Generating Charitable Receipts

<< Click to Display Table of Contents >>


Generating Charitable Receipts

Before reading this page, which contains an overview of receipting, you may want to review the page on the Receipt menu, to get an quick notion of the menu options to be discussed.


Receipts are the name that the DONATION program gives to the documents sent to donors that show what to claim on their taxes for their charitable deduction based on their donations to your organization. There is another help topic titled Statements and Receipts that talks about the difference between those two concepts and your options for sending things to your donors both mid-year and at year-end.


In the U.S.A., what the program calls "receipts" are also frequently called "contribution statements".


Initial Setup


Organizations should always go to the Maintenance ⇒ Receipt Options window to specify which country or province they are in, as part of their initial setup. This will guarantee that they get the correct receipt format, because there are a number of different receipt formats for different places. There are also a number of other options on this window that you should review.


You can use a bitmap logo and/or a bitmap signature on your receipts - you set that up on that same window.


Organizations that want to have their charitable number (officially called Business # in Canada, Tax ID/EIN in the USA, ABN for Australian DGR organizations and Charities Commission Number for New Zealand organizations) on their receipts should enter it on the Maintenance ⇒ Organization Info window. This is required in Canada, and optional in the USA (some charities prefer to show it on the receipts, others prefer not to).


The name of the person who will be signing the receipts (or whose name is in the bitmap signature recorded, as mentioned above) is also entered or updated on the Maintenance ⇒ Organization Info window.


Finally you may choose to set a Receipt Password, with the Maintenance ⇒ Change Password ⇒ Receipt Password menu option. If you do that, you will be required to supply it before you are allowed to create, correct or delete receipts. You can do that by entering it when the program starts up (if you have also set a Program Entry password), or when you do a Receipt menu option that requires it.


When to Issue Receipts


Most organizations will choose to issue all of their receipts after the year end. Current Canadian government regulations recommend that they be generated and distributed to donors by the end of February. The IRS in the USA recommends that they be sent by the end of January. Other countries may have other deadlines. However, you can also generate a receipt for one donor at a time at any time during the year.


It is very important to understand that once a donation has been included on a receipt in a given year, it will not normally be included on any further receipts for that donor that year - they are not cumulative. That is to prevent accidental double-claiming of total donation amounts by donors on their taxes.


You should probably never issue receipts for a given donation received by cheque until you have deposited the cheque and given time to make sure it is not NSF. If a cheque does come back NSF before you receipt it, just delete that donation for that donor. (You could alternatively change its Amount to $0, and change its Cheque # / Paid By field to "Non-Receiptable", to prevent it from appearing on any receipt.)


If you are in a country such as the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand, and have turned on Fiscal Year Data Entry and Receipting and are working in a fiscal year, you would do any full-fiscal-year receipts after your fiscal year end. In this case, receipts can include donations in your current working year, which is the fiscal year.


Receipt Numbering


Receipts are numbered sequentially within a year. For instance, for the year 2017, the numbering starts at 2017-00001 and goes up to at most 2017-99999. Once a donation has had a receipt issued for it, the receipt number (without the part for the year and any leading 0's) appears in the Recpt # field for that donation, in the Donations area of the main window.


The Recpt # field in the donation details area, field cannot be entered directly. It only gets filled in when you generate a receipt that includes that donation, by using one of the Receipt menu options, and you save the receipt back to the database by printing it, saving it to PDF, or emailing it. Only the second part of the receipt number is displayed in the "Recpt #" field, for example 1 is displayed if that donation was part of receipt number 2017-00001.


See a section below for the receipt numbers used with Fiscal Year Receipting.


Individual Receipts


To generate a receipt for one donor, find the donor then use the Receipt ⇒ Current Donor Original menu option. This creates the receipt for all receiptable donations from that donor in the current working year that haven't yet been included on a receipt. (All other means of creating receipts also exclude any donations that have already been included on a previous receipt.) The receipt is displayed on the screen, and you can print it, save it to PDF, or email it. If you print it, you will be prompted as to whether you want to print a second copy for your records.


NOTE: The appropriate person whose name is printed on the receipts (entered as "Receipting Person" in Maintenance ⇒ Organization Info) must sign the receipts for them to be valid. (I believe you can also use a rubber stamp of the signature.) You can alternatively use a bitmap signature.


If you have to enter a lot of donations quickly and you need to immediately hand out a receipt for each one, you can use the Receipt ⇒ Current Donor Original Quick Print menu option instead of Current Donor Original. That immediately prints the receipt once it is created, doesn't prompt about printing a 2nd copy, and closes the receipt-viewing window, without giving you a chance to look at the receipt first. You do get a message telling you the receipt number and that it has been send to your default printer.


For your initial testing, you can instead use the Receipt ⇒ Current Donor Sample option, which creates a sample receipt (with "SAMPLE ONLY" as a large watermark on the page), and does not store the receipt back to the database in any way, so the Recpt # field for the donation never gets filled in. Because sample receipts are never saved back to the database, they will all have the same receipt number (number 1 if you haven't generated and saved any real receipt prior to that).


For Canadian users only: Donations with Advantage must be one receipt per donation, so using Receipt ⇒ Current Donor Original may generate multiple receipts if there is more than one donation with Advantage for the current donor that have not previously been receipted. If there are both donations with Advantage and donations without Advantage for the current donor, you will be asked which type of receipts you want to generate, because both types cannot be generated together. The same applies to any of the other menu options described below for generating receipts for multiple donors. Please see Donations and Receipts with Advantage for full details of all of this.


Printing and Saving Receipts


If you don't print receipts that you have generated and you then exit the window on which you are viewing them, the receipts are not saved back to the database. (Of course the donations included in the receipt will still be saved!) Receipts are also saved back to the database if you email them to donors with the Email/Print button, or save them to a PDF file with the Save PDF button.


Sample receipts created with the Receipt ⇒ Current Donor Sample option are never saved, even if you print them.


Also, if you have the "Email receipts, letters and statements only to yourself, for testing" checkbox in the Maintenance ⇒ Receipt Options window checked, and you only email the receipts you created, they will not be saved, since they haven't actually been sent to donors.


Printing for Users in Countries where the A4 Paper Size is Used


Please see the section on "Options for Countries other than Canada or the U.S.A." in the Receipt Options page for details on how to ensure that your reports, receipts, and mail-merge documents print successfully on A4 paper, if that is an issue in your country.


For Canada and the U.S.A., or other countries when you do not set the option to use A4 Paper in the Receipt Options window as described in that section, all printing is done to Letter-size paper (8 1/2" x 11").


Standard vs. Mail Merge Receipts


There are actually two ways to display the receipts once they have been generated. The standard way uses built-in reports. They cannot be edited, but you can make some changes to what is included in them via options in the Maintenance ⇒ Receipt Options window.


The other way is to generate them via mail merge. This happens if you check the "Create Receipts via mail merge instead of normal report method" checkbox in that same Receipt Options window. In that case, receipts are generated using standard mail-merge template files that replicate the built-in reports for receipts, and which you can edit. To edit their template file (that determines their wording and structure), in the Maintenance ⇒ Receipt Options window, click the Edit Mail Merge Receipt button. Alternatively, go to Letters ⇒ One Letter, select the radio button for Selected Receipt Information, make sure the checkbox in Section 2 for "I want to use standard names ..." is checked, and click Edit beside the name of the Letter File. (These two methods do exactly the same editig.) You can make any changes you wish, then save your changes. See the section on Generating Receipts using Mail Merge for details.


As well as allowing you to edit the text of the receipts (including adding a letter, if desired), using the mail merge receipts also gives you more flexibility in the size and shape of a Logo image you may want to add to the receipt.



Which Donations are Receiptable?


We said above that all "receiptable" donations by a donor that haven't yet been included on a receipt will be included when you generate a receipt for them. There are several ways to mark an entire donor, or individual donations, as Non-Receiptable, so that they will never receive an official receipt (for donors) or be included in an official receipt (for donations). For full details, please read the details on this under Non-Receiptable Donors and Donations.


Donor Names in Receipts


Both standard and mail-merge receipts always show the Business Name as the donor's name if one has been entered, and otherwise the person's name.


The person's name will automatically include any Title that has been entered if "Include Title in Names in Letters and Receipts" has been checked in the Maintenance ⇒ Main Window Options window. And it will automatically include any Middle Initial that has been entered if "Include Middle Initial in donor names in receipts" has been checked in the Maintenance ⇒ Receipt Options window.


Since the Canada Revenue Agency requires Canadian charities to include donors' middle initials with their names on receipts, it is recommended that you enter Middle Initials and check that "Include Middle Initial in donors names in receipts" checkbox. Alternatively, Canadian users (and anyone else who wants middle initials displayed) can just always enter donors' middle initials at the end of the First Name field.


Year-End Receipts for All Donors


After you have entered all of the donations for a given working year, if you want to create and print off (or email) all of the receipts, choose Receipt ⇒ All Donors from the menu. This will create receipts for at most 500 donors in one batch (it tells you if it is imposing that limitation). Receipts will be created for all donors who have receiptable donations that have not yet been included on a previous receipt. Again, you can preview them, and after you Print them you are given an option to print a 2nd copy for your records.


If you received the message about printing at most 500 receipts, just go back and run Receipt ⇒ All Donors again, and repeat until they are all done. The reason we have imposed this limitation is that the way the receipts are generated uses a lot of memory in your computer, and we were concerned that the program might run out of memory if we let it generate them all at once. Do not worry, you can print all of your receipts no matter how many donors you have!


When you are printing all the receipts, we recommend that you not exit the window displaying them until your printer has finished printing them successfully. That way, if for instance you need to replace the ribbon or ink cartridge and reprint them because you ran out of ink, you will still be able to click the Print button again and print them successfully. But see the section below on Reprinting Receipts if you do exit the window, and your printer fails to print all of the receipts.


For Canadian Users: You might have to run up to 4 versions of receipts for all donors, depending on the types of donations you have recorded. If you have cash donations with advantage (split receipting), and also ones without advantage, you will have to run this twice to generate the receipts for donations with and without advantage. And if you have Gift in Kind donations, you have to use Receipt ⇒ Gift in Kind Receipts ⇒ All Donors, possibly twice if you have such donations with and without advantage. You can follow the links in the previous sentences for further details.


How to be Sure you have Created all Receipts at the Year End


1.Run Reports ⇒ Donation ⇒ Unreceipted. If any data shows up in that report, those donations still need to be receipted!

2.Run Reports ⇒ Receipt ⇒ Incorrect to make sure there aren't any receipts that you have somehow changed (specifically so that the total amount of the donations included in it does not match the original receipt amount), but not yet printed a corrected receipt for.


Fiscal Year Receipting


If you are in a country such as the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand where the receipting / tax deduction year is different from the calendar year, please see the Help topic Fiscal Year Data Entry and Receipting for how to set up work with that properly. Doing that setup allows you to do both data entry and receipting (as well as reporting) on a fiscal / tax year basis, instead of the normal calendar year basis done for Canada and the U.S.A. Receipt numbers for receipts in a fiscal year are things like "FY15/16-00001", for the first receipt in fiscal 2015/2016, rather than the normal numbering "2016-00001" for the first receipt in calendar 2016.



Reprinting Receipts


If you have a problem printing a batch of receipts, and you have already exited the window displaying them, or you need copies of previously printed receipts for any other reason, you can reprint them with the Receipt ⇒ Reprint Range menu option.


That option prompts you for the starting and ending receipt numbers that you want to reprint, and then recreates them and gives you an option to print them again. It also gives you options to mark the receipts as Duplicate/Replacement, or Corrected.


Deleting Receipts Created in Error


If you have generated a batch of receipts and realize that you did not want to do so, you can delete them with the Receipt ⇒ Delete Range option. The most common time this comes up is if you have run Receipt ⇒ All Donors in the middle of the year, to look at the receipts, then printed them but not sent them to the donors. When you use Receipt ⇒ All Donors again at the end of the year, you find that they only include the donations from each donor that occurred after that first batch of receipts was created, and you really wanted all donations for the year to be on one receipt. As long as you have not distributed those earlier receipts to the donors, or created and given out any individual receipts in the time in between, you can use Receipt ⇒ Delete Range to delete all of the old receipts, and then recreate them with Receipt ⇒ All Donors.


Instead of creating receipts mid-year, you may want to create a non-receipt report for each donor to show what they have given so far. See Statements and Receipts for details on doing that.


Filtered Receipts


You can also print a selected subgroup of all outstanding receipts, or receipts for a selected subgroup of receiptable donations, with the Receipt ⇒ Filtered Donors option. This option is most commonly used by users who wish to send receipts only to those donors who have donated at least a certain dollar value.


This brings up a window where you can select criteria based on the Donor (a value of Category 1, a value of Category 2, or some text found in Other Info 1 through 6) or criteria based on individual Donations (a minimum donation Amount and/or a donation Category), or a range of donation dates. All donors and donations matching all entered criteria, which haven't yet been included on a receipt, will have the receipts generated for them. Like Receipt ⇒ All Donors, this will print at most 500 receipts at a time. Please read the help page on Generating Filtered Receipts for full details on this option.


For Canadian Users: As with Receipt ⇒ All Donors, you might have to run up to 4 versions of filtered receipts, depending on the types of donations you have recorded that match the filter criteria. If you have cash donations with advantage (split receipting), and also ones without advantage, you will have to run this twice to generate the receipts for donations with and without advantage. And if you have Gift in Kind donations, you have to use Receipt ⇒ Gift in Kind Receipts ⇒ Filtered Donors, possibly twice if you have such donations with and without advantage. You can follow the links in the previous sentences for further details.


Duplicate and Corrected Receipts


If you have already distributed the receipts and a donor calls up and says that they lost their receipt, or there is a correction to the data in their receipt, you may not just issue another original copy of the receipt (because an unscrupulous or careless donor could submit both to the government!).


Instead, for simple duplicates, select the donor from the Donor List, click on any field in one of the donations included in that receipt, then use the Receipt ⇒ Current Donor Duplicate/Corrected function to reprint the receipt. This adds the words "Duplicate Receipt" (or other similar words) to it so that it is clear that this is a replacement receipt. If the donor never received the original receipt, you can avoid the replacement being marked as a duplicate either by checking the checkbox in this window for "Do not change the receipt status to duplicate or corrected", or instead using the Receipt ⇒ Reprint Range menu option, which by default does not change the status of the receipt to Duplicate if it is not already marked as a Duplicate.


If there was a correction needed (one of the donations comprising the receipt was deleted, and/or new donations were added that you want to be included etc.) it instead adds the word "Corrected". The duplicate or corrected receipt has the same receipt number as the original.


See Generating Duplicate or Corrected Receipts for more information, especially about the options for correcting receipts. You can also generate a duplicate or corrected receipt by receipt number, without first selecting the donor and a donation included in the receipt to be recreated, by using Receipt ⇒ Duplicate/Corrected by Number.


For Canadian users: Duplicate/Corrected receipts for Canada will always come up as two receipts - the original number, now showing as being for $0 and with wording on it saying it has been replaced by a new one, and a new one with a new receipt number, with the correct dollar amount, and wording saying it replaces the old number. This is required by the CRA. See Generating Duplicate or Corrected Receipts for full details on this.



Receipt Mailing Labels and Envelopes (and Not Window Envelopes!)


You can print mailing labels to go on the envelopes for the receipts generated on one day by using the Reports ⇒ Receipt ⇒ Mailing Labels option. Alternatively, you can print the actual envelopes themselves, with the Reports ⇒ Receipt ⇒ Envelopes option.


The current receipt formats are not currently designed to necessarily be able to to display the recipient's name and address in window envelopes properly. It's possible that if you were to switch to the mail-merge version of the receipts, you could adjust the receipt formatting until it fit properly, but we cannot guarantee that, because changing the spacing and arrangement of things is not at all easy in our mail-merge editor, and it would not be a part of our normal paid support to assist you with that. We strongly recommend sticking with the receipt mailing labels or envelope printing instead, as described in the previous paragraph.


Issues with Including Descriptions in the Details Section of the Receipt


If you have selected the option in Maintenance ⇒ Receipt Options to print the donation Descriptions in the details section of the receipt, and you have long descriptions, they may wrap onto two lines, because there is not enough room across the line for the complete description. In some odd cases, where the description is just almost long enough that it needs to wrap, the program may get a bit confused and leave space for two lines of description, even though it does not actually put anything on that 2nd line. Sorry, this is something we can't do anything about. It just looks a bit odd visually.


Sections of the Receipt


Receipts for Canada (English) have two sections - a top part that the donor submits with their tax form, and a bottom part for them to tear off and keep for their own records. Bilingual French/English receipts and French-only receipts for Quebec have three sections, so that one copy can be sent with the Federal tax form and one with the Provincial form. U.S. receipts do not need multiple sections because the receipt is not submitted with the donor's tax form. (And Canadian receipts don't have to be submitted if you file electronically, though of course you have to have them.) Each section of any of the types of receipt includes the Member/Envelope # for the donor with their name, if such a number has been entered.


The bottom part of the receipt optionally includes details of all individual donations included on that receipt, and also optionally includes a summary of donations by category. If you are including the details section, and you are not including the Cheque No or Description in the details, then if there is more than one donation included in the receipt, they will be printed in two columns to save space. If you include the Cheque No or Description, the details section is too wide to be printed in two columns.


For the built-in receipts, which sections are included, and which fields are included if you include the details section, are determined by settings in the Maintenance ⇒ Receipt Options window. For mail-merge receipts, you have to edit the receipt template to make relevant changes - see the section on the Details Table in the Help page on Mail Merge Fields for details.


Some Canadian organizations like to use actual tear-off forms for their receipts. You will want to print a sample receipt on your printer to determine where the perforations should go, before you spend money for such forms. It appears that you cannot just buy such forms at a stationery shop - you have to have them printed by a print shop or press such as Moore Business Forms. Just request plain 8 1/2" x 11" white bond paper, with a fine perforation at the position you have carefully measured. Some users may also prefer to ask for a security background on the top portion above the perforation, as in a cheque. Another option is that they can put very fine markings on the top portions that will show up if the receipt is photocopied.


However, you really may not wish to order such tear-off forms, because we cannot guarantee that future revisions to the receipt formats in DONATION will not affect where the break is between the top part and the bottom part. Such changes would mean you would have to throw out any existing forms and order new ones!



Split Receipting: Total vs. Eligible Amounts


Another issue regarding receipts is related to the entry of the Eligible Amount for Donations. The following discussion is primarily about its use in Canada.


An example of when you might enter the Eligible Amount is a fundraising dinner. Suppose the donors buy tickets costing $100 for a fundraising dinner, and the actual cost of providing the dinner to your organization is $40. That means that only $60 of the donor's donation is eligible to be included on a charitable receipt. The way you enter this is to enter $100 for the Total Amount, and $60 for the Eligible Amount. The Eligible Amount is what the donor can claim on their taxes. The $40 (the value of what the donor received) is called the "Advantage".


Note: As of late 2006, there were new Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regulations with regard to this situation, which they call "split receipting". They require the separate display of the following fields on a receipt:


- the total cash amount of the donation received by the charity

- the value of the advantage (what the donor received), and

- the eligible amount of gift for tax purposes.


All receipts for Canada or Quebec show all three of these lines, but only if an Eligible Amount has been entered. If no Eligible Amount has been entered for the donation(s) included in the receipt, the CRA only requires the last of those three lines above to be on the receipt, so that is what DONATION does.


You can control whether the Eligible Amount field is displayed in the Donations area of the main window with an option on the Donations tab of the Maintenance ⇒ Main Window Options window.


Note for users in the U.S.A. and other countries: Very few users in the U.S.A. seem to want to do this type of "split receipting" that is used in Canada, so at this point the DONATION program's receipts for the U.S.A. always show just the regular Amount (or Total Amount) field. If you do want to do split receipting, you can use the Eligible Amount field, but you will need to use the mail-merge receipts and make some adjustments to your receipt template to show the desired fields. See Donations and Receipts with Advantage for full details.


Receipts for all other non-Canadian countries use the Eligible Amount, if it is entered, and otherwise use the regular Amount (or Total Amount) field.


Canadian receipts with Advantage also require a description of that Advantage to be printed on the receipts. That can be entered on the Description field, for non-Gift in Kind donations, or the Description of Advantage field for any donations. Please see Donations and Receipts with Advantage for full details on everything about such donations.


Gift in Kind Receipts


If you receive gift in kind (non-"cash") donations, it is very important that you read the topic on Gifts in Kind.


Important: For Canadian users, the normal receipts on the Receipt menu will exclude any donations whose Cheque # / Paid By value is "Gift in Kind", which is an option on the drop-down list for that field. Receipts for gifts in kind are then instead generated by using the menu options on the Receipt ⇒ Gift in Kind Receipts sub-menu, which replicate the options on the main Receipt menu. So you will have to use two menu options if the donor(s) you are creating receipts for have both gift in kind and non-gift in kind donations, to cover all of those donations!


Like donations with Advantage mentioned above, Canadian receipts for Gifts in Kind have to be one receipt per donation, so each of the menu options for generating such receipts, including Receipt ⇒ Gift in Kind Receipts ⇒ Current Donor Original, may generate more than one receipt if there is more than one unreceipted Gift in Kind donation for that donor.


Multiple User Issues


For users with multi-user versions of DONATION (the Local Network Version, or the OnDemand Version), when one user is creating a receipt, no other user can do so at the same time, to prevent problems with inconsistent or missing receipt numbers. However, as soon as that first user has printed the receipt, saved it to PDF, or emailed it, another user can get in to create other receipts. If the first user does none of those things, other users are still blocked until the first user exits the window where they are viewing the receipt.


See Also


Generating Receipts using Mail Merge

Generating Duplicate or Corrected Receipts

Reprinting Receipts

Statements and Receipts

Using a Logo and Signature Bitmap on your Receipts

Generating Bilingual Receipts

Generating U.S. Receipts

Donations and Receipts with Advantage

Generating Filtered Receipts

Handling Non-Receiptable Donations

Deleting Receipts

Receipt or Donor Mailing Labels

Receipt or Donor Envelopes

Emailing Receipts

This topic was last edited on Mar 1, 2023