DONATION new Simple Filtering

Hello again DONATION blog readers – long time no post!

We have what we believe is a great new version of an existing DONATION feature – a much simpler to use Filter capability. For those who aren’t familiar with them, filters are used to restrict the rows shown on a report. An example would be restricting a report showing individual donations to show only those that are at least $100.

We would very much appreciate it if some of you could test it before the official release. You get it as an upgrade from our usual Beta Test page,  As well as testing the feature, comments on the revised Help page (and the new additional Help page for the Advanced Filter, linked from the first one) would be most appreciated.

Even better would be if you can spare maybe 20 to 30 minutes for us to do a remote control with you and watch you trying to use the feature for the first time, to see whether it is really as much clearer and simpler than the previous version as we think. That would not be a test of you – it’s testing the program! We would even do the upgrade for you.  And such a test would be completely appropriate whether you have never used filters before, or are already expert with them.

If you are willing to do such a remote control and test of the feature, please email us to let us know when would work well for you. Generally any time in the afternoon Eastern Time on a weekday is best for us, but we can also do mornings, evenings and weekends.

As usual if you test it yourself, you can leave your comments as a Comment on the blog page, or by direct email to us.

Thank you so much.

DONATION Receipting Improvements Testing

Hello DONATION beta testers. I’m writing to ask whether you could put in a bit of time beta testing an important new release, 4.01, before we officially release it to everyone.

Most of the changes in this version are about receipting. One that will appeal to everyone is that there is now a Correct button above the rows of donations, that allows you to make changes to an already-receipted donation, and immediately create the corrected receipt including your changes. This replaces the previous clumsy approach of deleting the donation, re-entering it with the desired corrections, then creating a corrected receipt.

Most of the other changes are aimed only at Canadian users, because they relate to the fact that we unfortunately only recently discovered that donations with Advantage (where the donor receives something in exchange for their donation, and you fill in the Eligible Amount field) need to have a description of that Advantage printed on the receipt. That is now possible in this version, though there were a surprising number of changes needed in our programming to achieve that!

All Canadian receipts also include the new CRA Charities web address (English or French).

One thing to keep in mind about testing these things is that if you create fake new donations and receipts for them, or new corrected ones (for Canadians), you can undo most of those changes by deleting the new receipts with Receipt -> Delete Range. Just be sure not to delete any real ones you need to keep!

And don’t worry, we are still working on the Web Network Version that we surveyed you all about in September.

You can download this version from the usual Pretest page at That page has a complete list of the changes (taken from the Revision History page in the program’s Help).

Please let us know of any testing results (positive or negate) that you have, either by Replies on this blog post, or direct email replies.

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.



New Software4Nonprofits Website

Hello DONATION beta testers and advisors.

We have been working on updating our website to look good on any device, especially mobile devices like phones and tablets. It should have an appropriately adjusted display for those devices, so it’s not just squished pages as it is now. On your computer, it should look very much the same as before.

While we have been able to test the pages on a couple of different phones and tablets, obviously that testing is still limited. So we would like to invite you to please take a look at the draft version, which starts at [non-existent site removed] (the caps on “NEW” are required!). If you can, look at it with both a regular web browser on your computer, and any devices you have. Please report any problems in the display and navigation of specific pages to us, so that we can fix them.

When reporting display and navigation problems, please include:

  • the device and the screen size (if known),
  • the problem web page,
  • and the description of the problem.

If you see any typos or anything that appears to be bad writing or factual errors, we’d also love to hear about that! (Those things probably haven’t changed from the current live website.)

Please enjoy the new experience of our website on your mobile devices. As soon as we have a reasonable number of replies, we will upload this draft to be the new official site for DONATION and ACCOUNTS at the main web address.

Thank you.

DONATION New Version Testing

Hello again DONATION beta testers. I have uploaded a new beta test version, 3.79 Beta3. We would greatly appreciate it if as many of you as possible could test it out. As usual, you get it from:

There are a lot of small improvements in it, including:

  • Email Sending Configuration working better with Gmail addresses
  • special setup for users in New Zealand
  • built-in receipts for English Canada fitting in #10 single-window envelopes
  • fixed the date format used in receipts for English Canada and the U.S.A.
  • detecting and trying to prevent duplicate envelope numbers in the same year
  • lots of other small feature improvements and bug fixes, all of which are listed on that pretest.htm page, and the Revision History in the program’s Help.

However, the biggest change from our perspective (which you should really not see at all) is a significant re-organization of the program’s code so that a lot of pieces of it can be shared with our ACCOUNTS bookkeeping program. If we have done this correctly, you won’t see a single difference from it, but if we missed something, some features could fail to work.

Of course, both Kwame and I have carefully tested pretty much every feature in the program, but we know from experience that the more different people test things, the more likely problems are to be caught, because someone else will just try something in a slightly different way than we thought of trying it.

Of course, if you encounter any problems report them to us ASAP and we will fix them and get a fix back to you ASAP as well.

Thank you very much in advance.