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Author: Kristenson, Joel
Last Updated: 2017-07-18
This article will teach you the steps to insert donation transactions into a letter using the <<Contribution Table>> merge fields. It includes instructions on how to set the date-range for the Contribution Table merge fields, and how to utilize the different ‘Contribution Table’ merge fields when printing out letters.
This tool is often utilized when issuing your year-end tax letters for donors, but can be used in other circumstances too (for instance you may want to thank donors who gave last month, but include all of their prior donations for the year in the same letter a.k.a. a Year-To-Date Statement).
Tip: Read this article for an in-depth tutorial on how to issue year-end tax letters to households and/or individuals.
Example Print Preview
The following example shows how a finished mail-merge letter with donation transactions merged in might look:
Open the Contacts (Donors/Voters) list.
Click File > Reporting > Change Date Range Values…
Enter the date-range you want donation transactions to print out for and then click [OK]. In this example I selected 1/1/2016 – 12/31/2016.
Note: Don’t confuse this with the search query date range. Most often it will be the same, but not always. For instance, you could query for those people who donated this month, but still report ‘all’ their donations for the year-to-date (or lifetime).
After setting the date range to print transactions for, build and run your search query for the donors you want to send the letter to. In this example I searched for all donors who gave in 2016.
Select File > Communications > Write Letter.
Select who you want to write the letter to and click [OK]. In this example I selected individual.
Note: There are a variety of ‘Contribution Table’ merge fields you can use to insert multiple donation transactions into your letter, each with its own purpose. You can select them from the Insert Merge Field drop-down.
Begin composing your letter with your images, text, etc.
Insert the mouse cursor into the section where you want to merge in donation transactions, click the [Insert Merge Field] drop-down in the upper-right of the composer, and select the <<Contribution Table Within Date Range>> option. My example is below.
Note: With contribution table merge fields it’s important to change the font type to a fixed-width font (monospaced) so that it prints out on the letter with consistent spacing. The rest of your document can use proportional fonts.
List of Fixed-Width Fonts (Monospaced) that Work in Trail Blazer
· Courier New
· Letter Gothic
· Lucida Console
Example: Here’s the same data first presented with a proportional font, and next by a fixed-width font:
Once the merge field is inserted into the letter where you want it, highlight the text, and then click the [Font] button.
Select a fixed-width font type, select the font size, and then click [OK]. In this example I selected the Courier New font type.
After modifying the font for the contribution table merge field, run a print preview by clicking [Print] > [Print Preview]. If you’re writing a large batch of letters you can set a range to run a test print of just a few.
You may still get a warning message to use the Lucida font at 10pt, if you do, click [OK] to proceed.
You can use the page forward and backward buttons to view how the different letters look in the batch you’re printing:
You can zoom in and out using the [+] and [-] buttons:
You can run a test print by clicking the [Print] button in the upper-left, and then select the printer to use. If you’re printing a large batch you can set the number of pages to print a small sample:
You can adjust the margins, type of paper, orientation, etc. by clicking the [Page Settings] button.
Once you’re satisfied with the print preview, click the [Cancel] button in the lower-right to return back to the word processor so that you can make further changes, and save your template for future use.
Make any additional changes (re-run the print preview if necessary), then click the File drop-down in the upper-left and select ‘Save as Template’. It’s important to save as a template vs a file so that the letter is backed up in the cloud and can be used in the future.
Give the template a name and then click [Save]. In my example I called it 2016 Donation Statement Year-to-Date.
Click [OK] to continue.
Finish printing your letters.
Take a look at the related resources below for links to a variety of other articles and videos related to this topic.
Article: Mail Merge – Write a Letter
Article: How to Create a Year-End Tax Letter Addressed to Individuals or the Entire Household using Merge Fields – Nonprofit Only
Article: How to Print Envelopes
Article: How to Print Household Labels
Article: (Mail-Merge) – How to Write a Letter, and Save it as a Template
Article: Mail-Merge – Write a Letter
Article: How to Print Mail-Merge Address Labels
Video: Getting Started 107 – Writing Contribution Thank You Letters
Video: Year End Tax Letter
Video: Getting Started 102 Beginning Queries – Nonprofit
Video: Write Letter – Edit Letter after Mail Merge
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