Donor records (MLS)
A donor record is created in MLS for each person or organization that makes any payment to a Church unit.
- 1 Add donor records
- 2 Update donor records
- 3 Connecting donor records to members
- 4 Merging donors and changing status
- 5 Printing donor mailing labels
- 6 See also
Add donor records
To add a donor record, choose Add/Update Donors from the Donations panel. Alternatively, as a donation batch is being created, you can click the Add button from the Select Donor list.
The system will allow users to create four different types of donors.
- Member of unit
- Member of another unit
- Another unit
- Not a member/Miscellaneous
In some cases you may receive donations from a new member of your unit for whom you do not yet have a membership record. In this case, create the donor as a "member of unit"; when the records arrive, update the donor record to be properly linked to the membership record.
Children and nonmembers
In MLS a child is treated as any other member of the ward. When you enter the donation for a child, choose his or her name from the ward list just as you would an adult. A nonmember can pay tithing but will have to be added to the donor list. When you are given the option to choose a donor name from the ward list, you can click ADD at the bottom left of the window. Follow the instructions on the screen. Once the nonmember is added, he or she will be in your donor list.
Update donor records
To update a donor record, choose Add/Update Donors from the Donations panel. Find the donor, and click on the name. You'll see a screen where you can change the donor name, type, and address. For member donors, you can also link donor records to member records by using the Select button. You can also check the box labeled "Show spouse on donor report" to include the spouse's name on this person's donor statements (this is typically used when a husband and wife make all their donations under the husband's name). Make your changes, and click Save.
Duplicate donor records
If you discover that a donor is listed in MLS under two donor names, you need to merge the two names into one so that all of his or her donations are under one name. See "Merging records" below in this article.
Connecting donor records to members
When you add or update a donor record for a member of your unit, you can connect the donor record to a membership record by selecting the member from a list. This will link the membership record number to the donor record. It will also copy the member's current address information to the donor record.
Note that donor records are held separately from membership records. This means that donations can be recorded from people and organizations that are not members of the host unit. One advantage of this separation is that donor records are retained in a unit when a member moves away. However, a disadvantage is that if a member changes their name or address, the donor record will not automatically be updated unless the donor is a member who has moved to another unit.
If there are any donor records that are not linked to a membership record number, MLS will create an Urgent Task to remind you that "Some donors need to have their member record numbers recorded." This task should be handled promptly. It is required that all member donor records be connected with a membership record before the Tithing Declaration Report can be transmitted after the conclusion of tithing settlement.
Synchronizing donor addresses with member addresses
As mentioned above, for members within the unit there is no dynamic link between member addresses and donor addresses, even if the donor record is properly linked to the member record. Donor addresses will update automatically for members who have moved to another unit if the donor record is properly linked to the member record before they move.
But by using the record linkage, it is possible to manually refresh the donor address based on the current member address. This has to be done one donor record at a time, but it's pretty simple.
To do this, do the following:
- In MLS on the Finances page, go into Add/Update Donors.
- You may want to click on the Type column header so that all the "Member" type records will be together (since these are the only types that can be fixed this way).
- Click on a donor name.
- Click on the Select button to the right of "Member of Unit"
- From the pick list, select the same donor.
- As you return to the donor record, you will see the current address from the member record is now on the donor record (of course in most cases they will already be the same, but if they were different, the donor record will now match the member record).
- Save the donor record.
- Repeat starting at step 3 for the next donor, and continue until they are all done.
With some experience, a donor record can be updated in 10 seconds or less, so updating all donors in the ward shouldn't take more than 30 minutes or so, depending on the number of donors. So doing it once or twice a year is not too difficult. Accurate donor addresses reduce delays and costs caused by incorrect addresses.
Merging donors and changing status
The donor list in MLS over time will accumulate many records and occasionally some duplicates and records that are no longer needed. Merging records or changing the status of the records will "clean-up" the list.
On occasion, there is more than one donor record that is created for an individual. This can be remedied by merging to two records together using this process:
- Access the Add/Update Donors list in MLS found in the Finances section.
- Click the Merge Donors button in the lower middle.
- Donor 1 is the donor record that will continue to be shown when recording donations. Donor 2 is the duplicate record that needs to be merged.
Note: The names on the donor records must be different in order to be merged, a simple solution to this is to add a middle initial.
Changing donor status
During year-end, one of the best ways to "clean-up" the donor list is for any members that have moved from the unit, to change the status of their donor record. This is easily taken care of:
- Access the Add/Update Donors list in MLS found in the Finances section.
- In the Status field, click the down arrow and select the correct donor status.
- Donor status is either Visible or Hidden. Donors with the Visible status will appear on lists and reports. Donors with the Hidden status will not appear on lists and reports.
Note: If the donor name is hidden because he or she is merged with another donor name, changing the donor status to "visible" will break the merge.
Printing donor mailing labels
- From a Donor Statement screen, print mailing labels. Before doing this, it might be prudent to synchronize the member addresses with donor addresses as described above.
- From a membership screen, print mailing labels. This option saves the effort of synchronizing addresses, but will create labels for member who are not donors, and also omit donors who are not members (former members of the ward, donors who are members of other wards, nonmember donors, and miscellaneous donors such as organizations).
- With either of the above approaches, the bulk of the statements can usually be distributed by hand, saving postage costs and reducing the risk of donor statements being misdelivered.