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.

Program News - A Better Looking FundRaiser

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Interested in knowing more about what the future holds for your software?

It's no secret that, while FundRaiser is a very robust program, the interface is, frankly, outdated. As a small privately-owned company, we have had to choose how to allocate our resources very carefully and we have put other development projects ahead of updating the interface. Fortunately, that is changing now and we are pleased to offer you an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming release.

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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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Information About Backing Up Your FundRaiser Database

Information About Backing Up Your FundRaiser Database
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A common question that we receive in Technical Support is that if an organization has an IT department which creates backups of the server computer which holds FundRaiser, is an actual FundRaiser backup necessary?

The answer is yes. When an IT department backs up a server that is different from a FundRaiser backup.

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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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Out on a limb that's big enough

Calico cat out on a limb looking intent

I am going to go out on a limb here--  I believe that in order to enjoy life you have to really get into it, and sometimes that includes taking risks. If you are like me,  you may like to take them slowly, a step at a time, with thoughtful pauses. Or you may just sprint ahead.

One way or another, you may find yourself out on the proverbial limb: even though it is holding you up at the moment, you aren't quite sure if it will continue to hold you, or where the next step is.

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Does it fit?

The past few years I’ve noticed that clothing just doesn’t fit the way it once did.  I’ve become less active (read “lazy”) and my physical mass has begun to shift around on my body.  I’ve always been an “off-the-rack” shopper, boringly average in run-of-the-mill sizes, until recently.  Last weekend, while having some tires replaced at one of our local malls, my wife and I were browsing the stores and happened on a great sale at one of the stores we rarely shop.  I followed her advice and tried on some jeans, and was pleasantly surprised to find some that fit perfectly, shifted mass and all.  I bought two pairs, at 20% of their original list price, feeling like a million bucks.

I got to thinking about this in relation to our latest product offering:  FundRaiser Spark.  One size doesn’t fit all in the world of software, and sometimes extra features impede the use of a product, rather than promoting it.  This can be especially true in software when the people using it are not necessarily computer “geeks”, like myself, and don’t have the time, inclination, etc., to fully explore all the functionality of a program.  And the reverse side of this coin is software that doesn’t do quite enough.

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Just a Spark...

I live in Arizona (not Missouri, where our home office is located) and sparks are not normally welcome at this time of year, due to dry conditions and fire hazards that, each year, cost millions of dollars in loss of habitat and homes. So when our CEO, Autumn Shirley, told me about a new product we’re releasing, called “Spark”, with a tag-line of “Start something big”, my first thoughts were of some rather large wildfires that we’ve had here in the West.Well, I came to grips with my regionalized knee-jerk reactions, and took a look at this new arrival, and now I see what all the hoopla is about.

Many FundRaiser users are with organizations that have modest database needs, and a tight budget. That is, after all, why we released FundRaiser Basic (www.fundraiserbasic.com), originally: to have an “entry-level” offering that would help small nonprofits grow to a level that allows them to step up to FundRaiser Select or Professional (www.fundraisersoftware.com) when Basic’s abilities are no longer enough. And it’s that same thinking that prompted us to a modular approach, allowing customers to start with Select, for instance, and add modules for functionality as needed (like Pledge, Membership, and Volunteer management modules).

Over the years, one of the problems we found with that approach was that the cost of even Select was too much more than that of Basic. It was just too big a step for growing organizations to make all at once. And, for some, even Select has more functionality than necessary, like too many codes, too many data fields, too many options, etc.

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

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