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.

What We Plan To Do Today to Celebrate Happiness Happens Day

What We Plan To Do Today to Celebrate Happiness Happens Day

Every year for more than 2 decades, FundRaiser staff get a day off at the beginning of August to celebrate Happiness Happens Day. In the tradition of the founders of FundRaiser, Gene and Marcy Weinbeck, at least once a month, the company has a three-day holiday weekend. In August, when the US has no official holiday, Happiness Happens Day creates that 3-day weekend. The week before Happiness Happens Day, it was fun to speculate about what each one of us might do to celebrate. Here's what we intend... 

Autumn Shirley, CEO- I'm going to visit Crystal Bridges Art Museum. I was there last month and I want to go again. I loved the Chihuly Glass Exhibit. 

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10 Ways to Find, Enjoy, or Spread a Little Happiness

10 Ways to Find, Enjoy, or Spread a Little Happiness

Monday is Happiness Happens Day, and FundRaiser has a long tradition of celebrating the day, established by the company founders. In anticipation of the day, staff spent a little time contemplating happiness - what makes them happy on the job, off the job... and their favorite recommendations for increasing your level of happiness. Here's their list in honor of the day of... 

 FundRaiser staff, left to right: Autumn Shirley, Jonathan Smith, Joshua Shirley, Sasha Daucus, & Lee Johnson. Photo by Mary Lenker. 10 Ways to Find, Enjoy or Spread a Little Happiness:Writing a thank you noteDoing a Random Act of Kindness, like paying for the hamburger of the person in the car behind you at the drive-through window. Going out to a rock, or other safe, beautiful place, and meditating.ExercisingTaking a  walk and keeping an eye out for the things that are really interesting to you, even just little details.  Calling a friend and noticing the things you most like and admire about them. Hanging out with kitties Have a good honest talk with someone about what it really going on with you.  Getting some fresh airTaking some time off, even if it feels like you have a lot to do! What Makes Us Happy on the Job

On the job, staff find enjoyment in the pleasure of working with people we admire and appreciate; and we find enjoyment in the challenges of the job. "I love the people I work with and like helping people do good works," says Jonathan Smith, support technician. His teammate, Lee Johnson loves the opportunity to solve problems.

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In Remembrance of Larry Weaver, the voice of FundRaiser Technical Support

Larry Weaver at his retirement part
 Larry Weaver, at his FundRaiser retirement party in December 2014. 

It is with sadness we report the death on January 13, 2016 of Larry Weaver, long-time employee and friend at Fundraiser.

Many of you have have “known” Larry for years, as he helped all of our FundRaiser users in his roles as Technical Support expert, and in later years, the “star” of our Training videos and live classes. Larry was the first employee hired by founder Gene Weinbeck, and remained, through the ups and downs of the company and his own move from Missouri to Arizona, a staunch friend and supporter of FundRaiser’s mission.

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Happiness Happens Day at FundRaiser Software

Happiness Happens Day at FundRaiser Software

A lucky thing about a job that feels valuable is knowing that going to work means more than just getting a paycheck. That feeling gives a sense of deep satisfaction, of real happiness. The downside is that sometimes work may start to feel not just valuable but also a little serious.

The founders of FundRaiser, Gene and Marcy Weinbeck, were aware of that and came up with a company tradition to help. At least once a month, the company has a three-day holiday weekend. In August, when the US has no official holiday, we picked our own-- Happiness Happens Day.

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Even Donor Management Improves with a Break

Even Donor Management Improves with a Break

This Sunday is the first day of summer, bringing with it good memories of relaxed easy days.

Taking a break from work is something that the founders of FundRaiser, Gene and Marcy Weinbeck, wove into the culture of our company. Although hard-work is highly valued here, every month the office is closed one day to honor a holiday. When there isn’t a ‘common’ holiday, we find one. Marcy Weinbeck is the one who established the FundRaiser holiday custom. She says it came about this way:

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Why we believe in working at FundRaiser

FundRaiser staff at company meeting
Joshua Shirley, CFO of FundRaiser with Smudge the office cat
Gene Weinbeck and Joey Patten
Smudge the office cat snoozing at company meeting

We believe that what you and your organization do makes a positive impact in the world.... and that makes us happy in the work we do. That's the main understanding we all recently came away with, when the FundRaiser staff met for a year-end mission/company meeting.

FundRaiser staff, left to right, at company meeting: Larry Weaver, Autumn Shirley, Jonathan Smith, Joshua Shirley, Gene Weinbeck, Joey Patten, Mary Lenker

After watching a TED talk together, the FundRaiser staff began to share why we enjoy coming to work at FundRaiser... which we all do. The upshot was that we enjoy working at FundRaiser for a combination of reasons, top among them being the great working environment and the opportunity to use our skills in the service of people like YOU who are working to make a positive difference in the world. Here's a synopsis of what our staff members had to say about why we continue to like working to support nonprofits through our work at FundRaiser.

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New Staff in FundRaiser Tech, Joey and Mary

Joey Patten, with family
Mary Lenker
Jessica, 2 month old Emmett, and Joey Patten. Joey Patten is the newest member of the FundRaiser Tech Team

If you've called FundRaiser Technical Support recently, you may have heard a new voice on the line helping you. We are happy to introduce Mary Lenker and Joey Patten who have just joined the FundRaiser Support Team. Both have extensive experience in tech support and customer service. Joey Patten comes to FundRaiser after working in the Navy as the Administrative Assistant for the commander of a submarine squadron. His job was to do computer work and interface with IT. He joined the FundRaiser staff recently after moving back to West Plains, his home town. He loves working with computers and got started when he was 6 years old. He likes working in the friendly ambiance of the FundRaiser office.

Outside of work Joey enjoys hiking, fishing, hunting, being outside, and, being with his son, Emmett.

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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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Old Time Music Festival Attracts Enthusiastic Support

West Plains Square with people attending the Old Time Music Festival
Old Time Ozark Heritage Festival logo

Crowds gather for the Old Time Music Festival in the West Plains Court House Square. The FundRaiser office is also located in a loft on the West Plains Square.

West Plains, Missouri is buzzing this week, in preparation for the  Old Time Music Ozark Heritage Festival. It's pretty near impossible to live here and not get excited about it. West Plains is also the home of FundRaiser Software.

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Father's Day at FundRaiser

Josh and Jonathan
Jonathan Smith and Erin
Josh Shirley (left) and Jonathan Smith.

Happy Father's Day to the fathers at FundRaiser. Their role as fathers is an important influence on who they are, on the job as well as off.

Josh Shirley is the father of Lily, 18 and Isaac, 15; as well as CFO of FundRaiser. For Josh, he finds that something he carries over from being a father is patience and compassion.

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FundRaiser's Dragon's Breath Chili

Gene and Jonathan cooking chili

FundRaiser staff has more than one 'foodie' among its ranks, so there was no problem coming up with a recipe that we wanted to give a try at the local Chili Cook-Off recently. Quite a lot more debate went into the name of the chili...At the end of the day, we took home the first prize for Booth, and had a fantastic time cooking up our pot ot Dragon's Breath Chili. Here you have it, not too hot, but with a little something special about the taste. 


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Database Support Team Motivated by Desire to Create Happiness

Cat in FundRaiser Office

In honor of   Happiness Happens Month  in August, I asked FundRaiser staff a few questions about how they make happiness happen. My questions were:

When you are stressed at work, what do you do to help yourself feel better?If another staff member is stressed, what would you do to help, or suggest to them?How do you see FundRaiser as a company aligning with Happiness Happens Day?Do you have a phrase or a motto or thought that you use to help yourself ground and regain a positive perspective when you are feeling stressed?When a customer is stressed, what sort of things do you think might help them come back to feeling better again? OR how would you respond to help them feel less stressed?

Below are our street-tested copings for creating happiness daily. It's not software tech support, but some of the suggestions have carried us, and our customers, through some sticky technical situations. If you are a FundRaiser customer, you know what a strong emphasis we put on offering the best technical support available at any donor database company, and this is one of the key ways we accomplish that. 

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Celebrate Happiness Happens Month

Cat in a tree

At the beginning of August, FundRaiser Software celebrates Happiness Happens Day. What's more,  the whole month of August has been declared Happiness Happens Month, a good reminder to tune in to happiness, and spread it around.

Here are a few nice tidbits that I've collected so far:  the Gulf of Mexico is recovering really, really well from the horrific Deepwater Spill (read the article), crime rates have fallen significantly in much of the Western World (read the article), and finally, it  appears that we get happier as we get older - great news! (read the article).

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Learning about your donor database is good for your health

donor database achievements boost staff morale
Hawksbill Crag, Arkansasphoto by Jonathan Smith of FundRaiser

When you think about the things that you are proud of achieving in your organization last year, what do they include? Take a moment to ponder before you read on.

After the start of the New Year, one of the things I enjoyed most was hearing from some of our customers about the things they were proud of having achieved in 2012. That got me thinking how good it feels to achieve something and to hear how people you care about have done so, too. Then I started wondering what staff members here at FundRaiser are proud of achieving.The answers cover a lot of territory. Two things they have in common though; every achievement required learning new things; and people felt good about whatever they had done.  Feeling good ('subjective well-being') has been substantially linked to better health, so it stands to reason that when you learn something new, or want to generally strengthen the health and morale at your organization, a powerful way to achieve that is to give yourself and staff the opportunity to stretch and learn.

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Welcome to Nick Haring, the new support technician at FundRaiser.

Nick Haring, support technician at FundRaiser Software

Nick Haring is the new fellow at the end of the FundRaiser Tech Support line. In addition to Jonathan Smith, Nick is here to answer your questions about using the FundRaiser programs. Nick is replacing Sherry Willis whose own home business, Half-Pint Homesteads, has taken off and needs her full time. We are sorry to see her go, and happy to have someone like Nick join the FundRaiser staff. Right now, he's responding mostly to emails involving simple queries. "I’ll be on the phones soon!" he says.Nick studied Computer Science and Mass Communications at Missouri Southern State in Joplin, Missouri. After losing his home in the Joplin tornado in 2011, he moved back to West Plains, Missouri, to be closer to family.

After his move, he was happy to discover that FundRaiser Software was looking for someone like him as a support technician. Because of his ability with computers he is at home with technical questions; and with his interest in communications, he has an easy and pleasant way of sharing information. Look for his blog posts coming up as he settles in at FundRaiser.

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What does a data converter do?

Joe Salrin at his desk in the FundRaiser office

Working mostly from his corner desk by the windows, Joe Salrin quietly fields many data emergencies for both FundRaiser customers and staff. His primary job is data conversion – moving data out of other brands of software and into FundRaiser for new customers. He is also the ‘go-to’ person for difficult, quirky, or just plain obstinate problems that involve technology and data at our office.

I asked him to tell me what he does in a normal day, and he laughed. “There is no normal day,” he answered. “Normal is whatever happens.

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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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Happiness Happens Day at MaineShare

Sarah Fagg, Campaign Coordinator of MaineShare
Hildie Lipson, Executive Director of MaineShare

Because MaineShare does most of its fundraising through workplace giving programs, they are acquainted with a wide variety of workplaces. Company culture is important to them. Their satisfaction with FundRaiser is based both on the software and on their experience of the company, as well.

“We love your holidays, for instance that you have the first day of spring off. We feel like you have a good workplace and we like working with other places like that. We feel your love,” says Sarah Fagg, Campaign Coordinator and the main user of FundRaiser at MaineShare.

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Happiness is a 3-day weekend

Marcy with friends at Sustainability Festival
Marcy Weinbeck (right), with friends at the West Plains Sustainability Festival

While studying in Germany, I lived in the southern part of the country where lots of holidays were celebrated. It seemed like nearly every week there was some official reason to take a day off. I was often confused by exactly what was being celebrated, but I still thought the custom was great.

Many years later, when I began working at FundRaiser, I was happy to learn that part of the company policy was to give us all one three-day weekend every month. One of the most popular holidays we have at FundRaiser is Happiness Happens Day, which comes at the beginning of August. There is no doubt that having a non-traditional day-off does create happiness.

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Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar
planning communications endowment campaign capital campaign ticketsales ROI donor profile building donor relationships product news campaign merge fields ticket sales thank you letters disaster relief holiday pledges tax summary letters donor engagement targeted mailings corporate sponsors vacation Personalizing giving history social media data conversion donor preferences Groupings gift entry membership benefits motivation code Crowdfunding Campaign anonymous donors membership programs major donors word processor solicitors government grants banquet look and feel charity golf tournaments alumni new nonprofit Facebook campaign volunteering mission driven on site training budget phoning donors reports upgrading donors National Change of Address user spotlights donor loyalty donor retention rate annual maintenance plan community supported gardens importing csv Constant Contact foundations role of nonprofits major gift prospects Company culture publicity materials Donor Portal adding personal notes to letters New Year animal rescue office increasing giving amounts training personalizing letters grants End of Year Letters gift notes field donor targeting correspondance mailing donor brick campaign online donations upgrade Thanksgiving FundRaiser Spark fundraising donor advised funds new features #GivingTuesday add ons Codes how to handle auction gifts customer service donor prospects happiness GoFundMe project security features backing up data Tickles NCOA processing fundraising letters FundRaiser Hosted spare fields Resiliency event management repeat donors entering auction gifts merge notes overview data entry general Reporting to IRS tribute gifts Cloud donor slip pictures holiday giving donor contact information advanced tab community arts nonprofits announcements planned giving welcome packet support donor retention SYBUNTS flash sales legacy giving new version spreadsheets transparency follow up Thank You donor attrition rate donor relations board members grassroots campaign giving levels premiums data analysis email training tip development director appeal letters change of address updating passwords membersip benefits campaign management Importing Data In-Kind gifts in honor of donations direct mail the Ask donor recognition large donations volunteers FundRaiser Basic segmenting donors mode code prospects new leadership monthly giving GivingTuesday password protection operational costs annual campaign donor attrition Task List custom page PayPal Reminders salutation case study auction appeal accounting software raffle Volunteer module donation history Congratulations community broadcasting memorial giving how-to videos updates letter templates holiday letters online donations correspondence gift acceptance policy customer portal technical support nonprofit fundraising moves management small donations user interface tech tip relationship tracking donor source Snow Birds motivation Network for Good Alternative Addresses LYBUNTS Excel Facebook operating systems new donors arts texting donors lapsed donor letter recurring gifts understanding giving trends

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