Printing Mailing Labels with DonorDock and Microsoft Office

By Matt Bitzegaio on January 9, 2019

Sometimes it seems like doing the most menial tasks eat up the most time and cause the highest levels of frustration. I think printing mailing labels from a CRM tool fits this bill.

Generally speaking, mail merges with Microsoft Office can be particularly frustrating, but I realized it is most likely because there aren’t a simple set of steps to follow. My gift to you, then, is a simple set of steps to follow to create your mailing labels using DonorDock and Microsoft Office.

To get started, identify the list of contacts you’ll want to generate mailing labels for. Because we are in the midst of tax season right now, my example will be building a mailing list of the donors who gave to my organization last year.

The easiest way to do this would be to generate mailing labels for the annual giving statements. To create this particular list, I am going to use the Giving Summary report. This report is the most applicable as it allows the user to set a date range (1/1/2018-12/31/2018 in this case) and it will give a single record for each donor who gave during that timeframe.

Once the report is loaded, it’s time to export the results to Excel using the Export to Excel button. It always helps to save the export somewhere easy to remember on the computer, and then open the Excel file.

One thing that has caused issues in the past with the Microsoft Office Mail Merge is trying to use an Excel file as the source of data. There is a strange issue in which Microsoft Word will throw a cryptic error when trying to use the Excel file. To get around this, we need to save the Excel document as a CSV using the Save As command in Excel.

After saving the file as a CSV, close Excel and open Microsoft Word. Click on Mailings in the main navigation menu of Microsoft Word. Click the Start Mail Merge menu item and choose Labels… from the dropdown menu.

Choose the manufacturer and type of label you are using. This example uses the ubiquitous Avery 5160 labels as they are a largely familiar choice.

Click on OK. Then click on Select Recipients and choose Use an Existing List from the dropdown.

Here is where we choose the CSV file we saved earlier as the source of our data. This will add the spots for labels to the Word document, and in the first label spot (top left), we’re now able to set up the template.

Click the Insert Merge Field button and choose the fields you want to add to your label from the dropdown. Do this for each field in the layout you want for your label. I did the contact’s name and address as follows:

Once the template label set the way you would like it to look, click the Update Labels button to fill the template into the other labels.

The final step is to click the Finish and Merge button and choose to Edit Individual Documents. This will give us a chance to see the file before printing.

Click OK on the next pop-up:

Congratulations, you now have your mailing labels ready to print for your annual giving statements!

Get those labels on the envelopes and get those donor tax statements in the mail. Maybe include a nice handwritten note, or a program update on all the good you did in 2018. What a great reason to engage with your donors!