Be a “Pro” with TntConnect Pro

There are a lot of free software tools where they entice you with the Free or “Basic” version, but make you pay for the “Pro” version–the version that has the ‘really useful’ features.

TntConnect delivers about 99.9% of its features in the free “Basic” version, and delivers the other 0.1% in the free “Pro” version. Can’t beat that price, eh?

What’s the difference? Simply, TntConnect Pro exposes a few features for those who manage multiple designations in one database. Since most users only manage one designation (their own missionary account #), there is no need to have the multi-designation features turned on.

If you manage multiple designations in one TntConnect database, go to Tools | Options and check the box, “Display extended information (TntConnect Pro)”.

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When you do this, without restarting you will see designation options/display in 3 key areas.

Gift List

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Lookup | By Giving

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Notice that Pro also displays the “Motivation Code”. This is used by some organizations who assign codes related to fund appeals.

Tools | Contribution Report

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Read more about TntConnect Pro

Increased Pledge = First Gift

When a partner increases (or decreases) their pledge, enter the new amount, then uncheck the Pledge Received box.

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TntConnect will alert you when the FIRST gift of this new pledge has arrived. (Technically, TNT will create a thank for the next gift, regardless of the amount; occasionally I have had a partner commit to an increase, but their next gift was given automatically, so I still got the thank you task even though the amount was the old amount.)

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TNT will also re-check the Pledge Received checkbox and reset the “start date” for the pledge. This helps the partner’s Average Monthly figure be more accurate.

Go Back in Time

If you download gifts from your organization, you are familiar with the Starting Date / Ending Date calendars in the gift download:

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In the above example, the start date is about six weeks before the end date. The default is not “six weeks back from today”, but roughly six weeks “before your last download” as you may only download periodically. The ‘back in time’ feature is because it is common for organizations to have adjustments or corrections or even late-posting gifts. (In our ministry, for example, credit card gifts take longer to process than cheque gifts.)

The challenge with this practice, though, is that sometimes your ministry may correct a gift that was six months ago. It is not uncommon for a partner to get a year-end giving statement and notice a mistake from months earlier.

For this reason, once or twice a year I reset the Starting Date on my calendar all the way back to the first available date. (The first available date is the oldest gift in your ministry’s system.)

Quick tip: When you go way back for the first time, you may see some new gifts come in, some gifts may be slightly changed (e.g., date of gift, amount, donor name), but you may also see some gifts deleted from your database.

TntConnect will alert you when a gift is about to be deleted. Pay attention to this! Once you click Sync, that gift will be removed with no record of it. So if you see this red message, you may want to ask yourself “Why?!” before you sync.

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As a reminder, TntConnect does not download address corrections when you download gifts. If a partner has changed their address (with the ministry) but not told you, you need to select Tools | Update Donor Info to see those changes.

Why doesn’t TNT just download all gifts and/or all addresses every time? Because of how long it would take.

Right-Click to change Gift Input

Here’s a tip you will probably only use once, if ever. But if you need it, you’ll be glad you knew about it.

You can change the behaviour of the Gift Input button by right-clicking on it.

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The Gift Input button is actually just a shortcut. The default shortcut goes to “Tools | Update Gift Info” for the web-input screen. But about 40% of TNT users cannot download gifts, and many of these use the Manual Gift Entry Form to get their gifts in quickly.

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So, by right-clicking you can change the button to go to Tools | Manual Gift Entry Form instead.

There are some organizations that have made a technology change and they no longer support gift download. If your organization has changed your ability to download gifts, and you now have to enter gifts manually, you can do this in just a few minutes each month and still get all the power of TNT at your fingertips.

“His” and “Her” Partners

Only an accountant would love this, I’m sure.

My wife I both served with our organization prior to getting married, and we were both fully supported at the time of our marriage.

One of the fields on the “Family” tab in TNT is the “Family Side” field. This is used in conjunction with the “Family Level” field to denote the relationship:

  • His / Sibling
  • Hers / Aunt
  • His / Cousin
  • Hers / Nephew/Niece (below)

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We have many relatives in our database, but most of them are not financial partners, and there is no value for me to track giving by that relationship.

Instead, I use the “Family Side” field to indicate who has the closer relationship with the partner (practically, whose database were they in before we were married?). Since our marriage, I have continued to use the Family Side to represent new partners; for example, if the referral came from one of my before-marriage partners… sort of a referral chain. I use “None” for new partners who joined our team because of us as a couple—and I am surprised at how few of those there are.

Even today—approaching our 20th wedding anniversary—almost every one of our new partners is the result of relationships built from our early days in ministry and their successive referrals.

Why is this useful for me? Again, only an accountant would love this… but I use it to help me analyze where the growth of our financial partners comes from–and where to invest my future energy.

If you look at the chart below, you can see that over the past 15 years or so, almost all of the growth in new giving has come from partners associated with my former partners. It is not that I have not tried to cultivate new support and new referrals from my wife’s home support base. I have tried! And God has raised up new partners to replace those who have stopped giving. But the practical reality is that when it comes to my time, I see far more success in broadening the support from my side.

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So why do I share this? Do I think YOU should start using His & Hers this way? Probably not (unless you are weird like me!). But the greater value is in seeing creative new ways to use TntConnect to help you. TNT was not designed to track support this way; I just figured out how to do something I wanted it to do, and have found it really helpful.

Hi, Clark, meet Clark

I am absolutely convinced that when it comes to interpersonal relations, the digital age has hindered us, not helped us.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, my mother had a “Day Timer” brand address book–which she filled out by hand. It was the handiest little tool for her. It had tiny little rings and she could add pages whenever she got too many names for one letter of the alphabet. In the box with each address, there was actually a set of little checkboxes and she could record sending and receiving Christmas cards each year from each person in her list.

She had that book for years–maybe 2 decades. Never lost it or left it anywhere. And in it she had every name and address of significance to her. She hand-addressed every Christmas card she sent.

Fast forward 30-40 years, and tell me if our lives have improved: Now I have multiple name and address tools. I have TntConnect, my phone’s Contacts app, several email systems, online address lists for Boy Scouts or our school groups or our church small groups. Most of these lists do not synchronize with each other. And even more than that, everyone I know now has about 10-15 “addresses and phone numbers” vs. the one address and two phone numbers (home and work) they used to have. And this is easier?!

Of course, the irony here is that we have more information about our friends than ever before, yet it is harder to reach them than ever.

I think we dream of a time when every we will have a “one stop shop” for every name and address.

In the meantime, at least, TntConnect does at least help you avoid duplicates in one system. When I enter a new contact–or download a gift from a person for the first time–TntConnect scans through my database to see if that person may already be in my database. For example, if I enter Clark Kent as a new contact in my database, TntConnect not only checks to see if there is a Clark Kent already in there, but even the addresses too (to see if “Clark Kent” on 123 Maple St. is the same as “Lois Kent” on 123 Maple St.).

This type of duplicate checking is a handy little feature that in the big picture does not make a major difference. But it is a nice thing, and I appreciate it.

Ooops… wrong place!

There are two places in TntConnect where I find information ending up in the wrong place.

  1. Right address… wrong place. Because I download gifts from my organization, the address for a business, or even a special mailing address, ends up as the “Home” address for a partner.
  2. Right history… wrong person. I have, on occasion, logged History for the wrong contact.

In both cases I can easily move to the correct spot just by right-clicking.

For the address, on the Address tab I can right-click on the address and select “Move to” to switch it to one of the other address options for the same contact.

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On the History and Task tabs, I can “send” an item to another contact, again just by right-clicking on the desired item.

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The other TntConnect tip here, in case you did not catch it, is that TNT has a number of secret “right-click” features. Every once in a while, just right-click somewhere… you might learn something new!