Today we're thrilled to announce the official launch of our new giving module in Church Social. This feature allows church treasurers to track member contributions, generate giving statements, create annual tax receipts, and even lets members view their own giving history within the app.
Works with your existing accounting software
Worth mentioning right away is that this is not intended to replace your existing accounting software. Rather, it's designed to work with it. Treasurers enter contributions into Church Social, and then simply take the totals from each deposit and enter them as a single record within their accounting software. This has a few benefits:
- Since all your member information is already in Church Social, treasurers are not required to maintain a duplicate record of this information.
- Treasurers can continue using whatever accounting software they are most comfortable with. And it doesn't have to be church specific accounting software either. Quickbooks and Church Social are a great fit!
- Church Social adds a layer on top of your accounting software that provides common church related contribution management features, such as statement generation, tax receipting, giving numbers and more.
All contributions in Church Social are assigned to a fund. Funds can include your budget (regular voluntary contributions), special collections, mission efforts, building fundraisers, and more. Churches can create as many funds as needed.
All contributions are tracked in batches, called deposits. Typically churches will create one deposit per fund per month, but this isn't a requirement. Each deposit may contain contributions from multiple funds and dates.
Contributions can be assigned to members (couples or individuals), or to non-members (called donors—more on that in a moment), or both. You can also create anonymous contributions by not assigning anyone.
Each contribution is assigned a payment method, such as cash, cheque, e-transfer, credit card, etc. You can also include extra information related to the payment method, such as the cheque or transaction number. Each deposit provides a subtotal for the different payment methods.
You can also mark contributions as "non-receiptable", to have them excluded from tax receipts. This is helpful in situations where contributions come from a donation source that has already issued a tax receipt (eg. CanadaHelps.org).
While the interface to enter deposits into Church Social has been carefully designed for quick entry, it's also possible to bulk import contributions from an Excel or CSV file.
Many churches still use giving numbers (sometimes called envelope numbers). Church Social lets you assign giving numbers to members, which allows treasurers to search for members by those numbers when entering contributions. The giving number management tool also makes it easy to identify unused giving numbers.
As noted earlier, all contributions are assigned to either members or donors. Donors are organizations or non-members who have made contributions to your church. What's really neat is that you can assign contributions to a member and donor at the same time. This is helpful in situations where members make contributions through their businesses. This ensures that tax receipts are created for the business (the donor) and not the member. However, member statements will still include any contributions made via a business. It's even possible to link a member to a donor to make it easier to lookup that donor by that member's giving number.
Our Canadian customers will really appreciate the new tax receipting functionality. Church Social allows you to quickly generate CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) compliant tax receipts from the member and donor contributions. Tax receipts are versioned and immutable, meaning any changes to the member information or contributions will result in a new, replacement tax receipt. Church Social keeps a full history of current and cancelled tax receipts, should you ever be asked for a historical receipt.
Creating tax receipts for an entire year is as simple as going to the "Create Receipts" page, reviewing all the eligible records, and clicking "Create". Church Social lets you preview each tax receipt before it's generated, so you can easily verify that all the information is correct.
Printing receipts in bulk is equally straight-forward. You can optionally choose to include a statement on the subsequent page listing all of the contributions for that tax receipt. And, if you're printing on both sides of the page, there's a print format option for two-sided printing, which adds any necessary blank pages to ensure that the start of one tax receipt doesn't print on the back of another. Receipts are also designed to work with #10 windowed envelopes.
Church Social also makes generating member giving statements a breeze. To create a statement, select the date range, which funds should be included, and what members to include. You can choose to include only members who have made contributions, or to also include members who have not made any contributions during that time period.
Like the tax receipts, there is a print format option to optimize for single vs two-sided printing. This is helpful for members who've made many contributions, and their statements span multiple pages. Statements are also designed to work with #10 windowed envelopes.
In addition to member statements, you can also generate statements for shepherding groups (wards/districts). Many churches provide giving statements like this to their office bearers.
Viewing your own contributions
Finally, the new donation tracking features are not only for treasurers. Churches can also (optionally) allow members to view their own contributions within the app. This is a great way to help members keep track of their giving.
To start using the new donation tracking features today, enable the "Giving" feature in your church settings, and then assign a member with the "Treasurer" role. This will add a new "Giving" link in the main menu. If you intend to generate tax receipts, be sure to also add your church's charitable registration number as well as an authorized signature.
We hope that gives you a good overview of our new giving features! Please let us know what you think!