Easier Category Entry in DONATION with Autocomplete

Hello again DONATION beta testers and blog readers. I’m hoping some of you can test release 5.04 before it goes out, by downloading and installing the beta test (pre-test) version from https://www.software4nonprofits.com/pretest.htm.

The big change in this version is about the entry of donation categories and donor categories, to make things easier, especially for users who have lots of categories.

Previously you could not type in those fields, but pressing the first letter of a category would bring up the first category starting with that letter, and pressing it repeatedly would bring up successive categories starting with that letter.

Now it has “autocomplete”, where you can type in the field and it shows you matches to what you have typed so far, with the part you haven’t typed highlighted so it will be replaced if you keep typing. So for instance if you had donation categories Garden and General, typing “G” would bring up Garden, and adding “e” would change it to General.

You can still use the drop-down list, or use the arrow keys to move through the categories (perhaps after typing the first part of a category name) even without dropping down the list.

For those of you who also use our ACCOUNTS bookkeeping program, we plan to make the same changes eventually to the selection of accounts in the various places in the program where you can do that.

Please let us know any testing results or comments that you have, either by replying to this blog, or by direct emails back to info@software4nonprofits.com.

Thank you!

Renaming Versions of DONATION

Hello again DONATION advisors. We are thinking seriously about renaming two of the versions of DONATION (and ACCOUNTS), and we invite your comments.

First, we are clear that we should rename the Standalone version to “Standard”. That version really doesn’t necessarily stand alone, because several people can have it installed on their computers and share one or more databases, usually through that version’s Cloud Storage Service. So it seems more appropriate to just call it Standard, since it is the version that the majority of our users use.

We also want to rename the Web Network Version, because too many potential users misunderstand and think it is a true web application, run through a web browser. It is not – it is installed Windows software. We originally called it “Web Network” because the program’s database is on our server, and thus accessed over the Internet.

Unfortunately we are really not clear what the best choice is for renaming that version. We don’t want any name that includes words like “web”, “Internet” or “cloud” or obvious synonyms for them, because all of them could lead to the same confusion, of users thinking it’s a true web application.

Options we are considering include:

  • Remote Database Version: this seems fairly good, but still implies something similar to what our Local Network Client version does (which accesses a database that is somewhat remote – namely on another computer on the same local network).
  • Hosted Database Version: this is quite accurate, but we are afraid many of our users who are not very technical will not be familiar with the concept of software being “hosted”. In addition, “hosted software” often means that the entire program runs on a server, not just having the database on the server.
  • Server Database Version: again quite accurate, but could be confused with our Local Network Server Version, especially because they both include the word “Server”.

Please let us know if you have preferences between those options, or other suggestions! Thank you.

Spelling Checking the DONATION Comments Field

Hello again DONATION advisors. If adding spell checking in the Donor Comments field would be helpful to you, please let us know. (There’s no need to reply if this doesn’t interest you.)

Most likely it would only be done on the Save of the donor record, and might require you to have Microsoft Word installed, since doing the spell check invisibly through Word would be the cheapest way for us to do this. (Other products for spell checking cost at least hundreds of dollars.)

As always you can reply by a Comment on this blog, or a direct email reply. Thank you!

DONATION new Simple Filtering

Hello again DONATION blog readers – long time no post!

We have what we believe is a great new version of an existing DONATION feature – a much simpler to use Filter capability. For those who aren’t familiar with them, filters are used to restrict the rows shown on a report. An example would be restricting a report showing individual donations to show only those that are at least $100.

We would very much appreciate it if some of you could test it before the official release. You get it as an upgrade from our usual Beta Test page, http://www.software4nonprofits.com/pretest.htm.  As well as testing the feature, comments on the revised Help page (and the new additional Help page for the Advanced Filter, linked from the first one) would be most appreciated.

Even better would be if you can spare maybe 20 to 30 minutes for us to do a remote control with you and watch you trying to use the feature for the first time, to see whether it is really as much clearer and simpler than the previous version as we think. That would not be a test of you – it’s testing the program! We would even do the upgrade for you.  And such a test would be completely appropriate whether you have never used filters before, or are already expert with them.

If you are willing to do such a remote control and test of the feature, please email us to let us know when would work well for you. Generally any time in the afternoon Eastern Time on a weekday is best for us, but we can also do mornings, evenings and weekends.

As usual if you test it yourself, you can leave your comments as a Comment on the blog page, or by direct email to us.

Thank you so much.

Opinions on new Software4Nonprofits Home Page?

We have updated the home page http://www.software4nonprofits.com to include new sections with an overview of the pricing for each version for each of our two programs, and an overview of the differences between each version.

We’re interested in your thoughts on the changes, and our specific wording.

It was tricky to do this, because we don’t want to say too much (people won’t read it) but also don’t want to say too little so that it will be misleading. Each new section has links at the bottom for further details.

Thank you in advance for any reactions, which you can send as comments to the blog, or just by direct email replies.

DONATION Receipting Improvements Testing

Hello DONATION beta testers. I’m writing to ask whether you could put in a bit of time beta testing an important new release, 4.01, before we officially release it to everyone.

Most of the changes in this version are about receipting. One that will appeal to everyone is that there is now a Correct button above the rows of donations, that allows you to make changes to an already-receipted donation, and immediately create the corrected receipt including your changes. This replaces the previous clumsy approach of deleting the donation, re-entering it with the desired corrections, then creating a corrected receipt.

Most of the other changes are aimed only at Canadian users, because they relate to the fact that we unfortunately only recently discovered that donations with Advantage (where the donor receives something in exchange for their donation, and you fill in the Eligible Amount field) need to have a description of that Advantage printed on the receipt. That is now possible in this version, though there were a surprising number of changes needed in our programming to achieve that!

All Canadian receipts also include the new CRA Charities web address (English or French).

One thing to keep in mind about testing these things is that if you create fake new donations and receipts for them, or new corrected ones (for Canadians), you can undo most of those changes by deleting the new receipts with Receipt -> Delete Range. Just be sure not to delete any real ones you need to keep!

And don’t worry, we are still working on the Web Network Version that we surveyed you all about in September.

You can download this version from the usual Pretest page at http://www.software4nonprofits.com/pretest.htm. That page has a complete list of the changes (taken from the Revision History page in the program’s Help).

Please let us know of any testing results (positive or negate) that you have, either by Replies on this blog post, or direct email replies.

Important DONATION Testing Needed

Hello DONATION beta testers.

The program that we create DONATION with, PowerBuilder, has a significant new release, and we have created a new version of DONATION with it. Although you should see almost no changes in DONATION due to this, for us it’s a big deal, and as such, we have jumped the version number of DONATION up to 4.00.

Although we have done significant testing ourselves on this new version, the only way to be sure it will work well for everyone is to have many users test it. So PLEASE if at all possible, try it out, by downloading and installing it from the page:


Unlike most beta test updates that we put on this page, this one needs to be done with a full installation program, which means you need to know whether you are running the Standalone, Lite, Network Server or Network Client version, and download and install that version from this page. If you aren’t sure which version you are running on this computer, use the Help -> About DONATION menu option in your current installation of DONATION to find out.

If you encounter any issues that you think may be new problems, please inform us of them as soon as possible, and we will fix them as quickly as possible. If something is a real problem for you and we do not think we will be able to fix it quickly, you can always revert to the existing version 3.86, built with the older version of PowerBuilder, by downloading and installing from the normal DOWNLOAD page:


As always, you can send us your experiences by replying to this blog post online, or by directly emailing us. In this unusual case, it would be good to hear from you even if you try this and don’t observe any problems, just so we can have some notion of how many of you have tried it.

In case you are also using our ACCOUNTS bookkeeping program, there will be a similar beta test of the new version of it within the next few days.

Many thanks.

Bank Deposit Slips and Cash Counting

Hello DONATION advisors. I’m writing to ask about bank deposit slips, which as you know aren’t currently explicitly included in DONATION. (Some users have found that the Bank Deposit Report in the program can be accepted as a deposit slip, but we are doubtful that would work for all financial institutions.)

Your answers to each of the following questions will help us decide what to do about adding such a feature (or not doing so!).

So my first question to you is, can you find out whether your bank would accept a report, in place of their official bank deposit slip, that included the same information, but possibly not with the same layout? That would mean it would have to include a list of the cheques (or other non-cash, such as money orders), plus a count of each type of coin and bill, and totals of coins, bills, and cheques, and a grand total.

Are we missing anything from that list of what would have to be on a report that might be accepted in place of a standard bank deposit slip?

Even if your bank would not accept such a report, would having it help your processes, since you could copy from it into the official bank deposit slip?

This would clearly require adding a window in the program for counting and adding up coins and bills. Where do you see that being called from? The Batch Entry window (if you use it)? The Bank Deposit window? Both?

Would you see a need for those counts of coins and bills that go into that deposit slip being saved in the database, so they can be reprinted in the future along with the current standard Bank Deposit Report? Or would you just need to do that as a one-time printout, and then saving the information is irrelevant?

Thank you in advance for your input! Given that there are a number of questions here, it would probably be best for you to reply directly by email, rather than trying to put all of your answers into a comment on this blog post.

Canadian Gift in Kind Receipts

If you aren’t in Canada, this blog isn’t for you! (We do at some point need to look at special Gift in Kind receipts for the U.S.A., but sorry, we’re not there yet.)

Currently Canadian users have an option (in Maintenance -> Receipt Options) whether or not to use a distinct format for Gift in Kind (GIK) receipts. However, the CRA requires a distinct format, with different information and rules (like including on the receipt a description of what the gift actually was, and only including one GIK per receipts).

So we are thinking that Canadian users should be forced to use the distinct GIK receipts, and this should be a change enforced by the next release of DONATION.

The only downside I see to this is for users who weren’t using the distinct receipts, but were using the mail-merge version of the receipts and had customized them with additional wording etc. They would then have to make those same customizations on the mail-merge GIK receipt template. But that seems very doable – you can cut and paste changes from the regular to the GIK receipt template, in the built-in mail merge editor.

For regular receipts you had already created that include Gift in Kind donations, if you ever need to reprint them or correct them etc., you could still do so normally, but using the main Receipt menu options, not the Receipt -> Gift in Kind submenu options. Of course, those receipts would still not be fully adhering to CRA rules. Alternatively, you could delete any GIK donations included in regular receipts, issue a corrected regular receipt excluding those now deleted donations, then re-enter the GIK donations and issue them properly as GIK receipts.

Does anyone see any clear objection to this change – forcing turning on of using distinct GIK receipts for all Canadian users? Since it’s a CRA requirement, I really can’t imagine a justification for that, but I’m open to input. (Of course this would not affect users who never have GIK donations!)

Thank you. As always, you can reply by commenting on the blog, or just emailing us back directly.

How to Help Users Find Help Topics (2)

Further to yesterday’s post at https://donationusers.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/find-help, here is the messagebox I have added, as a new Help -> Search by Topic or Keyword menu option:


Any thoughts, particularly suggestions for improving it? Thanks to those of you who commented yesterday.

For your information, this change has been released, in version 3.82b of DONATION, and also in version 1.39 of our ACCOUNTS program.