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Your Guide to Tax-Exempt Donation Receipts

By Valerie West

One of the most exhilarating and sometimes frustrating subjects that face nonprofits today is, you guessed it, money! How motivating and exciting it is to receive support from friends, family, and even strangers, but what do you do when that initial excitement and willingness to support dies down? Ongoing donations are vital to most nonprofits, but it’s not always easy to get people to give to your cause, and it’s been challenging with the most recent financial challenges facing churches and ministries today. Let’s take a few minutes to discuss what you can do to drive more funds into your ministry through online giving and how to give your donors an accounting of their support correctly. 


With people spending a significant amount of time on the internet, online giving has gained popularity. Even before 2020, online giving gained momentum and has since exploded, so you need to catch your audience online if you want to get more donations.


Even if you’re in the beginning stages of obtaining your nonprofit status, you need a website that offers a giving platform. Take a look at StartSITES, an affordable, accessible, one-page website that you can design in an hour using our templates; it is user-friendly and comes with technical support should you need it. In 2022, everyone uses the internet to find what they are looking for, so you will drive more people to your church and ministry with an online presence such as a website and other social media platforms. 


To get more donations for your nonprofit, you can also look to social media. Become more visible through social media accounts like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc., have an app created and custom-designed with a giving platform (My church says that 90% of our tithes and offerings is given through our app each week), it is highly recommended that you have someone on your team manage and maintain these platforms regularly. Make the most of hashtags like #GivingTuesday to promote your cause, and share the multiple ways to donate to your organization, i.e., through your website, app, Facebook, etc. 


Email is another channel to inspire donations; send thoughtful email campaigns that resonate with your audience, include updates about how their previous donations were used. You can inform them about new causes that your nonprofit has decided to support. Every email includes giving links that will quickly get them through the donation process. You can also encourage them to set up recurring donations. You could provide this suggestion in a “thank you” email for their first donation, and you can also give this option on your website and app. Some giving platforms will allow the donor to set up donations that will automatically process for a set time and day. 


Now that you’re receiving financial support for your 501(c)(3), let’s look at the requirements when sending a donation receipt. You may be asking if it’s even necessary to give one; the short answer is, “Yes!”. 

These receipts help you cover your bases with the IRS; they help you track your donations, and they are crucial to successful donor relationships. Prompt and thoughtful gift acknowledgments are central to effective fundraising, and, keep in mind, donors may grow into volunteers or even larger endowments and major gifts for the organization! For first-time donors, this is one of their first interactions with you and will significantly impact whether or not they decide to give again.


A general rule is that only 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations – formed in the United States – are eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. In addition, the organization must be exempt at the time of the contribution for the contribution to be deductible for the donor. If your church or organization has not obtained the nonprofit status yet and you would like more information, please reach out to us at 770-638-3444; one of our ministry specialists will be happy to answer your questions.


There are IRS requirements for both donors and nonprofits to consider regarding tax donation receipts. You can read more by clicking on the links above.


Here are basic donation receipt requirements in the US, taken from

  • Name of the organization to which the donation has been made;
  • A statement that the nonprofit is a public charity recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS under Section 501(c)(3);
  • Name of the donor;
  • The date the donation was received;
  • Amount of cash contribution;
  • Description (but not value) of any non-cash contribution (the nonprofit should not attempt to assign the cash value of property; doing so is the donor’s responsibility);
  • A statement that no goods or services were provided by the organization (if applicable);
  • Description and good faith estimate of the value of goods or services, if any, that the organization provided in return for the contribution;
  • A statement that the organization did not provide more than insubstantial goods or services in return for the donation, such as, “No goods or services were received in return for this gift.”


There are no rules about when official donation receipts must be issued. However, many nonprofits send receipts out by the end of the year the gift was given or in January of the following year (in the case of year-end donations).

But…Donors expect to receive a “Thank You” for a contribution of any size, and they also expect it soon after making their gift.


Donation receipts don’t have to be confusing and time-consuming. Let StartCHURCH help relieve you of the stress that can accompany this process by utilizing our digital software: Kingdom Steward 3.0this is an easy-to-use donation management software for churches, ministries, and other nonprofits. We developed this software so you can know exactly what’s happening with your giving and accomplish your mission.

With Kingdom Steward, you can SEND DONATION RECEIPTS: Easily create, email, and print giving receipts and year-end statements for your donors DIRECTLY from the software. 

We know God has called you to do great things. So why let the worry and stress of managing your ministry’s finances steal one more moment you could spend fulfilling your purpose? If you are interested in hearing more about Kingdom Steward or StartCHURCH Bookkeeping, please call us today at 770-638-3444. Let us take care of your organization’s finances so you can get back to doing what you love!


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