Add receipt numbers to a year-end mailing

In this article:


Overview

We know from our Canadian customers that some nonprofits send numbered receipts only at the end of the year. Unfortunately, the Receipt Number feature in LGL will not fulfill that purpose if you use the LGL Acknowledgments process to send thank you mailings during the year, because this process allows you to send only one acknowledgment per gift.

Luckily, there is a solution. It involves a few extra steps, but it does allow you to generate numbered acknowledgment letters at the end of the year.

First, please note the difference between an acknowledgment mailing and a general mailing. An acknowledgment mailing has to be connected to a specific gift (or gifts). A general mailing does not have that requirement. 

For the end-of-year approach, you'll use a general mailing. You'll also use an appeal. The reason for using an appeal is that you can add a custom field to the appeal and pull that into your mailing. In this case, the custom field is used to establish the receipt number for each recipient.

Creating an end-of-year mailing with receipt numbers

Step 1: Create the appeal with the custom field

Go to Fundraising > Appeals, and add a new appeal. In the example below, our appeal is called End of year receipts.

Click the Customize button and add an attribute. In our example, the attribute is called Receipt number.

Step 2: Populate your appeal with donors who need to receive end-of-year receipts

We need to add the donors to the appeal. You can do that from within the appeal using a search for everyone with a gift date in the current year.

But you will also need to generate an export so that you can Import the receipt numbers to the custom appeal attribute. Your export doesn't need too many fields, really just the LGL Constituent ID, a name field, the name of the appeal, and the receipt number. 

In the Preview step, your screen should look like this:

Note that the Receipt number field has not yet been populated. But we're including it in our export to make it easier to generate the file we will need to import.

In Excel, or another spreadsheet program, you now populate the Receipt number column with the receipt numbers you want included in your letters. If the receipt you sent last was numbered 1001, for example, you would start with 1002 and increment each line by one. (In Excel, if you populate the first couple of cells, you can drag the numbers down and Excel will automatically increment each row by one.)

Now you can import this file. 

You don't need to map the "Sort Name" field. We included that to keep track of who each donor is. The critical thing to notice is that you have to tell the Flex Importer which appeal you're importing to, so that you can map to the custom attribute in that appeal.

Step 3: Generate your receipt letters

Now it's time to create the mailing that pulls in the receipt numbers you uploaded. Here are the steps:

A. Start a mailing from within the appeal. It's critical that the mailing is tied to your appeal in order for you to use the custom field in your mailing.

B. Edit the content of your letter and insert the merge field [[appeal.Receipt number]]. Literally the first term here is "appeal"; don't insert the name of your appeal there, just use the term "appeal" itself. After the period, the second term refers to the name of your custom attribute, in this case "Receipt number".

Here's a simplified example of what your letter might look like:

	[[date]]

	[[address_block]]

	Dear [[salutation]],

	Thank you for your total giving this year of [[gifts.2016.total]].

	This is your official receipt. Receipt number: [[appeal.Receipt number]]

	Sincerely,
	Executive Director

After stepping through the mailing, you can see a preview, like this:

Combining acknowledgments and end-of-year receipts

Perhaps you send some donors acknowledgments with receipt numbers during the year, but for other donors (such as monthly recurring donors) you want to use the end-of-year approach.

You can do that. The key thing to know is that the LGL system-generated receipt numbers will automatically increment to the next number each time it creates an acknowledgment. But it won't know about the numbers you are managing manually through the process described earlier in this article. Therefore, after you run your end-of-year receipt mailing, you should edit the number that you want LGL to use for the next system-generated receipt. You can set this number in the Settings tab, under Gift settings:

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