Following are instructions to create a simple mail merge using a single letter. You need a form letter and a data file. Use Microsoft Word for Windows to create the form letter and your Blackbaud program to create the data file.

To perform a conditional mail merge, refer to How to create a conditional mail merge letter.

A mail merge is the function in a word processor that produces multiple letters or labels by combining a form letter and a data file. The form letter is the shell used for design. The data file contains the variable information (usually name, address, and salutation for a letter). A simple merge combines one data file and one form letter or label to produce the same letter for all of the records in the data file; however, the letters are personalized for each record in the data file.

For information on using a series of merge documents and one data file and one or more conditional statements, refer to How to create a conditional mail merge.

Creating the Form Letter
  1. Select Tools, Mail Merge from the menu bar. The Mail Merge Helper screen appears.  
  2. Click Create and select Form Letters. Click Active Window.
  3. To attach your data file, click Get Data, and then select Open Data Source. Select the appropriate file. The data file usually has a .dat extension. A screen appears stating that Word found no merge fields in Main Document. Click Edit Main Document.
    Note: If you are having difficulty locating the data file, refer to the Control Report you printed from your program for the name and location.  
    A blank document and the Mail Merge toolbar should appear on the screen. This empty document is the actual document in which you will create the body of your letter.
  4. To insert a date that will change to the current date when this letter is merged, select Insert, Date and Time from the menu bar. Highlight the desired format and click OK.
  5. Click Insert Merge Field. A list of the fields in the data file appears. This list is also referred to as a header record. To place a field in the letter, click Insert Merge Field, then highlight and click the desired field. Continue inserting text and fields until the form file is completed.  
  6. The merge process can now begin. Select Tools, Mail Merge from the menu bar.  
  7. Click Merge. The Merge screen appears.   
  8. In the Merge To field, select the merged letters' destination: your printer or a new document. If you send the merge to a new document, you can view the letters on the screen before printing. Select the appropriate option.  
  9. In the When Merging Records frame, select the option Don't print blank lines when data fields are empty. 
  10. Click Merge. The document merges all of the fields.