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 from your bank statements

Adding individual donations

You can either navigate to a giver's profile page and add their individual donations there using the Add donation button located on the Donations tab...

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

On the Add donation page, begin by searching for the Giver - you can search by first name, last name or giver reference.

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

...or you can select Add giver to create a new giver profile, choosing whether the Giver is to be linked to an existing contact In the Address Book or Not in the Address Book on the Add giver pop-up. Complete as much information as you can. You can backfill missing information at a later time. A valid postal address and postcode is required to reclaim UK Gift Aid on a giver's donations. Click Save Changes when you're finished. The new giver profile is created and you can now resume adding their donation.

Select the Fund, enter the donation Date and Amount. The amount is recorded in your local currency.

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

Where the giver has one or more active pledges, you can optionally assign the donation against the appropriate Pledge or select --Not linked to a pledge--. Remember, pledge progress can only be accurately reported if pledge donations are correctly assigned to the corresponding pledge.

For UK churches only, 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's profile).

UK churches only also have the option to override the Gift Aid Auto-detect for the donation. Ordinarily, the system will auto-detect for 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. It's also possible to Override a valid declaration for situations where a giver has specified Gift Aid is not to be claimed (e.g. 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. Additionally, it is 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 Ad status will be set to Unclaimed.

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

Finally, once you are happy, click Save Changes to add the donation. The donation is added against the giver profile and is also listed within the Donations section of the Giving module.

Donation notes

Donation notes are distinguished by a "note" icon shown on pages in the Giving module where donations are listed and on 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

Adding a batch of donations works in exactly the same way as adding individual donations (see previous section). From the Donations section of the Giving module, select Add batch from the drop-down Add menu.

On the Add batch page, you now have a choice of Action: to Create a new batch or to Add donations to an existing batch. Selecting the latter displays a drop-down batch 'search' menu. For the purposes of this article we'll proceed with creating a new batch. Give the batch an optional Name e.g. "Christmas Offering". ChurchSuite will also assign the next consecutive Batch Number to the batch name. Enter the batch's Donation Date and then specify any Batch Defaults that will be applied as you add donations to the batch - these can be overridden when adding donations to the batch but are helpful where there are recurring themes to the donations to be added. For an explanation of the Gift Aid defaults, see the previous section on adding individual donations.

Continuing down the Add batch page, you can now proceed with adding each donation in the batch.

As with adding individual donations, begin by searching for the Giver (by first name, last name or giver reference). ChurchSuite will auto-suggest as you type; or select Add giver to add a new giver.

Continue 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 the previous section in this article about 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 and then select the Action to Add to an existing batch.

Saving the batch displays the batch "View" page, a summary showing a breakdown of the Funds and Methods, 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 section or Batches section of the Giving module and click on the Batch number/name. Notice the columns showing the number of Donations in the batch and the number of Outstanding donations that have not yet been fully imported (see next section).

Clicking on the Outstanding number opens the Import donations page - there's a list of Partial Imports at the bottom, with cog menu actions to Delete or Resume the partial import and complete the Outstanding donations for the Batch.

When viewing a batch's "View" page for a batch that includes deleted donations, notice the distinction between active total and deleted total, and the information message giving the option to Display just active donations. You can only delete donations from a batch if they have not been included in a Gift Aid claim (UK only). Similarly, you can only Delete batch donations (and the batch) if none of the donations have been included in a Gift Aid claim (UK only).

Importing donations from your bank statements

Overview

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 "learns" the bank statement payment reference associated with each giver, donations will automatically be matched to the correct givers in subsequent statement imports. In fact, it's not just bank statements you can import; you can import any CSV or OFX format file - ideal for maintaining a CSV file of week-to-week donations and then importing them in a single batch when the corresponding money is deposited into your bank account; the amount deposited balances and reconciles with the batch total.

As part of the import process, you will be able to add new givers and other information much more quickly than doing these things separately and without having to abort the import.

When importing your church's bank statement, 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 payment reference. Non-donation credit items on a bank statement, such as deposit interest and gift aid refunds, can be dismissed and will not be imported. During the import process, unless specified in the import file, you can select the Fund the donation is to be assigned to (e.g. regular giving, building project, etc.).

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 - 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's profile later if you wish. Note, however, 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 also save the bank statement reference against the new giver profile so that when it encounters that same statement reference in a future import it will auto-match the donation to your new giver. In doing this, over time your "unmatched" givers will reduce and more and more of your import 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.

Having linked donations to givers, note that you can also choose a 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.

The Method can also be changed for each donation as appropriate or this can be specified in the import file prior to import.

You can Pause import at any time and return to your partially imported batch of donations.

Once you've finished reviewing each of the 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. Only donations that have a Giver linked will be imported. In this way, you can complete partial imports of just those donations that you can match to a giver and return to a partial import to complete later.

Automatic pledge matching

When adding or importing donations, ChurchSuite will auto-allocate donations to pledges if:

  • There's a single pledge for the fund on the donation date.
  • 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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