Generate and send acknowledgments for memorial/honorary gifts

In this article:


This article assumes that the deceased/honoree has a constituent record in LGL. For a lighter-weight approach, in which a record is not required for the deceased/honoree, please skip to the final section.

When a donor gives a gift in memory of a deceased constituent, it is a common (and good) practice to notify the family members. Similarly, with gifts made in honor of a constituent, you may want to send a notification letter to the constituent being honored. The acknowledgment system within LGL supports both cases; but they are a bit different, so we treat them separately below.

Acknowledge memorial gifts

If you receive a gift in memory of someone, the first thing you'll want to do is to set up a couple of "In memory of" acknowledgment mailing templates, one for the donor and another for those who should be notified (if available). In all, three constituent records are required to acknowledge memorial/honorary gifts:

  • One for the donor
  • One for the deceased
  • One for those who will receive acknowledgments on behalf of the deceased

The graphic below shows an example of how these records can be related to one another.

Set up the acknowledgment templates

Please refer to this article for details on how to set up an acknowledgment letter template.

The template you use to send an acknowledgment letter to your donor is different from a typical acknowledgment letter template in that you can use a special field to reference the constituent being memorialized: [[gifts.ack.mem.honorary_name]]. This field pulls in the Honorary Name (a field from the Name Information section of the constituent details page) for the deceased constituent. If Honorary Name is not defined for the deceased constituent, it will pull their first and last names combined.

In your acknowledgment template for the donor, the sentence describing their donation might look like this:

Thank you for your donation of [[gifts.ack.amount]] in memory of [[gifts.ack.mem.honorary_name]].

Secondly, you will want to set up a template that can be mailed to the deceased constituent's family, if you have this information available. In this template, you won't refer to gift amounts but rather to the number of donations you've received in memory of the deceased (in the current batch) and the names of the constituents who donated.

In that template, you might include a phrase like:

We wanted to let you know that we have received [[gifts.ack.donor.count_phrase]] in memory of [[gifts.ack.mem.honorary_name]], from [[gifts.ack.donor.names]].

In cases where just one gift has been received, this would read:

We wanted to let you know that we have received one donation in memory of John Smith, from John Doe.

In cases where multiple gifts have been received, it might read:

We wanted to let you know that we have received three donations in memory of John Smith from John Doe, George Green, and James Smith.

You also have the option to include the donor names and addresses in a table by using the merge field named [[gifts.ack.donor.addresses]].

Define who should receive memorial acknowledgments

For each deceased constituent, you can flag any related constituent to receive memorial acknowledgments. To do so, add or edit the relationships for the deceased constituent, and check off the Send memorial acknowledgements to ...? check box for each related constituent who should receive memorial acknowledgments.

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If the deceased is part of a joint household record, you will need to split that record into two records in order to generate the appropriate memorial acknowledgments. The easiest way to do this is to "clone" the record and then edit the original and the cloned records as appropriate. For more on that process, please see Managing data for deceased constituents.

Add the donation

Enter the donation into LGL using the standard gift entry process, making sure you also add a related "In memory of" gift that is connected to the deceased constituent. Also make sure you set that gift to be acknowledged using the appropriate template (see the “Set up the acknowledgment templates” section earlier in this article):

When you save this form, both gifts (the main donation and the related in-memory-of gift) will be added to their respective acknowledgment queues (see the “Generate the acknowledgment letters” section later in this article for more on how the acknowledgment queue works).

Acknowledge honorary gifts

Adding and acknowledging gifts in honor of a constituent is similar to acknowledging memorial gifts, but you send acknowledgment letters to the donor and to the constituent being honored, rather than notifying the honoree’s relatives.

Set up the templates

You’ll set up two templates, one for the donor and one for the honoree.

In the template to the donor, you can use the field [[gifts.ack.hon.honorary_name]], which pulls in the Honorary Name for the honoree constituent, if defined, or the first and last name in their constituent record if the honoree name is not defined. Here is an example of how you can use this merge field in your letter:

Thank you for your donation of [[gifts.ack.amount]] in honor of [[gifts.ack.hon.honorary_name]].

Another option is to include a table of the names and addresses, which you can do using this merge field: [[gifts.ack.donor.addresses]].

In the template for the letter that can be mailed to the honoree, you won't refer to gift amounts but rather to the number of donations you've received in their honor (in the current batch) and the names of the constituents who donated. Here’s an example of how that sentence might look in your letter template:

We wanted to let you know that we have received [[gifts.ack.donor.count_phrase]] in your honor from [[gifts.ack.donor.names]].

When multiple gifts in honor of the same constituent appear in one batch, the names of those donors will be formatted into a sentence.

Add the donation

Now you can enter the gift into LGL using the standard gift entry process, making sure you add a related "In honor of" gift that is connected to the constituent being honored:

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Generate the acknowledgment letters

Once you’ve added your acknowledgment template/s to all memorial/honorary gifts you want to acknowledge in this batch, the letters will be available on the Mailings > Acknowledgments page. You can access/print honorary/memorial acknowledgments just as you would any other acknowledgment. See the Generate and send acknowledgment letters article for details.

A lighter-weight approach

You may not want to create records for the deceased/honoree. Perhaps the donor is making a gift in honor of someone who themselves never had any connection to your organization. Or, in the case of a person making a gift in honor of their beloved pet, you may not want to create a constituent record for the pet.

For any of these cases, we recommend using the Gift Note field to capture an “in memory of” or "in honor of" message that you can then include in the acknowledgment letter you send to the donor. If you want to send a letter to the honoree as well, you would need to do that outside of LGL (though you can always upload a copy as a file in the donor's constituent record if you like).

In your acknowledgment template for the donor, the sentence describing their donation might look like:

Thank you for your donation of [[gifts.ack.amount]] [[gifts.ack.note]].

If your gift note contains the phrase "in memory of Tootsie", then the acknowledgment letter would read:

Thank you for your donation of $100 in memory of Tootsie.

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