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To: Pastors, Business Managers, ParishSOFT Administrators and Bookkeepers
From: Susan Shirley, Parish Systems Administrator, Office of Finance
Each year in December, we begin planning the administrative task associated with printing and mailing year-end tax statements to all contributors at our parishes. It is our standard diocesan practice to send these statements to all donors, both registered and unregistered, who have recorded contributions of any amount.
Recorded contributions are made by check or credit card, as well as any cash contributions that are easily identified (generally through the use of pre-printed contribution envelopes).
Some preparations can (and should) begin now:
1. Audit Funds: Ensure that all funds in ParishSOFT are coded correctly regarding tax exemption status. Please remember that funds such as Mass Stipends, Christmas or Easter Flowers, All Souls Novena, Georgia Bulletin donations, etc. are tax deductible. The Peter’s Pence collection along with distributed funds from a foundation, 401(k), IRA and matching contributions are not tax deductible by the individual donor.
2. Order #10 double window envelopes in sufficient quantity to mail all statements.
3. Check your parish bulk mailing account (if you have one, or set one up with the US Postal Service) and fund it soon to take advantage of reduced mailing rates for bulk mailings.
4. Audit Mailing Information: Make sure you don’t have any missing data (address, mailing names and zip codes) by exporting your Family List in an Excel spreadsheet and looking for any blank or improperly formatted fields. Pay close attention to the following fields used to fill in the address block on the mail merge that creates statements – Mailing Name, Primary Address, City, State and Postal Code. The post office is less likely to declare a piece of mail “undeliverable” if you have the proper abbreviations for street names (with no punctuation marks). For more information about properly formatted addresses, please visit www.usps.com and search under “street suffixes.”
5. Work with your Pastor and/or Business Manager to agree on text for the printed statements. The form allows up to 1,500 characters and usually includes a “thank you” to donors for supporting the work of the church.
6. Obtain a digital signature from your pastor, if you choose. We recommend the signature not be a perfect replica of the one used to sign checks. For instance, instead of “Very Rev. James R. Smith, OFM” it could read “Fr. Jim.”
7. Determine whether your pastor wishes to sign or write individual notes on any of the statements. At some parishes, the pastor chooses to include a note on all statements or for certain top givers. His decision will determine your print order in case you need to group the statements by contribution amount.
December is also a good time to prepare for 2018:
1. Add a new fund – Offertory 2018 (tax deductible) and make sure to update your online giving with the proper Fund DUID (ConnectNOW Family Suite) or Fund ID (ParishSOFT Desktop). Also, remember to grant user permissions for any newly created funds.
2. Create a new Loose Cash household record. This “household” should be unregistered, contributor only and have an envelope number (for ease in posting). Creating a new Loose Cash record each year will speed up your posting. You can call it Loose (first name) Cash 2018 (last name) or be creative with “Ms. Lucy Cache” or “Mr. Louis Cash.”
This year, we will be printing detailed statements for all contributors. Instructions for printing year-end statements will be sent out each week in January. For more information, please contact ParishSOFT Support at 866-930-4774 or:
• Susan Shirley, firstname.lastname@example.org, 404-920-7408
• Patrick Warner, email@example.com, 404-920-7410
• Michael Warren, firstname.lastname@example.org, 404-920- 7411