Adding or importing donations

There are a variety of ways to add donations into the Giving module; each is 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 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 begin by searching and selecting the Giver - you can search by giver first name, last name or giver reference (couple giver first and last names are also recognised); matching suggestions are listed as you type, or you can Add a new giver.

Where applicable you can optionally assign the donation to an existing Batch - the batch will be pre-selected if you are adding the donation from a batch "View" page. This option is useful if you want to add further donations to an existing batch. Select the Fund and add the donation Date and Amount.

ChurchSuite will attempt to match the donation to a giver's existing Pledge - based on the donation fund, date and amount. Where the selected giver has multiple matching pledges, or where a definitive match can't be made, you can manually search and select the appropriate Pledge. Remember, pledge progress can only be accurately reported if donations are linked to the pledge. Next, select the donation Method. If the 'Cheque' method is selected an additional Cheque # field is provided.

For UK customers only giver Gift Aid declarations are Auto-detected by default and a message confirms whether or not the donation is covered by an active declaration for the donation fund and date, and automatically set the donation Gift Aid status to either Unclaimed or Not-claimable accordingly. However, you can optionally select to Override an auto-detected declaration - perhaps where a giver has expressly requested Gift Aid not be claimed on this donation, or where Gift Aid has already been claimed e.g. GAYE, CAF Voucher and Stewardship. Even if the giver has a valid declaration the donation's Gift Aid status will be set to Override and the donation will be excluded from Gift Aid claims. It's possible to select to add a One-off declaration for the donation fund and date - suitable for Gift Aid envelope donations where the envelope is the declaration - the donation Gift Aid status will be set to Unclaimed and will be included in a future Gift Aid claim.

North American customers have an alternative option to specify whether the donation is Tax Deductible. Donations can also derive a default Tax Deductible status from the Fund settings (see our related support article for "Setting up and managing funds".

For UK customers only, and where the giver is designated as a Couple you can optionally override the couple's Gift Aid Split (the couple's default % split is set in the Giver profile). Typically this is only changed if the giver has made an explicit instruction for this donation, perhaps where the couple's tax circumstances have changed.

You can optionally add donation Notes. Finally, click Save to add the donation.

The donation is recorded against the giver's profile and also listed within the Donations section of the module. You can further Edit a donation from the Donations section or a giver's profile if you need to. A donation change log is maintained - select View changes.

Donation notes

Donation notes are surfaced on pages in the Giving module where donations are listed and within on-screen reports.

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 the next section). However, batches have other uses too and are helpful if you need to group donations - for example, you could group your weekly offering donations into a batch. Once the batch has been added, the process of adding donations to the batch uses the same Add donation pop-up form explained in the previous section.

Let's begin by first adding 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", or "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 is a recurring theme to the donations to be added. All default fields are "required". UK customers have a Gift Aid default. North American customers have a Tax deductible default.

Clicking Save adds the new batch, with the next consecutive Batch Number assigned. The batch "View" page is shown, ready for you to begin adding donations to the batch. 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, or add further donations. To add a donation click Add donation.

The process of adding donations is as described earlier in this article - the Add donation pop-up is the same (minus the Batch field). Begin by searching and selecting the Giver - you can search by giver first name, last name or giver reference (couple giver first and last names are also recognised); matching suggestions are listed as you type, or you can Add a new giver. The donation's Fund, Date Gift Aid and Method automatically default to the batch defaults entered earlier, but these can be overridden as you add donations. Click Save to add each donation.

Continue adding donations as appropriate. You can return to the Donations list at any time should you need to Edit or Delete donations in the list.

As you add donations the batch Statistics are updated accordingly. The batch totals and statistics may be helpful with reconciling the journals you might process into your accounting system.

Deleting a donation does not remove the donation from the batch or the Giving module. Instead, the donation status is changed from active to deleted, preserving an audit trail. Note that you cannot delete a donation that has been included in a Gift Aid claim (for UK customers only), but you can process a Gift Aid overclaim and reverse the donation - see our related support article for further information about handling "Gift Aid Overclaims". An information message is shown where a batch includes deleted donations, enabling you to switch between viewing just active donations (the default view) or all donations (active and deleted) in the batch. Deleted donations can be Set as active should a donation need to be reinstated.

Working withIN the Batches section you can View, Edit and Delete batches. Batches can only be deleted if they do not contain Gift-Aided donations (for UK customers only). You can switch between viewing Active and Deleted batches. When viewing the Active batch list the Total is the value of active donations in the batch, and when viewing the Deleted batch list the Total is the value of active and deleted donations in the batch. The Pending column shows a count of unprocessed batch donations for a partial import that has been paused. Clicking the pill counter...

...redirects you to the Partial Imports list where you can Resume or Delete the import. See the next section for further information about importing donations and managing import batches.

Importing donations

Overview

Importing donations into ChurchSuite is a simple process, with each import creating a Batch. You can import donations from 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 the 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 where you maintain a CSV file of the day-to-day or week-to-week donations you receive, and then import them in a single process; perhaps when the related money is deposited into your bank account - the amount deposited matches/reconciles with the batch total - creating a useful accounting audit trail.

During the import process, you will be able to review each transaction in the list (only credit transactions deposited into your bank account are imported) and decide which giver to link each donation to based on the bank statement reference. Where a statement reference is matched to an existing giver the donation is automatically linked. Non-donation items on a bank statement (such as deposit interest) can be deleted and will not be imported.

Top tip

We recommend you limit a CSV file to no more than 500 rows, breaking larger files down into small batches.

Get the right bank statement format

To upload a bank statement or file of donations into the Giving module it will need to be in either a CSV or OFX format. Most banks supply their bank statements in the OFX format, however, either format is suitable.

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

The next screen displays a preview of the data that will be imported. Note the CSV Header column, which is helpful to ensure the incoming data is matched to the correct fields in the Giving module. Use the drop-down field selector under Import As to map each column from the file to the appropriate field in ChurchSuite. Once you are satisfied, select Import All Records.

The screen displays a paginated list of all the items of income (credit transactions) from the bank statement import file (debit transactions, i.e. expenditure, are disregarded). For any income entries that are not donations; note the drop-down menu next to the Amount - 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 attempts to match each donation to the bank reference of your existing givers. Bank references should therefore be unique to one giver to ensure that only the correct giver will be matched. You can optionally unlink a donation from an incorrectly-matched giver and then search/select to link the donation to a different giver; however, you should consider also updating the incorrectly matched giver's bank reference in the giver profile.

For each unmatched donation, you can click Link to giver...

...to search for the appropriate giver. Search by Giver first name, last name or giver reference (couple giver first and last names are also recognised) - matching suggestions are listed as you type. Or select to Add [a new] giver.

Selecting Add giver will open the Add giver pop-up which gives the option to link the new giver to an existing contact In the Address Book - by searching for a Contact (this will create a new giver profile from the Address Book contact and auto-link the giver profile to that contact)...

...or to select  not in the Address Book to add all the related giver details - you can add missing details later.

Click Save Changes to add the giver profile and link the donation to the new giver. ChurchSuite will save the Bank Reference against the new giver profile so that when it encounters that same bank reference in a future import it will auto-match the donation to your new giver. Importantly, you can add multiple bank references for a giver, perhaps for a giver that makes donations from different bank accounts (or changes their bank account), the system will keep your giver records up to date.

Returning to the Import donation page - and having linked each donation in the list to the Giver - note that the Fund, if not explicitly stated in the import file can be changed.

Similarly, the donation Method, if not explicitly stated in the import file can also be changed/selected as appropriate or this can be specified in the import file before import.

And (for UK customers only) the Gift Aid status, if not explicitly stated in the import file, can be changed from Auto-detect to Override for any donations that you are not claimable, even though a valid declaration may exist for the giver (e.g. where Gift Aid has already been claimed at source through another system).

You can Pause or Cancel an import at any time and later return to the Partial Imports list to Resume later.

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

Any remaining donations not yet imported are listed.

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 remaining donations still to be imported into the batch. Click Resume to return to the partial import and continue the process. You may also wish to Edit the batch to change the auto-assigned Batch Name to something more informative.

Automatic pledge matching

ChurchSuite will attempt to automatically link each giver's donations 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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