Working with Letters
- Letters are a report-based feature for generating mail-merged documents.
- Letters follow a strict layout: they have a predefined header, body and footer.
- Data Fields cannot be used in your Letter body.
Creating a Letter
- Go to Communications > Letters.
- Click New:
- Type the name of your letter in the Letter Title field.
- Click the [...] button to the right of the Page field and choose the page in MinistryPlatform where you want this letter to be available.
- Type the text you want as the first portion in the Letter Opening field. If this field is left blank, it is evident on the Selected Letter report as "Please add text to..." This text appears after the salutation. If using on the Pledge page, it appears before the Pledge data.
- Type the text you want as the last portion in the Letter Body field. This text appears after the pledge data and before the closing. You can copy/paste your text from Word, if desired.
- Type the closing of your letter in the Letter From field. This is the last thing that prints on your letter at the bottom.
- If you're ready for the letter to be used, set the Active field to Yes.
- Click Save.
- Go to the page in MinistryPlatform on which you indicated the letter would be used.
- Select the records for which you want to generate a letter.
- Click Reports > Selected <page-specific> Letter (e.g., Selected Pledge Letter on the Pledges page, Selected Donor Letter on the Donors page).
- Choose your letter from the drop-down list labeled Letter, modify other options as desired, and click View Report. The letters available in the drop-down depend on the Page value set on the Letter record (see step 4).
- Set the desired parameters* and click Run Report.
- Review the letters and print.
*Depending on the page you've chosen, the parameters of the report may be different:
- Donors: Closing (type in your text), Show Spouse Name (true/false).
- Donations: Closing (type in your text).>
- Pledges: Show Pledge Detail (true/false) For other tips and details, see Communicating With Pledge Donors.
- Milestones Assigned: Closing (type in your text), Congregation Pastor Title (type in your text), Exclude If E-mail on File (true/false).
- Responses: Closing (type in your text), Congregation Pastor Title (type in your text), Exclude If E-mail on File (true/false).
All letters automatically include the Date, address, salutation and whatever data fields are part of that report.
The body of the letter made up of the Letter Opening, Letter Body and Letter From fields. Only a small subset html is supported in the output, so it is best to stick with paragraphs and basic formatting. All but the most basic styles are ignored.
Here is a list of html elements that are supported:
- Hyperlinks <a>
- Headers <h1> to <h6>
- Basic Block elements <div> <p>
- Text format <font> <b> <i> <u> <s> <span>
- Lists <ol> <ul> <li>
To change the font size, you must use the source view to alter the html. It cannot be done using the wysiwyg features of the editor. The following snippets are examples of html which will affect the font size. Experiment to get the desired result.
<h1>Headings have a predetermined size</h1> <p style="font-size:24pt">This paragraph uses a style</p> <p><font size="18">This paragraph uses the font tag</font></p>
Images are not fully supported and may be omitted. It may be best to pre-print images on letterhead. If Images must be incorporated in body fields, you may wish to use the Selected Mail Merge Report (see below). Bitmaps must be used for pdf generation.
Alternate Mail-Merge Options
To overcome limitations of the Letters Report, you could use the Export action and the Selected Mail Merge Report to facilitate using Excel/Word for mail merging.