Beta Test version 3.23, with email mail merge receipts

A beta test version of DONATION version 3.23 is now available for testing. If you have a bit of time, I would very much appreciate it if you could install it, try out the new features as appropriate, and give me any comments you have, preferably by Replying to this post. Even if you don’t try it out, comments on the changes listed below will still be appreciated.

Before I go on to that, I only received one reply to my last post, asking for thoughts about emailing mail merge letters. If you do have any thoughts, even if they are “I would never want to do that”, I’d really appreciate hearing from you, because I am still very unsure on what to do for that feature.

As usual, you can download and install the beta test version 3.23 from the page www.software4nonprofits.com/pretest.htm.

The biggest change in version 3.23 is that when viewing receipts created with mail merge, the editor now has a File à Email/Print menu option and corresponding toolbar button, allowing you to email those receipts to those donors who have email addresses, and optionally print the rest. (The was previously only available for the built-in receipts, not the mail merge ones.)

If you want to test this feature, you first have to switch to mail merge receipts  (or, recreate receipts with the Letters menu options). To be sure not to send real emails to real donors during your testing, go to Maintenance à Receipt Options, and check the “Email receipts only to yourself, for testing” checkbox. I would also recommend reading the Help topic on Emailing Receipts.

The other changes and new features in this version, since 3.22f, are as follows: 

  • Moved all backup and restore menu options from the Database menu to a new Backup/Restore menu, because the Database menu was getting too crowded!
  • Added a new Database à Split Donor menu option, for making a duplicate of a donor record, in order to spit it (e.g. into separate records for spouses).
  • Reorganized the Maintenance à Receipt Options window into more logical groupings, and made it disable fields that are not relevant if you have selected to use mail merge receipts. Also, added buttons for editing the template file for mail merge receipts, and mail merge gift in kind receipts, if you are using mail merge receipts. (This saves having to go to Letters à One Letter to do that.)
  • Changed Database à Delete Old Data so that it prompts for the last year of data to be deleted, rather than always deleting up to the 3rd-last year of data in the database.
  • In the editor for mail-merge letters and receipts, added a menu option and toolbar button for inserting an HTML non-breaking space.
  • In that same editor, show the Actions menu option for Edit in Microsoft Word only if Word is installed. Added further Actions menu options and toolbar buttons for Edit in Dreamweaver, Edit in Microsoft Expression Web, and Edit in Microsoft FrontPage (all of which are HTML editors), which appear only if their respective programs are installed.
  • In that same editor, if you edit the document with an external editor using any of the Actions menu options and make changes in that external editor, then when you return to the internal editor in DONATION, you will be prompted to reload the document to see the changes.
  • Added a Help button in the window prompting for a range of receipt numbers for the Receipt à Reprint Range menu option. Also added a Help button  in the window prompting for a range of receipt numbers when you are in Letters à Mass Mailing, you select the Receipt Information option, and click the Merge button.
  • Improved some of the messages that come up if you try to create receipts but there are no unreceipted donations, to clarify that you can reprint those receipts with the Receipt à Reprint Range menu option.
  • In the Evaluation version of the paid versions of DONATION (i.e. before you get your license key), it used to be that the Receipt menu options other than Current Donor Sample were disabled (greyed out) so you could not use them, because that is the limitation of the Evaluation version. Now, the options are enabled, but if you try to use them, they give a message explaining that they are not available until you pay and are licensed. Current Donor Sample still works, as before. This does not apply to the Lite version, which does not require licenses, but has other limitations on which Receipt menu options are available.
  • Added some details to the help topic on Validating your Database on how to fix things, in the extremely unlikely event of a validation error. Also, in that event, the program will prompt you to read that help topic.

Thank you in advance for any testing you can do and comments you have to offer, good or bad of course!

2 thoughts on “Beta Test version 3.23, with email mail merge receipts

  1. Dan: I have just learned that there are pending changes to the privacy laws in a number of Provinces and States that are concerning the disemination of personal data via email. These changes have been implemented in Nevada and it is expected to follow in other jurisdictions very soon. What it means, basically, is that financial information cannot be transmittted unless fully encrypted. This has caused a buzz in the accounting world and I am certain it will include things like the receipts being issued from Donation.
    Just making you aware of a situation which may have an impact on the way receipts are prepared and distributed. When I learn more I will let you know.

    • OK, thanks for this information Clyde. The PDF receipts are protected from modification with a password, but they are certainly not encrypted. If it becomes clear that this privacy law would affect charitable receipts, that will affect a whole lot of organizations and web sites that issue electronic receipts! To my mind, it then becomes unrealistic, because you would have to somehow separately communicate to the donors how to decrypt their receipts. So, you would just not use the email receipts function in that case.

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