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.

Short Take: New Features in the New Version of FundRaiser

Short Take: New Features in the New Version of FundRaiser
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When you upgrade to a new version, such as the recent new release of FundRaiser, it is good to familiarize yourself with the new features. A great way to do that is to read the update notes, which are easily available through the Help menu after you update the software.

Just click on Help and look for the selection that says “Read Update Notes”. Click on that to bring up the document. The Update Notes are a snapshot of the changes that were made to FundRaiser since the last update. Focus on the column marked “New.” These are the new features for this release. If you don’t understand a feature or how to use it, please contact support. We’ll be happy to help you.

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AMP Up Your FundRaiser Usage


Just the other day, I got a call here at the training office with a question about how to get out a list of Tribute Notification names (it's a Tributes module kind of thing).  Since there is no facility for doing that within FundRaiser's reports or groupings, I suggested they call tech support and get an SQL script written that will do that.  An SQL script is a program-code-like statement that can be used to tell the program to do things outside it's normal role.  The user was surprised that we could do that sort of thing, but it's just a part of the service you can expect from your FundRaiser "AMP".

AMP is the acronym we use for the Annual Maintenance Plan.  We encourage every user to have it, and it includes some important features.  First of all, AMP is a fee-based service that is required initially, since new users will require more contact with Tech Support and Training until they've learned the basice.  Even with training classes, questions will arise that will require you to either search for the answers on your own or, to save time, money, and keep your frustration level down, you can call tech support or training for the answers.

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A Sneak Peek at a New Feature



SHHHHH!!  Don't tell anyone I'm giving you this sneak peek, but I feel compelled to let you know just one new layout feature coming in the near future.  It won't happen for a month or two, but when it does, you'll be able to take advantage of it right away.  The Tony Poderis blog of April 7th got me thinking about this, because it's nice to be able to thank brand new donors in one way, while thanking repeat donors in a whole different way.  In fact, one of the points in Tony's blog is to thank donors for past support.

You all know by now (I hope) that you can have as many letter templates set up as you need, for all types of donations, and all types of donors.  So, you can have one letter that you send out for a first time donor, and another for a repeat donor, and maybe even another for a long-time frequent giver.  One of the things that has been a bit frustrating for some of you is that, while viewing the gifts that you are entering, and trying to determine which template you might want to use, it is not possible to view the giving history of the donor.

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The Heat is On... C/S Upgrade Special

Cool car with large engine

It's scorching hot here in the Southwest (training office is in Arizona), and the monsoon rains just haven't been as heavy or as often as we'd like to cool things down or build the water table up.  This is the time of the year when many of us become lethargic and just don't want to do much more than sit and think.  And I was thinking of the impending deadline most all of our users have in the near future.  It's just around the corner:  the deadline for getting the best upgrade pricing for Client / Server.  And some folks may be wondering how much change this will make in their use of the program.  Most of us are used to routines in entering data, creating reports, sending thank you letters, and so on, and ANY change can be a bit intimidating.

How much will you need to re-learn once you've upgraded to the Client / Server version?NOTHING.

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Grow Where You Are Planted


I love weeds. That may seem very odd to hear from someone who enjoys gardening, but perhaps I am not a typical gardener. I must confess I’m terribly fickle when it comes to my garden. Each spring I succumb to the passion of lush, green spring and gaily plant far more than I can ever take care of. Inevitably the oppressive heat of summer squelches my enthusiasm and only those plants that survive the minimal tending I care to give them live to benefit from my renewed vigor with autumn’s chill.Despite these serious flaws in my gardening technique, I’m never without green in my life. For intrepid weeds soften my failures. Perhaps my favorite is the wild morning glory. Its rich green leaves cover a vine as tough and tenacious as barbed wire. These tendrils coil from dry, barren ground and climb to the sun upon anything they can reach. Yet from this ruthless creeper spring delicate ivory blossoms that sing to the sun for only one day. It is truly heartening to see beauty spring from what seems to be nothing.

Nonprofit organizations often have the same issue with hardware and software. You spring out of what seems to be nothing, pulling resources from volunteers and donations from the community you serve. Purchasing up to date computers and hiring someone to set up and maintain them is frequently out of your reach, financially, although I’ve seen some pretty amazing things done with the bare minimum.

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When You're Hot...

Like much of the country, the Ozarks has been in the throes of a heat wave. This time of year the sun seems to surge over the horizon, bursting across the treetops like molten gold. Mornings are no longer still. Birds and squirrels scurry about, determined to get their daily business done before the oppressive heat bears down on the landscape. One of the many feral cats in our neighborhood sits and watches the activity with feigned disinterest that will quickly turn into a tiger’s leap should opportunity present itself.

While our mobile cousins can hide from the worst of the heat, our leafy relatives have no such comfort.They must bear the brunt of the sun’s blaze. Some stand resolute against the blistering sun while others succumb, drooping to the ground in surrender. Yellows and oranges that usually herald the crisp cool days of autumn splatter foliage as plants draw back from the summertime heat.

I suppose it is human nature to consider the very moment we are in as somehow extraordinary. Last summer, we were told, was unusually hot. Yet here we are in the midst of an unusual heat wave once again. Our perception is so subjective. I’m sure I considered summers I spent training horses outside much hotter than those in which I worked inside an office. So how can I tell if my observations are accurate or not? I look it up on a weather service site. Those statistics are really the only way to get an objective comparison.

FundRaiser has a new report that can help you make your own objective assessment of your organization.

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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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Client/Server: A GeekSpeak Analogy

A couple of years ago I wrote an article about the differences between our Multi-User versions of FundRaiser and the Client/Server versions of FundRaiser.  And you may want to visit that article for a more technical explanation of things, but in this week's blog I'll attempt to give you the short version.

Client/Server versions can allow more than one person to use the program simultaneously, like Multi-User versions, but that's not their real purpose and strength.  Speed with safety is the real benefit to Client/Server versions, speeding up processes while insuring that no data becomes corrupt or lost.  Most "regular" versions of software are installed directly to the computer at hand, and that computer does all the work, so it's called a "stand alone" setup.  On networks of computers, it can be advantageous to have the program installed on a special computer called a Server, and allow other computers (Clients) to run the program over the network.

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