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The first item on the agenda is how you want to notify donors of their giving statistics for the year. Probably the easiest way is through a letter to the donor that includes the GiftList function, or the GiftTotal function. Either way can work well, depending on the level of detail you want to provide the donor.

The terms "This Year" and "Last Year" in FundRaiser Basic refer to the Fiscal year, not necessarily the calendar year.

The GiftTotal function will simply put the total dollar amount for a date range that you specify when entering the function. The GiftList function, on the other hand, will list each donation individually for the date range specified and can, optionally, include the gift notes and gift source code. Using these functions is preferable to using the field "Total This Year".

The two above functions are date sensitive whereas the "Total This Year" field is based on your organization's fiscal year. The terms "This Year" and "Last Year" in FundRaiser Basic refer to the Fiscal year, not necessarily the calendar year. They also automatically update themselves whenever you add or edit a gift. Since you will certainly be printing your End-of-Year letters in the new year, if you also add donations received in the new year before printing those letters, the "This Year" total will reflect those donor's giving in the new year giving totals instead of their most recently completed year totals.

If you already have a letter that you used successfully last year, then all you need to do is re-enter the GiftList or GiftTotal function, so that you can modify the date range from last year to this.

Double-check that you have all of your gifts from the year entered into the system before you print your End-of-Year letters, too. It sounds like an obvious matter, but it will be much easier to print letters for all donors, rather than having to go back and print letters one-at-a-time for those that were somehow overlooked.

When the first of the year rolls around, make sure that you run the File menu choice of "Recalculate Giving Totals". This process will keep your "This Year" figures correct, starting everyone's record at zero for the year until you enter that first gift for the new year.

Planning ahead, and getting the pieces in place early will also allow you the time to do a "test run", to assure yourself that all is as it should be and there are no last minute surprises.

Resources

How to produce Tax End-of-Year letters

What can Tax End-of-Year letters do for you?

What needs to be in your Tax End-of-Year letters