How can I import electronic contributions into CMS?

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How can I import electronic contributions into CMS?

Many churches have already discovered the convenience of pre-authorized electronic funds transfer service, or automated contributions. This is an automatic transfer of contributions from your contributor’s checking or savings account to the church’s account. It simplifies the contribution process for both the contributor and the church. 

Automatic Contributions provide a dependable stream of contributions throughout the year for the church, in addition to reducing the costs of offering envelopes, postage and administration. Look for an electronic funds transfer service that utilizes the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network.

Ask your EFTS (Electronic Funds Transfer Service) if they can e-mail you a .CSV (comma separated value) file containing the data from that week or month’s transactions. 

If you do not already have an EFT, talk to your local Bank, or go to Vanco Services for more information.

NOTE: If you use Vanco Services, you must call/email Vanco Services and request that the data file be emailed to you and added to your report generator. 

The file must contain:

  • The Contributor’s Envelope Number 
  • The Fund Number to which they are contributing
  • The Dollar Amount they Contributed to that Fund

The file must NOT contain a Header row.

You can import this data from an electronic contribution file to create a contribution batch that can be posted into the CMS Contribution System. 

Once you’ve imported the batch, you can choose to edit the batch, print the edit list, and post the batch, just as you would any other batch of contributions.

If your bank or EFT service provider does not offer a file of transactions, you can create the file to import each week/month.

Use the following steps to import your contribution file.

1. You will receive e-mail from your electronic funds transfer service with an attachment containing data regarding the automatic withdraws for a specific date. Right-Click the attachment and choose Save As. 

2. Save this file in your \CMS4WIN folder (network users may need to change to another drive letter) using a file name standard of:

CMS + three character month + two digit date.TXT


For example, if you received the e-mail for contributions for the date March 30, you would use the file name of CMSMAR30.TXT. 

If you received the data for contributions for February 02, use the file name CMSFEB02.TXT.

Click Save. Close your e-mail program.

3. Open CMS for Windows Contribution System. Click Process | Import Electronic Contributions.

4. At Electronic Contribution File, click Browse and choose the file you just saved from your e-mail. i.e. CMSMAR30.CSV and click Open.

5. Enter the Batch Date, Description and Entry By initials.

6. If this is the first time you’ve completed this import, you may need to click the Setup Data Fields button (see below).

7. Click the Import button.

8. Once the Import process is complete, the system will rename the Electronic Contribution file from a .TXT file to a .TXA file. All of the .TXA files will be deleted automatically from your system in the End of Year Process.

If your CMS Contribution System detects problems importing the Electronic Contributions file, you will receive an error log outlining the specific problems. i.e. Missing envelope numbers, incorrect fund numbers. The items on the Error Report were not imported into the batch. Review the documentation from the electronic funds transfer service to find out the correct contributor or fund for the “record number” with the problem. 

i.e. If the Envelope Number does not exist for record number 6, count down to record number 6 on the EFTS documentation to determine the correct contributor. You will need to manually enter the items from the error log into that batch of contributions. 

9. From your CMS for Windows Contribution System, click Process | Enter Contributions. Select the batch that was created for the electronic funds transfer and manually enter those contributions on which the system had an error.

10. Click Reports | Contribution Batch Edit List and print the edit list for this batch. 

11. You can make changes to the batch at this time. Click Process | Enter Contributions and edit the pre-posted batch.

12. If you are satisfied with the batch, click Process | Post Contributions to apply the contributions to each contributor’s permanent contribution record. 

Set up Data Fields for Importing Electronic Contributions in CMS for Windows

When you receive the file from the Electronic Funds Transfer Service for the first time, you will need to set up the data fields in the Importing Electronic Contributions process. 

Setting up the data fields simply means that you will tell CMS which fields are the Envelope Number, Contribution Amount, and Fund.

From the Import Electronic Contributions screen, click the Setup Data Fields button. This screen will display the first record in the file and list all the fields associated with that record. Click the down arrow at Data Field Definitions and select the field for Envelope Number, Contribution Amount, and Fund Number. You do not have to define the other fields in the file.

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Last Modified:Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Last Modified By: Mary Breault
Type: How To
Level: Intermediate
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