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Using the Giving Screen

The Giving Screen allows you to enter contributions for a variety of categories as well as track pledge campaigns and giving.

Giving Dates

To enter or edit contributions, click on an existing date in the white box click "New Date" option. A calendar will open up. Select the new giving date and click on "Create Records for Selected Date."

giving dates

TIP: You enter the wrong date, you can change it to the correct date by double-clicking the item in the list.

Entering Contributions

Once the date has been created or selected, you can enter or edit contributions on the right side of the screen. To enter a new Contributor, you can type the person's envelope number (if your church uses envelope numbers), or the first few letters of the name into the "Contributor Name" field. Then highlight and select the name you want to add. In order for names to show up in this field, they must already be entered on the People Screen. To add names not already in the ChurchTrac Online database, type their name into this field and press Enter. It will prompt you to add them to the database.

Note: In ChurchTrac Online, each contribution must be assigned to an individual. When you have a contribution from a nameless donor, it still needs to be assigned to an individual when entering the amount of the donation on the contribution screen. To record anonymous contributions like this, you must first create a fictitious "person" on the People screen. This person can be named "Unknown Person" or "Offering Plate" or whatever you wish. Just be sure to give this person both a first and last name (like "Unknown" and "Person").

entering contributions

Enter the amount, and then choose a category (or fund) for the contribution for tracking purposes. Verify if the contribution is tax deductible or not (the default setting for the tax deductible status is designated when the category is created). Contributions that are marked as deductible will appear on the individual's contribution statement for tax purposes. You also have the option of entering a note in the memo field. The text that you type into the memo field will also appear on the individual's contribution statement. You can use this feature to specify what a particular donation was for, to record check numbers, etc.

If an individual has given a contribution that is intended to be split among two (or more) categories, you will simply click on the white '+' sign to add multiple categories. For example, if John writes a $250.00 check and intends that $200.00 be used as a budget offering and $50.00 for the building fund, you'll have to enter this contribution separately. Enter the first amount and select the appropriate category. Then click the white '+' and enter the second amount and the appropriate category. There is no limit to the number of contribution entries a single individual can have for a certain date. Once you have completed the entries for a given name, click on "Add this Contribution."

To edit a contribution, click on the blue pencil icon. To delete a contribution, click on the trashcan next to the entry.

Entering Non-Cash Contributions

In the U.S., the IRS rules state that the donor determines the value of a non-cash contribution. For this reason, we recommend that you enter non-cash donations on the Giving screen with an amount of Zero, then add a short memo to describe the item that was donationed. Alternatively, you may wish to give the donor a letter on church letterhead acknowledging the gift.

Giving Summary

A running total of the amount given for a particular date will appear at the bottom of the screen.

giving summary

Add or Edit Categories

Click on the "Add or Edit Categories" button on the toolbar to create new giving categories or to edit existing ones. This will open the "Add or Edit Categories" dialog box.

giving categories

To add a new giving category, enter the name into the "New Category Name" field and click "Add." Then select the tax deductible status for contributions assigned to that category. This will show up as the default on the Contributions Entry screen each time the category is selected; however, it can be changed as needed when each contribution is entered.

Important tax rule: Any "contribution" in which the contributor receives something in return should not be marked as tax deductible. For example, if a person "purchases" a t-shirt, church dinner, or pays for their child to attend youth camp, the deductible box should be unchecked because the IRS does not consider these items to be contributions for tax purposes. If a person donates $1000.00 to be used toward youth camp, and receives nothing in return for this contribution, then that contribution would be considered deductible. If you have any questions regarding the deductibility of contributions, you should ask an accountant or tax specialist.

How do I Print Contribution Statements?

Contribution Statements can be printed from either the Giving screen's Report menu, or from Reports and Labels on the People screen. When you generate statements from the Giving screen, a statement will be generated for each family (or individual) who has given during the date range. If you generate statements from the People screen, only names in the selected Smart List or that are checked will be included. When generating a Contribution Statement, you'll select whether to Print or Email the statements (People screen only). You'll also select whether to generate one statement per family (this is default), or one statement per individual. Although contributions are entered by individual, when you choose to print one statement per family, all contributions from family members are combined into a single report.

How do I Email Contribution Statements?

If you have transactional email configured (for example, using Mandrill), you can email a contribution statement to each contributor. To begin, go to the People screen and select the Smart List that contains the names you want to use, or manually check the names you wish to use, then click Reports and Labels on the toolbar. Choose the Contribution Statement option, then change "Print" to "Email". The application will generate a report for you showing which names were emailed successfully.

Note: Choosing the Email option for delivery of contribution statements does not guarantee that the emails will be delivered. We recommend that you use an email delivery service, like Mandrill, when sending transactional emails. For more information, see the notes on the Email Settings screen.

If you are generating a report for each Family, you will also need to specify a family email address before emailing contribution statements. To set a family email, click on a name of a family member on the People screen, then click the Edit button under the Details tab. At the bottom of the family information section you'll find a selection box that allows you to choose which family member's email address will be used when emailing family contribution statements. Since this is a family field, you only need to choose this value once, and it is saved for each member of the family.

Why do my Contribution Statements seem to be missing items, or missing Names/Families?

There are two reasons why contribution statements may not generate the content you expect. First, only people who are assigned to a family (on the People screen) will have a contribution statement. If someone is missing, double-check to make sure a family is selected for that individual on the Details tab of the People screen. Secondly, only contributions that are marked as "Tax Deductible" will appear on Contribution Statements. This means that any Giving screen entries where Deductible=No will not be listed on a contribution statement, or included in totals on a contribution statement (it will be included in other Giving screen reports). You can click "Add or Edit Categories" on the Giving screen toolbar to specify whether or not each category defaults to Deductible or non-deductible.