Setting up Donations

To set up Donations, you'll need the Financial Admin role.

Step 1: Taking online donations? Set up credit card processing with Populi

First things first: to accept online donations, you'll need to get set up to accept credit card payments through Populi.

  • If you've already set this up, just proceed to Step 2.
  • If you haven't yet, get started here.
  • If you're planning to use Populi Donations simply to keep donation records, you can skip this step altogether.

Stripe offers a non-profit discount for charitable donations. If you get a separate Stripe account to process donations, you could point Donations at that account when you set up your payment gateway. Contact Stripe to see if your school qualifies for the non-profit pricing.

Step 2: Lay the groundwork in your Chart of Accounts

In Financial > Accounting > Chart of Accounts, set up one or more income accounts to which you'll route funds collected through Donations (see Step 6). You may also wish to set up unique asset accounts for donation funds. (If you wish to allow donors to donate directly to particular scholarship accounts, you may also want to set up liability accounts for those scholarships if you haven't already.)

Step 3: Set up one or more funds

Funds designate a use for donations. For example, the "Skinner T. Peabody Memorial Scholarship Fund" provides the money for the Skinner T. Peabody Memorial Scholarship. The "General Fund" provides money for general use by your school. And so on. When donors send you money, they'll have some way to designate which fund they're donating to. Fund names also appear on donation receipts.

Go to Donations > Settings > Funds and click Add a Fund.

  1. Give the Fund a name. This is what your donors will see when they're making an online donation.
  2. Select an Income Account from Step 2 (or another appropriate income account).
  3. Check to make this your default fund. If you only have one fund, that will automatically be your default fund...

Step 4: Set up one or more pages for online donations

Pages let you collect online donations (see Step 1!). You can send donors directly to a page's unique URL, or you can embed the page within another web page.

Go to Donations > Settings > Pages and click Add a Page. Read more about setting up pages here.

Step 5: Add some appeal media

Appeal media are things like postcards, email, mailings, fundraising events, etc., that you use to broadcast particular appeals within fundraising campaigns. You use appeals to learn about which fundraising approaches get you the most proverbial bang for your buck. For example, you might set up Phone call and Email media. During a campaign, you include two appeals—one an email blast to some alumni, and the other a phone call appeal to other alums. At the close of the campaign, you learn that the phone call appeals were far more effective than the email blasts, and you take note of that for future campaigns.

Go to Donations > Settings > Appeal Media and click Add an Appeal Medium. Give the medium a name and click Save. If you ever need to stop using a particular medium, just come back here, click the medium, and set its Status to Inactive.

Step 6: Add custom donations fields

Custom donations and donor fields let you add your own data to individual donations/donors. Once they're created, you add them on a donation's detail page or on Profile > Financial > Donations. After you add them, they're available for export in the various reports in Donations.

Start by going to Donations > Settings > Donation or Donor Custom Fields.

It's best not to use custom information fields for information that Populi already tracks. This results in duplicate, inconsistent, and/or missing information. Only create a custom field once you are sure Populi's standard fields cannot store the information you need!

  1. Click Add Field.
  2. Select the input. Your options are:
    • Integer/decimal:Integer creates a number-entry field. Decimal creates a number-entry field that accepts decimals. These inputs reject regular text—letters and punctuation.
    • Text: Creates a 255-character text-entry field that accepts letters, numbers, and punctuation.
    • Select: Creates a list of options to choose from a drop-down menu. Type the options in the value field and click Add to list them.
    • Date, Date/Time:Time gives you standard month, day, and year fields. Date and Time includes an additional time field.
    • Checkbox: Checkbox fields let you select one or more options from a list. Type the options in the value field and click Add to list them.
    • Radio: Radio fields let you select only one option from a list. Type the options in the value field and click Add to list them.
    • File: Creates a custom file upload space.
    • Text Area: Creates a big ol' text-entry field that accepts letters, numbers, and punctuation.
  3. Give the field a name.
  4. Enter a description‐this could be instructions for completing the field.

Now that you've created this field, you can add it to any donation or donor record.

Step 7: Fill in the remaining Donations settings

To finish up, go to Donations > Settings > General. Here's where you'll tie in the income accounts you set up in Step 2, set up email notifications, and enable online donations. Of course, you can come back here at any time to update any of these settings.

  1. Select default asset accounts (from your chart of accounts) for online, cash, check, and e-check donations (see Step 2).
  2. Enter email addresses for those who would like online donation notifications.
  3. The minimum online donation amount lets you require that all online donations be above a certain amount. While you can leave this blank, keep in mind that credit card processors charge a small percentage for every transaction. If someone "donated" $0.25, you'd end up losing money on that transaction!
  4. If you have a Stripe payment gateway used for donations, you can check to enable recurring donations. You can also enter optional text for an email to be sent to the donor every time you run a charge for a donation.
  5. Check to enable online donations. You need to have set up at least one Fund to be able to do this.
  6. If you wish to automatically give a soft credit to a donor's spouse, check Yes.
  7. If you're using Stripe as a payment gateway, you can enable two extra security measures for credit card donations. The CVV setting requires the donor to enter the three-digit number on the back of the card; the Postal Code setting requires that the donor enter the ZIP code of the card's billing address. Enabling the Postal Code setting will most likely cause international credit card donations to fail—U.S. schools should only enable this if your donations come from U.S. donors.

When you're done, make sure to scroll up and click Save Settings!

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