Two (or four!) is better than One?

“Hi. My name is Bob. I’m a TntConnect junkie. It started out simple, just one database. It really helped me with my personal support and I was happy. Then I created another database to manage my “personal ministry” (separate from my support raising). Then I created a sample one to teach from. Then I helped someone with their database. Pretty soon I was going crazy… at this moment I have 212 TntConnect databases on my computer. I can quit anytime. Really.”

Seriously, I do have four TNT databases that I use all the time (e.g., daily, or multiple times per week).

Why would I want to have multiple databases?

The most common reason for multiple databases is for anyone who manages both personal support and a local “team” or what I call a “corporate” database. [In this context I use the word “corporate” to differentiate from a “personal” database, not to imply a database for the whole corporation.]

There are hundreds of TNT users who are raising funds for a local team, and sometimes sharing that team database with others (but not sharing their own personal database). And some of them may have more than one local team database. For example, I know a fund developer who had one corporate database for his local team and a separate corporate database for the national fund development department.

Here are the four TNT databases I use multiple times per week:

  1. My first, oldest, database that made me fall in love with TNT in the first place: My personal support database.
  2. A personal ministry database that I have used for 14 years to manage my personal discipleship and teaching ministry. I take advantage of the task/history features, but do not track any donations in this database.
  3. A corporate database that my team uses in our fund development efforts. I manage more than 100 separate giving designations in this one database.
  4. The sample ToonTown training database that I use for creating documentation, writing this blog, and testing new features in TNT and other support raising software tools.

I have frequently created temporary databases to test new other new features, try importing tests, etc. And finally, I have helped people setup new databases from their old Excel files, etc. I don’t really do that anymore, but I used to do that a lot more 10 years ago.

I can move between my TntConnect databases using the File | Open Recent list (similar to the Recent Files list in Excel or Word):


As a reminder, I use my personal support database for more than just my ministry partners, which you can read about here:

TntConnect: Not just for support raising


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Psst… (I use Index Cards)


Beautiful Llivia. Question: Which country is Llivia in?

NEWS FLASH: Index cards are the most efficient and effective support raising tool available.

I’m kidding, of course. But a statement like that does get attention. Sounds odd, of course, coming from the guy who writes the blog. I secretly feel like the guy who works for Coca-Cola but doesn’t drink soda. Well, it is not quite like that. Everyone who works for Coke also drinks water, right?

I use TntConnect for my support “almost all of the time”. Yet I do use index cards and consider them an integral part of my support efforts.

When I coach missionaries in raising support, I often tell them that I believe the statement I made above: That index cards are the most efficient and effective tool available.

Why do I say that to them? Do I really want them to eschew TntConnect? Not at all.

Partly I do it just to shock them: Our generation has been lulled into the belief that if you cannot do it electronically, you cannot do it at all (or, at minimum, it is archaic and cumbersome).

But using index cards—instead of software—can help people (okay, me) be more focused. While using my computer during support raising, I cannot tell you how much I have learned about remote islands when I should have been making support-raising phone calls. Did you know that Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on Earth? Or that Llivia is a Spanish city located entirely within France? (That is, it is an exclave of Spain.)

Two days ago I published a blog post about the Partner Tracking Form. Right after that I created and printed 4×6 index cards (Partner Tracking 4×6) for every donor who has given a gift in the past year. It is my plan over the next 2-3 weeks just to call them.

Using index cards will enable me to do that easily without turning on my computer. This not only will help me avoid distractions (especially email), but will also be faster since I can boot up my index cards even faster than my computer.

Here’s my simple card, with plenty of room to write prayer requests or any note I glean if I happen to reach a real person when I call. I can update TntConnect later.

It is also easier for me to pray for my partners because I can sit in a comfortable chair and just flip through the cards. If I have my computer open… there’s no telling where I’ll end up.

Interested in my 4×6 Index Card? You can download it here and use it with TntConnect’s mail merge. (4×6 is a US measurement; you can adjust it for your “large” index card in your country, if you’re interested.)