Look me up sometime!

This post is an overview of the amazing Lookups feature.

When you open TNT, it actually does a Lookup immediately. The default is simply to lookup “Everyone” in your list. This is the “Current Lookup“, and the result is the “Current Group“:

What is a Lookup? Some software call lookups a “Filter”. This helps you narrow down all possible items to just the few you want. It’s how we shop for things… stores have countless items. As we search for one item, a variety of helpful filters appear on the left to help us further filter down to a manageable list.

Lookups help me filter a list of unlimited items into a manageable list. When shopping, I can successively size, type, colour, brand, etc. to narrow the list to something more useful.

In TntConnect, the default lookup is “Everyone”—all contacts in your database. Any other lookup will search ALL contacts in your database who fit the criteria you ask.

  • You can filter on all 175+ contact fields, as well as on all giving activity and other criteria. After each lookup, you can do Successive searches to further narrow down your results. (Think “All products > Hockey Sticks > Youth > CCM Brand).
  • You can also save a Lookup as a favorite for future reference or to be the default lookup when you open TntConnect (in Tools>Options).
  • You cannot harm your database in any way by doing Lookups, so use trial-and-error to learn to use Lookups more effectively.

The Lookup menu is simply a list of lookups pre-written for you, where you add the specific criteria. When you choose a Lookup from the menu, the “Lookups” box appears. To the left of the box are the various lookup options (by field, by list, by giving, by group).

In the big box in the centre is the “Filter” box where you select the specific criteria. For example, if you are doing a “Lookup By Field” and the field you are searching for is “Home City”, then the criteria is the city you are looking for (such as “Calgary”).

In the top of the Lookup box is the action you want TntConnect to take when doing this lookup, in relation to the Current Group. There are four options:

  • Replace the current group. This means, “Ignore the Current Group and search all of the contacts in the database. Then give me a new current group.”
  • Lookup within the current group. This means, “Of the Current Group I already have, now search only within those contacts.”
  • Add to the current group. This means, “Search within the entire database, then add any I find to the Current Group I already have.”
  • Take away from the current group. This is the opposite of #3 and means, “Of the Current Group I already have, take away any that meet the criteria I have selected.”

As an example, let’s say you wanted to call donors in Calgary, but not any who have given a gift in the last 3 months. In words, then, you would…

1. Do a Lookup>By Field for Home City = Calgary, and Replace the Current Group. You now have a Current Group of all contacts in Calgary. (Tip: This particular lookup is also pre-written in the menu: “Lookup>City…”)

2. Then you do a second Lookup>By Giving, Within the current group, so that only Calgary donors are represented. I leave the starting Date Range blank to capture all donors up to the desired date. (Tip: When you do a Lookup>By Giving without entering any criteria, TNT automatically looks up all contacts with lifetime donations > 0.)

There is no “correct” way to do lookups. In fact, while writing this post I actually had it written differently and then realized I could do it in two steps instead of three.

I am often asked, “How do I get back to ‘Everyone’ like when I open TntConnect?” It’s easy… just press the “Lookup Everyone” button on the button bar (it looks like a funnel or filter). Press it again, get your other lookup back… it’s a toggle switch!


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