Test version 3.23c – Non-Receiptable Categories, Custom Report date prompting

Hello folks. I’ve just uploaded version 3.23c Beta1 to the www.software4nonprofits.com/pretest.htm page, for your testing enjoyment!

I’ve actually already uploaded the live version of 3.23b to the regular DOWNLOAD page, and I was going to announce that to all paid-up users today, but I got a brainstorm for a few new improvements yesterday, so I made those improvements, and am giving you a chance to test them before I announce version 3.23c to all users, probably on Thursday morning. (The users other than blog readers haven’t even been informed of version 3.23 yet either.)

The biggest change is the ability to have donation categories that are non-receiptable, by having their description be “Non-Receiptable” (duh!), or start with “NR ” or end with ” NR”, as in “NR General” or “General NR”. This means that by doing that, you can still use the Cheque # / Paid By field for its normal use (such as to enter a cheque number), for non-receiptable donations. The setting of donor categories to “Non-Receiptable” to mark an entire donor as always non-receiptable has also been enhanced by allowing ones starting with “NR ” or ending with ” NR”.

I had previously been asked about allowing the users to explicitly mark certain donation categories as non-receiptable, but I didn’t want to do that in a completely wide-open way (for any category text), because I was afraid they would forget which ones were and weren’t receiptable, and make mistakes in their receipts. Having it work by coded values like this, which should be pretty obvious, eliminates that concern.

The other really nice change is to Custom Reports, to allow them to be forced to prompt for either an individual date, a range of dates, or a range of dates and a donation category, just like some of the built-in reports do. This gives a lot more power and flexibility to Custom Reports.

As usual, please let me know any comments you have about these changes, or testing results (positive or negative!), preferably by adding a Reply to this blog posting.

The complete list of changes in this Beta version (which incorporates both 3.23b and 3.23c) are on the pretest.htm page that you can download it from, linked to above.

Thank you.

16 thoughts on “Test version 3.23c – Non-Receiptable Categories, Custom Report date prompting

  1. Everything tested except backup/restore old database. All AOK.
    The non-receiptable option is a welcome addition.

  2. Is your 3.23c “NR” change only for categories newly created or will it work on prior donations if I rename their previously-created category so that it has NR at the end? (Or maybe I can’t rename a category… I didn’t check that.)

    • You can rename the categories by going into the appropriate Maintenance option, clicking on a category name, editing it, and clicking Save. And yes, this will immediately take effect on any affected donors or donations with those renamed categories.

      Of course, if donations have already been included in a receipt, and you make them non-receiptable retroactively, they will still be part of that receipt! Same with if donors have already received a receipt, and you then make the donor non-receiptable.

  3. Dan,

    1. I changed one category to NR and it worked fine

    2. When I did a custom report, the new choices were greyed out.. I only had year boxes available

    3. When I tried to access help from the “sort” part of the custom report, it told me that Help was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that is not included in this version of Windows

    I am running Win 7-64


    • In the Custom Report, those new options for prompting for dates should be enabled, as long as the year selections are left as the default, i.e. from the current year to the current year. They would not work for any other years.

      I do know about that problem with the old Windows help format in the report Sort window. (It also happens in the Filter and Save As windows.) Doesn’t that message (which is put up by Microsoft, not me) give you a link to go to the Microsoft download page to download the required help-viewing program? (I presume that’s where you got your link in the next post from.) That’s really all I can do, I’m afraid, as it is a limitation in the program I use to create DONATION, PowerBuilder, that it only allows you to use old-style Windows Help files for the Help buttons in those three dialog boxes.

      Thanks for testing!

      • On the Help issue.. yes.. I can implement the fix that Microsoft recommends.. I wasn’t sure if it was a bug or expected behavior.


    • One further point about the new date-selection radio buttons in Custom Reports being greyed out, is this quote from the Help:

      “If you leave the From and To years being the current year, and you have selected at least one field from the Donation table, then the three radio buttons in this section will be enabled (otherwise, they are greyed out, so you can’t use them).”

      So, if you didn’t change the years, it could be that the problem was you didn’t select any fields from the Donation table. If you aren’t selecting anything about Donations, prompting for dates would have no meaning!

  4. This is a very helpful new feature for my church, as we use DONATION to keep track of all receipts. As far as I can tell so far, it works great.

    However, I have already found that the Donation Categories field name length can be somewhat restrictive, with it only being 20 characters long. Now that I am adding an additional three characters (i.e. ” NR”) in each case, this is even more of a problem. An example that I have in my database is “Concerts Loose Off.” Not only would I already prefer to use Concerts Loose Offerings for this, but now I’m wanting to add NR to it as well.

    I would therefore appreciate it if this field name length could be extended to at least 25 characters. Thirty would be even better.


    • You are certainly not the first person to make that request, Lorne. However, extending the length of the category field would affect how it would fit into various reports, most especially the receipts.

      I am very dubious, for instance, that at a length of 30 characters I could fit two donations per row (showing only date, amount and category) in the details section of the receipt. That would mean that for churches with a lot of donations on each receipt, who were satisfied with showing only those three fields (as many are), their receipts would take more pages, which is quite undesirable.

      So at this point, I’m still not convinced to make this change. I’m afraid all I can offer is that you will need to decide on appropriate abbreviations for longer category names.

      For your specific case, perhaps something like “Concert Cash NR” would work.

      • I also would like to see the addition of extending the length of the category field but I also understand your hesitation because of it’s affect on the various reports.
        Is it possible to use a smaller size of font which would enable the use of more letters. Just a thought.


      • I’m reluctant to reduce the font size on the built-in receipts. It’s already only Arial 10, which for older eyes could already be a problem.

        You can certainly reduce the font size if you use the mail-merge receipts. But that doesn’t give you longer category names!

        I think this is one of those trade-offs you have to make in software, in terms of what is reasonable.

      • After I wrote my message the receipts situation did occur to me (imagine that at this time of year!) … so I can understand where you’re coming from. That said, I’d take even a couple more characters if you could make that work, as I’ve run into a few situations where that would be useful.

  5. Any amount of characters you could add to the category names field would be helpful! Even if it is just a couple…

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