He said, She said

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The portion of the support to our ministry account from my partners (blue) and my wife’s (red). This reflects mostly where I have devoted my partnership development efforts over the past 21 years. The two blips—2005 and 2016—represent significant campaigns we ran at that time.

If you are married, did you marry your spouse before or after you went on the mission field? If after, was she or he also already a supported missionary? And if so, what portion of your current or lifetime support is a result of the contacts each of you brought into the marriage?

It may surprise you to learn that TntConnect can answer that question!

But not natively.

When I started using TntConnect 16 years ago this month, I spent a lot of time getting my data ship-shape. I imported every gift we had received in the 13 years before TNT. I got all of the addresses correct. And more.

I have always loved analyzing data and seeing how things work. Even in Excel (before using TNT) I had separated contacts based on whether they were on my wife’s partnership team or my own. We were married in 1997 and at the time had almost equal amounts of support, so at the time it was about 50/50. Five years later I started using TNT, and to retain this helpful information, I used the Family Side field to differentiate between “his” partners and “her” partners.

The Family Side field is intended to be used in conjunction with the Family Level field to define “his cousin” or “her sibling”. But given that very few of our contacts are relatives, I knew I would never use those two fields as designed.

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So I repurposed the Family Side to represent “the side of the family this contact came from”. For every contact who has given a gift I marked them as His or Hers. I do have some marked as “Neither” because the relationship has been built with us as a couple, since we got married. But surprisingly, only 1.5% of all giving to our ministry account has come from these kinds of people. The remaining 98.5% has come from partners who joined our team more than 21 years ago OR have been referrals from those two teams as recently as last year.

Because I have every contact marked as “His”, “Hers”, or “Neither”, I can then view reports on the Analysis View:

Average Monthly Gifts by Family Side:

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Lifetime Gifts by Family Side:

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The most noticeable aspect of this is that lifetime, partners from my wife’s source are a greater proportion of our lifetime giving than they are of current giving (above).

The above charts are right out of TNT with no additional effort. I did export the Contribution Report to Excel and run more reports for my own delight (that’s how I generated the chart at the top), but that’s beyond the scope of this blog post.

My point, as always: Because I asked a question of my database, I figured out a way to get the answer. In other words, I let my needs drive my use of the software, rather than the software dictate to me what I need.

 

 

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Finding that lost Donor Acct #

About 10% of the donors who are in my TntConnect database have more than one account number with my organization, and sometimes I want to find all of them (for reasons I describe later). This is so easy I’ll show you first then explain it.

How to find contacts which have more than one Account #:

  1. Lookup | By Field
  2. Organization Account IDs | contains | ,    [comma]

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TntConnect stores the Organization Account ID(s) with the contact so that you can easily export them using Group Actions | Export Current Group. If a donor has more than one account #, TNT just separates them with a comma.

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How this exports:

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There are several reasons why a donor is issued a new account #:

  • They gave by cheque previously and have just given online for the first time. Not surprisingly, they did not have their Donor # handy so they left that box blank on the online screen (if they even saw it!)
  • They have moved and given a new gift without using a return slip that had their donor # on it
  • The spouse gave a gift and his/her name was not on the original account, which is even more likely if the husband/wife couple has different last names

But there is one big reason why a donor in TntConnect may have two donor account #s NOT because of my organization:

  • *I* linked them during a gift download… sometimes accidentally.

So if I have two donor account numbers for a contact and one of them is in error, I cannot find it easily because I may not know which donor I linked it to! This lookup helps me quickly locate all contacts with multiple donor account #s, so I can then find the incorrect one.

Read More: Merge/Unmerge Donor Accounts

The day I returned a gift

Well, I confess it wasn’t me who returned it. It was my ministry.

My partner inadvertently sent his donation check to his auto lender and the auto lender’s check to my ministry. And the funny thing is, both companies had the same initials. Since his handwriting was basically unreadable–except for the three capital letters–both recipients thought it was for their company.

But the auto lender took immediate action: “Thank you for the $25. Where is the other $400?”

The really sad thing about this is that I had not thanked the partner for the surprise extra gift of $400, because if I had thanked immediately (like I try to do now), this error may have been resolved more quickly. And I would have shined in the eyes of my partner because I took immediate action.

That was 1994, way before TNT. So I actually did not know about it until I received the paper printout in the mail several weeks after the gift. But even so, I should have called and thanked him as soon as I did know–that extra $400 was about half a month’s pay for me back then!

Point is: One of the major benefits of the Automatic Actions for New Gifts is that it allows me to respond to any unusual activity on the part of my partners.

When we respond promptly to anything unusual, whether it is an extra gift, a special gift, or even a decrease, it says, “I noticed! You matter to me!”