Unable to Merge Donors

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ericwerny
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Unable to Merge Donors

Postby ericwerny » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:39 pm

It appears that MLS Finance side has changed, and not allowing your to merge members donations together, i.e. husband and wife. I remember last years I was able to do this.

Returning to this feature would be very helpful for the members. If there was a reason for the change, could it be explained please.

Eric Werny

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:11 pm

Although you can't actually merge donors anymore, there is a feature that allows you to include the spouse on donation statements. For most cases, that has the same effect. You credit all the donations to one person, and the statement will be printed with both names. Is there a situation you are aware of that wouldn't be handled reasonably by this current implementation?

I'm not sure of the reasons, but I can imagine that it is beneficial to have clarity as to whom the donations are credited to. That simplifies handling issues of separation or divorce.
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jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:34 pm

ericwerny wrote:It appears that MLS Finance side has changed, and not allowing your to merge members donations together, i.e. husband and wife. I remember last years I was able to do this.

Returning to this feature would be very helpful for the members. If there was a reason for the change, could it be explained please.
The ability to merge donor records still exists. But merging two donor records already tied to two membership records is not possible. Only the merging of a donor record not tied to a membership record with another donor record is possible.

For nearly two years now, two donors, each with a membership record, have not been able to be combined. There was a message sent through the MLS messaging system explaining the change.

Under the old method of combining donor records only one membership record, usually the husband's, was linked to a combined donor record. The current method makes it clear that one donor record is tied to one membership record. The ability to combine donor records for two members has been eliminated.

To include the spouse of a member on the year end tax valid statement there is an option on the donor record, a check box titled "Show spouse on donor record". This accomplishes the same thing as the previous method without the confusion as to who a donation is tied. More information is found in the wiki article Update donor records.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

ericwerny
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Thank You For The Response

Postby ericwerny » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:03 am

Thank you both for your feedback.

HokansonDM
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Re: Unable to Merge Donors

Postby HokansonDM » Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:50 pm

Now that we have gone to the new online system - the merge donors function is needed more than ever. Typically when paying at church we put things under the dad's name. But for online, it is more often the mom who is making the donation. It would be nice to combine them into a single statement.

jdlessley
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Re: Unable to Merge Donors

Postby jdlessley » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:06 am

HokansonDM wrote:Now that we have gone to the new online system - the merge donors function is needed more than ever. Typically when paying at church we put things under the dad's name. But for online, it is more often the mom who is making the donation. It would be nice to combine them into a single statement.

Merging two member donor records (donor records tied to a MRN) is not possible. Nor will it likely be approved in the future.

Members need to be educated about this limitation. They then need to make their donations accordingly.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

HokansonDM
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Re: Unable to Merge Donors

Postby HokansonDM » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:16 am

Understood. But that doesn't make it a good answer from either a change management or user experience perspective - made worse by the ongoing expectation that members will transition to the online system throughout the year. Nor is it reasonable to assume that a couple should only use one account for donations. It is an artificial restriction perhaps motivated by an inflexible implementation - which means the feature should be added to the backlog and prioritized.

davesudweeks
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Re: Unable to Merge Donors

Postby davesudweeks » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:28 am

HokansonDM wrote:Now that we have gone to the new online system - the merge donors function is needed more than ever. Typically when paying at church we put things under the dad's name. But for online, it is more often the mom who is making the donation. It would be nice to combine them into a single statement.


The proper method for recording donations manually us to use the name recorded on the Donation Slip. Obviously, some write both the husband's and wife's name on the slip (we used to) and then the Clerk has to make a decision.

There are potential tax situations (couples filing separately, mid-year divorce situations, etc) where it is very important to keep the donations separate. There is no problem with a couple adding the donation numbers together and having two tax valid statements if filing jointly.

russellhltn
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Re: Unable to Merge Donors

Postby russellhltn » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:29 am

HokansonDM wrote:Nor is it reasonable to assume that a couple should only use one account for donations. It is an artificial restriction perhaps motivated by an inflexible implementation - which means the feature should be added to the backlog and prioritized.

Couples can use any account they want and change it at any time. The only problem is seeing prior donations and the need to use multiple statements when filing taxes.

The issue is giving one person access to the other's donation history. I don't see that changing. In the eyes of the law, I don't see marriage vows changing privacy rights.
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aebrown
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Re: Unable to Merge Donors

Postby aebrown » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:32 am

HokansonDM wrote:Nor is it reasonable to assume that a couple should only use one account for donations. It is an artificial restriction perhaps motivated by an inflexible implementation.

No one is assuming that a couple should use only one account for donations -- the opposite is the case. Each individual has their own account. The only assumption is that when someone makes a donation and specifies a donor name (either by writing that name on a donation slip, or by using that person's online account), the donor actually intends the donation to be credited to that donor. That seems like an entirely reasonable assumption.

And I disagree with your claim that it is an artificial restriction. It can be very important to track exactly who made the donation. Some members file their taxes separately, even though they are married. Some marriages end in divorce in the middle of a tax year, which can make it important to know who actually made which donations.

No other charitable organization to which I make donations makes any allowance for generating a statement that has a donor name on it other than the individual who made the donation. I don't see why the Church should be any different.

I certainly can see how some people might want to add up their tithing donations throughout the year to see how their donations compare with their income. Some people in that situation will be very grateful that the husband's and wife's accounts are separate -- it facilitates tracking one spouse's income/tithing separate from the other spouse's income/tithing. Others may with that they were combined, but all they have to do is add two numbers. That's surely not too difficult, but if it is, they are welcome to make all their donations under the single name they prefer.


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