Donor acknowledgement letters

Useful bits and bobs come to you through CPA firm e-mails sometimes. Here’s an article from Clifton Larson Allen called “Donor Acknowledgement Letters: A Guide For Charitable Organizations.” Sounds good! In tiny nonprofits such as CKB assists, a bookkeeper might very well find herself asked about these letters—or asked to write one. According to CLA, a donor acknowledgement letter must include:

  • Organization’s full legal name
  • Date of donation
  • Amount of cash/check donation
  • In the case of a noncash donation, the charity should also provide a description (but not value) of the donated item(s)

A donation acknowledgement also needs one of the following:

  • Statement that no goods/services were provided in exchange for the donation and that the only benefit to donor was an intangible benefit, or
  • Description and estimated value of goods/services provided in exchange for the donation, and the net resulting deductible amount.

Read the full post.

Counting cash

I worked at a client where they photocopied their cash. If a customer paid for something in cash, or if staff came back from an event where cash was collected, they fanned those bills out on the copier glass and took a picture of them as backup documentation for the deposit. I’m not recommending this method, which doesn’t make much sense because cash is fungible (those nineteen dollars could be anyone’s nineteen dollars, so you’re not really creating reliable documentation), but it actually came in handy from time to time when I was sorting through a pile of deposits and got confused.

Instead of photocopying them, I record cash deposits with an Excel spreadsheet that totals up bills and coins by denomination. This may not be any more reliable as backup, but at least it’s tidy, and you can note on the spreadsheet when and where the cash was collected. And it saves you having to arrange a bunch of twenty-dollar bills on a copier and possibly lose one of them in that little space between the hinge of the lid and the wall. You can download my template to the right.