Quickly generate a simple annual statement in your account

In this article:


Overview of the Annual Statements feature

NOTE: The Annual Statements feature does not provide comprehensive stewardship or acknowledgment information for any non-monetary support your organization received from donors over the past year (such as volunteer time, soft credits, or in-kind giving). If you want to provide an annual statement to in-kind donors, for example, please refer to this information for further guidance instead of using the Annual Statements feature.

Annual statements in Little Green Light are intended to help your donors with their tax preparation, so this feature is built around monetary gifts and the potentially deductible amounts of those gifts. The feature allows you to create an annual statement simply and quickly, addressed to each of your organization’s “can send mail” or “can send email” donors who gave during the selected calendar year. 

The process automatically pulls donors who gave a gift to your organization for the selected year into a mailing and email, based on the status of their contact information. Once you have updated the placeholder text for the mailing and email so that it suits your purposes, you can then download and mail the letters and send the email from LGL to provide your donors' annual statement.

Is it possible to customize who will receive the annual gift statement?

No, it is not possible to customize which constituents are pulled into the annual gift statement process using this method, beyond the basics of which ones will receive a mailing and which ones will receive an email. If you want more control over who will receive the mailing or email, you will need to use either or both of the custom methods described in these help articles:

What comprises an LGL annual statement?

These two pillars make up an annual statement: 

  • The donors who should receive the annual statement (the constituents)
  • The letter or email that will be sent to them (the communications)

On the Annual Statements page, once you have generated your annual statement, you’ll see two columns where you can access these items: Constituents and Communications

Once you have generated the annual statement, you’ll be able to change the priority of the segments (if that suits your purpose), add/customize the content of the letter and email you will be sending, and then send them.

NOTE: It is not possible to create additional or different segments for the annual statement. If you want to have more control over the recipients for your annual gift statement mailing or email, you will need to use a general LGL mailing or a general LGL email. You can also follow these instructions to create an annual gift statement (also known as a year-end tax statement) mailing or email.

Which donors are included?

Near the top of the page, you’ll see how many donors you had for the year, broken out in segments by how they can be contacted. 

This account had 30 donors who gave gifts in 2022 with a gift type of “Gift”. This data is presented in an itemized list broken out by which donors can receive mail, which donors can receive email, and which can receive neither. Within these segments are the numbers of donors who can receive only physical mail or only email. 

A note on the use of the term “segments”

Segments are used in LGL Appeals as well as here, but in the context of LGL Annual Statements segments are not buildable or customizable as they are in LGL Appeals. In this context, segments are pre-built and not possible to customize except in their position in terms of priority, which you can change by selecting either the Mail or Email radio button, according to your preference.

Is an annual statement the same as an acknowledgment? 

No. In LGL, annual statements are distinct from acknowledgments, and each has a separate purpose and use.

An acknowledgment is used to immediately acknowledge and thank a donor after they have made a gift to your organization. It is not designed to serve as a full year-end summary letter. Also, it is not possible to create an annual gift statement using an LGL acknowledgment mailing or email. However, you can use a general LGL mailing or general LGL email for this purpose (if you want more control over who among your constituents will be the recipients).

Generate a simple annual statement

To generate your simple annual statement, go to Fundraising > Acknowledgments > Annual Statements. When you view this page for the first time, you’ll see the Generate annual statement for 2022 button shown here. 

You can choose the current year or the previous year to generate your annual gift statements for, by selecting from the “Annual Statement for calendar year” dropdown menu.

Then click the Generate annual statement button to generate your annual statements. The page will refresh with your annual statement data, the relevant segments of the statement, and the mailing and email.

The position of the segments

The segments are set based on the communication tags in the constituent record. To be included in the “Printed statement” segment, a constituent record must have a valid mailing address and must not be tagged with the “do not mail” communication tag or set to “Deceased”. The same requirements exist for those constituents who are included in the “Email statement” segment, except the communication tag can’t be set to “do not email”.

By default, the printed statement is the top priority. Anyone who can receive mail will go into the “Printed statement” segment. Whoever remains and can receive email will go into the “Email statement” segment. Those in the “No mail or email” segment can’t receive mail or email. 

You can change the segment position by selecting the radio button you prefer, as shown here:

NOTE: A constituent's acknowledgment preference has no effect on these values. For example, if their Acknowledgment Preference category is set to "prefers email", this has no effect on whether they are eligible to receive the annual statement by email.

At this point, you can make updates to these constituents’ physical addresses or email addresses, if you have that information. If you do make changes, you will then need to click the Update recipients button to cause the donor records to be included in whatever segment their updated contact information pulls them into. 

The summary is an overview of your donors for the year in question, broken down by how you can communicate with them. 

Whichever segment is in the first position, you should see that the numbers match between who can receive whichever communication and how many are categorized that way in the summary. 

As an example, those who can only receive email are in your email statement, because the email statement by definition doesn’t have precedence. If you change your priority selection, all the constituents who can receive email will receive email, and those who can only receive mail will be left in the printed statement. The statements are mutually exclusive, so constituents who will receive the printed statement won’t receive an email, even if they could receive it, and vice versa.

Use restriction levels to limit who receives print mail

It is fairly common for organizations to want to send physical letters to larger donors (for instance, those who have donated $250 or more during the year) but send email to everyone else. You can accomplish this using the restriction level setting.

Click the Set restriction level button and you'll be able to set the dollar level that separates mail recipients from email recipients. This option is only available if you have prioritized physical mail over email. This restriction uses the donor's total deductible amount, not the total gift amount.

If you use this option to restrict mailings, you will be asked what to do with constituents who cannot receive mail or email. For example, if you have an email address, you can decide if someone like that should receive a physical letter or nothing.

You can update your segments if your donor data changes

As soon as you generate your annual statements, the list of donors in your mailing segments is established. But what if you make additions or edits to your gift records? For example, what if you need to add a donor who was accidentally left out of your database even though they gave during the year? No problem. The Annual Statements feature will detect if there has been a change and will display a button you can click to update the donor list in your mailing segments. 

And, if you have already marked the mailing as "Sent" or have sent the email, that’s fine because the Annual Statements feature will simply create an additional draft mailing to accommodate the new donor.

Working with your letter and email content

Before sending out your annual statement mailing or email, you will need to customize your content for each one–in essence, replacing the default text in LGL with the text and information you want to provide to your donors in your annual statement.

When you update your letter and email text, you’ll be taken through stepped processes that look like an LGL mailing or an LGL email, but they work a little differently because the recipient list and the mailing and email name and category are locked down. When your content is added to both and your gift table is updated and ready, you can download your letters to send them, and you can queue your email for delivery. The article sections below explain how to complete these steps.

Adding your letter content

You can access the content for your annual statement letter and email from the Communications column on your Annual Statements page:

Read instructions for building your email.

For a quick orientation, the first time you land on the Annual Statements page, you can try clicking the Sample button for the mailing. This will download the first five letters from the annual statement, which you can look at if you like. And when you click Review for the mailing, you’ll be taken into step 4 of an LGL mailing. 

Customizing the letter and email content is required in the Annual Statements feature. You wouldn’t want to use the placeholder text that is present by default, because it doesn’t say anything about your organization and doesn't include the sender's name (the email does, but the letter does not). 

Double-check the language about your organization's 501(c)3 status

The draft statement that is included assumes that your organization is a 501(c)3; be sure to remove that language if this is not accurate. This is, in addition, an opportunity to add your organization’s logo to your letter and any other aspects of the communication you want to include.

Add your organization name, EIN, and physical address

You can edit the template for your annual statement to include your organization name, EIN, and physical address.

When you’re ready to customize the mailing’s letter content for your annual statement, click the Edit button:

You’ll be taken to step 2 in the mailing. If your letter content has not yet been customized, you’ll see help text outlined in the screenshot below, prompting you to customize it:

You can use either an MS Word letter or an LGL Simple Editor (PDF) letter for your mailing. Make your selection by clicking the one you want to use:

MS Word Letters

If you select to use an MS Word letter, you can follow these instructions:

  1. Download the existing MS Word file to your computer.
  2. Customize the letter to your needs.
  3. Save the revisions.
  4. Upload the revised MS Word document into your annual statement mailing by clicking the Upload revised file button shown below.
  5. Save the change:

You can read more about working with MS Word letters here.

Once your MS Word letter has been customized and uploaded, the help text on the page will change, as shown here:

LGL Simple Editor (PDF)

When you select the LGL Simple Editor (PDF), your task is to customize the text in the Letter Content pane, as explained in the help text shown here:

You can read more about working with simple LGL letters here.

Now proceed through the additional steps of the mailing. In the final step, click the Download all button to download the document that will contain your letters. 

NOTE: If there are more than 50 letters in your annual statement, instead of a Download button there will be a Generate button that you’ll need to click before you’ll be able to download the mailing.

Adding your email content

To add content to the email version of your annual statement, click the Edit button, as shown below. 

If you’re familiar with sending LGL emails, you’ll recognize this screen. Add your annual statement text to the Email Content pane, clicking the merge fields to the right to select and add them to the text where needed. 

Emails cannot be sent prior to January 1, 2023, but starting on that day you will be able to send your annual statement emails by clicking the Review button.

When you are ready to send your email, navigate to the email’s fourth step and click the Queue email for delivery button:

Working with the annual statement gift table

This is the merge field you can use to pull the gift table into your mailing and email:

[[annual_statement.gift_list]]

This merge field is included in the default content for the mailing and for the email. You can leave it in place when you add your organization’s content, or you can replace or delete it. If you delete it accidentally, you can easily add it back by either typing it into your MS Word document or clicking the merge field so that it is inserted into your letter content or email in your Letter Content or Email Content pane.

The default view of the gift table has two columns. You have the option to add additional columns for gift campaign, fund, appeal, event, category, or payment type, which you can add by clicking the relevant checkboxes to the right.

How to add the gift table to your annual statement

Here’s where to add the annual statement merge fields, depending on the communication type that you’re adding them to:

In your mailing, if you’re using an MS Word document for your content:

In your mailing, if you’re using a simple LGL letter:

In your email:

Including in-kind donors in your annual statement

The LGL Annual Statements feature does not include in-kind donors or in-kind gifts because it is focused on providing the deductible amounts of monetary gifts to help donors with their tax preparation. We believe the best practice in this case is that it is not the place of a nonprofit organization to state the deductible amounts of in-kind gifts.

That said, we know many organizations are keen to share in-kind gift information in annual statements. You can accomplish this through the use of LGL smart fields.

In brief, a smart field allows you to define a set of gifts (for example, in-kind gifts given last year) and then pull in gift count and a gift summary table via merge fields. For more information and instructions, please read the following help article:

Use smart fields in a custom year-end tax statement or mailing