DONATION Batch Entry Question

Hello DONATION advisors. This post is only relevant to those of you who use the One Date Donation Entry (Batch Entry) window.

I am just putting the finishing touches on a new feature, for those of you who have collections where many or most people have given to two or more consistent categories, for instance both the General and Building funds.

Currently there are two ways you could handle that. The first is for each donor as you go, use the Split Donor button, set the category on that split row to the desired additional category, and enter the amount. The second is to use Batch Entry twice, with the “Include existing donations for the specified date” checkbox unchecked, once for each of the two categories (and specifying that category in the “With default category” field).

The new solution is an added button on that window, that I have tentatively named “Split All”. Clicking that button brings up a window with a drop-down list of categories. Selecting one and clicking OK will add a row to the Batch Entry window for each donor, with that selected category, making it much easier to then enter both categories of donation for each donor that did donate to both categories. (It could be used additional times if there were three or more categories, of course.)

My first question about this is, does anyone have a better suggestion for the button text than “Split All”? I thought of “Add Category” but that could be misinterpreted to mean adding a brand new category to the category drop-down list!

My second question is about the existing Split Donor button. In the course of programming the new stuff, I realized that Split Donor always creates a new row with the same default category that all of the initial rows for donors were created with. Since that will be a 2nd row for that donor with the same category, I imagine its category is wrong, and has to be changed, almost 100% of time, and forgetting to do so may be a common error. (I’m surprised nobody has brought this up, to my memory!)

Is there a better option for the category for the row added by Split Donor? One that occurs to me is to have the category field for the new row start out blank. If you then enter an amount in that row, but don’t set a category, when you go to Save the program would force you to fill in the category before you could save.

Any thoughts? Thank you.

25 thoughts on “DONATION Batch Entry Question

  1. Dan,

    I don’t have a direct reply to your question, but I think this would be a good feature for the normal entry also… not just the batch entry.

    David Robertson

    Sent from Windows Mail

    • Do you mean something like a “Split” button for donations on the main window, to create a 2nd line while you are entering a first one, so you don’t have to save one row before you can start entering another one?

      • Dan.. that is what I was thinking.. but I really wasn’t thinking. It is easy enough to do with the existing setup.. sorry for the distraction.

  2. Hi Dan, We quite frequently do split a donors contributions between two different categories. In most cases there is a special offering project going on that we’re promoting and so for a specific Sunday we will have lots of people split their giving between our regular operating funds and that special project. A month or two later, the special project will be something different. Based on this, my favourite option would be to be able to specify somewhere what the default split should be, and to fairly easily change that for a different week. My second favourite option would be for it to default blank as you have suggested.

    You should know that this isn’t a big deal for us, but since you’re asking I thought I’d let you know what my thoughts are.

    Thanks for a great program and for your diligence in maintaining it. You make my life very easy in this area.

    Esther Snyder Mannheim Mennonite Church Bookkeeper

    • When you use the new “Split All”, Esther, you will get to choose the category, for adding a new row for everyone on the list for that category. It sounds like that will work well for you.

  3. Dan:
    Re: Question 1: “Split all” works for me.

    Re: question 2: The current system works ok for me. If I make an error by forgetting to change the category of the split line I catch it when balancing my entries against the deposit sheet prepared by the Sunday counters.

    What would be more useful to me than your suggestion is to have a feature that allows me to up front designate the category for the first split and even for the second split. This feature would eliminate most of my change category operations. Once the designated split categories are used up the next split category could be the blank line.

    Bill Kuehnbaum

    • So Bill, you are talking about if you used Split Donor, as opposed to Split All? Is this for situations where Split All would not be appropriate, because too few donors gave to the additional categories?

      • Dan:
        Should have been more specific – I was referring to the Split Donor button in my answer to question 2. I interpret your split all suggestion as adding a line for each donor on my list – not just for those who gave on a specific Sunday. This will make the entry list very long. For example we have identified 150 donors over the period of one year. On Some Sundays we might only have donations from 45 donors but “split all” would create 300 donor lines when only a fraction of that would be needed.

        Bill

      • To your 2nd reply, Bill, you are right about Split All, but of course that’s also an issue with Batch Entry in the first place, that it normally shows all of the donors on your list. One solution is if you have regular donors, mark them with a code in one of the Donor Category fields, and then use the Batch Entry Options window’s option to restrict the displayed donors to those with a specific value in a Donor Category field.

  4. Hi Dan,

    I think those are great improvements.

    We have about 10 categories that we use, although depending on the season, there are usually just two or three that we use in a batch entry.

    I think Split All is probably the best name for the new feature as it corresponds with the Split Donor currently in effect. Our secretary is familiar with Split Donor and uses it all the time. So Split All would be easy to understand.

    Re the default, that’s exactly right… it’s always an extra step to change from the default. I think the best bet is to leave the second category blank, then it is obvious that it has to be changed.

    Thanks – I think this will be a big help!

    Jo

  5. Hi Dan,
    I don’t use Batch entry much any more, but I did with the last ministry I worked with.
    1. How about labelling the button “Split All Donors” to remove all ambiguity. I know that’s a long button, but the space is there.
    2. Regarding Bill Kuehnbaum’s comment: I agree. For my previous asssembly that would have made a 500-line list (250 active donors) and for special appeals we never got more than 30-50% participation on any one day, if that. I would never use the “Split All”. And yes, if I did use it for a smaller assembly, I would agree with Bill – allow the specification of a default 2nd category.
    3. Regarding David Robertson’s comment: A “Split” button is not needed when you are doing one donor at a time as hitting “enter” during any donation entry immediately saves the line and brings up another line with the same date – ergo, there’s the split.
    Klaus

    • Klaus, re: your point (3), hitting Enter does save the line and make a new blank line, but then you either have to click the mouse into that line, or (if you are aware of this option) press F2 to do the same thing. Just hitting a Split button, preferably with a hotkey like Alt-S, would certainly save at least one keystroke, and for those who didn’t figure out F2, it would also save a mouse action.

  6. I like the idea you expressed in the last paragraph. That would force a conscious decision to enter the correct category.

    Clay

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  7. Could you add a second default category in preferences so that when you split donor it automatically goes to category most used? Not sure how much programming that would require

    Dianne

    Sent from my iPhone

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  8. I like the idea of a default option for individual splits rather than a complete split as I have a large number of donors from which a pool give regularly.

  9. Whoops – lost the rest.

    A full split would produce a very long list especially as I enter half by number and then change into name order for the rest. On any one occasion the second category is usually the same for everyone.

  10. Hi Dan. I have not experienced any problem with the current method, but I can see where there may be a problem if you forget to change the category. I only do about 50 or so each week so it is not a big problem for me at this time. I sort of like it the way it is now, but am open to changes.

  11. I use the batch entry with split donor option. For me, the way the application is currently setup works fine. Eliminating the default category when clicking on the split donor option would be helpful, as I have on occasion forgot to change the default. The ‘split all’ option at this time would not be something that I would need to use.

  12. So I’m actually programming this stuff now. We’re going to keep the Split All button, since it will help some people.

    On the Batch Entry Options window, we’re adding drop-downs for “First Split Donor Category” and “Second Split Donor Category”, which can be left blank, or selected (and will remember your settings from use to use).

    When you use Split Donor, if there is only one row for that donor so far, it will insert a row with the category set to the “First Split Donor Category” (or empty, if that was left blank). Similarly, if there are already two rows for that donor, it inserts a row with the “Second Split Donor Category”. Any further Split Donors will always add a row with the category blank, so you have to fill it in.

    Of course, validation will be done so you can’t Save when there’s a row with an amount but a blank category. (It won’t even let you move out of a category field, that is blank, if that row has an amount.)

    I think this should satisfy almost everyone’s needs.

  13. Question 1: I certainly like the idea, as I have a lot of donors that I would use this for. “Split All” works (we’ll get used to it). An alternative might be “Auto Split”

    Question 2: I think that having the split (second) category blank would likely be better because while it still requires a ‘correction’ (from blank to something) at least having it blank may cause a person to enter a category rather than leaving the default (blank). When I finish entering a date’s data, I hit the ‘Totals by Category’ button. Often I will have 6 to 8 different categories, which I then reconcile with the manual entry sheet given to me by the counters. (We choose not to have counters enter directly into DONATION). If any category totals don’t agree, I have to recheck and find where I made an error. My suggestion would be to have a line on the ‘Totals by Category” window that says “No category” or “Uncategorized” with an amount beside it. This could be in addition to your idea of not allowing me to save until all amounts have been categorized.

    Peter Davidson

    • That’s an excellent point, Peter, about the Totals by Category button. It turns out that the existing code (which I hadn’t even thought about) already put a subtotal for that, with the heading “Unknown”. I have updated it for the next beta to instead use the clearer heading “MISSING CATEGORY”.

  14. Hi Dan, I like your last option, with the blank category field in the new row. Each week, between one third and one half of our donors give to both ‘General’ and ‘Mission & Service’ categories, (with occasional other categories added as well). It’s not unusual for me to miss changing the second category for one or two donors, but I always find the error when I check the Donation totals against our volunteer counters’ totals. A ‘split all’ button which creates a blank category would save me the step of splitting each donor and would ensure that I put the correct category for the second or subsequent donation. Would there also be a ‘split donor’ button for the one or two donors who have a third category? Or would I have to use split all again, creating extra blank rows for all donors?

    Thanks very much, Caroline

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