CMS Contributions - How to Mail Merge an Email Thanking Contributors for Their Contributions?

PROBLEM: You would like to send an email thanking the contributor for their Contributions this year, confirming their pledges, or reminding contributors of an overdue pledge.

SOLUTION: If you use Microsoft Word 2007 (this feature may not be available in earlier versions of Word) and Microsoft Outlook for your email editing application, you have the option to send personalized emails to your contributors where customize the data in the email, follow these instructions:

NOTE:  Since you will not be able to include detailed contribution information (i.e. John Smith gave $20 to the General Fund on January 1st), this will not meet the IRS requirements for reporting charitable contributions and should not be used as a substitute for the Yearly Contributor Statements.

From your CMS Contribution System, click Process | Merge/Export File | New Report | give it a name, such as Pledge Reminder Email and click OK.

At the Merge File Selection Screen, make your selections as needed.  For example, if you wanted only those people who have a balance due on their pledge (don't forget to click Process | Calculate Pledge Balances prior to preparing the data to the date of the email), click the Contrib/Pledge Selections button located on the left side of the screen.

Click the down arrow at Data Selection Field #1 and choose Balance Due then select the fund and leave the dollar selection at $.01 thru $9,999,999.99. Click OK.

Click the Person Additional Selections button located on the left and click the checkbox at the bottom of the display at Email.  Select just those people with a Personal or Household or Business Email address.  Click OK.

Click the Specify Additional Contribution Fields button located in the lower right corner of the display.

Click the down arrow at Column 1 and choose the fields of information you would like to appear on your email, such as Pledge Type, Pledge Amount, Year to Date Pledge, Year To Date Contrib, etc. and choose your fund. Click OK.

Click the Specify Additional Membership Fields button located in the lower right corner of the display.

Click the down arrow at Line 1 (left) and choose House.House E-Mail.
Click OK.

NOTE:  The Microsoft Word email merge process will only send to one email address per recipient.

Click the checkbox at Field Names in First Record located in the lower left corner of the display.

Click the Browse button under the File Destination in the upper right corner. CMS will produce a comma separated value or CSV file that most Word Processing applications accept when doing a mail merge!

Click the Save In down arrow at the top of the Browse display and save your data where you will be able to find it later, such as your Windows Desktop or My Documents.  Our example will go to the Windows Desktop.  Set the File Name to YTDCONT.CSV and click Save.

Or, if your CMS is located on one computer, and your word processing application is located on another computer (or if you're handing this disk off to someone else!), you may want to insert a blank diskette or jump drive and change the file destination to:


If burning the data to a CD-R/CD-RW, click the Browse button and save the file to the Windows Desktop.  Then using your CD writing application to burn the file to a CD.You may also choose to click the View File button on the right side of the screen to print up the information included in the file.

Click the Output File button on the right side of the screen. This will create the data file.

Once complete, exit out of CMS and open Microsoft Word.

You can access Microsoft's step-by-step instructions Word Mail Merge: A Walk Through the Process by clicking here.

From the menu at the top of the screen, click the Mailings tab and choose| Mail Merge.

Click the down arrow at Start mail Merge and choose E-Mail Messages.

Click the down arrow at Select Recipients and choose Use Existing List.

At the Select Data Source display, you'll need to find where your data is located. This is where you'll need to refer to the File Destination from your CMS Merge/Export File.  In our example, the File Destination was located on the Windows Desktop called YTDCont.CSV.

Select the YTDCont.CSV file (or whatever file name you may have used if you redirected/renamed the export file).

Begin to type the text of the email as normal, and position the cursor where you want to insert the personalized fields of information (name, address, and pledge information, etc.), and click the down arrow at Insert Merge Field and select the field you wish to insert.

Insert the Year To Date Contrib field for your email. For example, you may want the letter to read:

Thank you for your Contributions this year totaling «Year_to_Date_Contrib».

You can also control the format of the dollar amounts. Right-click the «Year_to_Date_Contrib» and choose Toggle Field Codes.

And it will change the appearance of that merge field:

Position your cursor after the quote marks at the end of the word Amount, but before the bracket, and type:

\# $#,###.00

then right click and choose Toggle Field Codes to return to the Merge Field.

Finish typing your Email.

Once the text of the email is complete, click the Preview Results button, you should be able to view the results of the email with each person's data merged into the email!   You can click the arrows to scroll through the recipients to double check your merged email.

Ensure that the email's appearance is just how you want it to look, then click File | Save.

You'll want to save the Pre-Merged email, or the email before you actually merge it to a new email. If you do, then you'll be able to re-use this merge for future reminder emails!

Click the down arrow at Finish & Merge and choose Send E-Mail Messages.

Click the down arrow at the TO: field and choose the House.House Email Address field.
Click into the Subject Line and enter a Subject for the email.

Click OK to send the email messages.

Each recipient will receive an email with their specific pledge information.

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