Solving Story Problems with TntConnect


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.


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



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


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


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


  • Delete the temporary Group.


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.


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