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Year End Donation Receipts & Statements: Everything you Need to Know

So, the end of the year has rolled around. You just finished tackling your year end appeal, and now it’s time to get busy generating year end receipts and statements. Don’t stress out, here’s everything you need to know:

Year End Receipts

The year end receipts, which you’ll have to create if you don’t issue receipts after each donation, is a little more complicated. Chances are, even if you do issue receipts after each donation, you’ll start getting some requests in January for year end receipts from donors who have misplaced them.

The receipt or the written acknowledgment required to substantiate a charitable contribution must contain certain information. Here’s what must be included for receipts issued in both the U.S. and Canada:

Requirements for the U.S. Requirements for Canada
  • name of organization
  • amount of cash contribution
  • description (but not the value) of non-cash contribution
  • statement that no goods or services were provided by the organization in return for the contribution, if that was the case
  • description and good faith estimate of the value of goods or services, if any, that an organization provided in return for the contribution
  • statement that goods or services, if any, that an organization provided in return for the contribution consisted entirely of intangible religious benefits (described later in this publication), if that was the case

Source: IRS – Charitable Contributions: Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements

  • a statement that it is an official receipt for income tax purposes;
  • name and address of the charity as on file with the Canada Revenue Agency;
  • charity’s registration number;
  • serial number of the receipt;
  • place or locality where the receipt was issued;
  • day or year donation was received;
  • day on which the receipt was issued if it differs from the day of donation;
  • full name, including middle initial, and address of the donor;
  • amount of the gift;
  • value and description of any advantage received by the donor;
  • eligible amount of the gift;
  • signature of an individual authorized by the charity to acknowledge donations; and
  • name and Web site address of the Canada Revenue Agency – CRA.

Source: CRA – Operating a Registered Charity: Issuing Receipts

Don’t forget to include a short thank you note with your year end receipts.

Year End Statements

If your organization issues receipts after each donation, then you may not have to send anything at the end of the year, but it’s not a bad idea. An end of year statement is a simple letter that reminds donors what they contributed over the year. It’s really easy to produce and it’s just one more opportunity to thank them for their support.

A year end statement can be as simple as this:

Dear [name],

We are so grateful for your support throughout [year].

Here is a summary of your contributions:

[optionally, list details of each donation]

Total contributions for [year] = [amount]

Thank you!

Here’s to continuing to make great things happen in [next year].


[signature of someone with authority]

Creating Templates

Now that you know what to include in your year end donation statements and receipts, you can create a template. Your database software should allow you to define what information to include and where it goes, so if you need to show the original pledge amount along with what’s been donated, or add a statement like “no goods or services were provided by the organization in return for the contribution”, you can do that. And if you want the address to show through a window envelope, you can do that too.

Once you’ve got the template done, you’ll just need to select your donors, do a mail merge and then print or email. Be sure to set the date range for donations made between January 1st, and December 31st.

If you use Sumac, here are some donation receipt templates for both the U.S. And Canada. If you send paper receipts, you can generate them as word processing documents, then print them. If you want to send electronic receipts, on the other hand, you can generate them as unchangeable PDF documents, which satisfy government requirements for electronic receipting.

About the Author: Sumac is part of the Silent Partner Software family, a company dedicated to providing exception software and services to nonprofits. With over 25 years of service, Silent Partner has helped organizations manage over 3 million donors and contacts across the US, Canada, UK, and Europe. Learn more.


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