Ring in the New Year, Close out the Old
Regardless of when your organizations’ fiscal year ends, your donors operate on a ‘fiscal’ year that ends on December 31st. We know that because that’s what the IRS tells us. And since donors often behave in predictable ways based on the calendar (e.g. giving surges in December), it makes sense for you to use the January-December timeframe for analysis and reporting – regardless of what your accounting year is.
So when you return to the office after the holidays, and before you ever start working on your 2014 activities, use ResultsPlus to take some important steps to help wrap up 2013:
- Open a specific batch to hold the 2013 gifts that come straggling in. These include all gifts that were sent (postmarked) in 2013 but didn’t arrive until 2014. They are truly 2013 gifts and should be dated accordingly. Keep them separate from any gifts sent in January.
- Post the ‘stragglers’ batch when you have decided that no other gifts will be counted for 2013. This will add the final gifts into two fields that ResultsPlus has been managing for you: Year-to-Date Gift Amount and Year-to-Date Gift Count. You can now use these fields to send out personalized letters to assist your donors with their tax returns. Create a mail merge letter merging this data into a letter, thanking donors for their total number and sum of gifts in 2013.
- Once the final 2013 batch has been posted and you’ve used (or chosen not to use) the data in the Year-to-Date fields, make a backup of your database and update your calendar year to 2014. This step clears the year-to-date fields of 2013 data and prepares them for 2014 data to accumulate there instead.
The feature to update your calendar year needs to be performed by an administrative-level user and is found on the Maintenance tab in the ‘Year End Processing’ ribbon group. Select ‘Reset Calendar Year,’ respond to the prompts, and your year will be updated.
If your organization’s fiscal year coincides with the calendar year, there are additional steps you will need to take. To learn more about closing your fiscal year, review the information found in the upcoming newsletter, the user assistance area of ResultsPlus, or watch the tutorial called ‘Close the Year.’