The next step at the beginning of a new fiscal year is to add member dues pledges (and other associated financial obligations, such as building fund, tuition, etc.) to your current members' records. It's important to note:
- This process of batch billing member dues does NOT affect the membership records in your back office, it simply adds a financial obligation (pledge) to a contact's record.
- Make sure that you are batch billing ONLY the primary billing contact (e.g. an individual record with the relationship "head of household for").
- Typically, from year to year, the same donors opt to pay in full, or in installments via recurring credit card or ACH - if this is the case for your organization, gathering these contacts into a group and completing the batch bill process for this group separately from other contacts who prefer to send individual payments is highly recommended to allow for the greatest flexibility in payment schedules as explained in detail step 6 below (to facilitate explanation, I will refer to this group as "Full & Recurring").
- The batch billing process must be completed separately for each financial type and fee level - creating groups of primary contacts that fit the criteria for each of these passes will allow for a smooth batch billing process - e.g:
- If you need to charge different membership levels different amounts for dues, you would create groups based on membership levels (e.g. Family, Single, etc.) and then complete the batch billing processes for each membership level
- If you need to charge the same group of contacts for member dues, building fund, and tuition, you would complete the batch billing process three separate times, one for each Financial Type.
- If you need to configure different payment schedules for different groups (i.e. those in the "Full & Recurring" group vs. all other groups), you would complete the batch billing process for each group and for each payment schedule
- After you have created your groups, use Search > Find Contacts and select the first group you need to bill, then click "Search". Toggle "All Contacts" and select "Add pledges to contacts" from the action drop down menu. After a few seconds, the following screen will appear where you will record pledge information for the selected group:
IMPORTANT: BEFORE you complete this process, please read step 6 below for important tips on installments, frequency and intervals when using Pay Balances
HOT TIP: Even if you are an old pro at this process, it's always a good idea to include a unique identifier for each group of pledges you create in the "Pledge Source" field - in this way, if you make a mistake when creating the pledges for a particular group, you can easily search for pledges based on what you used in the "Pledge Source" field - without this, it makes the isolation of pledges much more difficult
- **For organizations using cash basis accounting and who want to allow donors the flexibility of paying up to the last day of the fiscal year (e.g. fiscal year starts July 1, 2014 and ends June 30, 2015) via Pay Balances, pledges should be created for one installment to be paid every 1 week dated with the last day of the fiscal year (e.g. June 30, 2015) - the reason for this will become clearer after reading the following sections. Organizations using accrual basis accounting should consult with their CPA as to whether this method is acceptable given the impact it will have on financial aging.
**IMPORTANT: If a donor belonging to the "Full & Recurring" group decides to submit a partial payment to be made against the pledge by the back office (either by check, cash, one-time credit card or ACH contribution), you will want to adjust the pledge payment schedule to begin on the first day of the fiscal year and update the installment frequency before recording the partial payment given pledge behavior as described in the following example:
A pledge is created for $1,800 to be paid in one installment dated for the end of the fiscal year (e.g. June 30, 2015). A partial payment of $900 is received on July 1, 2014. Depending on the increment selected in the original pledge, the next expected installment will be dated as follows after a $900 partial payment is recorded:
1 installment every 1 year: Next expected installment amount is $900 due June 30, 2016
1 installment every 3 months: Next expected installment amount is $900 due September 1, 2015
1 installment every 1 month: Next expected installment amount is $900 due July 1, 2015
1 installment every 1 week: Next expected installment amount is $900 due July 8, 2015
1 installment every 1 day: Next expected installment amount is $900 due July 1, 2015
By updating the pledge payment schedule to being on the first day of the fiscal year and, if not otherwise indicated by the donor, for the lowest frequency of "day would" cause the pledge to date the next expected installment amount as follows:
1 installment every 1 day: Next expected installment amount is $900 due July 2, 2015