New Year’s Resolutions, Part II

Last week I shared about “New Year’s Resolutions” and how often these are idealistic and activity-based. For example, typical Resolutions include eating better or exercising. And it feels more achievable if we say, “I am going to go the gym three times a week.”

Of course we know that most New Year’s Resolutions last a week or less, so I have a couple of extra thoughts about how to make your “Support Raising Resolutions” stick.

The core to a successful Support Raising Resolution is the Annual Plan. Looking at a whole year really helps bring perspective.

First: Before making plans for the year, it is helpful to know where you are at. In support raising, this may include the following:

  • Knowing your realistic support goal (hopefully, based on your personal budget or ministry’s standards)
  • Knowing your solid monthly support
  • Therefore: Knowing how much you need to raise

Then: Make realistic plans for

  • Communications
  • Thanking your partners
  • Raising new support

The way TntConnect helps you in this process is primarily in helping you know what is true of your support. If you have assigned a Pledge Amount and Frequency to each partner, then the Analysis View will tell you your solid monthly support.

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If you have 45 partners and are at 90% of your support goal, then on average, each partner is 2% of your team. So theoretically, you need about 5 partners to bring you to 100%. (I do not mean to be simplistic, but sometimes simple goals are more attainable than really complex ones.)

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New Year’s Resolutions, Part I

Every year after Christmas we start hearing about “New Year’s Resolutions”. And then, of course, anyone who hears about it mentions how those are often broken within days, if not hours. How come we cannot try to do good things without everyone telling us why we will fail? Hmmm.

While regular New Year’s Resolutions are typically focused on either better eating or exercise, with support raising we can also do similar New Year’s Resolutions:

  • “This year I am going to write thank yous sooner.”
  • “I’m going to call all of my partners personally, just by calling 2 every week.” etc. etc.

Like my other resolutions, grand (and vague) wishes like that usually last a few hours. But one thing we can do that is potentially more practical (and achievable) is come up with an Annual Plan that guides our support raising efforts throughout the year. The best way [my opinion] to do this is to coe up with a written plan with real activities and real deadlines.

For example, instead of the “write 2 thank yous per week” resolution, what if you actually printed a check list with each partner’s name and a date to send the thank you? Then you can get the satisfaction of checking off the list.

There are dozens of things you could do to start off your next year well from an MPD perspective. But as you consider this, let me give one piece of advice: People first. Your partners are what keep you in the mission field. So choose activities that will tangibly connect you with your partners.

In the upcoming New Year’s Resolutions entries, I’ll give a few simple and practical tips for starting off the new year.

Click to Call (or…) Speed dialing

How to log a lot of phone calls quickly.

Bob axiom: Logging a phone call should not take longer than attempting a phone call!”

Sometimes, when I am working on a calling campaign, I dial the phone many times. I have about 30 people I am trying to reach to connect with, and hopefully see a decision.

On a normal night I may dial the phone 10-20-30 times, but only talk to 2-3 people. So I dial a lot. It has always been my practice to log every time I dial the phone. I am a data nut, and this helps me know historically how many times I have dialed the phone during a season of full-time support development. (And, I must confess, see those seasons when I am NOT picking up the phone to call my partners!)

I know that many people do not log every dial, and many do not log phone calls at all, so I am not suggesting everyone should do it my way! TNT is so flexible in that it works for people regardless of how little or much they like to record their activities.

Because I log every dial, the main issue is SPEED.

TNT makes it so easy for me to log phone calls. With just one click and one letter on the keyboard, I am 50% done with the work. Here’s how:

  1. I click the number I am going to call
  2. I type the letter “c” in the description box.
  3. I write the results or action (e.g., results of the call, left a message, my next action, etc.)

Some more details:

Clicking the phone number automatically pops up a Log History, and it posts the phone number in the note. (Really helpful because many of my partners have 3-4-5 phone numbers, not all of them valid. So this helps me know which one has worked.)

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Once in the log history, in the Description box I type the letter “c” and the saved description “Call for Decision” pops up. I saved it with a colon and a space, so I am ready to go with my results. (I record what happened with the call, wrong numbers, left message, call back tomorrow, etc. If I do not reach the person, I change the Result to “Attempted”.)

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More details on logging phone calls (scroll down in that topic to read about Saved Descriptions)

And now, I have put off dialing the phone long enough…

Search for specific text in one contact’s history

This tip got me a free lunch.

While assisting a staff member at Cru with a Dropbox issue, he said, “You know, I wish there was one thing TntConnect would do that I have been asking about for years … I wish I could do a search through the history log of a contact so I could find a specific text.”

He showed me his long list of history items, and he wanted to find the ones with the word “breakfast”. He was searching for a specific appointment but did not want to scroll through the entire history log, painstakingly searching each appointment to find the correct one. That is, he remembered the person and the appointment, but could not remember when it occurred.

I chuckled as I told him that the feature he was looking for already exists! And 5 seconds later, his question was answered.

I believe TntConnect’s History View is the “jet engine” that propels TntConnect. I am amazed by what you can do. So much so that I wrote an entire series of help and videos called “Track Anything with Log History”.

Here’s how to find that elusive breakfast appointment (Tip: It is NOT done on the contact’s “History Tab”, but on the “History View”.)

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  1. In the Contact View, select Lookup | This Contact so that only the selected contact is in displayed Current Group.
  2. Go to the History View
  3. Go to the bottom of the screen and check the box “Filter by Current Group
  4. Then press the date range of “All” to display all of the history for just that contact (the same list as was shown on the History Tab in the Contact View)
  5. In the search filter, type the desired text, “breakfast”

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Bingo! TntConnect will display any item that contains the word “breakfast” either in the description itself or in the notes of the event.

 

Solving Story Problems with TntConnect

apple

Math story problems of yore:

  • First grade: Jack and Jill had 10 apples. They ate 7 of them. How many are left?
  • Sixth grade: Jack and Jill had 10 apples and 5 oranges. They only eat one apple on a day they have eaten an orange. They have 3 apples and 2 oranges left. How many days have passed?
  • College: Jack and Jill built an app to track their calorie consumption, to tell them how many apples and oranges to eat each week. They retired to Tahiti at age 24. How many oranges can they eat now?

Managing contacts with TntConnect is often a matter of converting a word story problem to a contact filter.

For example, this week a friend asked me: “I want to send a year-end Special Gift Appeal to my ministry partners, but I want to exclude those who gave to a separate appeal for new baby expenses in August.”

This is a fairly common question, because in our organization, the standard advice is not to send a special gift appeal to someone who recently gave a special gift, or has just joined/increased their regular giving in the last six months.

To solve this word problem (“Jack has 100 ministry partners. 21 of them gave to a special gift appeal for a baby. How does he create the appeal group for the remaining 79?”) requires some clever TNT magic—because TNT cannot do it with just a couple of easy clicks.

[By the way, how he solved this problem is exactly how I would have done it, below.]

  • From the Special Gift Appeal box, lookup the 21 partners who gave a special gift last August. Now the “Current Group” is these 21 alone.

step1

  • In the Groups View, create a new Group temporarily (e.g., “TEMP-Gifts”), and add these 21 to it.

step2a

step2b

  • Back in the Contact View, lookup the newsletter recipients (100) who will get the current Special Gift Appeal.

step3

  • Use Lookup | By Group, select “Take away from the Current Group”, and then choose the TEMP-Gifts group to ‘take away’.

step4

  • The remaining 79 is the list of people who will get the Special Gift Appeal.

step5

  • Delete the temporary Group.

step6

As always… you may never have this exact need. But the ability to ask, “How can TNT do what I *do* need?” makes it easier to take advantage of TNT’s great flexibility and powerful features.