When you receive an online donation, the potentially new donor record is held in a 'staging' area. This process is designed to reduce the number of duplicate records in your system. To move the record into your full system, a minor but manual process is required where you see and review the queued-up donors and merge them into your system.
You can get to the Online Contribution Matching function in a couple of ways. The first is directly from the Alerts dashboard item found on the Finance dashboard:
Clicking the above link takes you directly to the Online Contribution Matching function.
Another way to get there is to go to Finances / Data Matching. From there, click the Online Contribution Matching tab (if necessary).
The system displays all online donations in your temp table and then returns any records that already exist in your database that might match your online donor.
If it finds 0 or 1 match, it defaults to that most likely choice. Then, you just confirm these choices and make selections where there is more than one possible match.
When you click 'new', the system creates a brand new record with the donation. When you confirm a match, the system appends the existing record with the new donation.
The new matched records will be removed from the staging table and moved into your permanent database.
Hint: When you are matching a lot of records at one time, a shortcut can be to immediately scroll down and click Save Matches. This will automatically move over all donations/donors that are new or that have only one match. After that, you can just focus on the ones with more than one likely match.