Getting To Know You II

My “personal ministry” in my organization is to help our staff with their personal finances, and I am teaching a class on the subject to high schoolers right now also. One of the most difficult components to teach is Budgeting. If there was ever a skill that was so essential but so overlooked, it would have to be budgeting. (I know that’s not exclusive to budgeting… we all know we need to exercise and eat healthy, yet turning that knowledge into action is so very difficult.)

Recordkeeping and Planning are two disciplines within budgeting that take effort and practice. I was born to keep records; that comes so easily to me I can do it in my sleep. But planning—evaluating, acting on, applying—is not as easily. And that is especially true when I am meeting my financial goals. It is easy to just “slide” and let the machinery run.

Many people (if not most) manage their finances by simply evaluating available reports (either delivered bank statements, or simply viewing transactions online), rather than recording financial transactions in a log (paper, software, or online), and certainly more than evaluating and planning.

How does this relate to TntConnect?

I have found over the years that a lot of missionaries—a majority I dare say—wrestle with both recordkeeping and planning related to their financial support. It is easy to do the two easiest essentials (viewing donations online and keeping up with thank yous).

But getting to know our partners is crucial to long-term growth of our support teams. If we do not record what we know about our partners, that information drifts into oblivion. TNT, more than any other software I have ever seen, makes it easy to both (a) record tons of helpful information about our partners, and (b) through the powerful history engine, record an incalculable volume of relationship-building.

There is a new Getting to Know You resource on the TntConnect Downloads page that may really help you get to know your partners better:

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The Partner Tracking Form is available for both US Letter and A4 formats.

This is a document you can use with Mail Merge. It’s helpful for printing before going on appointments so you can refresh your memory, since it is pre-filled with a lot of personal information (phone numbers and emails, birthdays and anniversary, financial commitment, Notes tab, etc.).

Bonus: The Partner Tracking Form contains new mail merge fields never available before! For example, you can now merge the picture if you have one, see all phone numbers, etc.

Other thoughts:

  • You can mail merge this for just one partner by selecting Lookup | This Contact. This will turn your selected contact into the entire “Current Lookup”… perfect for mail merging one contact.

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  • You can modify the template if you want to. In my next blog post I will share how I created a 4×6 index card stack for a thank-a-thon I am doing this month.

Resources


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Go Bigger with F7/F12

Here’s a quick tip for you, which can be particularly helpful when calling new contacts: You can enlarge the Name & Address by pressing F7 or F12. (Both keys work the same, and that’s due to historic differences between Macs & PCs.)

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This will pop up an address box on top of the Contacts View, but without interfering with it. You can still navigate between tabs (e.g., TNT tab, History).

I find this particularly helpful when calling new contacts because I may not be familiar with their names and this makes it very bold so I do not stumble at the moment I start talking to them.

There are a few other keystrokes you may find helpful:

  • F1 opens the integrated help (either in a web browser or on your computer, depending on your settings).
  • F2 toggles the Views bar (far left) on or off.
  • F3 toggles the contact list (Current Lookup & Current Group). These two (F2 & F3) are used primarily in a situation where your display is tight, which was much more common 15 years ago!
  • F5 refreshes your list (sometimes a list of contacts or actions has been changed; in 15 years I have never pressed this button…)
  • F8 displays the System Info which can be helpful when submitting an entry to the online forum.
  • Ctrl+R opens the Add Referrals box (or… Contact | Add Referrals).

All shortcuts in TntConnect

Um, 8 months ago you…

Let’s be honest for a moment. Many missionaries find it difficult to follow-up with their partners after the partner does something. Case in point: Last month one of our partners gave the largest gift we have ever received. When did I thank them? Four weeks later. Ugh. How does that happen?

In my case, I was out of the country when the gift came. I came home to a hurricane-ravaged yard that took countless hours–every free hour I was home it felt like–to clean up (the FEMA debris haulers just came today to wrap it up, and used four semi trucks to haul our debris alone). Pretty soon four weeks had gone by.

How did I resolve this? I just called them. I left a message on their voice mail, so I sent a paper thank you card the same day.

It’s not my practice to be so behind in actions. But there is one action I dread more than any other action: Calling a partner who has missed a gift.

Here’s a quote from the TNT online help regarding “Calling Late Donors”:

Many missionaries are reluctant to contact a donor who is behind on their giving. They are afraid of appearing pushy or aggressive. Many just hope the donor will resume giving with no contact at all. The reality is that many donors who are behind on their giving may be unaware that they are behind, and a quick, friendly phone call can help them remember. And if there is a reason why they cannot give, your phone call can give them an opportunity to share that reason, rather than leaving you wondering.

When calling a donor who is behind on their pledge, make sure that your focus is on them. In the conversation, they may initiate with you regarding their giving, but if they do not, you should do so only after finding out how they are doing. Then mention how you were reviewing your giving reports and noticed that their normal gift had not arrived. Mention that perhaps there was an error recording the gift. Then let them respond. If they need assistance, for example, if they need an envelope or giving slip, then promise to get it to them right away.

Whenever you import gifts into TntConnect, it runs a check not only on all the gifts that came in, but also on partners who should have given (based on their giving trends). If a partner appears behind, you get a task suggesting you contact the donor. This same information is displayed in the Pledge Fulfillment Report.

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Read More about the Pledge Fulfillment Report