Fundraisers using Sage Fundraising 50 sometimes struggle with how to code gifts that come in after the end of the fiscal (or calendar) year properly. I hope we can clear this up here.
Let’s suppose your organization’s fiscal year runs from January to December. We’ll further suppose that your organization runs an annual campaign each year; we’ll call this campaign the 09 Annual Campaign. The 09 Annual Campaign is made up of two solicitations: the 09 Spring Mailing and the 09 Fall Mailing. All set?
Now, let’s suppose that it’s January 3 and two donations arrive on your desk.
Donation A is a check dated December 31 and is in response to the 09 Fall Mailing.
Donation B is a check dated January 1 and is in response to the 09 Fall Mailing.
How should these gifts be coded?
BOTH gifts should be applied to the 09 Fall Mailing (and, consequently, the 09 Annual Campaign). The GIFT DATE for each should be the date on the check. While the tendency is to want to create an “overflow” or “after year end” solicitation, the truth is, there is no need.
Donation A is properly contained in tax year 2009 and Donation B is properly contained in tax year 2010. BOTH gifts are in response to the 09 Fall Mailing and the 09 Annual Campaign.
How should you report on these?
When the E.D. asks for a report of all donations to the 09 Annual Campaign (or the 09 Fall Mailing solicitation), you can simply use the criteria 09 Annual Campaign (or 09 Fall Mailing solicitation).
When he/she asks for a report of donations to the 09 Annual Campaign (or the 09 Fall Mailing solicitation) for the fiscal year (or another set of dates), you will use the DATE of the gift, along with the campaign and/or solicitation to report.
YES, these numbers will be different, but now you know why and can explain to him or her why this is the case. Part of your responsibility, too, is asking the right questions of the person who is asking you for reports.
If you’re still skeptical about not needing to recode the solicitation, the following situation might help you to understand a bit better. Suppose your organization has undertaken a capital or major gifts campaign. A donor has agreed to make a gift to the 09 Major Gifts campaign. She will pay this donation over five years. Each time a gift comes in, it will be coded to the 09 Major Gifts Ask and the 09 Major Gifts Campaign. This will be true for every pledge payment made over the course of those five years. You wouldn’t recode the gifts to come from a different solicitation each year in this scenario; why would you do it to any other gift?