We made a couple of changes to the contribution entry window:
Speed Contributions Entry:
The contribution entry screen has been slightly rearranged and modified to allow for fast keyboard access. The “currency type” option was moved up, and you can now use the “Enter” key to move between fields on the entry screen.
Allow EFT and Non-Cash Gifts in Contributions:
To enable churches to more accurately record contributions, we’ve added the ability to choose “EFT” and “Non-Cash” as currency types on the contributions entry screen. Posting journals and other contribution reports were modified accordingly. Non-Cash allows you to record gifts in kind with a zero amount as per IRS guidelines. Additional reports were added to give the church a record of all non-cash donations by date range.
Also in response to the many requests we received:
Icon Systems is happy to present the 2011 Year End Processing Tutorial Video. We are planning to create more tutorial videos down the road, so any comments or suggestions you have are most welcome! As always, the Year End Processing Guide is also available under your Getting Started menu in IconCMO or you can click here for a copy.
It is common knowledge in the business world that customer retention is much more cost-effective than trying to acquire new customers. The same is true for churches and other nonprofit organizations. Although it is important to attract new members so the church can grow, it is equally (if not more) important to keep the members you already have.
We are coming up on the end of year, which means it is time for churches to send out contribution statements and start focusing on the year ahead. Here is a simple yet effective way to encourage people to donate again next year:
Include a sincere thank you letter with contribution statements.
Recognition and appreciation help motivate people to contribute again. In addition to giving them credit for helping the church accomplish its mission, explain how the gift was used so they can see how they fit into the overall picture. Skipping an evening out and donating the money seems like much less of a sacrifice when they know the donation will help feed hungry children at the local shelter. Also, make sure to share the church’s vision and goals for the upcoming year.
If there are people who didn’t fulfill this year’s pledges or just haven’t donated for a while, check in to see if they are okay and ask when they are coming back. They may be having personal problems (e.g. financial hardship, health concerns, loss of a loved one.) Reaching out lets people know you truly value their relationship with the church and can be a source of comfort during difficult times (i.e. just knowing someone cares and noticed they were gone creates a warm fuzzy feeling.) Sometimes people stop donating because they don’t feel it is making a difference. Let them know how their past donations helped and tell them they are missed – they might just come back.
Want to know the best part?
This is probably one of the cheapest, easiest marketing initiatives ever. The church is already sending out contribution statements, so there is no extra cost* and you already have the readers’ attention. Make the most of it and take a few minutes to draft a genuine thank you letter – it could make a huge difference.
*Save money on postage by sending contribution statements via email. For more information or to register for a free trial, please visit www.iconcmo.com.
Several of us at Icon Systems recently had the chance to be interviewed by the fine folks over at ChurchAccountingSoftwareGuide.com. We think you’ll find it well worth a read! As they wrote:
Why this Interview is a Must Read for Anyone Dealing with Church Management and Accounting
It answers (from a licensed Certified Public Accountant) some of the most common questions I get about church accounting:
- Are there any special accounting standards our church needs to be following?
- Can my church lose its tax-exempt status?
- Are my current accounting reports in compliance with non-profit regulations and standards?
- Is there a church accounting software program that can help me be in compliance with non-profit standards?
- My church is small, do I need to worry about the accounting standards?
We also cover the general administrative challenges that churches face, some of the best accounting-related features in IconCMO, and have a detailed overview from our CPA about the federal fund accounting guidelines for churches and other non-profits.
Many churches try their best to do everything right and succeed every day in their mission(s). There is one area in the church that can be detrimental even if the best intentions were meant – the church’s books. Once a church loses the trust in the congregation and/or community their reputation as being a trustworthy organization is tarnished for a very long time. This is why using the proper accounting software, techniques, and having the right people are essential to ensure the church’s overall mission is not tarnished in anyway. Continue reading