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Year End Thank You Letters: Creating Queries

As the end of 2016 approaches, it's time to start thinking about year end thank you letters so that you can acknowledge the loyal donors that have given a charitable donation this year. This three-part blog series on will cover tips, tricks, and best practices for querying on the donors that have given this year, creating a thank you letter template, and generating the documents.

Let’s get started with the first step in the process, creating a query that pulls the donations that you want to acknowledge this year.
 
Best Practice Tip: Make sure that you are only creating documents for accounts that should be mailed to. You do not want to send communication to someone that is deceased or has a bad address, which is why you should use a field such as Mailing Status to track that information. It will allow you to create Clean Mailing List query. We recommend that you use that as a starting query for all queries intended for communication to your constituents.

These steps will get you the most basic donation query. It will return all donations that you’ve received (AKA money in hand) in the calendar year 2016. The basis of our query will use the Clean Mailing List, which will ensure the results of the query only contain the constituents that should receive communication.
 
  1. Click Queries
  2. Click Manage Queries and click the category that you want to store this query in
  3. Click New Query under the tasks menu
  4. Name the query All 2016 Donations
  5. Select your Clean Mailing List as the Starting Query by selecting first the category that this query is stored in, and then the Clean Mailing List
  6. Select the Data Return Type as Journal Entries
  7. Under Criteria Matching select Match Each Criteria
  8. Under Commonly Used Fields choose Journal Entry Date
  9. Fill in 1/1/2016 for the Start Date and then 12/31/2016 for the End Date
  10. Under Commonly Used Fields choose Individual Transaction Received
  11. Fill in Greater Than or Equal To/$0.01
  12. Click Save and Preview
Of course this is not a query that will work for every organization; you may have your own special criteria to consider. For example, if you only want to send thank you letters to donors that gave a certain cumulative amount in 2016, you can create a cumulative query to do that.

If your organization sells merchandise or has non-deductible donations from event registrations or ticket sales, you may want to only acknowledge those that have a deductible amount. In those cases, in your query you would use the criteria Individual Transaction Deductible instead of Individual Transaction Received.
 
Best Practice Tip: You can query on received totals just like the steps above and then show the amount that is deductible and/or non-deductible in the thank you letter.

We hope this helps you get started with your preparation for year-end receipting and that you have a wonderful end to your year! The next part of this series will talk building and customizing thank you letter templates in communications. As always, please feel free to share your own tips and tricks with us in the comments section below!

Meridith Bowlby
eTapestry Product Lead
Posted by Meridith Barryhill on Nov 9, 2016 11:40 AM America/New_York