Once you have started to create a receipt template and selected the option to create a an email receipt, you will have the option to create one of two different types of receipts, either for a single gift (generally used in everyday receipting) or for multiple gifts (use this option to create monthly, quarterly, or annual statements). Once you have selected an option and begun work on your receipt, you will not be able to change this, so make sure you have selected the right type of receipt before starting.

For mail receipts, you'll also see an additional field on the settings screen, "Envelopes." Use this to control how you would like to address your mailing envelopes.

There are three options available:

  • No envelopes: This option is selected by default. Use this to generate JUST receipt PDFs, with no option to print address labels or print on your envelopes.
  • Download CSV: This option will generate a separate CSV file to download along with the PDF of your receipts. The CSV will contain all of the address fields needed to print mailing labels from a program like Microsoft Excel.
  • Download PDF: This option will generate two PDF exports, one with receipt letters to print and another that is formatted to allow you to print addresses directly on a standard mailing envelope. Selecting this option will prompt you to enter a return address, if desired, to print on the envelopes as well.

NOTE: When selecting either the CSV or PDF options above, receipts will NOT be generated for Contacts who do not have a complete mailing address. These records will be noted in a separate exceptions file that can be downloaded along with the other two files.

Once you have made your receipt selections, click Next in the lower right of the screen to move on to building your receipt. Use the guidelines below to create your email receipt template, depending on the type.

Mail Receipt - Single Gift

Mail receipts will be built using the same templating tool used by Virtuous Letters on Demand for creating letters and postcards. Use the tools in the toolbar near the top of the screen to insert and format your content as needed. You'll see several options for customizing the font, colors, and styling, much of which can be accessed from the Format menu in the toolbar.

When selecting a color for your font or background, you'll see a small color picker with a selection of common colors to choose from. Click on any color block to select that color.

To add a custom color, click on the palette icon to bing up the color picker dialog box. There, you can enter the RGB values, a hex code, or use the tools on the left to fin the right color match and select it.

To add an image, for example, your logo, to your receipt, click on the image button in the toolbar.

This will bring up a dialog box for adding an image.

You can choose to add your image by entering the URL for it in the Source field. This means that your image must be available online. If you are using your logo, you should be able to find the URL for it from your website's source code. Make sure you are using a valid url that is hosted on your site (not a Google Image or Dropbox file, for example). Your URL should look something like this:

Use the Width and Height fields to re-size your image as needed to fit your receipt. Make sure the lock symbol shows as a closed lock so your image will be re-sized proportionally.

To upload an image file stored on your computer (or on a networked drive), click on the "Upload" option and you'll see the option to drag-and-drop your file or browse for an image file.

Once your file is uploaded, it will be converted to a URL, which will display in the Source field. Use the Advanced options to add styling, padding, and even add a border to your image.

Once you have added your image, set the styling, and confirmed the size, click on "Save" to save your image and continue editing your receipt.

Once added to your receipt, you can resize your image by clicking and dragging any of the corners of the image.

You can use the Format menu in the toolbar to adjust the alignment of your image if you'd like to center it on the page.

Use the Merge tags available in the toolbar to add specific information about your donor and their gift. When creating a receipt for a single gift, it is absolutely fine to incorporate Gift data into the text of your receipt letter:

Thank you so much for your generous gift of %GiftAmount%, of which %DeductibleGiftAmount% is tax-deductible.

Some organizations prefer to separate the text and include gift data separately, often so that receipt copy can be updated regularly. In cases like this, you may choose to use the Gift Table merge tag instead. We'll take a look at working with the Gift Table in the next section.

Mail Receipt - Multiple Gifts

Creating a giving statement, like a year-end receipt, works in much the same way as creating a single gift receipt. The main difference is in the format of your gift data.

Since, by definition, these receipts will include more than one gift — monthly donors, for example, will have at least 12 on an annual statement — it's not possible to merge gift data into the body of your receipt text. Instead, you will need to use the Gift Table merge tag.

Click on the Merge tags button in the toolbar, and then select "Gift Table" from the drop-down. This will insert the base Gift Table into your receipt, which looks something like this:

Once the table has been added to your receipt, you can manipulate the table by using any of the tools shown above the table. Hover over each icon to see what each will do. You can also use the Table menu in the toolbar to edit the table. For example, if you'd like to add a column for Gift Notes after the Amount column, click on the Projects column in the table, and then click on the Table menu and scroll down to Column, where you can select the option to "Insert Column Before."

This will add a new, blank column. Type in text for the header, and then enter the merge tag for Gift Notes. The Merge tags drop-down is limited when creating a multiple gifts receipt, so use the values in this support article to add additional content to your table.

You can also use the table tools to remove unwanted columns from your table, if needed. 

Custom HTML Styling

In some cases, you may wish to add custom styling options beyond those available within the editor and formatting tools. Examples of this might include setting a custom paper size, like legal paper (this can be especially useful if you want to include a tear-off reply device at the bottom of your receipt) or adding your own custom design elements. If a member of your team has familiarity with writing/editing HTML, then you can click on the "source" icon in the editor menu to edit the source code for your receipt.

The receipt editor does require following HTML best practices and guidelines, which means that any styling must be included in the head, as opposed to the body. You can learn more about HTML and best practices from the Mozilla MDN Web Docs site.

NOTE: The Virtuous support team cannot provide guidance or instruction in editing or customizing HTML. You must have a resource on your team who is familiar with HTML standards.


You can manually save your progress at any time by clicking on the Actions button in the upper right. There, users can choose to save and continue working, or save and return to the main receipt screen. It is recommended that you save your work periodically to avoid losing any changes.

Use the Preview option to see what your receipt will look like, using sample data, and even download a sample PDF. We recommend downloading and printing a sample to make sure your final receipts will look just the way you'd like.

Once you have finished putting your mail receipt together, click "Save and Go Back" to save your work and return to the main receipts screen.

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