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Envelopes and postmarks - WHY?

  • 1.  Envelopes and postmarks - WHY?

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hello friends,

    If your school or college is still keeping envelopes for postmarks, I would like to hear from you. While I haven't supported this practice in many years, some are still hanging on to this and I would like to understand WHY and WHO made this decision.

    This is specifically geared toward fiscal year end or calendar year end.

    Please either message me directly at alawson@swlaw.edu or reply to this message.

    Thanks bunches!


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    Anita Lawson
    Director of Advancement Services
    Southwestern Law School
    lawsonanita@yahoo.com
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  • 2.  RE: Envelopes and postmarks - WHY?

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hi Anita,
    We retain envelopes for a couple of reasons.  One is for determining from the post mark which fiscal year the gift should count for, usually just relevant at the end of the year.  The other reason is to obtain any new address or contact information.  Sometimes a check will have a different last name or address from the return address.  Even though the donor hasn't formally updated us of a move, marriage, or divorce or death, we are prompted by that difference between the check and the envelope to dig into it and find a change we need to make. 
    Thanks,
    Sarah

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    Sarah Pecore
    Gift Coordinator
    St Olaf College
    pecore2@stolaf.edu
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  • 3.  RE: Envelopes and postmarks - WHY?

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hi Anita,

    Scanning envelopes, and mail in general, which is common practice at large organizations, is becoming more prevalent everywhere. The pandemic shifted many orgs into using mail scanning services to help distribute physical mail when folks weren't coming into the office. 

    Many nonprofits do feel that it is good stewardship to provide postmarks to donors. This is one of those fuzzy areas where the donor's accountants are typically quite reluctant to record a contribution in the previous fiscal year if the receipt is in the next fiscal, even if the receipt uses language life 'gift processed on', rather than 'received on.' The donor often doesn't know the technical rules either, and doesn't have any evidence of when they mailed the gift. They're stuck in the position where the charity is the only place that might have the postmark evidence that their accountant will accept.

    I used to think that this was a kind of a no-win situation, or maybe it's an opportunity to convince the donor to become a monthly or annual recurring giver. I now believe that this is a problem that should be solved through technology - donor portals that contain gift history and document history, including envelope scans. But that may not be an immediate fix.


    Thank you,
    Isaac Shalev
    Data Strategy Expert
    Sage70, Inc.
    (917) 859-0151
    isaac@sage70.com

    Schedule a 30-minute consultation now: