Those who think the month of July offers a bit of a reprieve from the flurry of activity at tax year-end are incorrect. The month of July involves ensuring your generous supporters have accurate end of year (EOY) tax receipts. Some charities find their end of year tax receipt process to be as painful as a root canal.
I have heard from several supporter services staff who said it took one, two, and three of them three to four weeks to prepare the data for their EOY receipt. Some suggested the data was in such rough shape they had to massage it repeatedly to get the data correct for the receipt. One suggested she “held her breath” for two weeks after submitting the file to the mail house in anticipation of phone calls from annoyed donors.
Not every charity I give to has me sent a consolidated EOY tax receipt. In fact, of the 12 charities I give a regular monthly gift to, only 5 sent an EOY statement. Perhaps those charities that do not send an EOY receipt put in the too hard basket.
Use the lessons learned from your EOY tax receipt process to create a data cleansing task list for the New Year. Consider cleaning the following:
- Gift records.
- Ensure your gift records are a true reflection of what donors have given throughout the year. Do this reconciling at the close of business each month to ensure accuracy.
- Addressees and salutations.
- Create receipt only addressees and salutations, including joint addressees and salutations (when needed).
- Postal addresses.
- If you receive a high volume of return to sender (RTS) mail, now is the time to perform address hygiene. Utilise a service which has access to the AUS Post NCOA PAF file.
- eMail addresses.
- If you lack eMail addresses for a large portion of your data set, create a campaign to acquire eMail addresses over the next 6 months.
EOY receipts are an opportunity for every charity to provide much-needed information for donors for their tax preparation. Additionally, EOY receipts are an opportunity to steward your donors and express your vast appreciation. Don’t put EOY receipts in the too hard basket.