What are donor references?

Donor references are a unique way to identify donors. They are also sometimes used to anonymise donors. For example, a church which still has cash offerings may use a numbered envelope scheme/donor reference to enable donors to identify themselves, and only the person with the list of reference numbers can identify the donor.

Within ExpensePlus, whether you use donor references or not, 'donor reference' is a required field, and ExpensePlus will automatically generate donor references for new donors (which you can update).

There is also the option to add donor prefixes as well (if you wish to use these).

Donor names can be hidden or made visible per user.

Important: It's not possible to hide donor names in the following places


  • Finance Report: All Transactions (by Match)
  • Finance Report: All Transactions (by Account)
  • Donations Report: Generate Donor Statements
  • Donations Report: Donor Mail Merge Data


  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Petty Cash (if any named petty cash donations are recorded)
  • ChurchSuite Export

Most users shouldn't have been given access to these reports & modules within their user role!

Note: If a user has the role of 'Finance Team' or 'Independent Examiner' they will automatically see donor names (as this is a requirement of both of these default roles). Consider assigning the user a different user role if you don't wish them to be able to view donor names.

Adding a donor reference

Donor references can be viewed and edited within the Manage Donors screen

To edit a donors reference number, just click on the donor you wish to edit.

Note: Donor references can also be imported as part of the donor import process.

Hiding Donor Names

Within User Settings, you can specify whether donor names are visible or hidden for each user.

By default, donor names are hidden. You can enable a user to view donor names within any reports or modules they have access to. Typically, most users won't have access to the screen where donor names appear anyway, and this won't change.

Where donor names are hidden, donor reference numbers will be shown instead.

Donor reference prefixes

If your organisation uses donor prefixes, then you can add these within the manage donor screen.

Click the 'settings' option within this screen, then select the 'references prefixes' view.

Click the 'add reference prefix' to add new prefixes.

Note: when you add the first prefix, all existing donors will be assigned this prefix (but when further prefixes are added, you will then be able to update the prefix a donor has been assigned with)

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