No more Combined Donor Names - How to Record?

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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ckmcdonald
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No more Combined Donor Names - How to Record?

Postby ckmcdonald » Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:50 pm

It is my understanding and casual observation that MLS (post CUBS) will no longer allow for "combined" donor names.

I'm aware that pre-CUBS the donation was actually recorded in the name of the husband (typically) and only the name was change to include the wife. The CUBS update removed all the name changes that included the wife.

As simple as this change is, it is creating a bit of a problem. We have several couples in our ward where both work but only the wife pays tithing. Prior to CUBS all the wife's donations were attributed to the couple under the husband's Membership ID and a combined name. Post-CUBS they are now separate and the records now show the husband paid all the donations and the wife paid none - just the opposite of the truth. (I personally find this troubling)

And these are just the cases I know about - there are some I'm sure for which I'm not aware of who in the marriage is paying and who isn't.... or even if someone is going to get offended if I attempt to separate them by who signed the check or filled out the slip (hard to tell). This is kind of leaving us Clerks in a bit of a precarious position.
One method that might work is to strictly use the name on the slip. However, this won't work correctly either unless we train the members to use the correct name and know what it means. We have members who only write their last name. We have Sisters who pay their own tithing but write down their husband's name, etc. etc.
Are there guidelines how to handle this now that "combined" names aren't allowed?

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Postby jdlessley » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:01 pm

ckmcdonald wrote:It is my understanding and casual observation that MLS (post CUBS) will no longer allow for "combined" donor names.
This is correct. See the CUBS Donor Names thread for a discussion on this topic.

ckmcdonald wrote:I'm aware that pre-CUBS the donation was actually recorded in the name of the husband (typically) and only the name was change to include the wife. The CUBS update removed all the name changes that included the wife.
Prior to CUBS a combined donor name was associated with only one member record number. Either the husband's or the wife's membership number could be used.

ckmcdonald wrote:As simple as this change is, it is creating a bit of a problem. We have several couples in our ward where both work but only the wife pays tithing. Prior to CUBS all the wife's donations were attributed to the couple under the husband's Membership ID and a combined name. Post-CUBS they are now separate and the records now show the husband paid all the donations and the wife paid none - just the opposite of the truth. (I personally find this troubling)
You could go back and change all the donations to be under one name or the other if you want to bother. You could even split the donations. We cannot control whether people are going to be affended or not. I really cannot see why they would be as long as the situation is explained.

ckmcdonald wrote:One method that might work is to strictly use the name on the slip. However, this won't work correctly either unless we train the members to use the correct name and know what it means. We have members who only write their last name. We have Sisters who pay their own tithing but write down their husband's name, etc. etc.
It looks like some training is necessary to teach the members how to fill out a donation slip is warranted. An explanation that the transition to CUBS has
caused the change will help let them know that it is not anything you have control over.

ckmcdonald wrote:Are there guidelines how to handle this now that "combined" names aren't allowed?
Not really. All you can do is explain that it is no longer permitted.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:39 am

ckmcdonald wrote:We have several couples in our ward where both work but only the wife pays tithing.


Is she paying tithing for the two of them or just herself? She can always opt to donate under her own name if she desires.

It's only when they want to donate "as a couple" that there's a problem.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

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ckmcdonald
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Postby ckmcdonald » Wed Nov 17, 2010 5:23 am

Ideally, the members would fill in the name, for which they want the donation recorded, on the slip. I've been a Fin Clerk in 5 different wards now and I know that many members aren't thinking about how the donation is going to get recorded when they put the name on the slip.

I get some that...
- Put just the family name only
- Use the husbands name when the wife is paying on her income
- The wife writes down her name only and only her husband has income
- The husband writes down his name and only the wife has income
- The wife pays tithing on her income, the husband is a non-payer but does pay FO and they come in on the same slip.
- etc. etc.
and...
- The most concerning of all, the 95% of the ward I don't know well enough to know what their situation is (nor should I).

In reality, I don't think training the members to strictly use the name on the slip for which they want the donation recorded is likely to happen or get reliably adopted.

Last Sunday I handed out YTD donation summaries in prep for tithing settlement. I handed two out to the active, tithe paying wife and it showed all her donations attributed to her inactive husband. Both are family friends so I know the topic is sensitive. Again, the troubling part is I probably handed out several others like this unknowingly.

In some cases the Bishop is working with members with inactive spouses on what constitutes a full tithe so the active partner can be Recommend worthy. This is the case in one example I referred to above - so the wife is paying for herself. I only know this because they are personal friends. I'm sure there are others like this I don't know about.

The whole thing is a bit messy. The cleanest solution I can think of would be to allow combining of donor names.

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Postby RossEvans » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:29 am

I agree that losing the ability to record donations with the donor captioned per the donors' preference on the statements is unfortunate and potentially insensitive.

A related problem, which is not new, is that if you are printing statements grouped by household, and select the corresponding option to print mailing labels, the name on the label is that of the head of household only. It would be better if the labels were addressed John & Jane Doe.

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Postby ckmcdonald » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:16 am

Responses to this thread went quiet.
Several suggestions were made how to handle donation names.
I don't think any of them resolve the issue in a realistic way.
So I'm left with the same question and no solution.

If there isn't any officially guidance from headquarters, I'd really like to hear what other wards are doing.

Presently I am putting all married couples' donations in the name of the husband. I really don't like this method much but don't have any better ideas how to handle the issue in a tractable manner.

Any chance MLS will change and allow combined names again?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:56 am

ckmcdonald wrote:Responses to this thread went quiet.
Several suggestions were made how to handle donation names.
I don't think any of them resolve the issue in a realistic way.
So I'm left with the same question and no solution.


I'm guessing the thread went quiet for two reasons:

  1. The topic has pretty much been covered.
  2. You started a new thread, but the bulk of the discussion on this topic is on an earlier thread: CUBS Donor Names (which was linked to in the first reply on this thread).
ckmcdonald wrote:If there isn't any officially guidance from headquarters....


There is indeed official guidance from Church headquarters. It may not meet your expectations, but it does exist.

It's very simple: "Donor names may only show a single name, rather than showing a couple's names. The donor name will be the same as the full name on the membership record and cannot be changed." For many years, the donation slip has said "Name (last, first, middle). Use the same spelling on all your slips." That's clearly a reference to a single individual.

Some members may have disregarded that advice in the past, but clearly donations are made by one person. If there is ambiguity as to who is making a donation, the clerk has a responsibility to figure out who the one person is. Following that advice handles every conceivable situation.

ckmcdonald wrote:Presently I am putting all married couples' donations in the name of the husband. I really don't like this method much but don't have any better ideas how to handle the issue in a tractable manner.


If the husband is the donor, that makes sense. There are clearly possible cases where the wife is the donor (you mentioned one such situation earlier); in that case, her name should be on the donation. We simply need to educate members to put the correct individual name on the donation slip, and then clerks will record the donation accordingly.

There is absolutely no problem with a married couple having some donations in the husband's name and others in the wife's name. If they choose to file their tax return jointly, they simply add the numbers.

ckmcdonald wrote:Any chance MLS will change and allow combined names again?


I doubt it.
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Postby ckmcdonald » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:49 pm

Thanks!
I'm off on a mission to train the ward on the use of the name entry on the donation slip. That should be done by the end of the year so we'll have a clean start to do it right starting in 2011.


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