It is sad to say Goodbye (Part 2)

Two weeks ago I shared the story of how one of our long-time partners went home to be with the Lord. In this blog post, I want to share some of the practical steps you take in TntConnect to record the passing of a contact.

Over 90% of our financial partners are married couples, two of whom are widows. There are two scenarios for managing deceased contacts:

  1. When the whole contact dies, typically a single person, and very rarely (never for me), when both die together such as in an accident.
  2. When one person in a couple dies, leaving a surviving spouse. This is the more common scenario for me personally at this stage of my life.

When a whole contact is deceased

When a contact dies, the simple step is to check the Deceased checkbox on the TNT Tab. As you have probably discovered, TNT “saves as you go”, but on the TNT Tab (and other tabs where you enter data), it does not save instantly as you move from field to field but rather when you switch tabs or switch contacts. So pressing the Deceased check-box will not “instantly” cause these actions to occur. But you can force them (see them happen) by pressing the Save button at the top.

Here is Elmer Fudd through the Mark Deceased process:

1. Before he is marked deceased


2. When the checkbox is first clicked but not ‘saved’ or switched to another contact. Note that immediately (without the Save), the TNT Phase switches to “Never Ask” and the Send Newsletter box unchecks.


3. After the Save, the Name & Address Bar looks like this, and


4. The Address Tab changes to this:


When only one spouse dies

This is the more common scenario when the donor is a couple. One spouse will pass away first. And in my personal experience with the 7 couples where both have passed away, in 6 the husband died before the wife but only 1 where the wife died first.

TNT is not ideal in this sense, because it does not track this type of relationship nuance. But given the relative rarity of this, it does not make sense to program a lot of complex features for how little they will be used.

Simple steps:

  1. Press the Edit Contact button. Manually remove the name of the spouse who has died.
  2. If it is the husband who has died, then move the wife’s name to the ‘primary’ side.
  3. On the phone and email boxes, delete the deceased spouse’s information and move the surviving spouse’s if necessary.
  4. On the Notes tab, type the name of the deceased spouse (to avoid a potentially embarrassing question in the future)

In pictures:



From Here to There and Back Again

It almost seems pointless to even mention the Maps features of TntConnect, because they are so obvious. Yet after 15 years of teaching people to use TNT, I have found that some of the things I do everyday without even thinking are a revolutionary epiphany to someone else. One of my mantras in teaching people about software is, “Even the simplest feature is an Aha! moment if you’ve never seen it before.”

So, real quick, here’s a reminder of the variety of features TNT offers related to maps:

  • You can launch Google Maps for the contact you are looking at. This opens a browser window to get to Google Maps, which is handy if you also want to create a travel map, from your location, etc. (unlike the Maps View, below, which plots contacts on a map).


  • The Maps View opens a Google Maps view inside your TntConnect software.


This view allows to change the map display in several ways:

  1. Show only the selected contact (“Individual” link at the top)
  2. Show the entire Current Group (as shown in the image above)
  3. Replace the Google pins with the colored Status Dot for each partner’s TNT status (e.g., Green for current, Purple for recent gift, etc.)
  4. Newsletter icon for each contact
  5. A teeny, tiny, thumbnail of the picture you have for the contact

Of course the best use for the Maps View is being able to display the contacts clustered on the map. The first time I used this feature (when it was released several years ago), I made the current group only my “newsletter recipients in X city” (it doesn’t do much good to have a map of the entire country). I have about 40 newsletter folks in my home city (roughly 25% of all newsletter people), and it was a delight to see them pop up. What was even more amazing was how many of them lived close together… since I had been building the list for several years from different channels, different referrals, etc.

One time I discovered I had two contacts completely unrelated to each other (different churches, different history with me), and they lived three houses apart.

Technical note: The first time you use the Google Maps feature, TNT tries to pinpoint the exact street location for each contact. There are some it cannot (for example, P.O. Boxes, or if you have an error in the address), but for those it can, TNT will then post the GPS coordinates in their hidden data log, so that future maps will be substantially faster.

It is possible that one reason I love this feature so much is because “Rand McNally is my middle name”. 🙂


It is sad to say Goodbye

Recently I received notification of the final gift from a very faithful ministry partner. She and her husband gave their first gift in October 1993, and gave the same amount 272 months in a row, never missing even once. He passed away about 10 years ago, and she passed away last month.

I can say with some pleasure that this particular donor actually prompted a feature in TNT that I rely on all the time: The “Send thank you for $X (last thank was 19 months ago).

Until a few years ago, TNT only alerted us when a donor did something unusual, such as above or below their regular gift, missed a gift and/or resumed giving, or gave a first gift. There was no automatic thank for the incredibly faithful partner who always gave the same amount, never missed, and never gave an extra gift.

I had been using TNT for about six years, aggressively recording all of my activity, conscientiously recording all of my thank yous. Then one day I said, “I’m going to spend some time this month writing thank yous to everyone on my team.” I decided to start with the ones who had gone the longest without a thank you (e.g., maybe 10-12 months earlier).

I exported all of my Financial Partners along with the “Last Thank” date field. To my horror, I discovered eight partners who had NO recorded thank you in 6 years! The field was blank! (I will say that some of them at least did have a call or appointment, but no actual written thank you.)

At that point, I developed a personal plan to make sure every partner received a written thank you at least once per year. This actually led to the development of the “thank everyone” feature I mentioned above, which was rolled out in 2007.

Also, since that time, TNT has expanded to allow me to record a THANK for ANY history action (see pic below). And an even more recent task type (“Present”) is also, automatically, a “Thank”, since my giving a present to a partner is an expression of thankfulness on my part.


Expressing gratitude to our partners is probably the most important thing we can do in support development. And I am SO grateful for all of our partners. Thank you Lord!!!