Changing Years in the Database
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In DONATION, each year's data is conceptually separate, though all years of data are included in the same actual database file, and they are all backed up by any backup.
You switch between years of data in the database with the Maintenance à Change Year à Next Year and Maintenance à Change Year à Previous Year menu options. (Using those options more than once in a row allows you to switch back or forward multiple years.) You can always tell which year you are in, because the title bar at the top of the DONATION window reads "DONATION YearNumber data for YourOrganizationName".
When you switch to a new year for the first time, a copy is made of all (or most) of your donor records, and all donor and donation category records. You can then start entering donations for the new year.
You switch to a new year with the Maintenance à Change Year à Next Year menu option. If you have never switched to that year before, the program will first confirm whether you wish to create the data for that year - you must answer Yes to proceed.
You will also be asked whether to skip copying donors that have not donated in the last 2 years. If you answer Yes, only donors present in the previous year that have donated within the last 2 years will be copied in to the new year. If you answer No, all donors from the previous year will be copied. Please note that answering Yes does not delete any data from prior years. It merely reduces the list of donors copied in to the new year.
You can also create an earlier year that does not yet exist in your database with Maintenance à Change Year à Previous Year.
If you have created a new year with Maintenance à Change Year à Next Year, and decide you really didn't want to do so yet (perhaps because you want to first make some donor address corrections), you can delete that latest year you created with the Database à Delete Latest Year menu option, but only if you have not yet entered any donations for that year.
If you are in a new year and you need to go back to a previous year to do some work (e.g. to create a Corrected or Duplicate receipt), just use Maintenance à Change Year à Previous Year (one or more times to go back one or more years). Next, do the required work in that year. Finally, switch back to the new year with Maintenance à Change Year à Next Year (again, one or more times to go forward one or more years).
Donors in Different Years are Separate
Once donors have been copied to a new year, they are separate from the donor records in the year they were copied from. Changes made in a given donor's record for one year, such as address corrections, will not be automatically made in any other year. If you want those changes to be present in multiple years, you must switch to the other year and re-do the changes. The same applies to changes to any donor or donation categories, e.g. changing their names.
A larger problem occurs if you add donors in one year and want them to also be present in another year. The most likely case is if you have moved to a new year, around the year end, then switched back to the previous year to add some final year-end donors and donations. You will want those newly added donors in the previous year to also be present in the new year's records. To achieve that, you use the Database à Copy Missing Donors menu options.
Pledges and Changing Years
If you use pledges, there are some further details you should understand about what happens when you change to a new year for the first time, and it is copying donor data to the new year.
What happens exactly depends on what you have selected in the Pledges tab of the Maintenance à Main Window Options window. (N.B. If you have turned off the display of the Annual Pledge field on the Donor Details tab of that window, no pledge information will be copied, because the assumption is that you aren't using pledges.)
If you select the pledging type "Simple Annual Pledge", you will be asked whether or not to copy the Annual Pledge amounts.
If you select the type "Annual with Start Date and Category", you will be asked whether or not to copy the pledge data. If you answer Yes, pledge start dates in the new year will be set to be January 1st of the new year.
If you select the type "Multi-Year", no question will be asked. Any multi-year pledges whose range of years includes the year that you are copying to will be copied over, with exactly the same details as they had in the year you are copying from.