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Donor Management for Small Organizations


QuickBooks is a popular and well respected accounting choice for many organizations. It is often used by churches, other faith based groups, arts organizations, non-profits, and other fundraising groups for accounting including the recording of donations. Donor management, however, is more than just accounting. Basic donor management can be accomplished by using the QuickBooks “Income by Customer Summary” report or the “Income by Customer Detail” report. These reports can be exported to other programs for further processing. If a more comprehensive approach is desired, consider adding more data and extended functionality beyond what QuickBooks provides. Examples of additional data include membership expiration dates, event attendance, alternate addresses, donor relationships, and volunteer information. Extended functionality includes duplicate address discovery with merging and comprehensive donor reports incorporating all available data with extensive selection criteria.

Key Donor Management Functions

All donor based organizations have memberships whether they are called that or not. Membership durations can be fixed or can be variable depending on the donation amount. Memberships can begin at a fixed time annually or can start at the time of the donation and expire on a rolling basis. Memberships often involve a level structure with differing benefits and premiums. These levels may also indicate membership duration.

Many donor based organizations hold regular fundraising events which can be annual or onetime occurrences. As with donations, events may have differing donor benefit levels. Effective event management allows the organization to track contributors, generate thank you notes, send reminders for future events, and create lists for seating charts, golf tee times, etc. Event contributors are also excellent candidates for membership and ongoing donations.

Tracking relationships among donors provides insights that can be strategic in mounting targeted donation campaigns. Relationships can be family based: husband, wife, child, etc; or of a business nature: employer, employee, etc. Many organizations receive donations from employers which match employee contributions. Documenting employee/employer relationships allows the organization to create targeted donation campaigns. Some organizations treat employer matching donations as “soft donations” from the employee. In such cases, the accounting system needs to be able to record these soft donations without creating a false double entry.

Volunteers are the life blood and often the staunchest advocates of an organization. It is imperative to maintain data on potential and active volunteers as well as actual volunteer time and function. Tracking volunteer activity identifies the most committed individuals, facilitates scheduling, and allows for implementation of meaningful volunteer recognition programs.


A key component of donor information is contact data including address, phone, email, etc. Maintaining reliable contact information is an important and challenging. Inaccurate or duplicate data results in missed contact opportunities as well as wasted mailing costs. Many donors may have a second home so it is helpful to track an alternate address as well as when that address is active. One of the banes of maintaining contact information is discovering and removing/merging duplicates. Such duplicates can result in an incomplete picture of the donor. Duplicate merging needs to combine not only contact data but also associated financial data. Duplicates could be a name spelling variation, a slightly or completely different address (maybe the person moved), or different family members living at the same address. A manual scan of the data may uncover some of these issues but an automated process can be faster and more effective. The automated process needs to be sophisticated in its approach to finding similar names and similar addresses. Phone numbers or email addresses can also be a hint to duplicates. Ultimately, the automated process needs to present candidate duplicates to a human operator to make the final determination. If duplicates are found, the process should merge them into a single record.

Collecting high-quality donor data would be futile without an effective reporting system. Such a system needs to have multiple presentation formats including tabular reports, mailing labels, and exports to other programs for merging or further processing. The reporting system should also allow for choosing relevant data including selecting data columns and filtering by data content.

Donor Management with DonorsFix

DonorsFix is a program which enhances QuickBooks for Donor Management. Donors are entered as normal QuickBooks customers and DonorsFix allows the entry of additional information such as alternate addresses with effective dates to track donors’ seasonal addresses. Another data addition is relationships between donors such as employer/employee or husband/wife/child or any other relationship desired. QuickBooks custom data can also be used for donors and can appear on DonorsFix reports.

DonorsFix provides a sophisticated duplicate donor scanning feature which identifies duplicate names or addresses in donor data. Anyone who has tried to maintain an address database knows how hard it can be to find and merge duplicates. DonorsFix provides a rich reporting system that can generate reports, mailing labels, name tags, merge letters etc. The reporting system integrates normal QuickBooks data with Donorfix data to provide extended flexibility. Reports can also be exported to Excel and other standard formats for even greater flexibility.