Recurring Donations

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Recurring Donations

DONATION has three different ways in which you can handle recurring donations:


1.The Database Import Donations menu option allows you to import donations from an Excel or text file, in a specified format, including recurring monthly ones on a given day of the month.

2.The Database Import Par Donations menu option is used if you are using the United Church of Canada's PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance) service, to import a text file they can provide to use.

3.You can memorize recurring weekly, bi-weekly (every 2 weeks) or monthly donations, using the facilities described in this Help topic.


A memorized recurring donation is created by clicking into the row for an existing donation, then clicking the Memorize Recurring button, or right-clicking and picking that off of the popup menu. After some confirmation, that brings up the window described in detail in section below for editing the recurrence information.


There are some limitations of what donations can be memorized:


You cannot memorize donations with an Eligible Amount, or Gifts in Kind.

You cannot memorize $0 donations or ones with negative Amounts.

If the Cheque # / Paid By value contains a number, which is presumably a cheque number, the memorized donation will have that changed to "CHEQUE" (or "CHECK" for U.S. users), since obviously subsequent recurrences wouldn't have the same number.


If you already have multiple manually entered or imported occurrences of a recurring donation, you should always memorize the most recent one. The program will look back to see the previous one, and if it is either exactly 7 days earlier, or about a month earlier, that will allow it to guess whether you want the recurrence to be weekly or monthly, and to correctly set the day of the week or day of the month based on the date of the donation you are memorizing.


Further below in this Help topic there are sections on Editing Recurrence Details, and Inserting Recurring Donations.


Editing Recurrence Details


When you click Memorize Recurring after clicking into a row for your desired donation to be recurring, a window such as the following will come up.




As you can see, some defaults (or sample values) are filled in for new recurring donations, which you then need to edit to be as you need them to be. We will first describe the options on the window above, then some alternate options that appear when you make a different choice for the Frequency (if it is not Monthly as shown above).


The Donor and Donation Information section shows the donor this is for, which is not editable, and the memorized donation field values, which are editable. Since as mentioned above cheque numbers are never memorized (because they would not recur!), the field that is normally named Cheque # / Paid By is just named Paid By in this and the other recurring donations windows shown below.


Some categories you select may be too long to fit within the display area for the category on this window. To allow you to see what the full value is, as your mouse hovers over that field, the entire value pops up in a "tooltip", even if it is short enough to see all of it. The same will apply with other windows shown below that show the list of the recurring donations to be inserted, etc.


The Frequency can be Monthly, Weekly or Bi-Weekly (every 2 weeks).  


If you ever have a donor with semi-monthly donations (such as on the 1st and 15th of each month) you can set that up as two separate monthly recurring donations, one for the 1st, and one for the 15th.


Under the line for the Frequency, when it is Monthly, you need to specify the day number in the month for the recurrence, from 1st to 28th or "Last", which will be the last day in any month it occurs.


For Frequency Weekly or Bi-Weekly, that section changes to look as follows:




You need to specify the day of the week on which it occurs.


The Start Date is the first date on or after which this window will calculate a next recurrence date. Usually the Start Date will be today, or in the future, but it is allowable to have it be in the past, and then recurrences will start on or after that date, depending on your other choices (after a confirmation that that is what you really want!).


For the Ending Date, you have three options: "Never", or after some entered number of recurrences, or on or before a given date. If you specify after a number of occurrences, however, when you later click the Calculate First button, it actually calculates the last recurrence date based on all of your other criteria, fills in the actual ending date, and changes the radio button indicating the style of ending date to select the 3rd radio button. That saves the program from continually having to calculate this in the future, every time this donation is used.


Unlike the recurring transactions feature in our ACCOUNTS bookkeeping program, recurring donations specified in this way are always inserted automatically on the appropriate date. (ACCOUNTS has various additional options, that we do not think are likely to be needed for donations, including an option to prompt you for whether or not you want specific recurring transactions to be inserted, for instance for intermittent bills.)


The Next Recurrence date is calculated for you automatically, after you set all of the desired settings above it in the window, and then click the Calculate First button. That will calculate the first possible recurrence date on or after the specified Start Date, and insert it into the Next Recurrence date. (You cannot manually edit this field.)


When you are editing recurring donations in this window that had already been set up, the Calculate First button is only enabled if you make changes. If you wish to reset the next recurrence date for some reason, come into this window, make any change (and if you don't want that change, change it back), and then click Calculate First.


The Save button only gets enabled after you do Calculate First. It saves the details you have specified, and closes the window. (Note: Even if you have set up a recurrence with a Start Date in the past, you will not be prompted to insert occurrences of that donation until the next time you start running the program.)


The Cancel button is used to cancel changes and close the window, although that only applies when you are editing an existing memorized recurring donation - new ones must be saved. (A saved memorized donation can later be deleted using the maintenance window described below, if you decide you memorized it in error!) That Cancel button will instead say Close if you are editing a previously set up recurring donation, and haven't made any changes.


Maintaining Recurring Donations


You use the Maintenance Recurring Donations menu option, once you have memorized one or more donations, to bring up a window such as the following (with some sample ones on it that we use for testing):




This window displays all memorized recurring donations, in alphabetical order by the donor's name.


The first few fields give the donor's Name, and the Amount, Category and Paid By values from the memorized donation. The other fields were explained in more detail in the section above about Editing Recurrence Details.


You can click on any donation in the list, or use the mouse to move to one, and then click one of the buttons at the bottom to do one of the actions described in the following paragraphs.


Click Edit (or double-click on a donation) to view or edit an existing recurrence schedule or donation details for an existing memorized recurring donation, as detailed above.


Click Delete to entirely delete a memorized recurring donation, so that it no longer recurs. Donations that you have inserted based on this memorized donation will of course still be there!


If there is a memorized donation that was memorized for a donor that has been deleted from the current year's data, or not copied forward from a previous year, it will show up with the name "MISSING DONOR!". In most cases you will want to use the Delete button to delete such memorized donations, since they can no longer be inserted.


If there is a memorized donation that is no longer recurring, because it has passed its End Date, it will show up in a red font in the window above.


Clicking Help displays this Help topic. Clicking Close closes this window.


Inserting Recurring Donations


When you have recurring donations that are due to be inserted, because their Next date is today or earlier, then when you start the program, a window like the following will come up:




As in the Maintenance Recurring Donations list window, the first few fields are the donor's name and donation details. The remaining fields are the recurrence frequency, and the date the donation will be inserted for.


Whichever way you close this window (with the Close button, by pressing Enter or ESC, or by clicking the "X" at the top-right corner of the window) you will then be asked to confirm that you want to save the displayed recurring donations. There is an option to skip doing so if for some reason you think the suggested recurrences are incorrect.


There may be cases where more than one of the same donation needs to be inserted. As an example, if it is a weekly recurrence, and you have not run DONATION for over two weeks, two or more of them will be due. In that case, all of the recurrences up to today's date will be displayed in the window, and saved when you close the window and agree to them being saved..


After this window closes, you should probably review the donations that were inserted. At that point you could also make any changes you want. Examples of changes you might want to make would be to insert an actual cheque number if the donation was made by cheque.


NOTE: Because the insertion is automatic, you will have to be very careful to double-check that certain types of donations that get inserted really happened, if something might have stopped the donation from happening. For instance, a recurring donation using a credit card might not happen if that card was discontinued or replaced with a new one! Or the donor might have cancelled a automatic recurring payment they set up, and forgot to tell you.


This topic was last edited on Apr 5, 2023