How to Mail Merge a Letter Thanking Contributors for their...

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How to Mail Merge a Letter Thanking Contributors for their Contributions?

PROBLEM: You would like to send a letter thanking the contributor for their Contributions this year.

SOLUTION: We recommend that you utilize the CMS Contributor Statements to send to your Contributor's each year. The CMS Contributor Statements comply with all IRS Rules and Requirements on Charitable Contribution Substantiations, are easy to produce, and fit beautifully in a #9 single-windowed envelope!

Or, you may want to consider the CMS Contribution Receipt, which will allow you to send letters thanking the contributor for their gift that week.

However, if you would like to produce personalized thank you letters displaying one Year To Date total to all funds, follow these instructions:

From your CMS Contribution System, click Process | Merge/Export File | New Report | give it a name, such as YTD Contrib Thank You Letter Data and click OK.

At the Merge File Selection Screen, click the Contrib/Pledge Selections button located on the left side of the screen.

Click the down arrow at Data Selection Field #1 and choose Year to Date Contrib to All Funds and leave the dollar selection at $.01 thru $9,999,999.99. Click OK.

Click the Specify Additional Contribution Fields button located in the lower right corner of the display.

Click the down arrow at Column 1 and choose Year To Date Contrib to All Funds. Click OK.

Click the checkbox at Field Names in First Record located in the lower left corner of the display.

Click the Browse button and enter the correct file name and location if you would like to change the file location of the data.  CMS will produce a comma separated value or CSV file that most Word Processing applications accept when doing a mail merge!

Change the File Destination to


If you are on a network your CMS4WIN folder may be located on a drive other than drive C:, so you can leave it at the default drive letter and folder name provided.

Or, if your CMS is located on one computer, and your word processing application is located on another computer (or if you're handing this disk off to someone else!), you may want to insert a blank diskette or jump drive and change the file destination to:


If burning the data to a CD-R/CD-RW, click the Browse button and save the file to the Windows Desktop.  Then using your CD writing application to burn the file to a CD.You may also choose to click the View File button on the right side of the screen to print up the information included in the file.

Click the Output File button on the right side of the screen. This will create the data file.

Once complete, exit out of CMS and open Microsoft Word.

You can access Microsoft's step-by-step instructions Word Mail Merge: A Walk Through the Process by clicking here.

If you have already typed the letter, open that letter. If you have not yet typed the letter, open a new, blank document. This sample will start from a new, blank document.

From the pull down menu at the top of the screen, click Tools | Letters and Mailings | Mail Merge.

This will display a Mail Merge Helper on the side of the screen that will guide you through the step to mail merge the letter.

At Step 1 of 6, Select Document Type, choose Letter. Click the Next link at the bottom of the display.

At Step 2 of 6, Select Starting Document, choose Use the Current Document. Click the Next link at the bottom of the display.

At Step 3 of 6, Select Recipients, choose Use an Existing List. Then click the Browse link.

This is where you'll need to refer to the File Destination from your CMS Merge/Export File. You'll need to find where your data is located. In our example, the File Destination was C:\CMS4WIN\YTDCont.CSV.

Click the down arrow at Look In: [My Data Sources] and select the C: drive or network drive letter and select the CMS4WIN folder.

Click the down arrow at Files of Type and choose Text Files.

Select the YTDCont.CSV file (or whatever file name you may have used if you redirected/renamed the export file).

From the Mail Merge Recipients listing display, click OK.

Click Next at the bottom of the display.

At Step 4 of 6, Write Your Letter, you'll need to prepare the letter. Click File | Page Setup and adjust your top and left margins for your letterhead, just as you would a normal letter. Click OK.

Type in the Date of the letter and position your cursor under the date where you want the Recipient's Address line to print.

Click the Address Block link.

Click the Match Fields button in the lower left corner of that display.

As Microsoft Word does not uses slightly different phrasing than CMS, you will need to match the fields as follows:

  • Click the down arrow at First Name and choose Statement Name.
  • Click the down arrow at Company and choose Special Address.
  • Click the down arrow at Address 1 and choose Delivery Address.

Click OK | OK.

The Address Block should now be inserted on your letter.

Press your Enter Key to position your cursor where you want the Salutation to print on the letter.

Click the More Items link.

Highlight Salutation and click Insert. Click Close.

Type a comma or semi-colon after the salutation.

Begin to type the letter as normal, and when you get to the point in your letter when you want to insert the pledge information, click the More Fields link on the left side of the screen.

Insert the Year To Date Contrib field for your letter. For example, you may want the letter to read:

Thank you for your Contributions this year totaling «Year_to_Date_Contrib».

You can also control the format of the dollar amounts. Right-click the «Year_to_Date_Contrib» and choose Toggle Field Codes.

And it will change the appearance of that merge field:

Position your cursor after the quote marks at the end of the word Amount, but before the bracket, and type:

\# $#,###.00

then right click and choose Toggle Field Codes to return to the Merge Field.

Finish typing your letter.

Click Next at the bottom of the display.

At Step 5 of 6, Preview Your Letter, you should be able to view the results of the letter with each person's data merged into the letter!

You can click the arrows to scroll through the recipients to double check your merged letter.

Ensure that the letter's appearance is just how you want it to look, then click File | Save.

You'll want to save the Pre-Merged Letter, or the letter before you actually merge it to a new document or printer. If you do, then you'll be able to re-use this merge for year's thank you letters!

Click Next.

At Step 6 of 6, you can choose to either load up your printer with letterhead and choose Print or click the Edit Individual Letters and allow Word to create a single document with as many pages as you have recipients! You can then edit the single letters as you need, or print page ranges, etc.

If you choose Edit Individual Letters, once you've made changes, or scrolled through the document to review for accuracy and are happy with the merge, load your printer with letterhead and click File | Print!

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Last Modified:Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Last Modified By: Mary Breault
Type: How To
Level: Expert
Article not rated yet.
Article has been viewed 6,940 times.