Generating Receipts Using Mail Merge
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(This option is not available with the free Lite version of DONATION.)
While many users may find it extremely helpful to print thank-you letters etc. with the Letters menu options, I suspect that the most common use will be to print the Receipts in a different format from the built-in one provided by the Receipt menu options in DONATION.
There are several training videos on Mail Merge letters and receipts on the Demos and Samples web page, if you would prefer to see these features demonstrated live, rather than reading about them.
Starting in version 3.10, you can use mail merge to completely replace the normal generation of receipts with the options on the Receipt menu. If you want this to happen, go to Maintenance à Receipt Options, and check the "Create Receipts via mail merge instead of normal report method" checkbox. Please see Editing Receipt Options for more details. If you check this, please also read the Help page on Generating Charitable Receipts for basic information on creating receipts.
Whether or not you check that checkbox, you can always reprint receipts that were generated using the Receipt menu options by using the Letters menu options. But if you do check that checkbox, the normal receipt generation using all Receipt menu options, like Receipt à Current Donor Original and Receipt à All Donors, will use the mail-merge version of the receipt.
You might also want to use the mail merge options on the Letters menu to create cover letters for receipts that you printed with the standard Receipt menu options. Or, if you are using mail merge receipts and want a cover letter to always be included with the receipt, add that cover letter in at the top of the mail-merge receipt format.
All of the information given in the help pages on Creating Letters for One Donor and Creating Mass Mailings applies to creating receipts. Please read those sections carefully before proceeding. You can use Letters à One Letter to reprint one receipt at a time, or Letters à Mass Mailing to reprint receipts for a range of receipt numbers.
The sample receipt mail merge letters provided with the program are very close imitations of the built-in receipt formats. There is one for every type of receipt that you can select via the Receipt Style For options in Maintenance à Receipt Options (Canada, Quebec bilingual, Quebec French only, U.S.A., Australia DGR, Australia non-DGR, and Other). If you leave the checkbox checked for using the standard filenames for the Letter File, the correct receipt mail-merge files for each of those locations are selected automatically. (And those standard filenames are always used if you select "Create Receipts via mail merge instead of normal report method" and use the Receipt menu options to create the receipts.) However, you should definitely edit the sample letters the first time you use them, to confirm that you like the formatting, or to change them as desired.
All of the sample receipts include any logo bitmap specified in the Logos and Signatures window, in the top-right corner of the receipt. They also include any bitmap version of your signature specified in that window, above the signature line. You do have to either sign your receipts, or include a graphic file with the signature.
In versions of DONATION prior to version 3.10, it was not possible to include the detailed list of donations or summary by category, which both appear in the built-in receipts, in mail-merged receipts. Starting in version 3.10, this is now possible, by using the «DetailsTable» and «SummaryTable» merge fields. So, the mail-merged receipts can now duplicate all elements of the built-in receipts.
The Canadian (including Quebec) versions of the sample receipts (receipts_merge_canada.htm, receipts_merge_french.htm, and receipts_merge_bilingual.htm) all include three amount lines, for the Total Amount of the donation, the amount of the advantage, and the Eligible Amount. This is to satisfy the Canada Revenue Agency's requirements on "split receipting", for donations where the donor receives something back in return, as at a fundraising dinner. f you never have those sort of donations, and want to include only the Eligible Amount on the receipts, you can instead use three variant versions that are also included with the program, named receipts_merge_canada_simple.htm, receipts_merge_french_simple.htm, and receipts_merge_bilingual_simple.htm.
If your organization generates a receipt for each individual donation (rather than having receipts that include multiple donations), it is also possible to use the "Donation information only" option in Letters à One Letter to generate a mail-merged replica of an existing receipt. The advantage of this over using the "Receipt information" option is that you can also print the donation's Category, Cheque No / Paid By, and Description fields on the main part of the receipt, not just in the Details Table. Several of the fields from the receipt (Receipt Number, Receipt Date, Receipt Type, and Signatory Name) are also included in the "Current Donation information" option in order to make this work. This may be a good option for specialized receipts such as ones for Gifts In Kind, where the Description is important. (But see the section on Handling Gifts in Kind, and the paragraph below, for a better way to do this for Canadian users.) You could also use it in other cases where you wanted to print the Description, such as in memoriam donations (with a description such as "In memory of my dear friend, Jim Smith"). At this point, however, no sample letters like this are provided.
It might also be possible to do the same thing using the "Individual Donations information" option in Letters à Mass Mailing, though it might be more complicated in that option to make sure that only the right receipts (and no duplicates) were being generated. (You would probably have to use an appropriate Filter to restrict the letters being generated.)
If you are in Canada and select "Use different receipts for Gifts in Kind / Non-Cash Gifts" under Maintenance à Receipt Options, then the separate gift in kind receipts that you generate with the Receipt à Gift in Kind Receipts submenu option can also be created via mail-merge, because there are special versions of the mail-merge letters for that as well.