matched to your existing givers in subsequent bank statement imports. And it's not just bank statements that can be imported - you can import any CSV or OFX format file - ideal for maintaining a CSV file of the day-to-day and week-to-week donations you receive, and then importing them in as single batch when the corresponding monies are deposited into your bank account; the amount deposited matches/reconciles with the batch total, creating an useful accounting audit trail.

During the import process you can review each transaction in the list (only credit transactions deposited into your bank account are imported) and decide which giver to link the donation to based on the bank statement reference. Other, non-donation items on a bank statement (such as deposit interest), can be dismissed and will not be imported.

If you've just started using the Giving module and haven't set any of this information up yet, the information can be entered as part of the import process, which will save you a lot of time! The only thing we recommend setting up before doing your first bank statement import is to create your "Funds". For more information on Funds, please see the article "Setting up and managing giving funds in ChurchSuite".

Get the right format of bank statement

To upload the bank statement to ChurchSuite, it needs to be in either the .CSV or .OFX format. Most banks supply their bank statements in the OFX format. However, either format is suitable. Once your statement is in one of these formats, you're ready to get started.

Importing a CSV file

Spreadsheet programs like Google Spreadsheets, Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice.org make it easy to create and save a CSV file. For ChurchSuite to be able to import your CSV file of donations, it must have the file extension .csv and it must include a header line that defines which column headings correspond to the fields within ChurchSuite. Acceptable column headings are shown in the section "Creating your CSV file" on the Import Donations page in the Giving module.

Upload your church's bank statement to ChurchSuite

Head into the Donations section of the Giving module and select Import donations.

Click Choose file, select the file you want to import, then click Import CSV or OFX File.

The next screen displays a preview of the data that is going to be imported. At this stage no actual data has been imported. Note the CSV Header column - this can be helpful to ensure the incoming data is matched correctly to the data fields within the Giving module. Use the drop-down field selector under Import As to ensure each column in your import file is assigned correctly. Once you are satisfied, select Import All Records to complete the import.

After import, the screen displays all the items of income (Credit transactions) from your bank statement import (Debit transactions, i.e. expenditure, are disregarded). Some income entries may not be donations; note the drop-down menu next to the Amount - simply switch from Save to Delete, which will ignore all the non-donation items when the imported list is processed.

Using the Bank Reference from your import file, ChurchSuite will attempt to match the donation to your existing givers, based on the stored bank references against your giver profiles. Bank references should therefore be unique, to ensure that only the correct giver is matched. You can unlink a matched giver from a donation and link them to a different giver; however, you should consider updating an incorrectly matched giver's bank references in their giver profile, too.

Where ChurchSuite has been unable to match a bank reference to a giver, you can click Link to giver...

...to search for the appropriate giver or to Add [a new] giver.

Selecting Add giver will open the Add giver window (shown below). Here, you have the option to select to link the new giver to an existing contact In the Address Book, by searching for the contact using the drop-down Contact List (this will create a new giver profile from the Address Book contact and auto-link the giver profile to that contact), or...

...to select the Giver is drop-down and select Not in the Address Book. You can then set up a new unlinked giver profile - perhaps because it's a donation received from a visitor to your church.
Complete as much information as you can - possibly just a last name and first name/initial, depending on the information available from your import file/bank statement - you can easily back-fill missing information in the giver's profile later. Note that without a valid postal address and postcode, you will be unable to reclaim Gift Aid (UK only) on the donation - the donation's Gift Aid status will show as Not claimable after import.
Click Save Changes to create the new giver profile and link the donation to the new giver. ChurchSuite will save the bank reference against the new giver's profile so that when it encounters that same bank reference in a future import it will auto-match the donation to your new giver. In this way your "unmatched" givers list will reduce and more and more of your imported donations will auto-match. Importantly, ChurchSuite can store multiple bank references for a giver, so that if a giver makes donations from different bank accounts (or changes a bank account), the system will keep your giver records up to date.

Returning to the import, and having linked each donation to a Giver, note that you can also select the Fund (giving Funds need to be set up first under "Giving" > "Funds"). If the fund name is precisely specified in the import file then that fund will be selected, otherwise your default, first fund is selected. This can be changed as appropriate by selecting from the drop-down list.

The donation Method can also be changed/selected as appropriate, or this can be specified in the import file prior to import.

You can Pause import at any time and return to a Partial Import later if you need to.

Once you've finished reviewing each of the imported donations in the list, click Save Donations at the bottom of the list and the donations will be processed into your Giving module as a batch (or added to an existing batch where a partial import is being resumed). Only donations that have a Giver linked will be imported. In this way, you can perform partial imports of just those donations that you can match to a giver and return to a partial import to complete later.

Each donation import creates a new batch in the Batches section of the Giving module. An information message lets you know if the batch is linked to a partial import where there are pending donations still to be imported. Click Resume to return to the partial import and continue the process.

Automatic pledge matching

When importing donations, ChurchSuite will automatically link a giver's donation to their pledge if:

  • There's a single pledge for the fund on the donation date, or
  • There are multiple pledges for the fund on the donation date AND the donation amount is either an exact multiple of the pledge recurring amount or the exact one-off pledge amount.

Donations will not be auto-matched to a pledge where the donation could match multiple pledges based on fund and date but the amount is neither a multiple of the recurring pledge amount nor equal to the one-off pledge amount.

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