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Year End Procedures
This page lists the processes that you will likely want to do at each year end. Some of them are optional, but the switch to the new year via the Maintenance ⇒ Change Year menu option is absolutely required, because if you do not do that, you cannot enter donations for the new year. Also, although there is a suggested order of activities in the paragraphs below, you can use your own judgment about what order to do most of them in.
There are no special dates on which the program needs you to do these activities, like before or after the actual year end. However, in Canada the CRA suggests that all receipts should go to donors by the end of February, and in the USA, our understanding is that the IRS requires them to go by the end of January.
Please note that a year end in DONATION is normally a calendar year end, because for must users the program works on a calendar year basis. However, if you are in a country like the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand and are Using Fiscal Year Data Entry and Receipting, the year end referred to in this topic will be your fiscal year end.
Preparation for Receipting
Once you have received and entered all of the donations for the year, and left enough time to make sure none of the cheques you deposited were NSF, make a backup of your data with Backup/Restore ⇒ Backup Database. As always, that backup should be not be on your hard drive, in case it dies! (For instance, put it on a USB memory key.)
You may wish to check your data before printing the year-end receipts. To do this, you might want to use these two reports: Reports ⇒ Donors ⇒ Addresses and Reports ⇒ Donation ⇒ All Donations ⇒ Sort by Name. You can either print these out on the printer, or just view them on the screen. Check that addresses are correct, and that the donation details look correct. Check that you have not entered any donations twice by accident.
You use Receipt ⇒ All Donors to generate all of the year-end receipts, and click Print to print them. (Users who wish to send receipts only to donors who have donated more than some fixed amount may prefer to use the Receipt ⇒ Filtered Donors menu option so that they can do so.) Either accept the option to print another copy for your records, or save a PDF copy and store it securely - not on the same computer - for your records. (For Canadian charities, the CRA requires that you keep copies, although arguably the copy in the database should be sufficient.) Another option is to use the Email/Print button to email receipts to those donors who have email addresses, and print the rest.
Also for Canadian users, use Receipt ⇒ Gift in Kind Receipts ⇒ All Donors to print any receipts for Gifts in Kind. And for both cash and Gift in Kind receipts in Canada, you may have to do the All Donors menu options twice, if you have donations both with and without Advantage.
For those using the free feature-limited Lite version, you have to create the receipts one donor at a time with Receipt ⇒ Current Donor Original. Neither the All Donors nor the Filtered Donors menu options are available to Lite version users, and emailing receipts is also not available. For Canadian Lite version users, you use Receipt ⇒ Gift in Kind Receipts ⇒ Current Donor Original for any Gifts in Kind.
Make sure you haven't missed receipting any receiptable donations, by running Reports ⇒ Donation ⇒ Unreceipted, and seeing that it says there is no matching data.
You should also make sure you haven't missed printing any corrected receipts - ones where you have changed something so that the total amount of the donations included in it does not match the original receipt amount - by use Reports ⇒ Receipt ⇒ Incorrect. Examples of how this could happen are if you deleted a donation included in an existing receipt, or used the Correct button to edit a donation including in an existing receipt. Any receipts that show up on the report need to be printed and sent to the donors, with Receipt ⇒ Duplicate/Corrected by Number, or for Canadian users with incorrect Gift in Kind receipts, with Receipt ⇒ Gift in Kind Receipts ⇒ Duplicate/Corrected by Number.
Once the receipts are all printed off, you can print mailing labels or envelopes for them with Reports ⇒ Receipt ⇒ Mailing Labels or Reports ⇒ Receipt ⇒ Envelopes. When prompted for the date by either of those reports, enter the date you created the receipts, which is probably the default of today's date. Mail out the receipts to the donors.
Next, make another backup of your data in a different place, or with a different filename, from the backup you made before creating all of the receipts.
Changing the Year
You can do the following steps before or after the receipting steps in the section above - a paragraph below tells you how to switch back to a previous year to do receipting if you change the year before the year-end receipting.
You enable the program to enter data for the next year with the Maintenance ⇒ Change Year menu option, by selecting the new year in that window and clicking OK. This will create new data for the next year (say 2018), by copying over all of the donors and categories from this year. Note that this is still stored in the one database file, DONATION4.DB, and backups back up all years of data. This process will ask you to confirm that you want to create the new year's data by copying over donors and categories from this year. If you answer No to the prompt, it will not start the new year.
If you answer Yes, it will then ask whether you want to skip copying donors and categories that have no donations in the last 2 years. In effect, this gives you an option to delete donors that have no donations. Many users probably answer Yes to delete those old donors, to reduce clutter in their lists of donors, but do use your own judgment about this! 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.
If you want to see who those donors are that have not given any donations in the last 2 years, to help you decide, you can use Reports ⇒ Donor ⇒ Old Donors before doing the Maintenance ⇒ Change Year.
You are now ready to enter donations for the new year.
You can always switch back to do further work on the previous year (for instance for receipting, including to issue a duplicate or corrected receipt if you later find out one was missed or incorrect) by using Maintenance ⇒ Change Year again. You can always tell which year you are working on because it is shown in the title bar of the main window, for example "DONATION 2017 data for Your Organization". You can switch back and forth between the two years as often as you wish. You can also switch back to even earlier years by using Maintenance ⇒ Change Year.
You can in fact do the Maintenance ⇒ Change Year to create the new year before the year end if you wish to get a head start on the next year, for instance to do some hand deletion of inactive donors, reassign envelope numbers, update the annual pledges, etc. (The pledge amounts are optionally copied from the previous year.) However, you should be aware that once you start the new year, the donor records for each of the two years are in effect completely separate. Thus, for instance, if you enter an address change for a donor in one year, you will also have to make the same change (if it is needed) in the other year.
If you add a new donor in one year, it will not appear in the other year, so you will have to use the option Database ⇒ Copy Missing Donors if you want it to be in both years. Copy Missing Donors can also be used to recover all donors from the previous year that weren't copied to the current year, if you chose the option to skip copying donors with no donations for the last 2 years, when you first switched to the new year.
You may also want to delete old data in the database before or after the year-end, using Database ⇒ Delete Old Data.
For users who use member or envelope numbers, if you want to renumber everyone in the new year, you can do that with the Database ⇒ Reassign Envelope Numbers menu option, after switching to that new year.
If you use the program's Bank Deposits features, bank deposits cannot include donations in two different working years. So if you have moved on to the new year but still need to do a bank deposit including donations from the previous year, you will need to temporarily switch back to that year, to do a bank deposit including only the remaining donations in that year. Then you can switch back to the new year, and do a 2nd bank deposit (if necessary) containing the new donations in this year.