Blackbaud CRM™ Events: Should I 'Allow Designations' On Events?

Many customers often ask why event fees aren’t posting as they expect in Blackbaud CRM™. The reason for the confusion is most often a misunderstanding of the functionality as designed on the event, or a GL configuration error. We're going to look at the first (misunderstanding of the functionality) in this post.

On the event add form, there is an option to “allow designations” on events. Checking the “allow designations” is key to configuring your GL and determining how you count event revenue.

The confusion comes because sometimes fundraisers want to count 100% of the event revenue & fees towards a specific designation, however, that is not always a good accounting practice. While there are several workarounds that have been developed to “force” this scenario, it is a better practice to use appeal reporting to recognize the total amount collected for events (fees and charitable portions.)

On an event, you will set up registration options. This is where you’ll add the registration type, the count, the registration fee and the cost (for this specific registration type) and the benefit(s) value. Note: The benefit total and the receipt amount will calculate automatically for you based on those entries.

Let's breakdown the elements. The registration fee is the total cost for the registration (non-charitable and charitable.) The cost is the non-charitable portion of the fee (Note: Some organizations include the benefit value in this number if they choose not to break it out in the benefits grid. However, you should not include the number twice as it will deduct the number twice from the total and receipt amount.)

Let’s look at an example scenario. Organization X hosts a golf tournament where they allow individuals to register as a single golfer or as a foursome. Here's what we know:

The cost per person to golf 18 holes is $25.

The lunch cost per person is $10.

Each golfer receives a $15 polo shirt and a $5 sleeve of souvenir golf balls.

In this example, the total cost for the event is $35 and the benefit value is $20. This would make the registration fee $55. In this example, there would be a $0 receipt amount (or no charitable contribution) and therefore no revenue/fees would post to the designation associated with the event.

Going another step in this example, perhaps we say the registration fee for a foursome is $300. The total cost and benefit value is now 4 x $55 or $220 but now the receipt amount would be $80. The amount (above the cost of fees and benefits) would be tax-deductible and would post to the designation associated with the event if you've checked that box and linked the designation.

How will this look in my GL? A lot depends on your accounting structure and GL configuration, but most likely you'll need a composite segment in the GL configuration. When it posts to the GL, in the foursome example, you would see: $300 would debit cash and $300 would credit revenue. $220 would post to a revenue account (non-charitable) and $80 would post to a charitable account (designation in CRM).

It’s important to note, if a constituent partially pay for an event registration (or only pays the exact amount of the event registration fee), the payment(s) will apply to the cost and benefits until that portion is fully paid. Only after that happens is event revenue applied to the designation! This is important for end users to understand when running reports.

If you would like help understanding how event revenue is posting, or if you’d like help setting up your GL to accurately reflect event fees and revenue, contact us for more information.

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