Winning from Year to Year

This seems like a good time of year to talk about years. Specifically, I’m referring to fiscal years and calendar years. Based on the calls we’ve been receiving about generating tax letters for donors, I thought it would be a good time to distinguish between the two and to clarify how ResultsPlus helps you with both time periods.

Calendar Year

When your focus is on summarizing data for donors, think calendar year. This is the time period that individual donors care about because it’s what the IRS dictates. ResultsPlus offers two fields in the Folder table that store information for all gifts dated between January 1st and December 31st of a calendar year:

YrToDateGiftAmt – a cumulative sum of gift amounts
YrToDateGiftCnt – a cumulative count of gifts

To check your current calendar year setting, open the Maintenance tab and click on the Reset calendar year button. The first sentence in the dialog will tell you the start date of your current calendar year. If your current setting is01/01/2013, then the YrToDate fields currently store 2013 data. You can take advantage of this data to create mail merge documents that say ‘thank you for your total donations of {Folder. YrToDateGiftAmt} in 2013!’

When you no longer need 2013 data, update the calendar year to 2014. This will reset the YrToDate fields to zero so ResultsPlus can begin tallying gift data for new year.

Fiscal Year

When your focus is on summarizing data for your organization, think fiscal year. This is the time period that your accountant, your director, and your Board care about because it’s related to your organizational budget and planning. ResultsPlus offers an entire table to store information for all gifts dated between the start and end of your fiscal year – the Fiscal Summary table. It contains cumulative amount and count data for:

the current fiscal year:
’YTD’ amount and count – cumulative for the current fiscal year

and for previous fiscal years:
‘Yr1’ amount and count – cumulative data from one fiscal year ago
'Yr2’ amount and count – cumulative data from two fiscal years ago
‘Yr3’ amount and count – cumulative data from three fiscal years ago

To check your current fiscal year setting, open the Maintenance tab and click on the Close fiscal year button. The first sentence in the dialog will tell you the start and end dates of your current fiscal year. If your current setting is 07/01/2013 to 06/30/2014, then the YTD fields currently store data for the first half of FY14, the Yr1 fields store data for FY13, and the Yr2 fields store data for FY12. (Hint: you can set this table to go back up to 20 years.)

When your fiscal year ends, take advantage of the YTD fields to run reports and queries based on this data before you close out the year. (Giving levels, for example, may be set based on fiscal year giving.) When finished, close your fiscal year to zero out the YTD fields and begin accumulating data for the new fiscal year.

Check out the ‘Close the Year’ tutorial built into the help system, as well as the section on ‘Year-End Processing’ found under ‘Maintaining Your ResultsPlus Database’ for more information.