Whether your Spark site is set to a calendar year or a fiscal year, it’s never too early to consider your program budget and payroll needs. Following these steps will guarantee your readiness at year-end:
- Review your Spark budgets
- Review and edit your budget display
- Update your payroll schedules (if you have payroll enabled)
- Communicate year-end deadlines to your people
- Discuss your year-end reporting needs with our teams
- Confirm your updated Purchase Orders with the Benevity Finance team
1. Review your budgets
Your budgets allow you to easily track spending throughout the year and ensure corporate or individual limits on matching or volunteer rewards are not exceeded.
Confirm budget renewal
Open the budget editor to see if your budgets are set to auto-renew. If the “Enable budget auto-renewal” box is checked, a budget will automatically be created for the new fiscal year. For budgets that align with the calendar year (January to December), they will automatically renew on Dec. 31, 2023. Check to see that your budgets are set to auto-renew (here’s how to enable it!).
Validate and modify your budget.
Renewed budgets are available 30 days before their start date so you have time to make changes. You can easily view and edit your budget(s) through your admin dashboard by selecting Manage > Budgets (see screenshot above). Choose a fiscal year and select Edit next to the budget. Here, you can adjust the Budget amount, Per-user amount, and more. Learn more about Managing Budgets in this interactive, ten-minute course.
Create a new budget
To create a new budget, please submit a support request through the B-Hive. Need help reviewing your 2024 budget, updating display rules or making changes? Check out these Budget resources on the B-Hive or submit a support request.
2. Review and edit your user budget display
You can manage which user budgets are displayed to your people and how these user budgets are named. For example, you can customize your employees' Matching budget to display your internal matching rewards program name on their dashboard.
If you manage your budgets this way, please complete new budget changes in December, ahead of the budgets going LIVE on Jan. 1 (if you have a calendar year budget).
3. Update your payroll schedules (if you have payroll enabled)
Payroll schedules help us determine when to open and close payroll periods, when your employees are getting paid and when your payroll team needs the associated deduction files for processing. Rolling over into a new year sometimes changes the dates for processing and, to guarantee this process remains seamless and uninterrupted for your people and your payroll teams, we must load the next year of payroll schedules into the system 60 days prior to the end of the last pay period of the current year.
Submit your updated payroll schedules to Client Technical Support
- To complete and submit your updated payroll schedules, please submit a support request through the B-Hive.at least 60 days before the end of your year (or prior to the last period end for your current payroll schedule, whichever is earlier).
See here for step-by-step instructions on How to Update Your Payroll Schedules and to access an easy-to-use template.
- If the active payroll period has not been loaded, payroll donations cannot be captured and recurring payroll donations will not be continued!
To ensure that payroll donations count towards the tax year and the donation match is pulled from the match dollars set for this year, please ensure your employees make their payroll donations by the last payroll period in that specific year. If you’re unsure of this date, please submit a support request through the B-Hive.
4. Communicate year-end deadlines
Communication is key to making sure your year-end goes smoothly, so please clearly communicate the key dates that impact your people and their donations. We recommend using your regular communication channels as well as highlighting these deadlines in Spark using the cover story and news items.
Pro Tip: Loop in the Benevity End User Care team by sharing your communications with us! This way, our team is ready to give the best support to your users. Share any communications with your CSM.
Here are a few items we recommend communicating to your people leading into the new year:
For match requests on external donations
- Consider your guidelines around external matching and communicate them to your people. What is the latest date you will accept submissions for 2023 match requests? And will you consider enabling ”Date of Submission”?
The Date of Submission configuration allows the match request to be applied against the active budget at the time the request is submitted versus the time you, as the Program Owner, approve it.
For example, a user submits a request on Dec. 27 and you can only approve it on Jan. 4. Date of Submission will allow you to approve the request and apply the match to their 2023 match budget.
If you’re unsure whether Date of Submission has been turned on, or if you’d like to add an extension for external donation submissions, please submit a support request through the B-Hive before Nov. 30.
For volunteering and all associated rewards
- Consider the last possible date for volunteer time submissions, and discuss these with your Client Success Manager before the end of the year.
Volunteer time is applied against the active budget at the time the volunteer time is approved.
For example, if a user submits volunteer time in 2023 that is approved in 2024, it will be applied against the user’s 2024 volunteer rewards budget. So if you’d like rewards to apply to your 2023 budget, communicate a deadline to your people that allows time for you to approve them before the end of 2023.
For credit card and PayPal donations
- All credit card and PayPal donations must be entered into the system before Dec. 31 at 23:59:59 UTC to ensure the donations count towards the tax year and the match is pulled from the correct budget. Spark operates in the UTC time zone therefore we recommend communicating an earlier deadline to account for any last minute donors.
For example, when sending out your year-end communications or setting up your news items in Spark, we recommend giving your people a deadline of midnight Dec. 30 or noon Dec. 31 to ensure that no donation accidentally rolls into January.
Payroll and My Rewards
- If you have payroll enabled, be sure that your people know the last eligible pay period of the year. This will ensure they submit their donations in time to be processed before the new year.
You may also have people with rewards expiring at the end of the year. Be sure to remind them to use them before they lose them.
- It can take up to eight weeks to vet and onboard an organization for inclusion into your program. Encourage your people to submit their nonprofit/cause nominations before Nov.1 to ensure that they can be included and supported throughout the holiday season and before the new year.
Donations to nonprofits
- Communicate when donations will arrive. Donations are collected and aggregated on a monthly schedule, so all donations made in December will be received by the nonprofit in or around the end of January of the following year. If employees would like a nonprofit to receive their donation by Dec. 31, make sure they know that donations must be submitted by the end of November.
- If enabled on payroll donations, Benevity will provide a cumulative tax receipt to your users once all payroll periods have been closed for the year. These can be found under My Profile > Giving > Donation Receipts.
Need to pull a tax receipt for a former employee? Here are the steps:
- On the Manage side, click on the People tab.
- Search for the employee by first and last name.
- Change 'Account Status' to 'Blocked' and press 'Search'.
- Access the user's account by clicking on 'Manage'.
- On the user's profile, click 'Giving', then navigate to 'Donation Receipts' to find the user's previous receipts.
- If you’ve enabled tax receipts for your users, they’ll be available late February of the following calendar year.
For example, tax receipts for the 2023 calendar year will be available late February 2024.
- Year-end often means Giving Season campaigns and increased participation so budgets can easily become exhausted. This is a good thing, it means you and your people have absolutely crushed your goals this year!
We encourage you to have a plan in place in the event your budget runs out. Will you be increasing your budget or will you advise your people to wait until the next campaign? Planning this in advance (and sharing your plans with the teams at Benevity) ensures that your users feel supported even if they missed out on that special match this season!
5. Discuss your year-end reporting needs
A big part of year-end is being able to address (and communicate!) the impact that your program had this year. Be sure to check out Stock Reports & Embedded Reports for your reporting needs. If you need further help with your year-end reporting, please submit a support request through the B-Hive and allow 5+ business days for review and completion.
6. Confirm your updated purchase orders with the Benevity Finance team
If you require a PO to be added to your Donations Report and these are changing this year, please provide any updated information via this form.. Please include the respective foundation information along with each PO.
- If you require a new PO on your Jan. 1, 2024 (December donations) Donation Report we ask that you submit these by Dec. 15, 2023 to ensure the changes are captured before donation reports are sent.
- If you require a new PO on your Feb. 1, 2024 (January Donations) Donation Report we ask that you submit these by Jan. 15, 2024 to ensure the changes are captured before donation reports are sent.