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This page will give some definitions of terms used in the DONATION program, as well as other similar terms that may be used by some of the program's users, for reference.


Please contact us if you run into any terms used in the program, or in this help file, that do not appear here, for which you would find a definition helpful.


Advantage: For Canadian receipting, a donation with an "advantage" is one where the donor receives something of significance in exchange for what they give. For instance, at a fund-raising dinner, the value of the dinner is the "advantage", and only what they donate beyond that amount is eligible to be deducted on their taxes. This situation is also called "split receipting", because the total amount given is split between the advantage, which is not eligible for a tax deduction, and the remaining tax-deductible amount. See Donations and Receipts with Advantage for details.


Backup: A backup of your database is a file with a complete copy of all of the information in the database, You should make backups regularly, off of your computer's hard drive (in case the computer dies!) so that you can recover if anything happens. See Backups.


Batch Entry: A quicker method for entering a large number of donations for the same date, particularly used by churches for Sunday (or other day) collections. See Entering Multiple Donations for One Date.


Bitmap: A bitmap file is a graphical file that contains an image. For DONATION, the bitmap files that you can use are to specify a logo and a scanned signature for use on your receipts.


Client: In the Local Network Version of DONATION, a computer running the Local Network Client Version of DONATION (can also refer to that program itself). That computer accesses the database on the computer running the Local Network Server Version of DONATION. (That computer can also be called the server, although it doesn't have to be running an actual server version of Windows).


Contribution: Another name that some organizations use for what is always called a "donation" in this program.


Contribution Statement: Another name, commonly used in the U.S.A., for what the program calls "receipts" - the document you send to donors to use for tax deduction purposes.


Database: The file on your computer that contains all of your data that you enter in the DONATION program, such as the donors and donations. If you use DONATION to track information for more than one organization, you may have more than one database - see Switching Databases. The database is normally found in Data subdirectory of the program's Data Directory.


Database Software: Almost all programs that have a database have some underlying 3rd party database software that manages the data for them. In DONATION, the Firebird SQL database software is used.


Donation: Any money that any person or organization gives to your organization is considered to be a donation, for the purposes of this program, even if it is something that would normally be called something else, such a membership fee, a grant, etc. Not all "donations" are eligible for charitable receipts though - see Non Receiptable Donors and Donations for how to handle ones that aren't. Since the ultimate primary purpose of DONATION is creating charitable receipts, you may or may not choose to record certain other types of income, such as grants, in it.


Donation Category: A purpose that donors donate for, such as General (for donations for unspecified purposes), Building, Library, etc. See Donation Categories.


Donor: Any person or organization whose information you want to record in the program, whether or not they give any money to your organization, is called a "donor" for the purposes of this program.


Donor Category: A classification of your donors (as opposed to of the donor's donations), such as for any organization that has memberships, "Member" or "Attender". See Donor Categories.


Filter: The program allows you to apply a "filter" to reports and in various other places. A filter is a rule based on the database fields included in that report, which causes the report to be restricted to only include the rows that match that rule. For instance, in some reports the filter "amount > 100" would eliminate all rows where the displayed donation amount was less than or equal to $100, only retaining those rows where it was over $100 in the report. See Filtering Reports.


Fiscal Year: The 12-month period that your organization's primary financial reporting covers. For instance, if your financial reporting generally goes from June 1 of one year to May 31 of the next year, that is your fiscal year. See Fiscal Years in DONATION.


Gifts in Kind: A gift in kind is any donation to your organization that is not cash (or a cash equivalent like donations by cheque, credit card or debit card). For instance, donations of clothing, a TV, or a painting would all be gifts in kind. For Canada, DONATION has special features for the special receipting needed by the Canada Revenue Agency for Gifts in Kind.


License Key: Two lines of letters and numbers that Software4Nonprofits provides to you after each payment, which get installed into the program. You request the key from the Evaluation and Licensing window. The license key encodes both your exact organization name and the expiry date of your eligibility for email support and upgrades (generally one year after each payment). Your initial license key after you first purchase the program converts it from the evaluation version to the full version. License keys are not used or needed by the free Lite version.


Mail Merge: This refers to the process of taking a template document, which you can edit, and merging information from the database, such as donor, donation and receipt information, into it. The template document includes codes indicating what data is to be inserted to replace each code. Both letters and receipts can be created by mail merging.


Member: Some organizations track members. For the purpose of this program, a member is just an instance of a donor. DONATION has no special features or concepts to handle membership, but you can use things like donor categories to note whether a given "donor" is a member, and you could track membership fee payments (which may not be tax receiptable) with donations.


Offering: Another name that some organizations, particularly churches, use for what is always called a "donation" in this program.


Organization: Each organization (such as a charity, church or other non-profit) that you track donors and donations for in the program will have its own database. See Switching Databases.


PDF: Stands for Portable Document Format. PDF is a standard file format for documents, that is normally not editable (without special programs like Adobe Acrobat), and is thus a good choice for distributing things like reports and receipts to other people in your organization or your donors. PDF files can also be made entirely non-editable by applying a secret password that is required to edit them - that is done with the official receipts in the program, when you email them.


Pledge: An undertaking by a donor to give a certain amount of money in the future, either once, or on some sort of schedule. See Pledges in DONATION.


Receipt: While some organization refer to any donation as a "receipt", in this program the word "receipt" is used only to refer to the official document that you print and mail, or email, to your donors, for use on their taxes. This is also called a "charitable receipt", "tax receipt" or in the U.S.A. "contribution statement". See Generating Charitable Receipts.


Server: In the Local Network Version of DONATION, a computer running the Local Network Server Version of DONATION (can also refer to that program itself). That computer has the actual database on it. (That computer doesn't have to be running an actual server version of Windows). Other computers, running the Local Network Client Version of DONATION, access the database that is on the server computer.


Sort: To sort a report or other displayed data set means to rearrange the rows in it, to order them based on one of the fields in the report. For instance, you might sort on a name (in alphabetical order) or a donation amount. Sorts can be in increasing order (the normal order) or decreasing order. For amounts, decreasing order puts the highest amounts at the top of the report. See Sorting Reports.


Split Receipting: See Advantage above.


SQL: Stands for Structured Query Language. SQL is the programming language used by most major databases, including things like Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. It is used by the Firebird SQL database software included with DONATION. While you do not need to know SQL at all to use almost all aspects of DONATION, it is possible to use it for data retrieval through the Database Switch Databases window.


Statement: Any document other than an official charitable receipt that is given to a donor to show what they have donated over some period of time. See Statements and Receipts.


This topic was last edited on Feb 17, 2023