Whether your Spark site administration is set to a calendar year or a fiscal year, it’s never too soon to consider your program budget and payroll needs. We’re making the process easier this year, so it’s a lighter lift during your busiest time. 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
- Confirm your updated Purchase Orders with the Benevity Finance team
- Discuss your year-end reporting needs with our teams
1. Review your Spark budgets
Spark budgets help guide decision-making and campaign planning for the year. We set up these budgets in the back end of Spark so that, throughout the year, we can easily track spending and ensure we never go over allotted caps for individuals’ matching or rewards. We set these up on an annual basis, typically at year-end, so that your employees and your program have a fresh start and a clean slate.
First things first, is to find and view current live budgets. You can do this in Benevity Reporting (here is a step-by-step guide).
If you’ve adjusted your budget during the year and this is not the budget you’d like to roll over, reach out to your Benevity Client Success Manager and firstname.lastname@example.org to make the appropriate changes.
Final budgets should be submitted and approved at least 30 days before your current budget ends.
If your budget numbers aren’t changing… no further action required!
Once you’ve reviewed your current live budgets and if no change is required, your current approved budget will roll over automatically — no action is needed.
If you change your mind, your budget can easily be adjusted at any time throughout the year by reaching out to our teams through email@example.com.
To make changes to your budget, please reach out to your Benevity Client Success Manager. They will walk you through the information required and send you a pre-populated budget authorization form for your approval.
If you are the change signatory for your organization, we can accept your approval over email. Simply review the form and return with your approval to our teams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pro tip: To ensure your changes are applied before the end of your year, please submit your updated budget authorization form 30 days prior to when you’d like the changes to be in effect.
If you require additional time for approval, please talk to your Benevity Client Success Manager and they will guide you through a possible extension of this timeline.
2. Review and edit your budget display
You are now able to manage which budgets can be displayed to your people and how these budgets are named.
If you manage your budgets this way, please ensure you complete any changes for your new budgets in December, ahead of the budgets going live on January 1 (if your budget is for a calendar year).
3. Update your payroll schedules (if you have payroll enabled)
Payroll is by far the easiest way for your people to donate to their favorite charities through your workplace giving program, and that’s critical to driving engagement.
Whether it’s a one-time or recurring donation, payroll allows your people to give any amount, big or small, directly from their next paycheck — so anyone can take part in your program.
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 be sure to have the next year of payroll schedules loaded to the site 60 days prior to your new year.
Submit your updated payroll schedules to email@example.com
If you have payroll enabled, please complete and submit your updated payroll schedules to firstname.lastname@example.org 60 days before the end of your year (or prior to the last period end for your current payroll schedule, whichever is earlier).
How this impacts your people
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 are unsure of this date, you can check in with your Benevity Client Success Manager or Client Technical Support (email@example.com) team to gather that information.
4. Communicate year-end deadlines
Communication is key to make sure your year-end goes smoothly, and it is important for you to be clear about 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 ensures that our team is ready to give the best well-informed support to your users, should they have questions. Pass these along to your Benevity CSM or to firstname.lastname@example.org is ideal, so that we have them on hand.
Here are a few items we recommend communicating to your people leading into the New Year:
For match requests on external donations
Now is the time to consider your guidelines around external matching and to clearly communicate them to your people. What is the latest date you will accept submissions for 2021 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, if your teammate submits a request on December 27 and you are only able to approve it on January 4. Date of Submission will allow you to approve the request and apply the match to their 2021 match budget.
If you are unsure whether Date of Submission has been turned on, or if you’d like to add an extension for external donation submissions, please connect with your Client Success Manager before November 30.
For volunteering and all associated rewards
As with external donations, now is the time to 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 2021 that is approved in 2022, it will be applied against the user’s 2022 volunteer rewards budget.
For credit card and PayPal donations
All credit card and PayPal donations must be entered into the system before December 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 at your organization.
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 December 30 or noon of December 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 8 weeks to vet and onboard an organization for inclusion into your program. Encourage your people to submit their cause nominations before November 1 to ensure that they can be included and supported throughout the holiday season and before the new year.
Nominations of their favorite cause/cause partners
- It can take up to 8 weeks to vet and onboard an organization for inclusion into your program. Encourage your people to submit their cause nominations before November 1 to ensure that they can be included and supported throughout the holiday season and before the new year.
Donations to their favorite cause/cause partners
- Make sure to communicate to your people about when their donations will be arriving to their favorite causes. Donations are collected and aggregated on a monthly schedule, so all donations made in December will be received by the cause in or around the end of January of the following year. If employees would like a cause to receive their donation by December 31, make sure they know to get their donations in 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 will be available late February of the following calendar year.
For example, tax receipts for the 2021 calendar year will be available late February 2022
And lastly, year-end often means campaigns and increased participation. With that, often your budgets 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 on how you will communicate this to your people and how it impacts them? Will you be increasing your budget? Or will you advise them 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. 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 to finance@benevity directly via email. Please include the respective foundation information along with each PO.
- If you require a new PO on your Jan 1, 2022 (December Donations) Donation Report we ask that you submit these by December 15, 2021 to ensure the changes are captured before donation reports are sent.
- If you require a new PO on your Feb 1, 2022 (January Donations) Donation Report we ask that you submit these by January 15, 2022 to ensure the changes are captured before donation reports are sent.
6. 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. If you need help with your reporting at year end, please submit these requests to Client Technical Support (email@example.com) and allow 5 days for review and completion.