There is a letter writing function within the QuickBooks program. It is a pretty handy application, and one that I have to admit has frustrated me in the past. If you use QuickBooks as your accounting software and track your donors with it (which you can), this letter application becomes a really great way to send letters to them. I can think of all sorts of reasons: to summarize their giving for the year and say thank you, to send letters to donors that have not donated in the past year, to send an announcement of an upcoming event, reminders to pay their pledges, and so on! But if you’re like me, tried to use this application and gave up, or never bothered with it at all, let me save you a little frustration and give you the walk-through of using it.
Step 1: Select the Company Menu
Step 2: Scroll down until you see Prepare Letters with Envelopes. If you click that, another little menu will pop out where you can select what type of letter you want to prepare. Generally, you’ll probably want to send letter to your donors. In QuickBooks, a donor would be the same thing as a Customer.
Step 3: When you have selected the type of letter, a window will pop up to allow you to select your recipients. If you are going to customize a letter (and I suggest that you do, to add a personal feel), don’t worry about selecting your recipients at this time, just go with the default selections and click the Next button.
Step 4: In the next screen, you can select a letter template. If you are going to personalize the letter, select Create or Edit a letter template, and click Next.
Step 5: Now you can choose what you want to do. It’s probably easiest to View or Edit Existing Letter Templates, because all the formatting is already in place and you can simply edit the letter to include your organization logo and replace the template text with your personal message. Click Next.
Step 6: You have the option of choosing what type of letter you would like to edit, and there are all sorts of templates to choose from here. Pick the one that you feel best describes what you are trying to accomplish. Once you have selected your template, click Next.
Step 7: Be prepared. Your selected template will open in Word. You can now edit this letter to insert your own message. Any text you see that is enclosed with the << and >> symbols ties back to a field which will be populated by the QuickBooks program. You do not want to edit these fields, just the text of the letter. When you are happy with the edit, go to File and Save As. Save this template with a unique name, NOT the default name of the template you chose in QuickBooks. Close the Word program.
Step 8: You are now back in QuickBooks and should be seeing a window that says Use the New Letter Template. Click Use Template. Now you are back to the window that says Review and Edit Recipients. Click Cancel. I know it doesn’t make sense, but the new template you created isn’t always going to appear right away. You need to exit this application to make sure your edited template is available.
Step 9: Repeat steps 1 – 3.
Step 10: You should be at the Review and Edit Recipients window. Now you can select the people who will receive the letter. Once that is done, click Next.
Step 11: You are now at the Choose a Letter Template window. You should be able to see your edited letter in the list, with the file name you saved at the time you edited the letter. Select that letter and click Next.
Step 12: Enter the name and title of the person who will sign the letter. Click Next.
Step 13: Now your letters should be created in Word and ready to be printed, with all the fields populated with your recipient names and addresses. Now you can review the letters on screen and print when you’re ready!