Salsa CRM has a built-in tool that will allow you to send formatted letters to your US donors that itemizes the donations they have given over a calendar year, for their tax purposes. Instead of thanking your donor for one gift, thank them for all the donations they have given to you in the whole year.
For our Canadian clients, please review this article as there is a specific process set up to comply with Canadian tax law.
In this article, you will find how to...
- Identify and group your constituents to whom you will send the letter.
- Format your letter with the respective variables that pull from the summary letter process.
- Upload the letter into the CRM.
- Set the letter as a Summary letter.
- Print both the letter and labels.
Identify and Group your Recipients
**If you wish to send a summary letter to all donors, you can skip this step**
To identify whom you wish to send a letter to, Salsa has a built-in query called Summary Letter Query. You can find this by going to Reports>Queries>Advanced Query Wizard>Built-in Queries.
This basic query identifies the constituents you wish to send a summary letter to, so the query intentionally does not have many output fields.
The focus on filtering by Total Gift Amounts determines who gets a summary letter based on the total giving for the previous tax year.
NOTE: The filter for the received date is set to the prior year. This is intentional as we expect our users to run this in the new giving year. For example, if you are running 2021 summary letters, run this query in 2022 to look at the previous year's giving history.
The advantage of this is if you make any adjustments to the filters to use in perpetuity, you can edit and save this query as a smart group. This means you can skip this step for next year when running summary letters.
Regardless of whether you do this or not, the process will be similar year over year. You will run this query with your respective filters and then save this as a group.
Format Your Letter
Before getting started, please review the summary letter templates you can use as a starting point to create your document.
Per this article, there are two variables specific to the summary letter:
The Gift Summary variable will provide a line-by-line list of the donations and supporting information:
- The date you received the donation.
- The donation amount.
- The deductible amount of the donation.
- The fund designation for the donation.
**This variable/table cannot be customized.
If you wish to simplify your letter, the Total Amount variable contains the cumulative amount given in that year.
Once you complete your letter, save this to your computer or Google Drive (if you are using our Google Documents integration).
PLEASE NOTE: We strongly recommend you avoid using any hard-coded text that calls out the giving year. If you use variables to call out dates and gift history, you can skip the first 3 steps of this article next year when running summary letters.
Upload the letter into the CRM
Once you create and save your letter to your computer or Google Drive, you can upload the letter into the CRM:
- From the CRM Menu, visit Manage > Documents > Word Processor.
- If you have not activated Google Docs as your primary word processing tool...
- You will be prompted with a drop-down menu to upload a stored document.
- Find your saved document on the computer to load it into the CRM.
- If you have this saved on Google Docs or have Google Docs set as the default processor...
- You will see the following screen.
- If the document you've created is on Google Drive, you will click the option at the top left to locate and upload that document.
- Then click Save and Close to save it to the CRM.
Set your document as a Summary Letter
Once you save the document to Salsa CRM, you need to set it as a Summary Letter.
- Go to Manage > Configuration > Form Letters & Receipts.
- Click Add Form Letter to Screen.
- Choose from the following options...
- Name—Name this letter something you'd like to refer to in the future.
- Type—Choose to display this on the Donation screen.
- Tax Deductible—Choose No in this case for US letters.
- Summary Letter—Choose Yes.
- Requires YTD Total—Choose No in this case.
- Displays on Dropdown—Keep the box checked.
- Delivery Method—Keep Mail as your choice. We will cover sending it as an email in this article.`
- Click Select Document, search for the letter you just uploaded.
- Click Search without any parameters and then sort based on the date added to find the document you recently uploaded.
- Once this is selected, click Save.
Generate your letter and labels
Once you either save your target group or choose to send the letter to all donors, the next step will be to run your summary letters for your donors.
To start this process...
- go to Manage>Documents>Summary Letters/Receipts.
- On this page, choose to whom you wish to send the summary letter. When you first do this for the giving year, you will focus on 2 of the options:
- All Donors
- Donors in a specific group
- Use the option to Send to a specific donor if you hear from any donors that claim they did not get a letter from you.
- The Donors with Summary Letters assigned to their donations category is for our Canadian clients, and we have an article that outlines the country-specific process.
- If you choose All Donors, choose the date range to search on for the tax year. By default, the previous calendar year is selected.
- Click Search. Once you click Search, you will see an estimation of how many donations and how many donors there are.
- You will then select your letter to print the Summary letter.
- Once you click Process Letters, you will see a screen almost identical to when you process thank-you letters in a batch. Take the chance to review and make any changes to the letters before printing.
- Once you process the letters for printing, you will navigate back to the previous tab to process the mailing labels for those donors.
PLEASE NOTE: We have summary letter templates you can leverage to help in the creation of this document.