Trail Blazer
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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?

Do you do on-site demonstrations?

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

Do you do on-site demonstrations?

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 subscription?

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?

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

Does Trail Blazer offer a variety of email templates to choose from? How do I create a custom email template?

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.

What do most users consider to be the three best features or benefits of your product?

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, etc.

What sort of training is available and is the cost of training included in the price?

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 of your software available for those who would like to test drive it?

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 7 or later, Video/Monitor – 1024 x 768, 400 MB free on Hard Drive, 1024 MB RAM and a high speed Internet connection. We recommend Microsoft Windows 7 or later, Video/Monitor – 1024 x 768 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 free with your subscription. We offer emergency tech support on nights and weekends at no added cost. Of course, we prefer you call during regular office hours.

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. You may fall into a higher price bracket based on the number of records you import however.

Can we use your software to produce mailings?

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

Can I add 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.  Up to 1 GB is free and included.  Additional storage can be purchased at a nominal cost.

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. Any task that is behind schedule will show up in red on the screen.

What if I want to cancel my subscription?

We sell 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?

You can have as many users as you want to buy.  For non-profits, we give you five concurrent users in our base package at no charge.  If you need more, you simply buy additional concurrent users for $10 each per month per user.  That said, you can have as many users registered in the system with usernames and passwords, just no more than your purchased concurrent user limit in at the exact same time.

For campaigns and PACs, it's unlimited users.  You can have as many users as you need at no additional charge.   This means that all your campaign staff and volunteers can use the system at the same time for different purposes.

What makes Trail Blazer software unique?

Speed. Plain and simple. Speed. The sheer speed of our software is worth money to you when your operating on tight timelines. Experience the fastest reports, view the full scope of your search results (not just one page) 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 Campaign Manager Software better than others?

Once you try our search engine, you’ll never go back to browser software like Complete Campaigns, for instance. With browser software, try opening more than one query at a time. You can’t. Try pulling up multiple donor/voter records at once with browser software. You can’t. Side-by-side comparisons of donor/voter records is not possible with one-page-at-a-time browser software. Trail Blazer makes multi-tasking simple and easy whereas browser software is slow and tiresome.

Does your system integrate with QuickBooks?

Yes. 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.  Most of our customers use QuickBooks and like the way we work together.

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

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.

Does Trail Blazer offer a variety of email templates to choose from? How do I create a custom email template?

At the moment, we're developing a new email template building system with an array of choices/styles. We hope to have it released soon and it's currently being tested. Currently, we have some limited template design tools that our customer DO use. Other customers will use an outside tool and copy it into Trail Blazer. For those who don’t want to do either of those, we will build your email template for you at no charge per your specifications. This no charge offer is good until we release the new email template building system.

Why invest in database 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 typically uses 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 $7 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 by our customers that we provide are: contact management, merge letters, thank you letters, integration with their website (i.e. donations and signups), mass email, full import and export capabilities, etc.

Have questions? Call us. Sales: 1-800-446-1375 or Support: 1-866-909-8700
Trail Blazer Campaign Services Inc • 620 Mendelssohn Avenue North, #186 • Golden Valley, MN 55427-4350