FundRaiser Blog

The FundRaiser Software Blog is an excellent resource for nonprofit organizations looking to learn more about fundraising, donor management, membership management, and much more.

Treatment for database growing pains and head banging


When you decide to move into a more advanced FundRaiser program, it usually means that your organization is in a time of positive change: your organization is growing and having enough success that you can no longer make due with the limitations of your previous software. You make the jump to a more powerful program, open it up and then try to get as comfortable as you used to be with the old software.

I had that kind of positive confusion on my mind when I went over to the FundRaiser Tech Support department and asked Jonathan what would be his ‘best advice’ for organizations who were having 'software growing pains.' He had some great suggestions, but overall it boiled down to this simple piece of advice:

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Mary Badiny, our bookkeeper


Many FundRaiser users also work as the bookkeeper for their office or interface closely with their organization's bookkeeper. FundRaiser makes this as simple as possible with its integration features for QuickBooks and Peachtree accounting programs. Good people plus good software make an office run well. In our office, the people part of our bookkeeping equation is Mary Badiny and we all interface with her most happily.

She's worked as a bookkeeper all her life, starting during college as a way to support herself. “While I was going to school for a business degree, I got my first bookkeeping job. The woman who interviewed me for that first job said, 'I really need someone with experience, but I'm going to give you a chance.' She became a kind of mentor to me, and we were both happy with how it went. I've been a bookkeeper now for 41 years," says Mary. "You'd think I'd be burned out, but I found the perfect office de-stressor. It's my garden. Of course there is stress, like no rain for 3 months, but it’s a totally different kind and it gives me the right balance."

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How we are all the same

If you are working with FundRaiser software, you are spending some time in front of a computer, just like we are. I enjoy that similarity, and also, seeing the photos of you working at your computers. I’ve been sent a few of these during my time writing about the way organizations use our software. Usually they come with a slightly apologetic comment, like, ‘I know this isn’t a very exciting photo’… or something along those lines. I love them and I think they are beautiful. And I can relate, because that’s how I look when I am working, too. You might be surprised to know, also, that when I post them, they are our most popular photos because we can all relate.

All of us connected to FundRaiser have in common that we are spending time behind our computers. In many of the photos I receive, people are looking up, the way we often talk to people who come to our computers station. Or you may be looking directly across at the camera, the way we sit in an office across from each other. It’s also pretty common to see people turned to look over their shoulder, because we are all facing the screen in front of us, and not the world behind. This is the world we live in, at least for the length of time we are working in a database.

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Staff on Happiness Happens Day




Talking to Sarah at MaineShare got me thinking about what exactly makes any particular person happy. I happen to agree with her about getting out in nature. That also makes me happy, so for Happiness Happens day that is where you will find me and my dog Lulu. I also wondered how the rest of the FundRaiser staff will be spending their Monday holiday.

Bea in her life jacket

James Ware, Sales Representative: We'll take the bulldogs down to the river. We have life jackets for them.

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Sherry Willis, Girl Tech Supporter

Sherry of FundRaiser tech support is breaking ground in her job, just like Lois Lane, Girl Reporter and hero of my younger days. "People find it interesting that I'm a woman doing tech support," says Sherry. "This is still definitely a male-dominated field. Despite the fact that I am the only girl here in FundRaiser tech, I don't find that a handicap at all. I don't know if that's the company or if it is that if you learn enough to do the job, then any company would be happy to have you. Here, I'm not the first woman to do tech support. FundRaiser has a history of hiring women for the job."

Because FundRaiser prides itself on its high-level of tech support, great care is put into finding the right people to do the job. "Right now, there are two of us dedicated full time to doing tech support, myself and Jonathan," says Sherry. "We have different focuses. He is more interested in the fine tech details. I am more interested in the Big Picture. I think that is typical of women. So together we make a good tech team. He will delve into the fine details on a case, while my focus is trying to get people to be able to do what they want in the shortest amount of time possible."

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Roll Over!



This morning I woke up with a heavy weight on my ribs and a buzzing sound in my ear. No, I wasn’t having a coronary; it was only my cat purring happily from the middle of my chest. He obviously feels this is an ideal morning perch. I, on the other hand, wonder if it means I’m getting squishier in my old age. Still, I find it a relaxing way to wake up unless he happens to get one of his whiskers up my nose.

It seems that people either love or despise cats. I think it’s because they make it perfectly clear that they are going to live on their own terms and not pander to what we’d like them to be. A dog is perfectly happy to change his ways to suit you. He will wear whatever you want and learn to do any amount of tricks you care to teach him. However, my cat will choose what he does for himself and I always feel a bit privileged when he graces me with his presence.

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FundRaiser's oldest websites were cutting edge... at the time

Screenshot of FundRaiser's second website from 1996
FundRaiser website in 2003

The internet has developed so quickly over the past decade that it’s hard to remember how things looked even just a short while ago. With FundRaiser going live with a new website this week, I began to wonder what our earliest websites looked like. I talked to Gene Weinbeck, founder of FundRaiser, and he was happy to share some memories and a few images of earlier websites. When did FundRaiser first go online? Gene: Our earliest website went up about 1994. It looked like a DOS program. It was done in Times New Roman only, and for sophistication, it used bold and underlining. We don’t have any screenshot of that… no one thought to save it!

What made you go online at that time?

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New social media expert on staff

Lily BrothertonFundRaiser recently hired an expert in Social Media. This week, she’s starting work creating videos, educating staff about using Twitter, and creating a more lively presence on Facebook.  She’s been actively involved in social media for the last 4 years… since she was 12 years old. Yes, our newest staff member is just 16 and the daughter of Autumn Shirley, CEO of FundRaiser. Her name is Lily Brotherton and she is our social media intern.  

When I interviewed her this morning, our dialog took a slightly different direction than the usual interviews:

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The dance of change

Having been associated with FundRaiser (and its founder, Gene Weinbeck) for more than a quarter century is, frankly, rather difficult for me to consider without thinking of the myriad changes (personal and professional, local and international, physical and metaphysical) that have occurred during that time. Some reflections bring out nostalgic yearnings for a return to a simpler life, while others evoke a sense of gratitude that “it” isn’t what “it” used to be. Change, in itself, could care less about how I view what was, and change will continue regardless of what I think.

In the mid-80’s my brother asked me to come to Missouri to help with his business, where, he assured me, I’d get the chance to learn computers while earning “Ozark” wages. With not a little trepidation, I agreed, packed everything I owned, including my best pal, Harry S Trudog, into a VW microbus (remember those?) and drove from Louisiana to the sleepy south central Missouri town of West Plains. I quickly learned that “Ozark” wages consisted of $50.00 per week and a place to stay, and that my education in computers was to be in the form self-education, using a then-new IBM PC with both the MS-DOS and BASIC manuals, and a single software program called Lotus 1-2-3. And, while it seemed a rude awakening in one sense, I’ll be forever grateful to my brother for the introduction to my mentor, and friend, Gene Weinbeck, who not only taught me about computers, but also about what it means to care about other people, the value of supporting others’ endeavors, and the ability to adapt to change.

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Relaxing at the FundRaiser Christmas party

James at the FundRaiser Christmas party
Joe Salrin at FundRaiser Christmas party

This year at the FundRaiser Christmas party, we all seemed to be in a mellow mood... except occasionally our office cat, Smudge (more on that later). James Ware (in photo at left), our main sales rep, brought a pitcher of margaritas, and it is possible that this helped, but at least it didn't hurt. No dancing on the tables or other classic 'office party' humiliations. I'd say we enjoy being together, and the Mexican food everyone brought helped, too. I'm not sure it all classified as strictly Mexican, but it did classify as good and even interesting. Sherry, who works in FundRaiser Tech Support, brought cheese cake made from the milk of the goats she raises. If you've never tried her goat milk cheesecake, then don't wrinkle your nose... it is excellent.

Joe Salrin (in photo at right) spent the time relaxing from his work doing data conversion at FundRaiser. If you ever need to move your data from a previous program into FundRaiser, Joe is the one that you talk to.

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