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How to Record Donations in QuickBooks for Nonprofits

Can you help me with the following questions?  I'm the bookkeeper for a non-profit (church) and the books were set up years ago.  We are currently recording the donations in a "dummy" company/account and I have to switch back and forth from that account to the real account where the deposits are made. Seems like there must be a better way.   Is there a way in the real account to set up these "customers" and produce a giving statement at year-end for taxes?   We have a building campaign which people make pledges to and then send in payments to go toward that.  What is the best way to record the pledge (I've been creating an invoice) and then pay toward it (I've been using "receive payments?"  Then, we need a report which shows the largest donors at year-end and the percentage of donations vs. pledges.   Any help or advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much!
You should add your donors as customers in the customer center.  Then you should add items for each of your donation categories.  It’s fine to have just one called donations, but you may also want to add one for your building campaign.  When you receive a payment, enter it in Customers > Enter Sales Receipts.  You’re entering your pledges and pledge payments correctly.

The Nonprofit version comes with several specialized reports including a Donor Contribution Summary and Biggest Donors/Grants.  If you don’t have Nonprofit, you can tweak the customer reports, though it’s sometimes easier to just customize a Custom Transaction Detail report.  Customizing reports is pretty easy once you get the hang of it.  Just open a report that’s close to what you’re looking for, click Modify Report and play around with the filters until it gives you the information you’re looking for.  Most reports also have Total By and Sort By boxes at the top, which are also really useful for customizing reports.


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This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal, accounting, or other professional advice. For further information, please consult appropriate professional advice from your attorney and certified public accountant.

Ruth Perryman - QuickBooks Specialist Written by +Ruth Perryman

Ruth is the an Intuit Premier Reseller that offers great deals on QuickBooks POS and QuickBooks Enterprise. She has provided expert QuickBooks help to thousands of businesses all over the world since 1996.

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26 Responses to How to Record Donations in QuickBooks for Nonprofits

  • AYO says:

    Please I am very new to Quickbook,am very conversant with Tally ERP,now my problem is how do I generate report on Quickbook for instance,expense detail for a particular period of time say 1st Jan-31st Jan.

    • You can use the Profit & Loss Detail report, but that lists the detail for revenue as well as expenses. If you only want expenses, it’s easier to double-click on the Total Expense balance on the Profit & Loss Standard report. You can also double-click on the amount next to any of the individual expense accounts if that’s all you want the detail for.

  • CFO says:

    Hi Ruth,
    I am new to non profit organization book keeping. My organization collect donations and conducts fundraising on behalf of other organizations then makes a payment to them, so far I have been entering the incoming donations as revenue and when paid as expenses. Am i doing the right way or should i do something else, of course my p&l shows high income as well as high expenses when in realty it is not. Thank you

    • I’m really sorry, but we don’t give tax advice. You should discuss this with your tax professional. Once you know how to handle it, we’re happy to help you figure out how to book it in QuickBooks.