Mobile Base Camp (Canvassing) Has Been Enhanced



Numerous people have been asking to be able to enter comments from the mobile canvassing tool.  Now you can:




Numerous people have been asking for a way to update a voter's phone numbers and email addresses from the canvassing tool.  Now you can:





Numerous people have been asking for a way to copy the answers from one voter in the house to all the members of the household.  Now you can:






Do you take recurring donations online?

Do you ever wonder if somebody has dropped off by reason of expired credit card or change of credit card?

The query below when pasted into the SQL tab on the contribution list will produce a list of those people who have given a recurring donation in the last 90 days but have not made one in the last 30 days. It will provide a means for you to determine those folks who may have dropped off for one of the reasons above that you may need to make further inquiries about.




The list may not contain unique donors, but should be what we are looking for



-- who had a recurring contribution in the last 90 days...

(((TB010611.CL010568>=  Convert(datetime, Convert(int, GetDate()))-90   )) AND CL047343 IN (49220,49230,49221,49227,49222,49228,49223,49229,49224,49226))


-- that was on a credit card...


) AND (

-- where the donor has NOT contributed in the last 90 days

(NOT (EXISTS (SELECT CL010562 FROM TB010611 WHERE ((CL010595=TB008485.CL005500) AND (((CL010568>=  Convert(datetime, Convert(int, GetDate()))-30  )) AND ((CL010568<   Convert(datetime, Convert(int, GetDate()))  )))))))






In my database, I found 3 people that meet this criteria and I need to check with the donor to see about getting updated credit card information:


Pivots on Contributor Type

If you have ever tried to run a pivot report of contributions by contributor type, you would find that instead of the contributor type being spelled out, you got a numeric value.  If you add the ContributorTypeName (below) column to your list, your results will be more readable:



In my sample database my 2014 contributions are summarized by type:

FEC updates today

Added functionality to add FEC memo notes to loans.  

Added functionality to forgive loans to the campaign by using memo entries.

You Can Now Resize Your Images for Email Inside of Trail Blazer

We have rolled out to a few customers the new email editor.  It has a much improved image management system.

The video below is an 18 minute education in creating and sending an eblast from Trail Blazer.

(RDC users will need to copy and paste this URL into your host machine's web browser:   )


If you are not currently using the new editor and would like to be converted, send an email to requesting the change.  Be sure to include your customer name in the email.

Does this ever happen to you?

I was working in the kitchen when I knocked over a small bottle of hand soap into the sink which then bumped a precariously balanced large mixing bowl full of water which then tipped away from the sink and onto floor which then got my socks wet which caused me to slip, but I managed to catch myself before hitting the floor, but in so doing I knocked a pan off the stove (not hot) that landed on my foot (ouch) and in my attempt to reach for my foot, I didn't notice the open drawer that my head then bounced off of and when I put my hand to head I forgot I had been working with hot pepper sauce (which is why I was reaching for the soap dispenser) which was then transferred to my eye.

It felt a bit Rube Goldberg’ish (rubenesque?)

Well that’s what happened with the mail merge template system.  While making improvements to one area of the program, it negatively affected other parts of the program.  

So if you opened a template and your letters lost all their margins...

...then today's version fixes that.

Our Limited Release Email Editor Has Had Some Updates

Email Campaigns and Templates are now saved allowing previous versions to be viewed or restored.  This means you can return to an earlier iteration if you manage to totally mess up your design.

Template SaveAs function will now NOT allow an overwrite of an existing template.  An existing template must now first be deleted.


The 'subject' line has been removed from the SaveAs template dialog.  The value saved for subject will now always be the subject of the originating campaign, template, or email message.


The new email editor now provides an auto-save option for generating the text version.  When this flag is set on, the text version is always generated during a save operation.  The auto-save option is on by default for new campaigns, templates, and messages.


We fixed an error that occurred when a displayed hyperlink exceeded 255 characters.




An update to the Email Editor is in Limited Release

We have replaced the existing email editor with a new editor that better handles tables and corrects a few of the issues with the prior editor.

It's currently in limited release and you can get an update ahead of the general release by emailing and requesting it.


Current version (or legacy if you have already been upgraded): 


 New version:

Some of the enhancements include:

  • Publish your email on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and/or Twitter

  • A preview button
  • A working Undo button (YEAH!!)
  • Search and Replace and Spell Check
  • Better formatted and thus more easily read source code

What's New Today

Contributions - Added virtual field to contribution table to compute the non-monetary rate by dividing the Amount/nonmonetaryItemQty.  This new column is available in Format and is named NonMonetaryRate.

Enhancements to pre-import check.

FEC corrections - The deposit process was setting the FEC type id incorrectly in the contribution records.

Committee or Organization card - Combined the tabs for Notes, Options, and Filter into a single Settings tab.

Contribution Query Panel - Election/Cycle combination box replaced with Checkbox.  This allows for multiple cycle selections.


Payee card - fixed inability to create new invoice immediately after creating (and saving) a new Payee.

Candidate can now be specified.

You can now link directly from the Payments list to the Payment card.

The invoice number column within the Payments list is now linkable.

Numerous other changes...


Deposits - the deposit process was setting the FEC type id incorrectly in the contribution records.  Fixed.

Fixed issue with financial disbursements by time report - payee names were not aligned with the date and amount. 

FEC reporting deadline 7/15/14

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) would like to remind you that the 2014 July Quarterly Report is due on July 15, 2014 (for quarterly filers) and the 2014 July Monthly Report is due on July 20, 2014 (for monthly filers). 

Comments on Deposits

Yesterday a customer requested a comment field be added to deposits.  Her wish was our command (sometimes they are really easy):


Time Traveling?

If recently you have been unable to set the exact time for your email to be released, that is now corrected with today's release.  The ghost of H.G. Wells somehow entered our systems and removed that feature temporarily.  All better now.


Doing the Same Thing Over and Over?

I occasionally get a call from a customer where they tell me they are painstakingly opening each record to make a specific change.

In almost every case there are two possibilities for making this easier.  One, we may already have a tool in TB to help.  Two, we here on the support team have a few tools that are not in the application that we are able to execute.

Example.  Yesterday a customer called and wanted all the county names updated on his address records.  There were some inconsistencies.  This change can be done by you:  There are several columns in the database upon which you can change en masse.

Also, yesterday a customer had imported a large set of contributions with a date of 1/1/1900.  Obviously incorrect.  They were supposed to be 4/5/2014.  We do not have a utility to bulk update the dates on contributions.  I mentioned to her that I could fix that in just a minute or so.  Upon her approval I did.  

The lesson here is if you find yourself spending a lot of time making the same update to a large set of records, let us know.  We likely have a really fast, 

, less labor intensive, way of completing the task.

BTW, the June 9th Post is Related to the June 5th Post

For those who have requested the household report mentioned on June 5th, if you decide you need to re-household some of your records, the June 9th post has some of the info needed.

Of course, for some of you this will be a bit mind numbing.  We are here to help.  Our support information is at the top of this page.


Advanced Technique for Querying with Multiple Voter/Donor ID's

I frequently need to query for a list of voters/donors based on their Trail Blazer ID.  Usually this information comes from an Excel spreadsheet that I have modified.  Trail Blazer has no easy way to query a list of ID's and have the list returned. 

Some time ago I created a tool that allows me do this.  It will take a columnar list of ID's (usually copied from Excel) and turn them into a comma separated list that I can then paste into the SQL tab.  

This is an advanced technique so only those who are willing to devote a little time to learn the process should proceed.

In the video below, I have created an example where I export data to an Excel file, add data to the file, and query for those records I updated in the spreadsheet.  I have also placed the tool referenced in this video on our website.



Let me know if you find this useful.

Use Households? You May Be Interested in This.

In my troubleshooting travels I often see areas of data that need to be corrected.

One of those areas is Householding.  Frequently I find people who live at the same address who have different households.  That means if you are using Household Salutation or Household Envelope Name in your merge letters, you are often missing someone.  It also means you may be sending more than one letter to a single address.

I'd like to make an offer to you.

Here's what I will do.  If you email me at I will return to you a report (for free) in Excel 2007 format that will show you where you have more than one person at the same address, but they are not householded together.

I will need two things:

  1. Your database name or customer name and,
  2. Your email address.
The report will come back looking something like this: 

In the sheet above, you can see that the house with AddressID of 162 has two different HouseholdID's.  This is an indication that house should be reviewed to see if it should be re-householded.  This will likely lead to a discussion regarding whether or not people with different last names should be householded together (see HomeAddressID 184 at the bottom of the sheet and notice the last names).  


Entering an Event Order Manually - New Video

Usually your donors are completing their orders for tickets or other event purchases online and little further data entry is required by you.  What about those that pay by check?  This video will teach you how to enter the order and complete a payment for that order.


Version 6.2.5256.xxxxx (released 5/23/14)

International Configuration

Do you live in France?  We found our customers using Windows configured for international had some issues with the use of a decimal point in contributions.  This has been corrected.


Event Attendance

The Summary tab within Events has been updated to allow you to filter by attendance.


FEC Contribution Memos

Manual FEC contribution memo capability has been added.  In the past the program made all the determinations regarding the memoing (Apparently 'memoing' is not a word. Maybe it should be.) of a contribution on the FEC report.


Sloooooow query

If you were running queries to find people who opened or not opened specific emails, the query ran somewhat slowly.  We have improved that query's performance.


Notes on tickets

Each ticket within the event can now have its own note.


Loan improvements 

Loan balances are now correctly updated upon update.  It's been like that for 13 years and no one noticed that until now?!  We also added a loan payments column when you have the Lender card open.





Importing was fixed today

If you were having a problem with your import stalling, it was due to Tom installing an anti-import switch in yesterday's code.  Tom figured if no one could import then he could take a few days off and maybe enjoy some sun he hasn't seen since last Halloween.  We gave him a sun lamp and had him turn off the anti-import switch.  

You can import now.