Journal Page

eTapestry Best Practices: The many uses of the Journal page

If you perform data entry within eTapestry, you are probably familiar with the Journal page. You can think of the Journal page as the beating heart of the account. While you can still track information on the Persona page and Defined Fields page, the Journal is there to store a timeline of information for a constituent. From the day you first interact with that constituent, to their first donation up until their most recent, these time specific markers make the Journal page extremely important.

Let’s look at Journal entry basics and learn about applying some best practices.

Reviewing the Basics


This is one of the most common Journal entries that you use. The Gift/Pledge entry can be used for tracking one-off donations. It can also be used for setting up a pledge schedule so a donor can give a larger amount and pay it off in smaller installments over time.

When you want to enter a Gift, you use the Received Amount field to enter the amount of the one-time donation.

When entering a Pledge, you use the Pledged Amount field to enter the total donation amount the constituent plans to pay off.

You can fill in both the Pledged and Received amount fields on the same entry. This is only done when the donor is actually giving a Pledge, but wants to make the first payment at the same time. It is easier to manage the pledge donation by creating the Pledge first, and then add a separate payment.

Recurring Gifts

A recurring gift is similar to a pledge: a constituent commits to make a particular donation amount on a recurring basis. However, a pledge and recurring gift differ because a recurring gift does not have a specific total amount trying to be reached. It also does not have a specific end date; it continues until the constituent contacts your organization to ask you to end payment.

Also similar to a pledge, you cannot add a recurring gift unless you have an active recurring gift schedule. With both a pledge and a recurring gift, you have to set up the schedule first. The recurring gift schedule controls when a recurring gift is to be made, and whether you want to manually add payment entries or automatically process payments. This is also where you enter and update credit card expiration information.


Anytime someone within your organization calls, emails, or reaches out to a constituent, this should be tracked with the Journal as a Contact. Contacts are designed to track constituent interaction.

Applying What You Know

Understanding the basics of the different Journal entries can open the doors for more advanced tracking. Review this section for more information.

Foundations and Grant Tracking

When you are applying for a grant through a foundation, in a way, you are actually attempting to solicit a donation. In eTapestry, constituents are defined as donors and potential donors. Since you are asking a foundation for money, the foundation should have its own constituent account.

Before you are awarded money for a grant, you need to reach out to the foundation. This is typically done with an application, or maybe a letter, or a phone call. This is when you would want to use a Journal contact entry to track your interactions with the foundation.

The Journal is also where you track when the grant is awarded to you. If your organization is awarded the grant in a lump sum, you can enter that transaction as a Gift. When the grant is paid out in installments , you can track it as a Pledge with each payment representing the installment. Funds, Campaigns, Approaches, and User Defined fields (UDFs) are there to help distinguish grant transactions from regular donations.

Review the Foundations and Grant Tracking documentation to help you with this best practice.

Event Tracking

Events are a major part of fundraising and can also be tracked within the Journal. Interactions with your constituents will include invitations, acceptances, and attendances to your event which can enter all as a Journal Contact.

Events may require a ticket purchase that can also be tracked in the Journal. When the donor is only purchasing a ticket, you should enter it as a Gift. Depending on the event, you may allow the constituent to obtain a ticket early, but pay at a later time. In this scenario, you should enter it as a Pledge.

It is also helpful to use Funds, Campaigns, Approaches, or UDFs to help you track why the event donations donations and tickets were purchased.

Make sure to refer to our Event Tracking Best Practices to help you with setting things up:

Event Preparation

Online Events and Ticket Sales

Event Queries and Reports

Grant and event tracking are only two examples of how to apply your knowledge of journal entries to bigger picture items. There is a lot more that can be done within the Journal, and we have the resources to get you started!

Major Gifts

Matching Gifts

Payroll Deductions

In Kind Gifts

Receiving United Way Transactions

Create a Single Thank You Letter

Volunteer Tracking

You may also be interested in how other organizations use eTapestry to track their information. You may also want to share best practices that you have discovered. You are always welcome to do this and help out other eTapestry users by answering their questions about your experience on our Community!