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Home : How to Create a Year-End Tax Letter Addressed to Individuals or the Entire Household using Merge Fields - Nonprofit Only

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Article ID: KB313
Keyword Name: Nonprofit, Reciept, Merge, Tax-Deductible
Created: February 08, 2016
Viewed: 28901

How to Create a Year-End Tax Letter Addressed to Individuals or the Entire Household using Merge Fields - Nonprofit Only

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Author: Joel Kristenson

Last Updated: 2016-02-08


This article is specific to nonprofit customers.  It walks through the steps to search for donors to write a year-end tax letter to, how utilize the available contribution merge fields, and save the letter as a template.  It also covers how to send the letter to households.  The last section on mass updating the tax deductible amount for donations en masse (fairly common task for nonprofit theater companies). Make sure all of your database users who are performing data entry record the correct tax deductible amount on the donation and/or event sale so that the year-end letter is printed out accurately.  If you have a need to mass update the tax deductible amount for list of donations, such as event sales, you can do that from the File drop-down menu in the Contributions list (covered in section #3).


#1 Run your Search Query for Donors by Date Range, and Set your ‘Date Range’ Reporting Period

#2 Write the YE Tax Letter to Individuals and Save the Letter Template

#3 Mass Update the Tax Deductible Amount for Donations En Masse

#4 Related Resources

#1 – Run your Search Query for Donors by Date Range, and Set your ‘Date Range’ Reporting Period

Navigate to the Contacts (Donors) list.

Run a search query for the list of people you’re going to write the year-end tax letter to.  In this example I searched for all individual donors who gave in the calendar year 2015.

Set the date range values by clicking File > Reporting > Change Date Range Values…

Input the date range for the reporting period you’re writing the letter for, and click [OK].

It’s very important that you don’t skip this step since this date range is what drives the merge fields when writing the letter.

Next you’ll open the word processor by following File > Communications > Write Letter

Select the Individual radio button, and click [OK].

Type out your letter OR copy-and-paste it from another location such as MS Word, Notepad, or Pages.  You can copy and paste images (such as your logo, letterhead, or signature), and adjust the margins accordingly.  My finished example is below.

To insert the merge fields relevant to your tax letter click on the Insert merge field.. drop-down in the upper-right of the rtf editor.

To run a test print, click [Print] in the bottom right, set your range, and click [Print Preview].

My example print preview is below for a donor name “James Zwack” who gave multiple times throughout the year AND had a different ‘tax-deductible’ amount since they paid for both event tickets AND provided tax-deductible donations.  This can be a very common occurrence and it’s critical that you track the tax-deductible amount for event sales and general donations carefully.

Tip: You’ll notice in the image above that the ‘contributions table’ merge field doesn’t align vertically because it’s not a fixed-width font by default.  You can change just that table to either Courier or Lucida Console to make it consistent.  Ex:

When you’re finished creating and testing the letter, click the File drop-down in the very upper-left of the screen and select Save as a Template

Give the template a recognizable name, then click [Save]In my example I called my template “Year End Tax Letter - 2015”, it’s very possible you will have a separate template for Households, Corporations, etc.

The next time you need to insert a template you’ll open the word processor, and click File > Insert Template

When you’re finished with this task you should mass update the list of contacts with an attribute and mass apply a log note to them so you can efficiently track who’s received what mailings.

#2 – Writing the Year-End Tax Letter to Households

Prior to writing the letter to an entire household you’ll need to run the householding utility on your entire database.  This will ensure that the merge fields you can use for Household Envelope or Salutation Name work properly, and so that people who are living at the same home address only receive a single letter.

From the Contacts (Donors) list run a search query for the list of people you’re writing the year-end letter to.  In my example I searched for all ‘individual’ donors who gave within the calendar year 2015, it produced 3,029 results.

Open the word processor by following File > Communications > Write Letter

Select the option to write the letter to households, it will be the first radio button in the list, then click [OK].

It will take a minute to load as the mail-merge word processor prepares to send to households.

As of the time this article was written, these are the household merge fields you can utilize for this letter:

Create your letter template by adding in text, images, your signature, and the household merge fields.  For the most part you can copy-and-paste this from another program like Microsoft Word or Pages, but keep in mind that it’s currently limited to a single column template.  My example is below.

You can adjust the margins by clicking the [Page Settings] button on the top tool bar, then to run a print preview click [Print], set your range, and click [Print Preview].

My finished example is below of a family where multiple people donated throughout the year.

When you’re finished with this task you can mass update either your list of individuals with an attribute, or all members of a household with an attribute AND/OR you can mass apply a log note showing that the list of contacts received the letter.

#3 – How to Mass Update the Tax Deductible Amount for a List of Donations En Masse

This section talks about how to mass update a list of contributions with either a tax deductible amount or percentage.  This can be very useful if you for instance host an event where there are only ticket and product sales that don’t qualify as a tax deductible donation, you can quickly set the amount to zero for all of those transactions for your year-end receipts. When creating the event turn on a setting that will make the event eligible for exclusion from regular contribution queries by checking the box under Setup > Financial > Setup (shown below for an example theater event).

Navigate to the Contributions list.

Run your search query for the list of donation records you need to update.  In this example I searched by the drop down-option ‘Include ONLY those records from events where the event is marked: Eligible for Exl…Query Results’ which produced 298 records.

Click File > Set Tax Deductible Amount.

Read through the pop-up message, and then click [OK] to proceed.

Currently these are the options you have:

- Full – Set Tax Deductible Amount = Amount

- Non – Set Tax Deductible Amount = 0

- Partial – Set Tax Deductible Amount = % of Amount

Select your options for setting the tax deductible amount, and click [OK]In my example I selected to set the amount to zero.

You’ll get a load animation and then a pop-up with the results once it’s complete.  Click [OK] to finish.

The related resources below link to a variety of similar articles and videos.  You can always reach out to our live tech support if you have questions going through these steps (8-5 CT | 1-866-909-8700).

Related Resources

Article: (Mail-Merge) – How to Write a Letter, and Save it as a Template

Article: Managing Households – Creating, Deleting and Re-Creating

Article: Inserting Contribution Transactions In Donor Merge Letter

Article: Mail Merge – Write a Letter

Article: Printing Envelopes

Article: Save and Load a Search Query as a Favorite

Article: How to Mass Update a List of Contacts with an Attribute Item

Article: Adding Lot Notes, Mass Log Notes & Reminders

Article: Creating an Attribute Folder and Attribute Items

Video: Year End Tax Letter

Video: Write Letter – Edit Letter after Mail Merge

Video: Getting Started 102 – Beginning Queries

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