Are you ready for this gift? Get your processes ready to handle any gift.


Accurate and timely gift entry is a critical piece of donor stewardship. Are you prepared to handle the various types of gifts your organization receives? Be sure by doing a gift process audit.

Inventory your gift types

The first step is to inventory the types of gifts you receive, and the frequency with which you receive them. Review the following list and use your database’s reporting tool to count the number of each type you’ve received in the last fiscal year. Note that these categories are not exclusive. (If you are not sure how to extract data about a specific gift type from your database, that’s your first hint that you need to look at your gift handling processes.)

·         Gifts from individuals

·         Foundation grants

·         Donor advised fund gifts

·         Gifts from small businesses

·         Gifts from corporations

·         Pledges

·         Pledge payments

·         Anonymous gifts

·         Tribute gifts (in honor or memory)

·         Matching employer gifts

·         In-kind gifts

·         Gifts with premium (quid pro quo)

·         Planned gifts

·         Gifts of stock

·         Online gifts

·         Gifts by mail

·         Gifts using other payment methods

Once you are clear on which kinds of gifts you receive, and how frequently you receive them, ask yourself the following questions. Start with those gifts you receive most often and work your way down the list.

1)      What is our process for receiving these gifts?

·         Who are all of the people in our office who touch this type of gift when it is received and processed?

·         Who is responsible for handling gifts received by mail?

·         Do online gifts flow directly into our database, or do we use a manual process to enter the data?

·         Do we receive any other payment transfers that we need to account for?

2)      How is our database set up to handle these gifts?

·         What are the default database fields and functions related to this gift type? If need be, ask your database vendor.

·         Which of your database’s default fields and functions is your organization using?

·         Have you customized your database in any way to track this kind of gift?


3)      Have we documented the process for entering this gift in our database?

·         Which fields do we need to fill in for this gift type? What are the code selections for these fields, and how are the codes defined?

·         Will anyone receive soft credit for this gift?  Who? How is this entered in the database?

·         Are there any other special database functions linked to this gift type?


4)      What is our acknowledgment process?

·         Should this gift be receipted (tax-deductible gifts) or receive an acknowledgment with no tax language?

·         What is our standard template for this type of acknowledgment?

·         Should we create an automated process to generate these types of acknowledgments?


If you are looking for more clarity on how to handle all kinds of gifts in your donor database, join us for Gifts: From Basic to Complex, the second session in Fundraising Nerd’s Make Your Donor Data Work webinar series.

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