The payments record type in Beacon shows the payments coming in to your database from all sources, whether they be donations, memberships, recurring gifts, ticket sales, grants, or from any other place that your organisation fundraises.

Payment records reflect a transaction, such as a £50 cash donation or the April payment of a recurring membership, and can store a wealth of information (pun intended). From basics like amount, relevant dates, payment method, to pointing to other records; such as which fund it contributes to, the campaign that helped raise the money, relevant grants, memberships, even the event that a payment was taken at.

Payments and donations

Fields on the payment record

Payer

This is where you can specify who made this payment. You can point at either People or Organisations, and rather than storing their name here it creates a link to the record you select.

By default, you can indicate just one payer. If you have someone who is responsible for the payment, but wasn't the person who made it, you can store them in the 'Fundraiser' field instead.

Finally, if you receive any anonymous donations then you can simply leave this field blank - correctly showing that you don't know (or aren't recording) who they are. This is a much better than creating a Person named 'Anonymous' who ends up being very generous!

Type

This is where you store top-level categorisation of what this payment is. We've started you off with common ones like 'Donation', 'Ticket', 'Membership fee'.

This is intended to give you the broad information, and shouldn't be used to be hyper-specific.

For example:

Set a payment as 'Donation' instead of 'Recurring donation' or 'One-off donation' - Recurring donations will have a subscription in the 'Subscription' field, one-off donations will not. Both are donations! Set a payment as 'Membership fee' instead of 'Family membership fee' - The type of membership it is for will be stored on the Membership record, and linked via the 'Membership' field.

As a rule of thumb, if the specifics are stored somewhere else in Beacon, don't store it here! Keep this field nice and general, it makes it easier to keep accurate and work with.

Some options that you may want to add if they're relevant to you:

Amount

Does what it says on the tin - use it for the total given for this payment.

If someone has added extra to cover donation fees, we recommend including this in the amount so that you acknowledge the full amount given (you can record the part that was 'Covered fees' in its own field).

Payment date

The date that this payment was made by the payer.

Note: This isn't necessarily the date that it was received by your organisation, and may be paid to you in a single 'payout' combined with other donations by the payment processor.

Payment method

This should be used to indicate what the payer used to make this payment, rather than the platform they made it through.

For example:

Casey donates £10 via JustGiving, and pays with a debit card. 'Payment method' would be Card, and 'Source' would be JustGiving.

Source

This should be used to indicate where the payment has come from, rather than what they used to pay.

Notes

Just a place to add extra any information about this payment that doesn't have another field!

Fundraiser

Use this field to point to a Person that is responsible for you receiving this payment. Perhaps someone set up a fundraising page on JustGiving, or went door-to-door collecting donations for you.

You can edit this field to also allow Organisations to be listed as the fundraiser.

For example:

Casey donates £10 via JustGiving, and pays with a debit card. 'Payment method' would be Card, and 'Source' would be JustGiving.

Subscription

All recurring payments should also have a Subscription, and you can point to the relevant one with this field.

Use this field to know if a payment is recurring or one-off - Filter for 'Subscription is blank' for one-off payments, or 'Subscription is not blank' for recurring payments.

Read more about subscriptions in our guide.

Campaign

The best way to know how you got particular payments, the 'Campaign' field lets you point this payment at a particular appeal, approach, or advertising campaign from your Campaigns record type.

Running a 'Spring Appeal'? Create a new donation form and add your 'Spring Appeal' Campaign to the fixed data so that you can see your success later!

Fund

If a payment is part of restricted income to be spent on a specific cause, you can point to the appropriate Fund in this field.

Check out our guide for more details about how to manage restricted funds in Beacon.

Event

Was this payment related to an event that you're running? Perhaps it was a ticket bought to attend, a donation that you received at the event, or maybe a company sponsored the event to cover its costs. This is the place to make that connection!

Any event registration/ticket forms will set this for you automatically.

Membership

All payments for a membership should point to the Membership record in question here. This will make it much easier to manage your member base by keeping good clean records. Any memberships set up via a Beacon form will automatically link to the correct membership, but any from external payment providers will need to be linked manually or via an import.

Read more about memberships in our guide.

Grant

When a successful grant is paid to you, point it to the relevant Grant record in Beacon to see this payment when looking at that grant.

Legacy

If a supporter has passed away and left a legacy donation to you, point it to the relevant Legacy record in Beacon to see this payment when looking at that legacy.

Major gift

If this payment was due to requesting or courting a major gift, point it to the relevant Major gift record in Beacon to see this payment when looking at that major gift record.

Attachments

Add any additional documentation for this payment that you might need - cheques, hand written notes, paper donation forms, etc. You can upload multiple files, with a maximum file size of 50MB per file.

Covered fees (hidden by default)

When a donor has given a donation through your donation form, if they've elected to cover your processing fees then that extra amount will appear here. It's also included in the 'Amount field'. You can map the same figures from external providers here if they also have a 'cover fees' option.

Amount refunded

In the rare occasions that you need to refund payments or part thereof, use this field to enter the amount.

Gateway fees

Gateway fees are those charged to process the payment by companies such as Stripe, PayPal, GoCardless, etc.

Beacon fees

Any fees charged from using Beacon forms to collect this payment. More details in this article.

Other fees

Any fees that don't fit into Gateway or Beacon fees (such as a platform or admin fee, or external currency conversion fee).

Total fees

All of the fees associated with this payment - can be a combination of things such as:

  • Gateway (processing) fees

  • Beacon fees

  • Other fees When importing, you may only have the total fee figure rather than the breakdown.

Amount (Net)

The amount of this payment, minus any fees. This should be the net amount that you have received as a charity for this payment.

Marks if this payment is confirmed as being made. All payments will have this checked by default, except for automatic standing order payments, as you'll want to check that they were actually made (and then check the box).

You can also uncheck this box if you have a payment that is expected on a specific date (such as pledges) but we usually recommend to just bring payments in as they're made.

Reference

The reference expected on your bank statement for this payment. Mostly used for expected standing orders to make reconciliation easier.

External ID

Most payments when they're processed will have an ID from the provider/processor. For example, all Stripe payments will have an ID like 'ch_1IJyGcHa34tGuAmekbjSO0wC'. Use these IDs to easily look them up in those platforms if you ever need to.

Payout

If this payment was paid to you as part of a lump sum, it should ideally be linked to a payout record that represents this group.

Gift Aid claim

Note: Only on accounts with Gift Aid enabled

Will show the Gift Aid claim that this payment has been added to, if it is eligible to be claimed.

This field is read-only and will update automatically.

Gift Aid declaration

Note: Only on accounts with Gift Aid enabled

Will show the Gift Aid declaration used to claim Gift Aid on this payment, if it is eligible to be claimed.

This field is read-only and will update automatically.

Gift Aid allowed?

Note: Only on accounts with Gift Aid enabled

This isn't a box for saying a payment will be claimed, it marks whether this payment is eligible in principle. This should be ticked for the vast majority of payments, unless you want to explicitly exclude it from being claimed (e.g. the donor received a substantial benefit for this donation)

For example, if you receive a donation, it should usually be ticked. You don't need to know if the payment is eligible, just that all other things considered it should be checked for eligibility.

Unchecked - This payment will not be claimed, even it it meets all other criteria for being claimed. Checked - This payment might be claimed, but only if it meets all other criteria for being claimed.

Gift Aid claimed?

Note: Only on accounts with Gift Aid enabled

If a payment has already had Gift Aid claimed on it, this box should be checked. Payments with this checked will not be added to a Gift Aid claim.

Beacon will check this box automatically after submitting it as part of a Gift Aid claim, and you can check it for any payments that have been claimed outside Beacon.

Sponsorship

Note: Only on accounts with Gift Aid enabled

If this payment was given to you by a fundraiser, but is a amalgamation of donations from other people, you can still submit it without needing Gift Aid declarations for each of the individual donors - instead you collect a declaration from the fundraiser themselves, and check this box.

Find out more details about Gift Aid on sponsorships.

Small donation?

Note: Only on accounts with Gift Aid enabled

If you have taken small donations in cash or by contactless card (such as through iZettle), you can claim the Gift Aid on these without needing donor details or declarations. Each individual donation should have been under £30 (but can be recorded as a single larger amount), and then check this box.

Annual limits from HMRC apply - see all the details in our guide.

Name (hidden by default)

This is just a summary of the 'Payer' and the 'Amount', used as the name of this Payment.

For example:

"£80 from Chris Houghton"

Feel free to edit this field if you'd like to change the information that makes up the name!


Adding new payments

Payment records can come from several different places. Many will be automatic (efficiency win!), and some will be manually created.

Automatic payment records

Most of your donations will probably be coming from a Beacon-powered donation form. These donations will create a payment record for each transaction, and automatically fill the relevant fields with information.

Payment records are also created by integrations from Stripe and GoCardless for your recurring payments such as regular donations and membership fees. You'll also have payments created by some of our apps: iZettle when taking mobile payments out and about, or JustGiving for peer-to-peer fundraising.

Manually adding payments

For payments that you need to create yourself in Beacon, you can either add them individually, or if you have many payments stored electronically you can import them in bulk.

Individual payment creation

You can create payments from either:

  • The Payments record type, with the Add payment button.

  • Or any related record card showing payments, such as on a person record. Just click the '+' button in the corner. It will automatically point the payment at that record (in this case the donor).

You can fill in as much or as little information as you need, and click the Create button. Payment entered!

Bulk payment creation

When you have a lot of payments to enter, it can be much quicker to import them from a spreadsheet.

Use your CSV file to create an import template, making sure you select Payments as your record type.

New payments import template

Tip: If you're importing from a giving platform such as JustGiving or Virgin Money Giving, there may be a preset template ready to go!

Import templates

You can then run your import and create the payments all at once.

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