Manage letter templates for merges.

VolunteerMatters allows an administrator to store letter templates in the system and merge those letter templates with field data from the contact records in the database. This document will provide an overview on creating templates, including the format and types of merge fields you may insert, and performing the actual merges. All letter templates utilize the standard format for a formal letter including the recipient block, salutation, letter body, closing, sender and postscript. 


Note: If you believe that the creation of a letter template might take you longer than ½ an hour, make sure to ‘Save’ your work periodically. For security reasons, the system will atomically log you out should there be no activity (clicks) for more than 30 minutes. Even if you are continually typing of re-writing letter content the system can only measure ‘activity’ by clicks made on the site. 

  1. Log into your organization's VolunteerMatters Administrative Site 
  2. Click on Setup > Letter Templates
  3. There, depending on your subscription level, you will see 2 categories of Letter Templates: Contact, Requirement. If you have previously created letter templates they will be listed here. The listing includes the type, name, description and active status (true = active, or false = deactivated). 
    You are also presented with two icons to the right of each listing. 
    View Details filefind.png - allows you view the letter template. This is not a preview of the eventual output but just a view on the settings applied to this template. 
    Edit Letter doc_edit_16.png - allows you to update all of the settings and values for a template (Delete is located within the 'Edit' icon). 
  4. Click 'new' next to the appropriate category to create a new template or the 'Edit Letter' icon next to an existing template to edit or delete. 
  5. Enter a unique name for this letter template. For example, “New Volunteer Welcome Letter” 
  6. Enter a description for this letter template. For example, “This letter should be sent to all new volunteers within the first 14 days of their application approval”. When performing a letter merge, all of the available templates are listed with their names and descriptions to help the administrator select the appropriate letter for a merge. 
  7. Enter the top, bottom, left, and right margins for the letter in inches (i.e., 1.0, 1.5, 1.75) 
  8. Select the ‘Active’ checkbox if you would like this letter template to be available for merges. If this template is still in progress and you would not like it to appear as an option when performing an actual merge, then leave this box un-checked. 
  9. Enter any text or merge fields to be used in the recipient block of the letter. This typically includes a persons name and address and will require merge fields. 

    ${Title} ${FirstName} ${LastName} 
    ${City}, ${State} ${PostalCode} 

    For more information on Merge Fields see the "Letter/label merge fields." article.
  10. Select addressing preferences. The system will use addresses according to the preferences you specify. If you check the ‘Use primary address’ box, the system will insert the address information from each contact's uniquely specified ‘Primary address’ in the system. 

    Note: The system enforces that if a contact has only one address, then that address will be set to Primary. If a contact has more than one address an administrator must set one of the addresses as primary. Therefore every contact record with at least one address must have a primary address 

    Otherwise you may select up to four choices in order of priority as to how the system should choose a contact's address. For example, you may choose the following:


    This above example would use the ‘Home’ address by default. If the contact does not have a ‘Home’ address, then it would insert their ‘Business’ address. If the contact does not have a ‘Home’ or ‘Business’ address, then it would insert their ‘Summer Home’ address. If the contact does not have a ‘Home’, ‘Business’, or ‘Summer Home’ address, then it would insert their ‘Other’ address.
  11. Enter a Salutation. This can be a single salutation for all recipients (e.g., ‘Dear Volunteer’) or a merged salutation (e.g., Dear ${FirstName}). See the "Letter/label merge fields." article for more information. 
  12. Enter the body of the letter. The body of a letter can be placed in up to three body fields. The first and third body fields will format the text in Arial compatible format. The middle body field will be formatted with Courier fixed size font. Some prefer Arial-based fonts because they are considered more attractive. Fixed sized fonts allow you to predictably line up text so that you may replicate tables by using spaces. 

    It is not required to include text in any one of the three body fields. You could enter all of your content into a single field, two of the fields, or all three. The system only allows text, line breaks, and merge fields in the body fields of a letter. Special font properties and the insertion of images or tables are specifically not supported. If you would like to perform a letter merge that requires these elements, you may run the 'Contact Listing Report’ and use that data to perform a mail merge outside of the Closerware system.
  13. Enter a Closing (i.e., Sincerely, Regards, Thankfully, etc.) 
  14. Enter a Sender (i.e., your name, your organization name, etc.). This field will accept text and line breaks so you could designate the following example sender: 

    Jane Smith 
    Executive Director 
    ABC Organization 
  15. Enter a Postscript. This could be a P.S., Cc:, enclosure, etc. 
  16. Click ‘Save’ (Saves and keeps you on this page) or ‘Save and Return’ (Saves and returns you to the list of templates).
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