Is it already that time of year again? Fall has a tendency to sneak up on me every year, and as much as I enjoy autumn, I’m rarely ready to say goodbye to summer. The leaves are beginning to change here in Minnesota, and they’re already to losing their grip on the branches they cling to.
Sometimes, I think we can feel a bit the same; losing our grip on all the summer projects that still need completing, the ever-growing To Do list, the different deadlines looming in the distance, both in our personal lives as well as our professional ones, it can be overwhelming to say the least. For some, autumn can also mean the kids are back to school. Maybe you’re enrolled in school as well. For many of our customers it means fundraising season is in full swing.
However, it doesn’t always need to feel like you have too many balls in the air, or that certain tasks are slipping through the cracks, especially when it comes to your donor management software. Trail Blazer should be a tool that provides both comfort and instills confidence for keeping organized. If utilized properly, it helps to keep you on top of follow-up thank-you letters and phone calls, knowing who needs to be contacted next, and setting reminders for other miscellaneous tasks. It also includes a plethora of other tools, such as the shared calendar to make sure all of your staff members are on the same page.
Perhaps you don’t use all of these different features, or maybe you didn’t realize they all come with your CRM software. Even if you’re a seasoned pro and all of these tools are already in your arsenal, there may be tips and tricks to help use them more effectively. Like any tool or process there can always be room for improvement (visit Kaizen: - a mantra I like to live my life by). This is where both our top-notch Tech Support Team, with their deep wealth of knowledge, and our robust Help Resource Center come into play. We are here for you. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call us if you ever feel like you aren’t fully utilizing the software, falling behind on a particular task, or even just to use us as a sounding board to improve upon what you’re already doing.
Below are a few examples of the top features our customers use Trail Blazer for to keep organized, automate certain tasks, and take the guesswork out of their day-to-day routines:
One of the primary functions of the Trail Blazer ecosystem is to process donations (both online and physical gifts) and to streamline the thank-you letter acknowledgement process. For online donations it’s important to have a well-built, and personalized email responder which will go out as soon as soon as someone donates through the Trail Blazer donation form on your site.
For physical gifts (cash, check, in-kind), it’s important to have a well-built paper thank-you letter. We highly suggest that whether a donor gives online, or in a physical way, they receive a paper thank-you letter (unless they explicitly specify otherwise). Donors who need to be thanked are easy to find as they’ll always end up in the ‘Thank You Letter - Contributions’ list. At least one person in your organization should be devoted to accessing this list on a regular basis, and sending out the thank-you acknowledgments. Here’s an example of a well-maintained thank-you letter list:
These help tutorials show how to create and save thank-you letter templates for both email and snail-mail. They also discuss how to efficiently complete this recurring task:
Tracking different interactions you have with constituents and setting follow-up reminders is an integral part of any organization. The Log Note and Reminders system make this easy. Here’s an example of a constituent record with many different notes and reminders recorded:
Last but not least, using the Trail Blazer shared calendar is very effective when it comes to tracking the different appointments your staff has, as well as internal meetings, upcoming events, setting reminders for deadlines, and more. To access the calendar you have to be setup as a database user. You get unlimited user accounts with your license, and a user’s permission levels can be restricted so that they can access the calendar, but not other parts of the system that they don’t need access to. The iCalendar can also be shared with your MS Outlook account. Below is an example calendar with appointments:
The features discussed above are a bite-sized set of tools that come with your Trail Blazer database which can greatly help to improve your organizational efficiency. There’s plenty more where this came from. To reiterate, we’re here to teach you the ins and outs of our software program so you can spend more time focusing on your organization’s mission and less time trying to get caught up on your day-to-day software responsibilities.
Who knows? Trail Blazer might help you to get so well organized, that you can even get out to enjoy the beautiful fall colors.