Adding or importing donations

There are a variety of ways to record donations in the Giving module; each designed to suit the different workflows of churches. Once recorded, these donation records form the basis for powerful financial reporting, accounting journals and Gift Aid claim submissions.

In this article

Adding individual donations
Adding donations as a batch
Importing donations from your bank statements

Adding individual donations

From the Donations page, select "Add donation"

Search for the giver's name. You can search by first name, last name, or giver reference.

As you begin to type in the search box, the matching giver names are auto-completed...

...or you can select "Add giver" to create a new giver profile, choosing whether to link the new giver profile to a contact "In the Address Book", or "Not in the Address Book". Complete as much information as you can. You can backfill missing giver profile information at a later time. A valid postal address is required to reclaim UK Gift Aid on donations. Click "save Changes" when you're finished. You can then resume processing your donation.

Select the Fund, enter the donation date and amount.

For UK churches, set the Gift Aid split (the % set in the Giver's profile is suggested, but this can be overridden). UK churches also have the option to override Gift Aid entirely on the donation, even if a valid Gift Aid declaration exists.

North American churches will have the alternative option of specifying whether the donation is tax deductible.

Continue by selecting the giving method and add any note you may wish to record against the donation.

If you select "Cheque" method, an optional "Cheque #" field is made available.

For UK churches, the Gift Aid section will be displayed. By default, ChurchSuite will 'auto-detect' the presence of a valid Gift Aid declaration against the Giver profile. Gift Aid will be claimable where there is an existing declaration covering the donation date and fund. If so, the donation will be saved with a Gift Aid status of "Unclaimed" (pending your next GA Claim); otherwise the donation will be saved as "Not claimable".

Sometimes, a giver may specify that their donation should not be Gift Aid claimable, even though they may have a valid Gift Aid declaration (e.g. Give As You Earn donations, where Gift Aid has already been claimed by the employer and you have received the full donation plus Gift Aid). In such case, you may select "Override" - no Gift Aid will be claimable on the donation, even if there is a valid declaration present that covers the donation. In this case, the donation will be saved with a Gift Aid status "Not claimable".

Finally, for some forms of giving e.g. UK church envelope schemes, the donations may have been made in an envelope, where a one-off Gift Aid declaration is completed on the the front of the envelope. By selecting "One-off", a one-off Gift Aid declaration is also created against the Giver to cover the donation date and fund when the donation is saved. In this case, the donation will be saved with a Gift Aid status "Unclaimed" (pending your next GA Claim).

Click "Save Changes" to record the donation.

Adding donations as a batch

Adding a batch of donations works in exactly the same way as individual donations. Select "Add batch" from the drop-down "Add menu".

From here you have the choice to create a new batch, or to add donations to an existing batch. Selecting the latter displays a drop-down batch 'search' menu. For this article we'll simply proceed with creating a new batch. Give your batch an optional name e.g. "Christmas Offering". ChurchSuite will also assign the next consecutive batch number to your batch. Enter the batch donation date and then specify any batch defaults which will be applied as you add donations to the batch (these can be overridden of course, at the point of entry). For an explanation of the Gift Aid defaults, see the previous section on adding individual donations.

Moving down the page, you can now proceed with entering each donation in your batch. Begin by searching for the giver (by first name, last name or giver reference). ChurchSuite will auto-suggest as you type; or you can add a new giver.

Next, proceed with entering the details of each donation in the batch, working methodically from field to field, beginning each donation with a giver search (or Add giver - see above section for adding a new giver).

When you are finished, save your changes. You can save incomplete batches and return to them later. Simply follow the instructions above to "Add batch" but then select "Add to an existing batch" from the drop-down menu. Then you can make changes to your batch.

Upon saving the batch, a batch summary is displayed showing the Fund summary and giving Method summary, followed by a listing of the donations.

You can return to this page and view, edit or manage your batch at any time. Simply locate your batch from the Donations page or Batches page, and click on the batch number/name.

Importing donations from your bank statements


Here's how simple it is for churches to import their standing order/direct debit donations from bank statements straight into the ChurchSuite Giving module. Once ChurchSuite has 'learned' the payment reference associated with each giver, future donations will automatically be matched to the correct givers in subsequent statement imports.

As part of the process, you will be able to add givers and other information much more quickly than doing these things separately.

When importing your church's bank statement, you can go through each transaction (only credit transactions into your account are shown) and decide which giver you want to link the transaction to based on the payment reference from the statement. During the import process you can set which fund you want the donation to be assigned to (e.g. regular giving, building project, etc.) and specify whether it's been given as part of a giving pledge.

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 either one of these formats, you're ready to get started.

Importing a CSV file

Spreadsheet programs like Google Spreadsheets, Microsoft Excel or 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.

Notes or Bank Reference?

ChurchSuite permits you to use either 'notes' or 'bank reference' to identify the 'Bank/Giver Reference'

Upload your church's bank statement to ChurchSuite

Go to "Giving" > "Donations" and click on the "Import Donations" button.

Click "Choose File", select the file you want to import, then click "Import 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 ChurchSuite. Use the drop-down field selector under "Import As" to ensure your data is assigned correctly. Next, select "Import All Donations" to complete the import.

After import the screen displays all of the items of income (Credit transactions) from your church's bank statement (Debit transactions, i.e. expenditure, are disregarded). Some income entries may not be donations - note the drop-down menu next to the amount - simply toggle this from "Save" to "Delete", which will remove all the non-donation items when the donations are processed.

Now, for each remaining donation that has not been set to "Delete" and not automatically been linked to an existing giver profile (matched on the Bank Reference), you must now link the donation to a giver profile in order for it to be imported. Click "Link to giver" to search for an existing giver profile.

If there isn't an existing matching giving profile found, you can add a new giver... "Add giver" to display the "Add giver" pop-up window (shown below). Here you have the option to select between whether the giver is already "In the Address Book" - and searching for a 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... select the "Giver is "drop-down" and change to Giver is "Not in the Address Book". This will allow you to create a new giver profile that is not going to be linked to any of your Address Book contacts at this time (e.g. perhaps because it's a donation received from a visitor to your church).
Complete as much information as you can - probably just a last name and first name/initial - depending on what information is available from your import file. You can easily back-fill missing information in the Giver profile later if you wish. Note however, that without a valid postal address you will be unable to reclaim Gift Aid (UK only) on the donation - the donation 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 can remember the Bank Reference of your new givers so that when it encounters that same reference in a future import it will auto-link the donation to the matching giver. In doing this, over time your "unlinked" givers will reduce and more and more of your import donations will auto-link. Importantly, ChurchSuite remembers multiple "Bank References" for a giver, so that if a giver makes gifts from multiple bank accounts (or changes a bank account), the system will store all Bank References.

To assign a Bank Reference to the linked giver, click the red dot that appears beside the bank reference (changing it to a white and green linked dot symbol). By default a linked giver's bank reference is not assigned to the giver profile - you must click the red dot to tell ChurchSuite to use this Bank Reference for the linked giver in future.

You can also choose a fund (giving funds need to be set up first under "Giving" > "Funds").

If you don't want an item of income to count as a donation (e.g. bank interest received, utility bill refunds), simply select "Delete" from the menu on the right-hand side of the screen and the items will be ignored from the import routine when you click "Save Donations".

You're also able to add a "Giving Pledge" from the menu on the very right of each donation.

Once you've finished going through all the donations, click "Save Donations".

Now, the next time you import a bank statement, ChurchSuite will remember a lot of the information you have just entered, so this whole process will get much quicker! Essentially ChurchSuite's Giving module learns your regular linked givers from the bank statement references.

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