Frequently Asked Questions

  • General
    Questions from our users regarding how to use CharityMaster
  • If a name can't be deleted because history is attached, can I hide that name?

    Simply make the name inactive by clicking the checkbox at the top of the Maintain names screen. The next time you open the Maintain Names screen, you will not be able to find the name you have made inactive. (This assumes that you have set the system to hide inactive names. (See below.)

    To see a list of all inactive names, produce an Inactive Names report. (Report Selector → General group of reports.)

    To show or hide all inactive names , uncheck or check the "Hide inactive names" checkbox on the "User options" screen is checked. (On the Setup tab, click User options and look at the General tab). Note that this setting controls whether or not inactive names are displayed on most reports.

  • How do I make an organization 'Inactive'?

    Making a name 'inactive' enables you to exclude this name from searches, reports, browsing, etc. while retaining important financial data. To make any name in the database 'inactive', simply put a check mark in the "Inactive" field at the top of the "Maintain names' screen.

    If the organization has 'Multiple contacts' (the Multiple contacts button will be visible at the top of the 'Maintain names' screen) you must first remove the 'secondary contacts' (the ones that are not the 'Main contact') from the organization. You can either simply delete each secondary contact or change the entity type of each secondary contact to 'Individual'.

  • How can we control solicitation for someone who doesn't want to be phoned but who welcomes letters?

    Create a flag that means “No telephone solicitation.” Then, when you produce your follow-up list, use the Custom Filter / Sort Listing to exclude all names with this flag.

  • What is the most efficient way to enter data for couples with two different last names?

    The main issue is that you need to ensure that donations are recorded in the correct name. You should enter these people as separate donors, optionally using the householding feature to include them both in a household. The householding option will allow a single mail piece to be sent to the home or office. This has the added advantage that, if you change the address of one party, e.g. she moves out and sends you a new address, the software automatically begins sending separate mail pieces to them. This method relies on Householding, an advanced feature of the software.

  • When training someone new, how can we have them use 'dummy' data?

    There are two approaches:

    1. If you have a computer which does NOT have CharityMaster installed, download and install CharityMaster from our web site. The system comes with sample data that can be edited and names, donations, etc. can be added and deleted.
    2. If all of your computers are being used to maintain "live" data, you can "point" CharityMaster to a different database file and the system can then be used to interface with the demo data. To use this approach, please click HERE for instructions.


  • How do we add a new "sponsorship / donation" type?

    Click the Setup tab on the ribbon. Click Setup tables then Sponsorships / donations then Sponsorship types.

    On the "Maintain sponsorship types" screen, click the Add a type button. When the "Add sponsorship type" screen opens, press the F1 function key to see complete instructions for filling in this screen.

  • Can CharityMaster divide a single payment into two or more sponsorship / donation types?

    When you receive a payment that must be applied to two or more "sponsorship / donation types" you must record each portion of the payment separately. CharityMaster cannot split the payment for you.

    For example:

    You receive a payment for $100 that is to be applied to a $25 event ticket purchase and a $75 donation for unspecified purposes. You must enter two transactions into CharityMaster. However, when you enter each transaction, you should enter a note to that transaction by clicking the Note button and entering something like "Paid for by $100 check which was applied as follows: ....."

  • What's the best way to make backups of our data?

    It's absolutely essential that you make regular backups of your database, your Word templates and your e-mail templates. A great article on backup considerations is here:

    Each day when you start CharityMaster, a new backup of your data file (usually named charitymaster_be.accdb) is automatically created and stored in the location specified on the System setup screen. CharityMaster will retain only the last 15 backups.

    You can change where backups are stored by navigating to the System setup screen. We recommend that you use a cloud service such as DropBox.

    Note that CharityMaster does NOT make backups of your Word or e-mail templates.

    What needs to be backed up?

    When CharityMaster is installed, the database and the standard Word templates are installed in the C:CharityMaster directory on the hard drive of the computer on which you are installing the system. You need to do daily backups of all of the contents of this folder. However, you may have elected to move your database to a different computer or perhaps you are accessing your database over the internet. The best way to ensure you have up-to-date backups depends on where the database and templates are stored.

    Database and templates stored on a server

    In this case, you need to ascertain what backup processes are in effect for the server. Ensure that the folder in which your database and templates are stored is included in the daily backup process.

    CharityMaster is being hosted

    The hosting provider will back up all of your folders on a daily basis. However, it is important that you check with them to ensure that the location of your database and templates is included in the server backup.

    In addition, we highly recommend that you download the complete contents of the CharityMaster storage location to a local workstation or CD disk at least monthly.

    Database and templates stored on local computer

    We recommend that you make a copy of your database and templates every day. You can simply copy the entire folder to a CD or DVD disk or to a memory stick or to another computer. If you don't wish to do this daily, we recommend using CharityMaster's built in backup tool daily. This will back up just your database and guard against your database becoming corrupted. To create a backup, click on the Home tab then click the Backup back end button. CharityMaster will create a dated backup file in the location you have specified on the "System setup" screen.


  • How do we handle donations that come through an organization that has already issued a tax receipt?

    In Canada, an example of such an organization is "Canada" Your donor makes a payment, stock donation, etc. to this intermediary that gives them a tax receipt and then passes the funds on to your organization.

    To handle such donations, you must first set up a new sponsorship/donation type in CharityMaster. (Click Setup tab then the Setup tables button then Sponsorships / donations then Sponsorship types.) On the Maintain sponsorship types screen screen, click the 'Add a type' button and set up the new type in the usual fashion. (With the "Add sponsorship type' screen open, press the F1 key for help.) Ensure that there is NOT a checkmark in the "Receiptable" field. You may need to get guidance from your treasurer or accountant to learn the appropriate general ledger settings.

    Process all payments received from the intermediary using this new 'Sponsorship / donation type.' CharityMaster will NOT create any tax receipts for such transactions because the Receiptable check box is blank.


  • How do we handle amounts received where we don't know who made the payment?

    CharityMaster requires that every payment be associated with a name. To handle bulk payments that are anonymous, add an organization to your database and call it something like "Anonymous" or "Miscellaneous." Then, using this organization, record any transactions where you don't know the source of the funds.

    You may want to ensure that your records do not include these amounts in the totals of your tax receiptable donations. You can either set up a Sponsorship / Donation type that is NOT flagged as "Receiptable" or add a Payment Method where the "Can issue receipt" flag is NOT checked.

    In either case you may also want to ensure that these amounts are not placed in a general ledger account that represents only amounts for which a tax receipt has been issued.

  • Can CharityMaster handle bi-weekly and monthly donations easily?

    CharityMaster has a feature called "scheduled donations" that makes it super simple to handle these payments. Have a look at the "Scheduled donations" tutorial.

  • I added a sponsorship/donation type but it does not show up when I try to enter a donation.

    CharityMaster allows you to specify what types of entities can use which sponsorship types. For example, you may want to require that the donor be a company. If the system does not allow you to select a particular sponsorship type when you go to enter a donation, then check that the setup is correct.

    Click the Setup tab then click the Setup tables button. Select Sponsorships / donations from then menu then Sponsorship types. The "Maintain sponsorship types" screen will open. Select the problematic sponsorship type then click the Edit type button.

    On the right hand side of the "Edit sponsorship type" screen ensure that you have all of the applicable entity types checked.

  • Can we send out tax receipts by e-mail?

    CharityMaster can create tax receipts using the Word mail merge function. Once you create a merged Word document containing all of the tax receipts for a period, you can create separate PDF files that are automatically mailed to each donor. This involves the download and installation of a (free) Word add-in. Complete instructions are in HERE (click to download.)

  • Installation / setup
  • Now that we have bought CharityMaster, what do we do next?

    Before you enter any "live" data your first steps are:

    To explore the conversion of your donation history please contact us.


  • How do I set up CharityMaster to send e-mails?

    CharityMaster requires that you enter e-mail settings in two places:

    1. On the "System setup" screen. The settings you enter on this screen are used by the E-mail Wizard for sending e-mails to groups of people. These settings are shared by all users of CharityMaster.
    2. On the "User options" screen. The settings that you enter on this screen are just for the computer you are using.


    System setup screen

    You must start by selecting the e-mail client that you will be using. You only have two choices: Microsoft Outlook and CharityMaster's built in e-mail client. If you select the first of these options, Outlook must be installed on ALL of the machines on which you will be using CharityMaster. If you select the second option, then the "E-mail Wizard setup" tab will become visible on the "System setup" screen. Click on that tab and then press the F1 function key to see the detailed instructions in the help system.

    User options screen

    On the General tab, select the e-mail "client" (a program installed on this computer) that you will be using for sending e-mails to individual names.

    Our recommended e-mail application is Microsoft Outlook (part of Office) and, if it is installed, you should select this client.

    If you do not wish to use Outlook, we recommend that you download and install Mozilla Thunderbird. It is a powerful and FREE application by the creators of the Firefox browser.

    Note that "Windows Live Mail" is NOT the same as the Windows 10 "Mail" application. "Windows Live Mail" is a separately installable component of Windows Essentials 2012 and it is no longer supported by Microsoft. So for security reasons we do not recommend using "Windows Live Mail."

    If you select "Web / SMTP mail (e.g. GMail)" then the "SMTP settings" tab will appear on the "User options" screen. Click on that tab and press the F1 function key to see the detailed help for the settings on that tab. Note that you will not be able to send an e-mail message using SMTP until you have successfully sent a test message.

    Windows 10 "Mail" application

    This application cannot be used to send mail from an Microsoft Access application and it may not show up as the default application on the "User options" screen.


  • "CharityMaster cannot find the data file"

    Your data are stored in a database file called charitymaster_be.accdb. When you first install the system, this file and the Word templates (which are all .dot files) are all placed in the C:/CharityMaster folder.

    Should you have moved or renamed the back end directory or the database file and then start CharityMaster, the system will not be able to find these files and the "Back end data store not found" message will appear. Click 'OK' and you will then be given the opportunity to indicate the new location / name of the back end database. Browse to the location of the file where your data are stored. Click on the data file name (usually charitymaster_be.accdb) and then click 'Open.' CharityMaster will reestablish the links to charitymaster_be.accdb and then close. The next time you start CharityMaster, it will connect to this file.

  • My computer died and we have to install CharityMaster on a new machine. What do we do?

    Download our guide "Installing CharityMaster On A New Computer." Click HERE to read and download.

  • How do we move our database to a new location?

    From time to time you may have to change the location of CharityMaster’s ‘back end’ files. These files are in a directory which contains the data (charitymaster_be.accdb) and the Word templates (which are all .dot files). When you first install the system, these files are all located in the C:\CharityMaster folder.

    To find the current location of your data file, click the Home tab on the ribbon, then click the About button.

    If you wish to move charitymaster_be.accdb to a server or another computer on your office network so that all of the users in your office can access the data, you must move all of the files in the C:\CharityMaster directory.

    We recommend that you proceed as follows:

    1. Copy all of the files in the C:\CharityMaster directory to a folder on the server. Do NOT delete the files in C:CharityMaster.
    2. Start CharityMaster and then, when the Maintain names screen is open, press the F12 function key.
    3. Browse to the new location of charitymaster_be.accdb and click on the charitymaster_be.accdb file and then click 'Open.'
    4. CharityMaster will close and the next time you start CharityMaster, it will connect to charitymaster_be.accdb in the new location.



  • When setting up e-mail I get the error message: "There is no email program associated with the requested action."

    This Window error occurs when you try to send an email and you have not properly set up email on the "User options" screen.

    The most likely cause is that you are using a Windows 10 computer which does not have an email client (program) installed by default. The Windows 10 "Mail" application cannot be used to send mail from an Microsoft Access application and it may not show up as the default application on the "User options" screen.

    Note that "Windows Live Mail" is NOT the same as the Windows 10 "Mail" application. "Windows Live Mail" is a separately installable component of Windows Essentials 2012 and it is no longer supported by Microsoft. So for security reasons we do not recommend using "Windows Live Mail."

    Our recommended e-mail application is Microsoft Outlook (part of Office) and, if it is installed, you should make it your default e-mail application.

    If you do not wish to use Outlook, we recommend that you download and install Mozilla Thunderbird. It is a powerful and FREE application by the creators of the Firefox browser.