When collecting donations from your supporters, the money raised tends to call into two categories:
Unrestricted (or general) funds
"Funds" can be thought of as "pots of money" - places or projects where donations should be spent. This is very different to "campaigns" or "sources" - which indicate where a donation came from.
Examples of funds:
Indonesia Tsunami appeal
Replacement for the church roof
Unrestricted funds can be spent by your organisation wherever you think is best. Restricted funds should only be spent on the particular cause that they were donated towards.
The Institute of Fundraising has a fantastic guide to this.
Creating funds in Beacon
In Beacon, you can create as many funds as you like to reflect the pots of money that donations should go flow into. For example, let's create a "restricted" fund specifically for replacing a church roof:
Beyond a name for the fund, you can attach a number of additional data points, including:
A "code" that's specific to the fund internally (perhaps a finance code)
If you need to store additional information about funds, you can create additional custom fields to store that information. See customising record types to learn how to do this.
Assigning donations to funds
Any donations that are made to your organisation should be stored as "payments". The Fund field on the payments lets you to assign a particular payment to a fund you've created in your database:
If you're collecting donations through Beacon, you can configure forms to automatically assign donations made to a particular fund.
Unrestricted funds in Beacon
As a best practice, we tend to recommend that unrestricted or "general" funds in Beacon should not have a fund created for them. You can treat the absence of fund on payments as an indicator that it can be used for general charitable purposes.
However, if you prefer you can also create a "General" or "Unrestricted" fund of your own, and use this as a general pot of money. Any general donations can then be assigned there.