Tracking Chance Encounters

Visiting your home church and meet a partner in the lobby? Walking through the grocery store and chat with a partner in the checkout line? Taking an afternoon to visit partners without calling in advance? TntConnect has a special way to record these visits.


Of course you could just use the “Appointment” task type, but that doesn’t really capture the nuance of an interaction with a partner.

An Appointment implies a commitment to meet–I made a phone call, set up a time, we are going to visit, there is an intent to the discussion (maintenance, challenge, etc.).

An Unscheduled Visit implies no expectations. I just want to connect, say Hi, thank you, show that you matter to me.

Why should you record Unscheduled Visits? Because these are relationally important. Even though they do not carry the same ministry relevance as a traditional “appointment” where you discuss your ministry, partners remember these sudden, short visits, and truly appreciate them.

Unscheduled Visits are typically one of these two things:


You are visiting your home area and driving around to visit your partners unannounced. In this case, the visit itself is unscheduled (you have not scheduled it in advance), but it is intentional (because you wanted to do it).


You have a ‘chance encounter’ with a partner, often at an unexpected location (such as a store, a restaurant, a park, etc.).


Humor note: Once in the forum someone asked, “I am trying to schedule an afternoon of driving around to visit partners, but Unscheduled Visit is not in the list…” 🙂 Not all task types available to History are available as Tasks. By design, an ‘unscheduled visit’ cannot be ‘scheduled’.

Oooops… wrong place!

There are two places in TntConnect where I find information ending up in the wrong place.

  1. Right address… wrong place. Because I download gifts from my organization, the address for a business, or even a special mailing address, ends up as the “Home” address for a partner.
  2. Right history… wrong person. I have, on occasion, logged History for the wrong contact.

In both cases I can easily move to the correct spot just by right-clicking. Just this week I was working on my office database (for ministry fund development), and discovered we had two contacts that were the same–and both had gifts and tasks/history associated with them. In moments I was able to merge the donor accounts and migrate all tasks/history to the correct contact.

For the address, on the Address tab I can right-click on the address and select “Move to” to switch it to one of the other address options for the same contact. (You cannot move an address to a different contact.)


On the History and Task tabs, I can “send” an item to another contact, again just by right-clicking on the desired item.


The other TntConnect tip here, in case you did not catch it, is that TNT has a number of secret “right-click” features. Every once in a while, just right-click somewhere… you might learn something new!

Saved Descriptions: Easy & Consistent

They say that a couple in love gets to know each other so well that they can complete each other’s sentences. I guess that means I love TntConnect, because it always completes my sentences when I write descriptions!

Last year I devoted focused attention to support raising for several months. During that time I completed 1,119 unique tasks, including dialing the phone, appointments, writing thank yous, seeing partners at church, recording text messages, etc. (this number does not include newsletters sent).

Almost 500 of those were phone dials and appointments/unscheduled visits. Because I may dial the phone 5-10 times before actually talking to a person, I find myself writing the same description over and over again, things like:

  • “Call for Decision”
  • “Follow-up to appointment”
  • “Initial support appointment” (whether I am calling for the appointment or going on the appointment itself)
  • “Drive-by Visit” (for unscheduled visits)

Rather than re-type that description every time—and maybe type it a little differently each time, at this moment I have 27 “saved descriptions” that I commonly use. Some have been there for 14 years (such as “Sent Brochure” and “Call for Initial Appointment”), while others are new this year just for the current strategy I am working on, and will be deleted when I am done with the strategy.

The handy thing about saved descriptions is that I can just start typing in the Description box, and TNT will auto-fill from the saved list. This makes dialing the phone a lot easier.



You can read more about the Saved Descriptions feature in the Log History tutorial in the TNT help. (Scroll down to the “Tip: Saved Descriptions…” section.)

Consumer Tip: Given that so many attempts to reach a contact do not work, if the result is “Attempted“, then I add the cause of failure at the end. For example: “Call for Decision (no answer)” or “Call for Decision (left message)”.

Watch the short video on writing good descriptions.

Make Note of this

It’s official! TntConnect 3.2 is now available for download. Whether you have already downloaded the Beta version or not, go to the Downloads page and download the most current release. Over the coming days I will be sharing about lots of new features.

In the ongoing series of “data change logs” in TntConnect 3.2, this one is a little unique compared to the others. The other data changes I have highlighted reflect the change of a field value from one to another (e.g., an address changes from old to new, a pledge changes from old to new). But with the Notes tab / Notes field (same thing), users typically do not replace the entire field, but just keep adding to it.

When logging this data change, TntConnect simply logs the change that was made within the field, not the whole field.

Here is the Notes field for Fred Flintstone prior to the change:


And then the addition of another sentence:


The generic logged data change (indicates that it was a change to Notes):


Which you can view by hovering over the notepad:


Or by double-clicking on the row:


Again, two reminders:

  1. The content on the “Notes” tab of the history item (not to be confused with the “notes” tab in the Contacts View, he he) is grayed-out because it cannot be edited, and
  2. You can revert this change in the Notes field by right-clicking on the history entry.

Best Practices for using the Notes field/tab:

Many people have asked me for advice on the best way to use the Notes tab. Of course, the basic advice is: “Use it any way that it helps you!”. Here are some of the tips I have given users over the years:

  1. Do not use the Notes field/tab to log regular actions such as phone calls, letters, etc. Use the Log History area, since it records the type (letter/call), result, date, etc. of each item–and can be filtered on the History view.
  2. Instead, use the Notes field/tab for those things you want to remember about them–their interests, conversations you have had, etc. This can be a good field to export to an “Appointment Sheet” you review on your way to an appointment (along with their names, address, phone numbers, childrens’ names, etc.)
  3. Make sure the top 3 lines of the Notes tab displays the most important information, since those are the only three lines visible all of the time. Here are some examples of things I want to see every time I select this contact, either because they are permanently relevant or important for this season:
    1. “Husband (Fred) is not a Christian. If he answers the phone, talk about golf.”
    2. “Wife (Ethel) passed away 10/11/12.” (Because it would be REALLY insensitive to ask them how their spouse is doing… when that spouse is deceased.)
    3. “Curling for Canada in the 2018 Olympics” (because I want to see it every time before the Olympics, so I can be sure to ask about it later)
    4. “Pray for summer mission trip 2017 to Toonzania”
    5. “Daughter (Pebbles) getting married 5/15/17.”


New Data Change Log

It’s official! TntConnect 3.2 is now available for download. Whether you have already downloaded the Beta version or not, go to the Downloads page and download the most current release. Over the coming days I will be sharing about lots of new features.

TntConnect 3.2 now makes a History log entry every time any change is made to any contact field.

For example, one of my partners just moved to a new home down the same street:

First, the automatic entry.


I can hover over the little notepad to see the change.


… or double-click on the line to open it.


Note that the log does not display the entire address that was changed. This move was in the same city, so only the street address and postal code were changed. The TNT data change log only displays the exact fields that changed.

Just like all of the data changes in TntConnect 3.2, this one can be undone by right-clicking on the entry and selecting Revert Data Changes (shown in above image).

You can also Hide the data changes in your history log:


When did YOU get here?

It’s official! TntConnect 3.2 is now available for download. Whether you have already downloaded the Beta version or not, go to the Downloads page and download the most current release. Over the coming days I will be sharing about lots of new features.

And now, to whet your appetite, today’s blog post:

Another of the new data changes that TntConnect 3.2 logs is when a contact was added to your database.


TNT has always stored the “Created Date” for a partner, as found on the History Details on the History tab.

For the above new contact:


For a previous contact in my database, with other history details:


This new automatic entry in the History log is a nice addition, even if it is only for my own curiosity. But again, thinking bigger picture, if I loaded an entire set of new contacts, either from a single referrer or perhaps an event of some kind, it could be nice to see that when reviewing the History for a lot of contacts.

New Pledge Change log

New: TntConnect 3.2 makes a Data Change note every time you make a change to a partner’s pledge:


The icon indicates whether the change was up (+) or down (-). I always used to do this manually, and even explained how and why in the “Tracking Pledge Changes Using Log History” video.

Having pledge changes logged in history is super-helpful, especially because in the History View you can view all of the pledge changes for all contacts, or even for a selected contact.

This is particularly helpful in a multi-user environment (such as a local team) where several people are interacting with the database. Without this feature, there is no way to know when a commitment was changed, or who did it.

Bonus: If you made this change by mistake, you can simply “Undo” (or, technically, “Revert”) this change by right-clicking on it in the History log.


This is just one of the many new data change features in TntConnect 3.2.