CMS Contributions - I Just Purchased the Contribution System... Where Do I Start?

PROBLEM:  You just purchased the CMS Contribution System, and you're just not sure where to start entering contributions.

SOLUTION:  To get started in CMS Contributions, we'll need to do some setup first, then we'll dive into entering and posting contributions.

Enter Member Information

Prior to entering any information in the CMS Contribution System, you'll need to enter the church member's Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers, Envelope Numbers (if used) and Member Status information for the contributing members of the church.

For complete information, go to I just purchased the Membership System... where do I start?

Check Contribution Year and Quarter

The CMS Contribution System is shipped to new clients with the current Contribution Year and Quarter Dates already installed. You can change the dates as needed.

Set Up Funds

Contributions and/or pledges are defined separately to account for different funds, (general fund, mission fund, building fund, etc.). CMS allows up to 999,999 individual funds. 

From CMS Contribution, click Options | Fund Setup.

Click the Add button on the right side of the display to enter a new Fund Number and Description.

Enter your funds numerically with the most commonly used funds with lower fund numbers. For example, set your General Fund to fund #1, Building Fund to Fund #2, Missions to Fund #3, etc.

Each fund is assigned to a fund type. There are three different types of funds:

  • Pledgeable - Assign Pledgeable to funds such as general or building funds where you will be tracking pledges.
  • Major -  Assign major to funds such as missions, where you do not maintain pledges. 
  • Special - Assign special to miscellaneous funds where you do not maintain pledges and where you do not wish to differentiate the fund on Quarterly or Monthly Format Statements. 

If you also use the CMS Fund Accounting System, you can enter the shortcut number of the Income/Dedicated Account that is associated with that fund.

Once you have all of your funds entered, click Close.

View Contribution Types

From the CMS Contribution System Menu, click Options | Contribution Types.

You will not need to make any changes on this display, but you will need to know that this capability is available to you.

You may enter types of contributions other than Cash and Checks.  You have the ability to enter Stocks, Non-Cash, Credit Card, Automatic Withdrawals, etc. into your Contribution System.

You do not need a Description Required checkmark for Checks, Cash, Coins, Credit Cards, or Automatic Withdrawals.  

However, you should have a checkmark for Foreign Monies, Non-Cash, Other, Pension Protection Act/PPA2006, Quid Pro Quo, and Stocks/Investments.  This will prompt you for a description and a non-deductible amount, if applicable.

Set Up Entry Defaults

From the CMS Contribution System Menu, click Options | Define Entry Defaults.

Entry defaults are set to streamline the contribution entry process. The Set Standard Entry Defaults display determines what information should be displayed or prompted on the Contribution Entry window. 

These standards can later be customized by batch. 

The Entry Table Display determines how much information you view as you're entering contributions each week.

If you use the CMS Fund Accounting System and would like to import Contributions, be sure to enter the shortcut number of your bank account in the lower left corner of the Set Entry Defaults display.

The following sample views of the Contribution Entry display depending on your Entry Table Display choices.

You can set your Entry Table Display to one of four choices:

  • Display Pledge & YTD Contribution - This is helpful if you need to view the Pledge and Balance information for each fund as you enter each person's contributions.  You will also be able to enter Prepayments towards Next Year's Pledge in this view.  If you wish to enter check numbers, be sure to check the box at Enter Check Number.

  • Display YTD Contribution - If your church does not track pledges, you may want to consider this view.  You will be able to view the YTD Contribution per fund as you enter each person's contributions.  If you wish to enter check numbers, be sure to check the box at Enter Check Number.

  • Neither Pledge or YTD Contribution - If you do not track pledges, and you do wish to enter check numbers/contribution types, and/or have volunteers entering contributions and do not wish them to view pledge or YTD Contribution Totals, you may want to set your Entry Table Display to this view!  If you wish to enter check numbers, be sure to check the box at Enter Check Number.

  • Display Fund & Amount Only - If you have volunteers enter contributions and you do not track check numbers, you may want to use this view.  You will not be able to enter check numbers with this view.

Set the entry defaults to include the most commonly received funds and to display the information needed for entering contributions. 

Click OK.

All of the Set Up is DONE!  From now on, you will just complete the following steps to Enter and Post your Contributions!!

Create and Enter a Batch of Contributions

From the CMS Contribution System Main Menu, click the Enter Contributions button.

This will take you to either...

A Select Batch display (if you have batches waiting to be posted).  If on a Select Batch screen, click the New Batch button on the right.

Or a New Batch display (if there are no batches previously entered waiting to be posted).

  • Batch Date - Date Contributions were made, not the date you're entering them into the system.
  • Description - General description of the batch.
  • Counted Total - (Optional) dollar amount of the deposit, or the Counter's Total for that week's contributions.  You do not have to reconcile to the Counter's Total to post the batch of contributions.
  • Entry By - Name or initials of the Contribution Entry person.

Click OK.

NOTE:  You may have several batches entered waiting to be posted.   You may have multiple batches on the same date.  Each batch represents it's own contributions on that date.

The CMS Contribution System is designed for quick key entry utilizing the Envelope Number!  

Stop for a moment and look at your keyboard.  There is a 10-key pad on the right side of a standard keyboard (sorry, most laptops do not have this feature!).

Using your right hand, enter the Envelope Number of the Contributor on the 10-key pad on the right side of the keyboard and press the Enter key on the 10-key pad.  The contributor's name and information will display at the top of the screen.

The funds you had previously set up in the Set Entry Defaults section should automatically display in the lower half of the screen.  Go to the correct fund and enter the dollar amount to be distributed to that fund.  If the contributor gave to more than one fund, enter that distribution as appropriate.

When you're ready to go to the next contributor, press the plus sign on the 10-key pad on the right side of the keyboard to go to the next contributor.

You will develop a rhythm of...

  • Envelope Number | Enter | Amount | Plus
  • Envelope Number | Enter | Amount | Plus
  • Envelope Number | Enter | Amount | Plus

If your church does not utilize Envelope numbers, you can enter using the standard alpha characters on the keyboard.  

  • Contributor's Last Name | Enter | First Name | Enter | Amount | Plus.

Continue to enter the amounts given by each contributor for that batch for that date until you have all of the contributions entered.

Print Edit List

Once you have entered all of the contributions for that batch, you must print an Edit List.  The Edit List is the report of all of the entries you just completed!

From your Contribution Entry display, click the Edit List button, located half way down the right side of the display.

You can choose to print this report by the Order Entered, or Alphabetically.  

The Contribution Detail will display each individual entry you have made, while the Fund Totals will sum it all up!  Displaying how much was contributed to each fund.  Click Print and keep a copy of this report stored in a file cabinet or three ring binder!

If you see any entry errors or have any changes you would like to make prior to posting, you can make those changes now.

Once you are happy with the entries made, you can continue.


This takes us to the most important thing you can do while entering contributions.... backup!

You should back up each week just prior to posting.  This will do a couple things for you... it will put you on a regular backup schedule

...and it will ensure that the entries you have completed (all that hard work) is safe as you post your batch.  

If something is going to happen to your computer (power failure, network loss, comet, etc.) it will happen when you post.  Backing up prior to posting keeps you from having to re-enter that week's batch if the worst happens!

Post Contributions

Contributions entered will not be available on your standard reports until they are posted.  You must post the contributions to apply them to your Contributor's record!

You will still be able to make adjustment entries as needed after posting, so do not feel as though you have to wait.

Click the Post Contributions button from the CMS Contribution System Main Menu.  If you have already made your backup, you can click Continue.

The system will display all of the batches that have been entered, but not yet posted.  Click the checkmark in the box under Post? to select the batches you would like to post.

Click the Post button.

Once complete, those entries are available on your standard and custom reports in CMS Contribution System!

You can now create a new batch, enter the contributions, print the edit list and post your contributions.

If you are attempting to enter contributions for the whole year, you may have to go through an End of Quarter process, but you will be able to catch up very quickly!

If you are attempting to post to a previous quarter, you may receive a message when posting stating that you are "attempting to post to a date from a prior quarter...", just click OK and the system will continue to post that batch.  

If you are attempting to post several batches from a prior quarter, you will click OK for each batch! 

We recommend you watch the following videos to continue your CMS Contribution Training:

Contribution Basics - Entering Contributions

Contribution Basics - Correcting Contributions

Contribution Reporting Tools - Custom List

Contributor Statements and End of Year

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