Converting Data from The Church Assistant

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Converting Data from The Church Assistant

DONATION can convert and import much of your data from the program The Church Assistant from Wincrafters, which has not been supported since October 2011, and does not work on 64-bit computers.


If you are using the Local Network Version of DONATION, the conversion can only be done from the Local Network Server Version - it cannot be used from the Local Network Client Version.


If you are using The Church Assistant, the first time you run DONATION, it will prompt you with a message box, asking whether to convert and import your data. If you answer Yes to that message box, it will automatically transfer much of your data from The Church Assistant into the DONATION database. You can see the progress of the conversion in a window that will be displayed on the screen. (Your existing Church Assistant data will be unchanged.)


If you answer No the conversion message box, it will just start you up with an empty DONATION database normally, and prompt you to enter your Organization Info and Categories just as it would if you did not have The Church Assistant. You can transfer your data later using the Database ⇒ Import ⇒ From Church Assistant menu option. If you answer Cancel to the conversion message box, the program will exit.


The conversion of data from The Church Assistant completely replaces any data that you already had in your DONATION database.


Note: Importing and converting your data from Church Assistant does not affect your existing Church Assistant data in any way - you will still be able to run Church Assistant after this (if you were able to run it before!).


If you want to try the conversion once, then continue using The Church Assistant for a while, and convert again later when you are ready to really switch to using DONATION, you can also do that with the Database ⇒ Import ⇒ From Church Assistant menu option. Using that option again completely replaces what is in your DONATION database (including any new entries you have made in it) with the converted data.


If you are converting from another program, see this section instead.


What gets Converted


Because DONATION's data structures do not exactly match The Church Assistant's data structures, not everything can be imported. Here is what happens:


Families are imported to become Donors. (Certain little-used fields that do not match fields in DONATION are omitted though, in particular the Second Spouse's Family Name, the Second Phone, and the Moved checkbox. If both a P.O. Box # and a House # and Street are present, only the P.O. Box # is imported.)

Donations are imported, though only for the current year.

Donation categories are imported.

Your Personalize data (church name and address) are imported into the Organization Info. (Church Area Code is not imported.) Your three User Field names, if used, are imported as DONATION's first three Other Info field names.

Individual Family Member data is not imported - there is no distinct concept of “families” in DONATION, as opposed to donors.

Sunday Service, Other Ministry and Church Officers/Committees are not imported.

A program entry password is not set - you can set it with the Maintenance ⇒ Change Password ⇒ Program Entry Password menu option.


There are various problems of mismatched data or errors in The Church Assistant's data that can come up during the conversion. You will be notified of the most significant such issues with message boxes, and in some cases, asked whether or not DONATION should automatically fix the problems for you. Please read these messages carefully, and take note of what they tell you, in case they will require later manual fixing. In the case of any questions you are asked about automatically fixing problems, it is probably best to answer Yes, to let them be fixed automatically.


Differences from and Improvements over The Church Assistant


Re-installing the original program does not wipe out your data files.

Much of your work is done on a main window that shows the list of all donors (called “families” in Church Assistant), the selected donor’s details, and all of that donor’s donations. There’s also a quick batch entry window for your Sunday collection.

There is much more flexibility about receipt formatting, including an option to add your own wording and otherwise change the format.

Both split receipting (donations with what the CRA calls an “advantage”) and gifts in kind are properly handled.

You can issue duplicate or corrected receipts, marked as such.

You can go back to the previous year’s data to make changes, including correcting errors in receipts, after you have done the year-end procedures, without using backup and restore.

As many years of data as you wish can be stored in the same database.

There is an optional limited user password, for use by counters or tellers who should be allowed to enter the collection, but not see donor’s names.

Envelope numbers are optional.

There is a utility for automatically renumbering all envelope numbers, or you can renumber individual ones.

Categories are not numbered.

There are two optional user-definable lists of Donor Categories that you can use, if you wish to categories your donors in some way.

Both donors and donations can be marked as “non-receiptable”, so they won’t receive a charitable receipt.

There is strong support for mail merge letters, with an internal editor – no need to use your word processor.

Receipts and statements can be emailed to those donors with email addresses.

Database backups can be easily emailed, for example to share the data with another user in your church who has installed DONATION. (And there is no extra charge for that.)

Various levels of pledging data entry are supported, including multi-year pledges.

As well as over 30 built-in reports, you can create custom reports.

A multi-user Local Network version is available.

Reports that depend on family member information, such as a church directory, are not included in DONATION.

There is much more protection against invalid data entry.


This topic was last edited on Feb 17, 2023