What Is a Donation Log?

A donation log is basically like your average log sheet except its details focus primarily on donations given or accepted by organizations. Donation logs make it accessible to audit the donation spendings, calculate the funds collected, and other records to keep donation details as transparent as possible. And what specific donation data should be indicated there depends on the company, especially when the donation log’s purpose will vary from one organization to another.

According to NPTrust, Americans donated around $471.44 billion in 2020.

Why Should You Use a Donation Log?

Donation logs record everything there is to know about donations involved in an organization. But why is it important in the first place? In this segment, you will understand the many functions of donation logs that prove how important they are.

Transparency Is Key

Donation logs are built to ensure your company is transparent with the donations received. Any person would give the side-eye to organizations that keep asking for donations yet there is no update if the funds received were actually used as intended. Thanks to a donation log, you can show the public honestly as to how the accumulated funds were processed to ensure the donation’s purpose will be met in the end. Hence, the donation log’s details can serve as proof of donation or donation receipt.

Documentation Purposes

It is normal for any organization to document the flow of donations sent or received for compliance purposes. For example, you can depend on the donation log to determine the executive summary of yearly donations. You can use its data to compare how much was collected from last year to the current year. And documentation itself is your company’s lifeline in case anyone questions any donation-driven topic. Thus, put note-taking into practice to document the donation details.

Donation Tracker

Donation logs are as helpful as tracking sheets. You can use the log to trace how funds come and go. It is normal to question if the collected donations were actually used for the right purposes. And donation logs can answer that. The log often includes updates of the donation. Also, logs are used to track if the organization’s members are complete with their attendance for meetings and events. So be sure to know what set of details you want to add in the log that is useful for tracking purposes.

Detailed Log Sheets

Donation logs contain a range of details from the names of donors in a charity operational plan, the tally sheet of donation calculations, and many more. And that proves how a donation log is not one-dimensional. It can be used for all sorts of purposes but the only common denominator is that the data is linked to donation details. And you will learn about the many possible elements you can add to a donation log which will be discussed on the donation log’s standard parts later on.

The Basic Parts of a Donation Log

Speaking of detailed donation log sheets, what goes into the donation log’s details in the first place? Although people have different data to collect and record in a donation log, it is common that donation logs have the following basic parts:

Title: It is standard that the document used as the donation log should have a clear title. Using “Donation Log” as the title would suffice but you can also be more specific than that example. For example, you can name the title according to purpose such as a donation pledge log, donation sign-in sheet, or you use your organization’s name as the title.Company Name: To personalize your organization’s official donation log, do not forget to write your company name. The organization’s address, website, contact numbers, logo, and branding are welcome here too.Log In/Log Out: Although the log in/log out section is optional, this is standard for donation logs where the organization requires their members to sign in or sign out via the log. It is still a crucial part if your organization needs an attendance sheet of the members. Hence, you can use this part for reference.Donation Goal or Purpose: Provide a clear statement of purpose of the donation or the overall donation goal. This is a brief reminder as to what the whole intention of the donation is about. So in case members or donors need help remembering what the purpose behind the donation is for, this statement will answer it promptly.Donor Name: You will naturally record or track who made donations in the first place. So be sure to list down every name of the donor along with their contributions in the donation log. And this part is as easy as writing a client information sheet, except you will focus on donor information.Contact Information: The contact information section is still linked to the donors. It is a critical part of the donation log in case you have questions about donations that the donors know about. For example, what if the donation amount received by the organization is not the same as the donor’s pledge or promise before the donation? A full contact list will save your organization in answering various questions.Donation Description: Define the donation sent or received. It is wrong to just assume that every donation is in a form of cash. Sometimes, donations are paid online or that the donations don’t involve money at all such as food, clothes, and equipment. Thus, a brief description of these donations is essential to have a clear picture of what was being donated. An example is to describe the donation’s type, quantity, and other details.Donation Amount: How much was donated? Monetary donations can make use of a proper financial statement to describe the donation amount. It is normally written in numbers and in words for clarification. But if the donation is not monetary, just determine the value of the charitable gift instead.Date Paid: It is a no-brainer that the date paid refers to when the donation was given. The term only refers to as “paid” as most donations are in monetary form. Be sure to write the complete calendar date of when a donation was received such as the day, month, and year.Total Amount: For summary purposes, you will eventually add up every donation amount or how much was collected all in all in the total amount section. An example is when a company needs a yearly calendar update about how much was the value of donations collected per year. Hence, that is used for this section.Donation Update: For those who use the donation log to track updates about the donations, be sure to incorporate a donation update in the log. This is where you write not only how much money from the donation was used but also how it was used. An example is when a portion of the donation is still in process of payment or already paid for whatever purpose it serves.Notes: Finally, provide extra blank space in the log for notes. Notes will be used for any other purpose that isn’t labeled yet. For example, you can use the notes for a separate budget plan for the next donation. It depends on you regarding how to utilize this extra section.

How to Make a Proper Donation Log

Are you ready to build your own donation log? Although it takes a process to create one, just know that it has underlying benefits that would surely pay off for your organization in the end. In fact, creating one is simple. Just take note of the following steps:

  • Step 1: Study Your Organization as a Whole

    Be well-acquainted about your organization first. Are you running a fundraiser, non-profit, or any type of company at all? Also, this is the right time to reassess your company’s purpose. Running a full research analysis concerning your organization will help a lot. With proper knowledge about what your organization is and how it runs, you will have an idea as to what specific details must be incorporated into your organization’s donation log. Don’t just add random elements in the donation log later on but rather what is relevant or needed for your company instead.

  • Step 2: Optimize a Sample Donation Log Template

    Now that you know what should be added to the donation log, be sure to choose your preferred donation log sample out of the 18+ sample templates enlisted above in this article. Options are endless for related samples too in case you want a free donation tracker template, donation receipt template, donation sign-in sheet template, or any form of donation tracking template. There are even many examples of logs to choose from such as a call log, vehicle maintenance log, food log, exercise log, and more.

  • Step 3: Edit Your Chosen Donation Log Sample

    Now that you have a sample donation log template to optimize, make the most out of its editable features. You can edit the design, format, and content of your donation log template. Start with completing the parts of a donation log. As discussed before, you begin with the title, company name, down to notes. But, the decision is up to you regarding what elements to add. You can even include more elements besides the examples given earlier.

  • Step 4: Insert Graphic Organizers

    What really makes donation logs effective is when you have visual organizers that classify the information seamlessly. A common example is to use a table. You will likely label the columns according to donor name, donation description, amount, date, and other labels. Then, you will list the details in each row of the table. Other effective examples are using graphs, organizational charts, and numbered lists. You can be creative on how to organize the data as long as it is making the donation log work.

  • Step 5: Observe an Easy-to-Read Structure

    Making a donation log is more than just recording and labeling. It has something to do with how user-friendly it is as well. The key is to input instructions in the donation log so anyone assigned to record there will know how to use it efficiently. Also, write short and specific words on its data so it won’t have to be difficult to understand. A tip is to conduct a full evaluation of your work if you wrote everything needed in the donation log. Then, find out how to make it easier to follow so it will promise a convenient process when the log is needed.

  • Step 6: Update the Donation Log Regularly

    After creating the donation log, you will have the ultimate responsibility to update its details on a regular basis. Like tracking spreadsheets, you will basically log the document when you send or receive charitable donations. Take that opportunity to fact-check the log’s details as well. So the moment a donor donates, write the details behind it in the donation log from the donor’s name, amount received, etc. Also, make sure to keep extra copies of donation logs so that if ever you lose it, there is still backup data available. And that is how you come up with a dependable donation log.


How do you keep track of charity donations?

Besides donation logs, you can track charity donations via a bank record, donation receipt, or donation letter.

What is the best way to ask for a donation?

There are many ways to ask for donations depending on your strategic plan. And here are some tips:

  • Inspire people through compelling storytelling
  • Involve a sense of urgency
  • Provide different donation methods to make it easier to contribute
  • Remind people of the donation’s purpose
  • Share a message that touches your audience
  • Be truthful about the intentions no matter what

How do you show fundraising progress?

Donation logs are an effective way to showcase fundraising progress. But, you can also take advantage of pie graphs, roadmaps, tracking sheets, and visual organizers for the progress presentation.

The next time your organization sends or receives charitable gifts, make logging a habit using a donation log. Donation logs ensure that the accumulated funds go to the right purpose and that any form of monetary fraud will be avoided. And the best part is you never have to create logs from scratch. Simply pick an editable and printable donation log template and optimize its content afterward. Thanks to this record of giving, you can expect improvements in the organization of charitable donations for sure.