"Other" Category

Discussions about the Online Donation system.
User avatar
rootbeericecream
New Member
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:46 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

"Other" Category

Postby rootbeericecream » Sun Oct 04, 2015 4:54 pm

Will additions be made to the "other" category? Several missionaries in are stake are users of missionary mobile devices. They were instructed to fill out "Other - Missionary Mobile Device" on the donation slip for their mission.

cawilson
New Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:33 am
Location: Indiana, US

Re: "Other" Category

Postby cawilson » Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:27 am

I sent in a feedback request to create a textbox in the 'Other' category. There is no way that the church could keep up with all the various uses for that category. I had to use it Sunday to order a commemorative book for the temple dedication in Indianapolis: we don't need some poor guy in Salt Lake adding that and all the other ways we use the category to the drop down. My suggestion was to then have a report to show all donations 'Other'>0 AND 'TextBox' NOT <Empty>, which can then be reallocated at leisure, instead of two priesthood holders missing Sunday dinner to open the envelope and decipher my chicken scratch. Of course, better handwriting on my part could help too.

eblood66
Senior Member
Posts: 2023
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:17 am
Location: Cumming, GA, USA

Re: "Other" Category

Postby eblood66 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:25 am

rootbeericecream wrote:Will additions be made to the "other" category? Several missionaries in are stake are users of missionary mobile devices. They were instructed to fill out "Other - Missionary Mobile Device" on the donation slip for their mission.

Question 10 under the Online Donations FAQ indicates that payments to the Other category that are payments for goods or services are not supported through the online donation tool because they are not actually donations to the church. The items that are under the Other category in the Online Donations are all true donations of the church and are tax deductible.

Based on that information it doesn't sound like missionaries or families will be able to use the online tool to pay for missionary mobile devices, at least not at this time. Those payments will have to be made directly to the ward in a donation envelope.

cawilson
New Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:33 am
Location: Indiana, US

Re: "Other" Category

Postby cawilson » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:42 am

Well, there it is. Oops.

Does anyone know if there are legal or tax implications of goods or services being done through a web portal meant for charitable donations? Not a banker, but since my check that includes multiple categories is deposited into a single account (right?) before being parsed into its various categories, I can't imagine it being much different for an EFT. Am I wrong?

Not actually had the clerk calling, so maybe there is some obvious thing I am missing.

mevans
Senior Member
Posts: 1280
Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 12:52 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: "Other" Category

Postby mevans » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:15 am

cawilson wrote:Does anyone know if there are legal or tax implications of goods or services being done through a web portal meant for charitable donations? Not a banker, but since my check that includes multiple categories is deposited into a single account (right?) before being parsed into its various categories, I can't imagine it being much different for an EFT. Am I wrong?


I've previously made contributions to the "Other" category that were not tax-deductible. I believe it can be on the same check as tax-deductible contributions. I don't know what the finance clerk does, but I believe the "Other" category donation has to be coded as to whether it is tax-deductible or not. My donation summary showed all the donations, but the US tax statement showed less than the full amount donated.

It's technically possible for the church to make an administrative interface for units to specify local items that could be shown on the "Other" menu, but with so many other competing priorities, I don't know if/when that would happen. They probably want to review the adoption rate of the tool before considering enhancements.

eblood66
Senior Member
Posts: 2023
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:17 am
Location: Cumming, GA, USA

Re: "Other" Category

Postby eblood66 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 8:10 am

cawilson wrote:Does anyone know if there are legal or tax implications of goods or services being done through a web portal meant for charitable donations? Not a banker, but since my check that includes multiple categories is deposited into a single account (right?) before being parsed into its various categories, I can't imagine it being much different for an EFT. Am I wrong?

Not actually had the clerk calling, so maybe there is some obvious thing I am missing.

I know nothing for certain but here are a few possibilities:

  • Most non-donations are put into subcategories of the Other:Authorized Member Financed Activities category but those sub-categories are local to the unit's MLS system and aren't transmitted to CHQ. So the online donations tools doesn't know what sub-categories are available. But this problem doesn't apply to missionary mobile devices. CHQ does know that at least somewhere (but it's possible it comes from a system the online donations doesn't currently interface with).
  • Donations to Other:AMFA sub-categories remain in the unit's bank account and don't get swept to CHQ. It's possible there could be some legal reason they don't want those funds to pass through CHQ accounts. But that really isn't an issue for missionary mobile devices either because those payments do go to CHQ.
  • Maybe it is technically and legally possible to handle missionary device payments online but it would require additional development and it isn't a high enough priority or it isn't felt that it is significant enough an issue to implement at all.

Or there may be some other reason that I haven't thought of or which can't really be known without insider information.

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 20726
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: "Other" Category

Postby russellhltn » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:06 am

I think there's another issue. Most all categories shown in the on-line donation system have no upper limit. There's little concern about "over donation". (There may be some concern about a donation to a specific ward missionary, but given that it's an on-going thing for some time and any excess can be re-allocated, there is a simple fix.) But most other categories of "other" have a specific short-term need that once fulfilled would require any excess to be refunded. Re-allocation or shifting to another category is not permitted. That includes missionary mobile devices.

That could easily create a mess.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

cawilson
New Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:33 am
Location: Indiana, US

Re: "Other" Category

Postby cawilson » Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:12 am

As an IT Project Manager, I strongly suggest against making it possible for every unit to manage their own drop down menus. When that many users can make that many changes, bad things happen (e.g "I thought ASCII characters were a good idea" or "What do you mean I can't use html tags?"). Many stakes don't have the resources to test that sort of thing either before making it live. It would have to be some poor guy in Salt Lake (or remote, I don't care) doing data entry for the whole nation. Let's not make that person's life miserable.

If I understand eblood66 correctly, the 'Other' donations go into 'subcategories' (same account, different general ledger number label), until someone moves them out of that account and completes the corresponding ledger entry. If that is the case, then the money ends up in the same account whether through EFT or an envelope full of coins. It sounds like currently all EFT deposits are assigned the ledger number by the web tool, whereas donations handed to the bishopric are assigned by the clerk (or whoever sits at the keyboard). If this is the case, then the next question becomes 'how easy is it to change a subcategory after it has been entered?' The same interface used for fixing incorrect entries (meant for stake instead of ward mission fund, or whatever) could be used to 'fix' 'Other' donations made through the web tool, if they were labeled in some way (hence a text box). If it isn't easy to change a subcategory, then I see a great reason why my suggestion should die.

And if I understand russellhltn correctly, it sounds like there are often mistakes made in donations that only a human would catch, and so we need that extra layer of quality control before donations are allocated to certain categories, especially in 'Other'. An example might be if I ordered 1000 of those temple commemorative books (on accident or on purpose), and there wasn't enough printed nor would there be to fulfill my order. A clerk would catch that, and return my check before depositing, but EFT would take the money, and then the clerk would have a difficult or impossible time sorting out the mess. Is that correct?

russellhltn
Community Administrator
Posts: 20726
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: U.S.

Re: "Other" Category

Postby russellhltn » Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:29 am

cawilson wrote:And if I understand russellhltn correctly, it sounds like there are often mistakes made in donations that only a human would catch, and so we need that extra layer of quality control before donations are allocated to certain categories, especially in 'Other'.

That's not what I was trying to say, but there's that too.

There a couple of things that go into what I'm saying:

The pre-printed donation slips don't show any of the ward's custom "Other" subcategories. Only people who know about them can donate to them.

But if you go and make these items available on the electronic donation page, you might get an excess of donation - something well in excess of need. There are procedures for when that happens. Generally refunding the people involved. And because the account isn't yet zeroed, it may continue to appear, and more members donate to that account. You've actually created a bigger headache then processing the weekly donations. It wouldn't make the clerk's life easier.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

eblood66
Senior Member
Posts: 2023
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:17 am
Location: Cumming, GA, USA

Re: "Other" Category

Postby eblood66 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:55 pm

cawilson wrote:If I understand eblood66 correctly, the 'Other' donations go into 'subcategories' (same account, different general ledger number label), until someone moves them out of that account and completes the corresponding ledger entry. If that is the case, then the money ends up in the same account whether through EFT or an envelope full of coins. It sounds like currently all EFT deposits are assigned the ledger number by the web tool, whereas donations handed to the bishopric are assigned by the clerk (or whoever sits at the keyboard). If this is the case, then the next question becomes 'how easy is it to change a subcategory after it has been entered?' The same interface used for fixing incorrect entries (meant for stake instead of ward mission fund, or whatever) could be used to 'fix' 'Other' donations made through the web tool, if they were labeled in some way (hence a text box). If it isn't easy to change a subcategory, then I see a great reason why my suggestion should die.

Yes, MLS does allow you change the sub-category. But that would require a clerk to go back and fix up every Other donation make online. In my experience, clerks have a hard enough time managing the other accounts correctly and making sure donations go to the right place. Allowing free form Other donations which have to be fixed up after the fact would just aggravate things. I wouldn't recommend it.


Return to “Online Donations”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest