In honor of #GivingTuesday, we are launching our Donation Tracking Template. Inspired by a longtime Grist team favorite, the free template is similar to a Grist that some of us use to manage our charitable giving throughout the year. While this new addition to our template gallery may not celebrate giving, it certainly helps organize it!

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

Pablo Picasso

Charitable giving – the good and the bad

Giving makes you feel good, right? We know that it makes us feel good! While those feelings aren’t very scientific, there is some solid research that supports the feel-good benefits of giving. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley released a white paper in 2016 entitled The Science of Generosity, which delved into the origins and benefits of generosity. Meanwhile, many studies report generosity’s physical and mental health benefits: lower cortisol and stress, improved heart health, and happiness

While anecdotal, the numbers support the studies. In 2021, Americans gave a record-breaking $484.85 billion, nearly $100 billion more than when that paper was published five years earlier. The largest source of charitable giving (67% of total giving) came from individuals – $326.87 billion. Increases in charitable gifts occurred in nearly every sector, with some experiencing double-digit growth: the arts, culture, and humanities (27.5%), public-society benefit (23.5%), and environment/animals (11%).

Here’s where the bad shows up. With all that giving, that’s a tremendous amount of receipts. Many donations will be forgotten long before filing taxes, and many receipts will likely get misplaced or lost. We know this because we’ve struggled with this. We designed our new Donation Tracking Template to remove the friction and help keep the focus on those feel-good benefits by simplifying the management of personal charitable giving.

Perhaps you want a dashboard that gives you insight into your yearly giving. Maybe you need to track your donations for your taxes or company matching. Regardless of your reason for using our Donation Tracking Template, you will find that it provides valuable insights into your charitable giving practices.

Why people love our donation tracking template

We designed it with features that offer meaningful insights while retaining flexibility and ease of use.


  • Categories – make your taxes more manageable by keeping track of which donations are tax-deductible 
  • Dashboards – get different views of your charitable giving history – by year, type, and organization
  • Status – track donations by completion 
  • Documentation Management – upload receipts and proof of donations as they happen, eliminating documentation chasing at tax time
  • Customizable – you can make changes to the template to better match your needs.

How to use Grist’s donation tracking template

The straightforward workflow of the Donation Tracking Template lets you stay on top of your charitable giving without a need for overly complicated spreadsheets. We build our templates so anyone can use them, regardless of technical skill. If you do find that you need help, our Donation Tracking Template has a helpful built-in tutorial. You can access this anytime by clicking on “Tour of this document,” located in the lower left of your workspace.

Image shows a screen grab of Grist's built-in tutorial and tour of the Donation Tracking Template
Use the built-in tutorial to get a tour of the template

Template – Donations View

Getting started with the Donation Tracking template is simple. Begin by entering a donation within the main Donations view. Input everything relevant to that donation; the organization name, date, donation amount and status, payment method, and category. You can even upload receipts and add notes. Please note that for Planned giving, you might not have the date of donation at the time you update your Grist. That’s okay. As you see in the example below, you can leave these blank until you know the date.  

Image shows Donations view workspace of the Donation Tracking Template where users input the details of their donations, along with information about the charities they support.
The Donation View is the primary location for inputing information in the Donation Tracking Template

You will see two cards at the bottom of the main Donations view. The DONEE Card on the left provides basic information such as address and category. You can enter the organization’s address in this view via the Donee Card or in the Donee view, as shown in the next section. On the right is the DONATIONS card which pulls all donations related to this particular organization and provides a quick overview of your donation history with them.

Donation View tip

Methods are not limited to those listed. Have an In-Kind donation? Just click on the method cell for that donation and type In-Kind. It will automatically update your dashboard and historical giving history across the Grist.

Image shows an example of how  information inputed in the Donations view then auto-populates across other views of the Grist template.
Information added within the Donation View auto-populates across the Donation Tracking Template

Template – Dashboard View

In the Dashboard view, you will see several different breakdowns of your charitable giving history: donations by year, by category and year, method and year, and by donee and year. This view pulls all of its data from the Donations view and automatically sorts it for you. 

Image shows the Dashboard view of the Donation Tracking Template, and the different insights it provides including by year, category, method, and donee.
The Dashboard View offers insight into your charitable giving habits by sorting your history in a variety of way

Template – Donee View

The Donee view is a simplified look at the organizations you support, their locations, and their specific categories. This view auto-populates from the main Donations view. While inputs aren’t required here, you may choose to update addresses in this view rather than, or in addition to, the Donee card in the Donation view. 

Image shows the Donation Tracking Template's Donee view - which shows a summary of all charitable organizations the user supports
The Donee View gives you a quick view of the charitable organizations that you support

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.


We hope that you find this Donation Tracking Template useful for organizing and managing your ongoing charitable donations. Get started today – simply donate to your favorite charity and log it in Grist, and if the studies we mentioned earlier are correct – you’ll be happy you did!

Bonus tip

You can also use this Grist to track tax-deductible expenses from volunteering! To show these, enter the following:

  • Add the date of the volunteer activity or the date your engagement with the organization began
  • Enter the value of the expense
  • Input In-Kind under method
  • Choose Tax Deductible under category
  • Upload your documentation as provided by the organization 
  • Make sure to update the note!
Image shows an example of how a user can modify the content in the Donations view to document IRS-approved deductible expenses incurred while volunteering

If you have any feedback on improvements or additions, please reach out!

Other financial management templates that our users love:

  • Expense Tracking for Teams – manage all employee expenses in one place, and limit who can see what
  • General Ledger – track income and expenses, and summarize profit over time and across companies
  • Cap Table – keep track of shareholders, issued stock, ownership, and option pools