Frequently Asked Questions

Does Trail Blazer software work on a Mac and/or iPad?

How much does it cost?

Why choose Trail Blazer over others?

What training is available? How much does it cost?

Is there a trial version available?

What are the system requirements?

Do you have a scaled down low-cost version that we can add to as we grow?

What do upgrades cost?

Does your database require we have a server on-site to host it?

How much does technical support cost?

Does Trail Blazer require us to designate a Database Administrator?

Do you do on-site demonstrations?

Is there a limit to how many potential donors we can track?

Can we use your software to produce mailings?

Can I customize the donor profile?

Can I make a contact schedule for thank yous, for instance?

Do you track grants?

Do you have task reminders built in?

What if I want to cancel my lease?

Are reports exportable to .CSV and Excel?

How many users can I have in the system at one time?

What makes Trail Blazer software unique?

What makes Trail Blazer’s Political Software better than others?

Does your system integrate with QuickBooks?

Why is QuickBooks for Nonprofits a poor choice for managing my donors?

What is the estimated cost to convert my data in QuickBooks to Trail Blazer?

Can gifts be entered and then transferred in a batch to QuickBooks (to eliminate double entry)? How is this done?

How do I build a customized email template using Trail Blazer?

Why invest in donor management software?

What size organization uses Trail Blazer's Non-Profit Manager?

Does Trail Blazer software work on a Mac and/or iPad?

Yes. Trail Blazer will work on your Mac and your iPad. We have a server specifically for our Mac users. All you do is use the free Remote Desktop application and connect directly to run Trail Blazer. If you already own Office 2011, Remote Desktop is pre-loaded, so you're set to go. To get your Mac or iPad set up, contact support@trailblz.com.

How much does it cost?

Trail Blazer is affordable at all levels, whether it's a political campaign, PAC or a non-profit organization. To receive an exact quote, please call Dan toll free at 1-800-446-1375. Flexible payment options are also available upon request.

Why choose Trail Blazer over others?

1) Very easy and intuitive to use.

2) Trail Blazer's tech support is unparalleled. A human answers the phone and the people who wrote the application also support it. Problems are solved. If it’s a question sent to us by email, you often will get a personalized how-to video that answers your question.

3) Mass email is included in price. This eliminates the need for emarketing services such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc.

What training is available? How much does it cost?

The webinar styled training (and support) is unlimited and included in the price. The first session is an ‘open’ class for any customer to learn the basics. Once the first session is completed, you may schedule as much time as you need on any particular topic of your choice. These additional sessions are done via a remote control software where our trainer is connected to your machine using your database and your examples.

Is there a trial version available?

No. Trail Blazer is a business-to-business application that requires some initial orientation (training is included for free with your paid subscription) to be fully productive. We provide one-on-one demonstrations of the software. You are free to ask anything you like. You may take as long as you like. You may ask to ‘drive’ if you like. You may repeat the demo as often as you like until you feel comfortable it will do what you need it to do.

What are the system requirements?

Trail Blazer hosts your data on our servers. We provide complete backup and dual mirroring. This ensures your data is always secure. On the client side, at a minimum you will need a desktop or laptop with Microsoft Windows XP or later, video/monitor – 1024 x 768, 400 MB free on hard drive, 512 MB RAM and a high speed Internet connection. However, we "recommend" Microsoft Windows 7 or later, video/monitor – 1280 x 1024 or larger, 40 GB hard drive, 4 GB RAM, high speed Internet connection 3 Mbps or greater.

If you’re using a Macintosh you will sign on using Remote Desktop (Windows is not required). If you choose not to use Remote Desktop, you have the option to load Parallels and Windows on your Macintosh.

Do you have a scaled down low-cost version that we can add to as we grow?

No. Our software comes complete with every module for one low price. There are no upgrades to worry about since every time you log in, the system automatically loads the newest version in seconds.

What do upgrades cost?

There really are no costs since upgrades are included with your subscription. Each time you sign in you get the latest version automatically.

Does your database require we have a server on-site to host it?

No. We host your data on our servers. That way you never have to worry about backing up the data. If a computer crashes or is stolen, your data is secure on our servers. We maintain your data on two mirrored servers in two different geographic locations. So when you save, it saves in two places at once.

How much does technical support cost?

It’s included with your subscription. We offer emergency tech support on nights and weekends at no additional cost. Of course, we prefer you call during regular office hours.

Does Trail Blazer require us to designate a Database Administrator?

While we don't "require" a Database Administrator, our most successful clients do have a dedicated staff member who is responsible for the overall implementation and application of best practices using Trail Blazer's software. We will train your key people for free so you can rest easy.

Do you do on-site demonstrations?

Normally, we do all of our demos remotely using the GoToMeeting software. On-site in-person demos are riddled with technical problems and they are simply cost prohibitive. By teleconferencing, we can make best use of everyone’s time. We can connect as many people as you’d like on the same demonstration and everyone can see and hear the demonstration on their own computer. We can even record the demonstration for those who cannot be there and send them the link to the recording afterward.

Is there a limit to how many potential donors we can track?

No. It’s unlimited. As you add records, you will fall into a higher price bracket.

Can we use your software to produce mailings?

Yes. It’s built in. No need to use MS-Word. All mail merges take place within our software. You can generate letters yourself, or export the mailing list to your mailhouse.

Can I customize the donor profile?

You can create unlimited attributes and assign as many characteristics/groups as you’d like. Each attribute you add is a searchable element.

Can I make a contact schedule for thank yous, for instance?

Yes, there is an entire thank you module for handling all of your thank you follow-up work. You can send thank yous one at a time or in batches.

Do you track grants?

Trail Blazer has ‘grant tracking lite’ included. We are able to track pendings, approvals, and denied items from each grantor. In addition, you can add reminders to keep you informed of upcoming deadlines. Trail Blazer supports document management which is a common need in grant management software. You can store all your grant documents within the grant record.

Do you have task reminders built in?

Yes. Our reminder module is built in. You can assign reminders to any staff member you’d like with detailed notes attached for that individual.

What if I want to cancel my lease?

We lease our software by annual subscription (SAAS - software as a service). So when you sign up, you agree to purchase one year’s worth of our software’s use. Discounts are available for multi-year agreements. Cancellation can only take place upon your annual renewal. We provide a window of time at year end where you can tell us you won’t be renewing at year end. Otherwise, your agreement will automatically renew. There is no cancellation fee because cancellation is not an option mid-year.

Are reports exportable to .CSV and Excel?

Yes.

How many users can I have in the system at one time?

It's unlimited. You can have as many users as you want.

What makes Trail Blazer software unique?

Speed and functionality. Experience the fastest reports, view the full scope of your search results and enjoy the most powerful, robust search engine in the marketplace. The horsepower of Trail Blazer shines through in pivot tables (i.e. cross-tabulations) and complex searches that you just can't do using a browser-based package.

What makes Trail Blazer’s political software better than others?

Once you try our search engine, you’ll never go back. Enjoy side-by-side comparisons of donor/voter records, multi-tasking, and advanced tools such as pivots are quick and easy.

Does your system integrate with QuickBooks?

To synchronize the two, you simply do a manual journal entry summarizing your overall donations on a periodic basis (i.e. usually monthly) from Trail Blazer to QuickBooks. This keeps the two systems in sync and avoids dual entry. Many of our nonprofit customers use QuickBooks and like the way we work together.

Why is QuickBooks for Nonprofits a poor choice for managing my donors?

We have many clients that have both Trail Blazer and QuickBooks. Trail Blazer can IMPORT any .CSV file from any source (including QuickBooks). Trail Blazer can also EXPORT details in a .CSV file to IMPORT elsewhere. QuickBooks is more temperamental. What we suggest is that all donor detail be maintained in Trail Blazer and a periodic journal entry be added to QuickBooks that summarizes the data in Trail Blazer.

What is the estimated cost to convert my data in QuickBooks to Trail Blazer?

When you try to compare Trail Blazer to QuickBooks it’s really an apples/oranges comparison. QuickBooks is a great accounting system, but a lousy donor management system. It’s not designed for that. The opposite can be said for Trail Blazer. We’re a great donor management system, but a lousy accounting system.

QuickBooks tracks the financial data for account categories like revenue, expenses, assets, liabilities and funds. From that you get your P&L and your balance sheet. Trail Blazer is dedicated solely to the revenue portion of the financials. We also track restricted funds since that’s an offshoot of the revenue. In a nutshell, QuickBooks is solely for accounting purposes. It will generate a balance sheet and other financial statements.

In Trail Blazer, our software will literally perform hundreds of functions that QuickBooks is not capable of. From pledge tracking, pivot tables, reporting, events management, volunteer tracking, calendaring, analytics, tracking of event specific donations, mass emailing, direct mailing, thank you letter tracking, templates, letters, and more.

We do work side by side with QuickBooks and a majority of our nonprofit customers use QuickBooks in conjunction with Trail Blazer. Our customers keep the summary information from donations in QuickBooks and the detail of those donations in Trail Blazer. This eliminates dual entry of donation data.

Can gifts be entered and then transferred in a batch to QuickBooks (to eliminate double entry)? How is this done?

The conversion cost is estimated at $500 for QuickBooks data. However, for a more precise estimate, we would need to see the data.

How do I build a customized email template using Trail Blazer?

In October of 2014, Trail Blazer unveiled an entirely new email editor. This new set of email building tools has made creating customized emails easier than ever. You can import images, wrap text around the images, resize the images easily, and add text in a variety of sizes and styles. Of course, Trail Blazer's support team is there to assist you if you need help. We'll even build your first email template for you at no charge. If you want to use an outside email editor and cut and paste your HTML code, that's fine too. To watch a video on how it works, click here.

Why invest in donor management software?

The biggest concern we hear from our new customers is that they don’t have their data organized in a way that they can use it. Often the data is in multiple spreadsheets or a homegrown database they have long since outgrown. Investing in database software can create organizational memory and create order out of chaos. You'll love being able to track just about everything. Best of all, you'll know exactly what was said to every donor and have a record of every point of contact with your donors.

What size organization uses Trail Blazer's Non-Profit Manager?

Small to medium-sized nonprofits are most commonly attracted to Trail Blazer -- generally it's those with annual revenue from $25,000 to under $25 million per year. We price the software based on your annual revenue so the smallest of organizations gets the EXACT same software and level of service as the largest of organizations, but with a proportionally smaller expense.

The usual features needed are: contact management, event management, merge letters, thank you letters, integration with their website (i.e. donations and signups), mass email, full import and export capabilities, etc.

If you have any questions that you think would be helpful to other Trail Blazer users, please email them to sales@trailblz.com

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