I've gotten tired of the claim that nonprofit editions of QB produce donor acknowledgment letters that are acceptable as documentation of deductions on donors' tax returns. So I'm offering a utility that creates proper donor acknowledgment letters, and I'm offering it for free. Gratis. No charge.  It doesn’t expire, and there’s no limit to the number of letters you can create.


It’s also annoying that nonprofits pay a hefty premium to acquire the QuickBooks Premier Nonprofit edition. Most nonprofits that are positioned to use QuickBooks at all can just as well use the Pro edition, and spend a lot less money.


This is not Exxon that is being lured into spending more than it needs to for an accounting app. It's churches and temples and other places of worship. It's charities and NGOs whose mission is to provide assistance to disaster victims, to the homeless, to animal rescue shelters, to men and women and children who have been trapped by circumstance into taking steps that no one should have to take.


I want those organizations to spend their money on their missions, not on a Premier, overpriced, underpowered version of Pro. If Intuit can get a for-profit company to buy software that's technically just adequate, more power to 'em.


But if, say, a local Habitat for Humanity group has to choose between a $50 Pro version and a $250 Premier version, I'd like to see them get the Pro version and spend the $200 they save on the ceiling joists for a new house. If I can assist by giving them a utility that generates acknowledgment letters then I'm happy to do so.




If you need a copy of QuickBooks to handle your nonprofit's accounting – and you don't especially need the bells and whistles of a Premier edition – get QuickBooks Pro. Send me a scan of the sales receipt and I'll send you an Excel-and-Word based utility that creates your acknowledgment letters. No charge. It doesn't matter if you bought Pro as far back as the 2006 version. No charge. Just send me a scan of the receipt showing that you got Pro.


Block out or otherwise omit anything that identifies you or your method of payment. Just send me some sort of documentation that lets me say to myself, “Yep, looks like they bought Pro.”


If you get (or got) Premier, don't send me anything. This is for Pro users only. My feeling is that if you can afford the extra $200 for a Premier edition that doesn't offer the basic functionality of a donor acknowledgment letter, you can afford the additional $50 to acquire a third party utility. If you were misled by the QuickBooks advertising, I'm sorry and I share your irritation. Maybe after your three years is up you'll find it feasible to switch to Pro.


Send the scan of the Pro receipt as an email attachment to freeletters@beyondtheledgers.com. I'll also need the email address where you want to receive a notice of download availability. You'll need a broadband connection to complete the download.


In return, you'll get an installer, four Word templates (one for each combination of window vs. standard envelopes and blank paper vs. letterhead), and an Excel workbook that drives the process. And a ReadMe.doc. The Word and Excel documents are compatible with any Office version from 97 through 2010, and they can work with any QuickBooks version from 2006 forward.


The utility enables you to specify a particular date range for donations, and to filter by donor name or donor type. The result is one letter for each donor, in Word format, with some verbiage that you can modify in the template files, along with a total of qualifying donations from that donor for the period you have specified. Our assumption is that you have set up your accounts properly, and that you have recorded donations through receipts and payments on pledges (aka invoices).


You should feel free to give the software to anyone else you wish, but you're not permitted to resell it. That would violate the spirit in which I'm making this offer.


I have no clue how much response this offer will generate, and I can't afford to spend all my time giving software away, so I guess I have to reserve the right to rescind it. Let's try a few weeks – say, through May 15 2011.