DonaMail and Integrated Software   0021-02   ZZall

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                             TO:  Interested Ministries                                                                                  FROM: Jim Bramer, Retired Auditor CPA
                                                                                                                                                              Nahum 1:7     FILE: 0021-02/all

                             RE:  DonaMail/Integrated Software                                                               ORIGINATED:  May 1996                              

           Below is a hypothetical Online Email (EML) thread between and one of the following MFTeam members PAT (Ministry Chief Executive), LEE: (Ministry Volunteer Treasurer), or FRAN: (Ministry Computer Bookkeeper). 


          Following the example of larger expensive software programs, we are planning to use Quickbooks (QBs) for keeping records of our calendar year Donations ..... plus the ever-present need to stay in touch (email or snail mail) with our very important constituents. In other-words, many believe it is ALWAYS appropriate to have an INTEGRATED bookkeeping and donation accounting/mailing list software package.  My problem is that I am getting the message that this integration is NOT recommended ..... as per the following Forum/Board messages extracts:

TO: Onliner RXX - FR: Onliner JXX -

        Our Church has less that $500,000 annual income and we use Intuit’s QBs.  We want to set up each Giving Unit within QBs with an account number much like some of the C> hurch M>anagement S>ystem  (CMS) software packages do. Then use QBs invoicing function to send out quarterly and end-of-year Pledge and Giving Record information.

                        TO: Onliner JXX -- FR: Onliner RXX -

       Don't do that. Do this in one of the inexpensive separate CMS only software packages. That's what it's for. You will just frustrate yourself trying to make QB into an adequate CMS program.  
       Keep your mailing list current and relevant in your CMS system.  Then process your contributions therein and make a QB batch entry as a split deposit so you can appropriately post to respective Funds ... as you do your needed Fund Accounting.


      We say a hearty AMEN to Onliner RXX,   Pat !!!!
     Thank you for
bringing up this topic, as I have discovered in working with smaller Donation funded Ministries that it is a common and unnecessary desire to attempt to integrate  DonaMail   (Dona>tion and Mail>ing) , or CMS as it is called above, and your Bookkeeping into one Software Package like QBs. 
      There are software products Out There  that can readily integrate the
DonaMail process and the Bookkeeping Fund Accounting and Payroll effort.  But, since they are expensive, paying that much for software seems an unnecessary expense for Medium to Smaller Ministries.
       Like Onliner RXX suggests above, I also recommend that the results of an inexpensive
DonaMail, or CMS for Churches,  software deposit process be placed within an inexpensive product like older versions of QBs that can handle Fund Accounting and Payroll.  Within QBs  it can easily become a personalized memorized split deposit entry from the above DonaMail source.  Please Go Here  and  Here   for more DonaMail and related resources -- please especially note  "Web"  based resources where you obtain/use software using the Internet only.
         In my experience, it is
unwise to maintain a constituent or donor's address etc in more than one place, or you place such info into QBs, for example, for donation processing and then you use some other database for mailing and related purposes, etc.  The ideal is to have such info into one place so that you can establish and update such vital name/address data once and not twice, or more, etc.  In essence, it is critical for you to have a DonaMail product which responds to your special needs for both Mailing (both Email and Snail Mailings), or contact, with your constituency plus, of course, the Donations Accounting. Non Donation or Constituent/Donor Profile issues include:

                                                                             At most Churches

    CMS (please Go Here  for more info on this topic)  products should include such info as: When they became Church members etc; generic family or individual profiles; vocation and birth month/year; pictures etc; small group ID and attendance/mailings; event name tag capabilities; Church newsletter mailings and use of their email address:  Ideally,  the means to export info to Excel docs, etc

                                                         At Mission Agencies (2)

    Or like minded Christian Ministries supported by the public where you need to able to do such things as: 
    Make regular contact/appeal mailings, who is constituent or Donor's Staff Member of interest, etc; what is Donor's Ministry Project of interest, etc.; what is personal profile and history; the Donor is part of which Church; need a record of in-person contacts; need to be able to make personalized non-appeal mailings to Donor; need to be able to make Donor contact/appeal mailings and related stats; make maximum use of Email mailings;  and be able to have pictures of Donor/family.

        As explained above, such DonaMail needs go beyond what most products like QB can provide.  Of course, you realize that DonaMail is a concept .... not a software product that is made available to Ministries.  
         You might also find of interest the uses of such DonaMail databases are listed below.

                                         Membership and/or Attendance










Address info





Individual records





Visitor records





Auto-transfer visitors to membership database





Create groups to track committees, group activities, hobbies, etc.





Create user-defined fields





Event Attendance





Class Attendance





Group Attendance





Maintain detailed Group history





Visitation Records





Pastoral Records





Media Ministry





Bulk Mailing





Preaching Aids















Print any report in PDF format





Send individual e-mails using your email client (Outlook�, Mac Mail�, etc.)





Pictorial Directories





Attendance Reports





Missing Reports





Save e-mails, letters and card notices to a record





Merge fields, insert graphics and format text in personalized letter, card and HTML e-mail notices





Custom Reports





Export to Word�, Excel�, etc.




















Unlimited number of contributors





Number of giving funds










Create groups for giving units










Memorial Giving





Giving History















Giving Statements





Daily Report of Giving





Check Deposit Reports





Comparison Reports










Custom Reports





Print any report in PDF format





Export to Word�, Excel�, etc.





         I recently learned of a Ministry who maintained seven (that's right, seven) different People Databases.  This included Database alternatives via their personalized computer spreadsheets which were not synchronized in order to support the entire Ministry.  Can you imagine the updating effort involved when someone moved or changed their Email address.  Obviously they can greatly improve their efficiently and completeness by converting to one consolidated People database .. and provide the needed training for all users, etc. 
         I am impressed with such issues as the following:

>>  You need to evaluate how much effort and dollars you spend in keeping your constituency (People) database meaningful and useful.  Use of a computer People Database could include any of the following:
    --  hard copy mailing --- on envelopes or to mailing labels
    --  Emailing to segmented groups or departments
    --  Membership/Constituency directory
    --  Donation accounting by Giving Unit, etc
    --  Unique people data for ministry purposes
    --  Attendance data and Print outs
    --  Print outs for Event purposes --- including attendee labels

>>  We are told that Ministries maintain multiple People databases for such reasons as:
    --  Their primary constituency database does not meet needs
    --   Or it is not personalized to their satisfaction
    --   In general, it is missing needed functionality

>>  As few databases as possible adds to efficiency since many Ministries hire outside consultants to keep up with such things as:
    --  Installing software updates across all the Ministry's computers
    --  Updating their computer serve system, etc.
    --  Data defragmentation issues

Fr Pat

        Do you mean, Jim, that if we have 100 or fewer Giving Units/Donors, that we should obtain a separate piece of software for such uses that you list when I  Go Here ?

Fr Jim

        Basically that is my view, although ask about our xxxx-xx link when a Ministry has more than 50 Donors and insists on using QBs,  we show a Ministry how to work with two separate QBs companies ...... one for the usual accounting and the other JUST for applicable DonaMail purposes. 

Fr Pat (3)

        One other thing about all of this, Jim.  When/if we do have a separate DonaMail file (database) for processing our donations, our auditors have said something about internal control via a "Control Account and Subsidiary List" process.  Please explain this.   

       Fr Jim  

      Within this context, you can identify with the need for the total of amounts due from each entity owing you money (subsidiary list) agreeing with the total Accounts Receivable (control account) amount appearing within your Balance Sheet.    Plus the same concept for Account Payable ...  the amount (control account) appearing within QB's Balance Sheet must be be in agreement with a total of the individual amounts (subsidiary info) due to your vendors.  Such agreement within QBs is made easy by their use of integrated and affiliated databases, etc.
       But when you use an unaffiliated database (like
DonaMail software) then this vital "Internal Control" feature is missing.
      I suggest that you maintain a separate Excel file of calendar year totals.  Or you accumulate the cash basis batch totals of the donations that have been posted into the General Ledger (via the
QB Deposit system) and weekly verify that it agrees with the accumulated calendar year-to-date  donation totals as posted to this separate DonaMail database, etc.  Of course, if for some reason  you change the QB bank deposit info, (like NSF checks, etc) then you will need to reflect this within the subsidiary separate DonaMail database file, etc.

FR: PAT       

      Thank you, Jim....  we will definitely stick with our QB for Fund Accounting and Payroll system and research via the products Shown Here  about DonaMail, etc.  We'll let you know what we come up with.

        Thanks again....   

  This was   UPTD:  October 04, 2010