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Creating Mail Merge Letters
There are three different ways to create mail merge letters using DONATION. A mail merge letter is a document created with DONATION's internal editor (or in some cases your normal word processing program, generally Microsoft Word or WordPerfect) that has information from the DONATION program's data (Donor, Donation, Pledge and/or Receipt information) included in (merged into) it.
We call the document that has mail merge fields in it, to be filled in with specific information, a template file. After the mail merge has been done using that template, we call the result a merged file.
The first way, using Letters ⇒ One Letter, takes information from one Donor, and optionally information from one or more of that donor's donations or one receipt, and merges it into a letter or receipt document.
The second way, using Letters ⇒ Mass Mailing, takes information from all Donors, and optionally information from their donations or receipts, and merges it into a set of letters or receipt documents, one per donor, donation, or receipt. You can also filter the data so only some donors, donations or receipts are included.
Note: Neither of the two mail-merge letters and receipt options above are available with the free Lite version of DONATION.
The third way, which in general is the hardest and most limiting to use, uses the Save As button on any report viewing window to save the data from a report to a file. You then have to use that data yourself, with your word processor's mail merge capabilities to create a letter. It is the most complex of the methods and should almost never be required. (See Doing Mail Merges using Save As from Reports for details.)
One major benefit of mail merge is that if you do not like the built-in receipt format generated by the program, or want to add something to it, you can instead generate the receipts in your own edited format. In fact, if you switch to using mail merge for receipts in the Maintenance ⇒ Receipt Options window, then any receipts generated normally with the Receipt menu options will use your mail-merge template.
If you are going to use either of the Letters menu options, please read about the One Donor option first (the first link below), because the Mass Mailings option builds on that. And please read both of those pages before reading about generating receipts using mail merge.
There are also 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. Of course, there are a lot more details in these Help pages than in the videos.