Donation Entry Changes

Hi all. Sorry for two posts in quick succession!

Recently, I have found out that several churches never found the One Date Donation Entry window, for quick entry of lots of donations all made on one day (e.g. the Sunday collection). 

I also had a couple of bizarre support calls, where the described problem was that each week’s donations disappeared (from both the main window and all reports) after they entered the next week’s donations. It turned out that the users were entering the donations on the main widow, and rather than pressing F2 (or clicking New) to create a new line for the new donation, they were overwriting the fields from the previous week’s donation each time, thus replacing the old donation with the new one!

To address both of these concerns, I have come up with a set of changes/improvements to make to donation entry, which I want to run by you, and also ask you about a couple of naming issues. Here are the changes:

  • Remove the New (F2) button.
  • Whenever a new donor’s donations are displayed, an empty row for a new donation will immediately be added (as if you pressed F2 or the New button in the current program, but without putting you into edit mode, so you don’t have to use Save or Cancel before you can do anything else!). As usual, the default date and category will already be filled in to this empty row.
  • It will go into edit mode when you enter the Amount field, or change any other field on that new empty row or any other row, and then you will have to press Save or Cancel to continue as usual.
  • The menu option File -> New -> Donation  F2 will be renamed to File -> New -> Donation (Edit empty row)  F2, for clarity. This means that although there is no longer a New (F2) button above the donations, those who are used to using F2 to get into editing a new donation can still do so. (Or, just click the mouse into the new donation.) All this menu option or F2 will do will be to put you into the Date Received field for the empty row for a new donation, rather than adding another empty row.
  • There will be a new option on the Donation tab of Maintenance -> Main Window Options for the donation Sort Order, choosing between “Oldest to Newest” (the current behaviour, which will be the default) and “Newest  to Oldest”.  (This is not directly related, but I’ve had it requested several times, and personally I think Newest to Oldest maybe more helpful.)
  • The new empty row that’s added for inserting new donations will be at the end of the list when the sort order is “Newest to Oldest”, and at the start of the list when it is “Oldest to Newest”
  • Where the New (F2) button used to be, there will be a new button, tentatively labelled Batch, that runs File -> One Date Donation Entry.
  • File -> One Date Donation Entry will be renamed to something else, for clarity.

So first of all, how do these changes seem to you? I think they will actually simplify data entry of donations on the main window, and help avoid stupid errors like that described in the 2nd paragraph above. (Errors like that could cause some users trying out DONATION to think it’s buggy and give up on it, without even asking me what’s going on!)

I’m not entirely happy about the inconsistency these changes add, where there’s a New (F3) button for adding a new Donor, but adding a new Donation is automatic and doesn’t need a button. But given the layout, it makes sense, because obviously you have to display the existing donor when you select it from the list.

I want your assistance to help think of wording changes, though. The new button, that I said was tentatively called “Batch”, has to have a shortish one-word name so it fits into the current design, without taking up a lot more screen space.  Any better ideas than “Batch”? I’m hoping that by having this button in the row of buttons above the Donation details, users in Churches who never found File -> One Date Donation Entry will at least think to try this, and then see what they were missing! 

And what about a clearer name for One Date Donation Entry on the menu? I have considered “Quick Batch Entry” (to tie in with the “Batch” button), and “Sunday Collection Entry” (though I think that’s too specific to Christian churches, and not even all of them have their main services on Sundays). Any other ideas? I could go a bit longer, like “Quick Batch Donation Entry”, or “Sunday Collection Batch Entry”, or “Daily Collection Batch Entry”? What’s your preference?


15 thoughts on “Donation Entry Changes

  1. I like Quick Batch Entry..

    I use regular entry because the deposit slips I enter from are not alphabetized and finding the name from the first few characters is so easy. I don’t like to go to mouse when entering data, so I think my process will be unchanged if I understand correctly.

    I do like idea of reverse sorting being an option.

  2. When I said I liked Quick Batch Entry.. I meant as a label.. not that I like to use it.

  3. As you know Dan, I am a big fan of the “One Date Donation Entry” feature –I think the change to “Quick Batch Entry, and the positioning you are suggesting, would be a great asset to people who are not familiar with the feature, and have numerous entries to make under one date would be very beneficial.

    All of the changes you have mentioned above seem to me to be very positive changes for the program.

  4. A few further thoughts and changes after some email discussion and work on my part:
    – the Batch button will actually be named “Batch Entry”
    – the One Date Donation Entry menu option will be renamed to “Quick Batch Donation Entry”
    – another new option in the Donation tab of Maintenance -> Main Window Options will be “Initial Cursor Location after pressing F2”, which can be set to either Date Received (the current behaviour) or Amount.

    One thing that concerns me is people not finding out about F2, since otherwise you have to use the mouse to enter a new donation. I don’t want to add a visible button for it, because there’s nowhere to put it. Any other bright ideas?

  5. I’ve been using the “One Date Donation Entry” for a long time, in fact, I found that to be the saving feature of the DONATION program. I’ve never had a problem with it and love using it.

    The new features you list seem fine to me. You get used to changes and before long it becomes old hat. I’m wondering if the new method of entering a new donation on the main window will eliminate the rare occasions of some of the old donations not showing up on the screen but the line for the new donation does show up. I was just trying to make that happen, but, of course, it won’t (but it did happen again relatively recently).

    I’m lost on the sort order. It seems to me that the present sort order is from Oldest to Newest as I see the oldest donation at the top of the list and the newest at the bottom. And a new line follows at the bottom when you press F2. Am I missing something? But your option to give it to us sorting in either direction may make me understand it.

    Yes, go ahead and add all the features you list above. I’m eager to see them. Oh, by the way, my contribution for calling the “One Date Donation Entry” is to call it “List Entry” (short and sweet – at least I know what it means).

    • Whoops! The reason you were confused about what I said about the sort orders is that I had them reversed in the bullet point about them. I will correct that right after posting this comment!
      So, “Oldest to Newest” is the way the current program works, and “Newest to Oldest” will be the new option.

      • In a way, you were right the first time with the sort order. If you look at the window that comes up, you would see the newest set of 6 entries and scrolling up the list would be scrolling up to the oldest. But I was thinking of all the entries from the first one of the year to the last. Not a big deal, and I’m sure you will make it clear in the new update.

  6. Frankly, I haven’t experienced the problems that led to the proposed changes, but anything that improved transparency is for the better, I suppose. As has already been stated, I was confused by the bullet about the location of the blank line for new donation, but you’ve already explained that it was reversed. I prefer using the mouse to the F keys and I suspect most others do too – one thing that really bugs me about some other programs is that when you accidentally hit a key when you didn’t mean to, unexpected things happen and you can get lost trying to rectify it. Hopefully this never becomes an issue in this program.

    • Thanks, Lukas. I’m just the opposite to you – I always try to use the keyboard instead of the mouse, unless it is way too many keystrokes, because it’s faster.

      In this specific case, I don’t think having F2 “unexpectedly” put you into the new empty row for a new donation would be a big deal – you could just click out of there with the mouse if that wasn’t what you wanted.

  7. Although I’ve never had an issue such as the ones you described, I’m all for making things simpler and more transparent. The one change I do question is the change from “One date donation entry” which, to me , is a perfect description of what that mode does. Why change?

    One thing that I would like to see incorporated would be some method of copying a previous batch to a new date. This would be particularly useful for entering automatic pre-authorized donations using direct debit from the donor’s bank. In those cases the donors and amounts are often the same month after month. I would love to be able to bring up such a batch from the previous month, change the date to this month, make any edits (people no longer there, new donors or amount changes) and then ‘click’ to enter the revised batch.

    Perhaps this should be the subject of a different thread.

    • Peter, you handle recurring donations with the existing Database -> Import Donations menu option. You can have the donations in an Excel file, touch them up each month (including changing the dates), export to a Tab-separated text file, and import into DONATION.

  8. I could not see the point of having to use F2 to enter a donation for a new donor so going directly to editing a blank line would be an improvement. I would prefer to be pointing to the date field rather than the amount field as I do not necessarily create a new donor on the same day as the donation actually occurred.
    I prefer sort order oldest/newest.
    the Batch button will actually be named “Batch Entry” – OK
    “Quick Batch Donation Entry” – OK although I think import donations feature is more of a batch process.

    • The reason I’m proposing to rename “One Date Donation Entry” is that some people have told me it’s not obvious what it means, so I was looking for something more obvious. If I left its name alone, I really can’t think of anything shortish that would be suitable for the name for the new button, that would tie in with the menu option’s name. I’m open to other ideas …

      Obviously, you don’t have to use the option to switch to going to the Amount field when you press F2 (and you no longer have to use F2 at all – you can just click the mouse into the desired field, if you prefer). The point about going to the Amount field, however, is if you are using the main window to enter a number of donations for various donors for the same date in a row (e.g. NOT using the Quick Batch Donation Entry window or whatever it’s called), after the first one, the date will always be correct already, so you don’t need to bother with that field.

  9. I maintain two ministry databases – one for a church body and one for a food-bank type of charity.

    For the Church database, the most useful feature in DONATION is the “One date donation entry” and it doesn’t matter what you call it, although “One Date Batch” seems to make the most sense to me.

    For the Foodbank database, a “same day” batch rarely happens except for our annual fundraisers. Thus, for that entity, most of the donations must be entered via the main screens. The most often-used function here is the addition of new donors. Many, if not most, donors are “one-shot”, so there is a great number to be added regularly.

    I am a great fan of the keyboard – grew up that way in the early days of computing when mice where unheard of. Two of the reasons I like DONATION are the simplicity and the ability to use the keyboard to do everything – its much faster than mousing.

    I like your ideas as given in the previous discussions, especially the ability to set preferences such as sort order and which field your cursor ends up in when entering a new donation.

  10. Pingback: DONATION v. 3.22 Beta1 w/ Donation Entry Changes « Software For Nonprofits Blog

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