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, 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.

How to help users find help topics

Hi DONATION advisors. I’m often surprised when talking to users on the phone, or via things that come out in email exchanges, that they don’t seem to know how to find help by topics we give them or by sensible keywords (like for instance “pledge” if they want to know about pledges).

This is despite the fact that I at least think the menu option Help -> Contents and Index should be pretty obvious (especially when we’ve told them to look something up in the Index of the Help) and also, there is the menu option Help -> How to Use Help.

I’m wondering about the idea of adding a Help -> Search by Topic or Keyword menu option, which just pops up a messagebox saying something like this:

 To search for Help by a topic title or a word related to what you want to know, please use the Help -> Contents and Index menu option, make sure you are on the Index tab near the top left, and type what you are looking for into the entry field below those tabs.

Alternatively, you can use the Help -> How to Use Help menu option, which takes you to a Help page with full details about how to use the Help. Would you like to see that page now?

                              Yes     No

Do you think that would help some people find help topics without us having to guide them very explicitly through it? We’d appreciate your comments.



DONATION donor-info only password?

Hello again DONATION advisors.

If we added a special password that allowed access to only donor information, no donation or receipt information, would you see this being of value to your organizations, to let another user use the program with that password?

Doing this would actually be a fair bit more complicated than one might think – it’s not just hiding a bunch of reports and parts of various windows. For instance, some reports like Reports -> Donor -> Mailing Labels have a hidden field, that you can Filter on (or export with Save As!) showing each donor’s total donations in the current year. All such reports (and other similar places in the program that perhaps unexpectedly expose donation information) would have to be found and modified.

If this sort of password interests you, please let us know by commenting on this blog post or replying by email. If it doesn’t interest you, there’s no reason to reply, unless you have other thoughts about this possible feature (other than that you wouldn’t use it)!

Thank you.

Cloud Storage Terminology Question

Hello DONATION advisors. We are finally getting to programming the cloud storage option that has been discussed in previous blogs, most recently

It occurred to me to wonder whether the terminology we were using was ideal for all users. The particular wording I’m wondering about is talking about “getting a reservation” on the database when you start the program, and “releasing the reservation” when you exit.

Getting a reservation refers to what you (or your program!) does in this new storage option to specify that you are going to be using the database, and nobody else can do so until you release it. After that, the latest Internet database backup is downloaded to your computer for you to work on. When you exit, your modified database us uploaded as an Internet backup, then the reservation is released so another user can use it. The “official” copy of the database is always the latest Internet backup, or the one on one user’s computer that they have the reservation for.

At first I thought that wording using “reservation” was clear, because everyone knows about things like restaurant or travel reservations. But those are always for things in the future, whereas what we are talking about is something immediate.

Would “taking ownership” and “releasing ownership” of the database be clearer? Or introduce other possible confusions?

Any other wording ideas for that concept? Thanks.

DONATION and U.S. Receipts for over $300

Hello DONATION advisers. This post is only for those of you in the U.S.A.

I was talking to a potential new user today who said that U.S. charities are required to send an official individual acknowledgement of donations of $300 or more. Can any of you explain that further please, if you know about it? Would our receipts (for instance at year end) showing the details of each individual donation not be sufficient to satisfy this requirement?

I said that with the full Standalone version, they could do a mail-merge letter for such donations. However, with the Lite version (which she was starting with) it’s more of a problem, if they don’t want to create such letters manually.

I did say that one option was to create a year-to-date official receipt prior to entering that larger donation, then another receipt right after entering it. Obviously that’s a bit awkward.

Any other thoughts on this issue and ways to handle it? Many thanks.