Exciting New Tools to Measure Your Progress

Try Our New Metric Displays!

Trail Blazer has created an exciting new tool called "Metric Displays".  It's a way for you to measure your progress over time.  For example, let's say you wanted to measure your total donations this month compared to last month, or this year versus last year.

The new tool is located in the Application Menu...


Once you click on "Metric Displays", you'll see:

To get started, choose "New" and select the columns and the time period groups.  Then you can save it for future use. 

In the coming weeks, the staff at Trail Blazer will be creating some metric displays in our Predefined Folder.  For now, we have just one predefined item.  More to come...




If you select Contributions, you'll see the following display format:


View Your Data Two Ways  -- Grid or Chart

One great feature is that you can view your data in grid form or in chart form.  Plus, you can display them together, side-by-side or in an over-under fashion. 


Create Separate Windows for Your Data

Metric displays can be created as separate windows as we've shown here.  Best of all, you can paste them on your dashboard.


Let Us Know What You'd Like to See Displayed

We currently have several metrics defined, and we expect this number to grow fast over the next several weeks.  If you'd like to measure something and you don't see what you're looking for, let us know.  We'd be glad to help you lay it out. 

If your metric can benefit our other clients, we'll add it as an option.  Even if your metric has value only to your organization, that's fine too. 

In addition, we've provided the ability for our staff to define a metric on the fly without having to publish a new release. Please let us know what you want to see and we'll work to make it happen.  




Set Attendance setting en masse

A new feature allows you to set the event attendance field en masse rather than having to open each record individually.   Just click on the 'Set attendance' menu item on the Summary page of the event form.


Role filter added to event summary page

We've had the ability to quickly filter the event Summary list using the Response, Financial, and Attendance buttons.  In response to a client request (thank you very much!), we've added the Role button, allowing filtering based upon the participant role.


Too many log notes!

We LOVE log notes.  On average we store about 27 log notes for every current record in our database.  However, a bunch of those log notes are System type.  Combine comment, Sign-Up Comment, etc.

You can suppress them now with this toggle button:



You can control which log types are suppressed from the System Manager->Lists->Log Types menu.


 Open any log type you wish to suppress and check the box:


New Merge Fields Added (Tax Deductible Contribution Table and Pledge Details Table)

(A customer called this morning and chastised me for not updating the Start Page and was tired of looking at the last article for the past 6 weeks.  Thanks for the kick, Rut!)


With the most recent release you can now include a table of the tax deductible contributions made by each donor in your year-end tax letters:


The name of this new merge field is:  «Tax Deductible Contribution Table Within Date Range».  It's found here in the drop-down list:





If you accept pledges where the payments are scheduled over a period of time, you may now include a table of their pledge status:



The new field is available when writing letters from the Pledges list.  The new field is named: «Pledge Detail Table»  

It's found in the drop down list:



Are you a nonprofit on a calendar year cycle? It's time to change your default cycle.

The default cycle impacts your contributions.  It's helpful for them to be assigned to the correct cycle.

This article will show you how to adjust your default cycle and to create a new calendar year if one is needed:  http://www.trailblz.com/kb/?action=view&kb=191&cat=1


Have you got a bunch of contributions assigned to the wrong cycle? This article (http://www.trailblz.com/kb/?action=view&kb=212&cat=1) will walk you through changing them all at once.  The article has all political references, but the process is the same.  You will use the links circled in the picture above.


Donor Retention Dashboard Widget Has Arrived

You can see your last 10 years of donor retention in a single graph.  Click the image below to see a Youtube video of how to get your own donor retention dashboard.  An explanation of the calculation can be found here: http://goo.gl/yqAQ4B

The chart can be configured for ANY rolling 10 year history (assuming you have 10 years of donor history).  You also have the option to exclude inkind-only donors from the calculation.

Event ticket items can now be private (not displayed on the web site)

If you are using Trail Blazer's event system for ticketing you may have had the need to be able to hide a ticket item from public view.  In the example below I want to hide the VIP complimentary pass ticket:  


When setting up the ticket I need only to set this checkbox: 


Your web page will not display the ticket item. 

Windows 10 fixes the large font issue

Many of our customers have their display setting to show fonts at 125% of "normal".  That has caused an issue in the Trail Blazer application where the attribute check boxes disappear.  This was a problem within the Windows operating system that was near impossible for us to correct without breaking many other things.  Windows 10 has come along and corrected their problem.  Since Windows 10 is a FREE upgrade from Windows 7 or 8, we HIGHLY recommend you make the upgrade.  We would recommend this regardless of the font size issue. 


Would you like to change your password?


When we provide credentials to our customers we assign the passwords.  We intentionally create random passwords to make guessing them more difficult.  Of course that also makes for a tough time remember the doggone thing.  If you have security access to your database, you can change your own password.  Click here to see how.  If you do not have security access you can request the change from us or from someone in your organization who does have that level of access.

Favorites - some of you have saved favorites with no criteria

In hunting down a problem for a customer earlier this week I found the source of the problem to be a saved search "Favorites" that had no criteria.  In effect it was saying to return ALL the records in the list as it had no filters.  

Yikes.  I wondered how many other saved searches had that same issue.  It turns out quite a few!

I have updated all my customers saved searches having this condition to include the following words:  


Send Thank You Emails using Mass Email

I've learned that many of our customers are not aware you can use Trail Blazer to send thank you's en masse by email.  You can thank your donor for their most recent donation.

Some of your donors may have a preference for NOT receiving a paper thank you, but instead an email thank you.  The video below will show you how to do this.


Gateway search, fixes to the new financial system, search for allocation funds has been added to the contribution panels.


As more and more of you are relying on recurring donations initiated on your donation page (customers using Authorize.net or Vanco only), a means was needed for tracing the transactions back to the merchant gateway.

These column can be added to your format from the contribution list:



The new search panel is shown here:


The get-next-check button is now working again in the financial system.

Printing of mailing labels from the contribution list has been corrected to work the INCLUDE column.

Searches for Allocation funds can be done from the contribution search panels.



Want to accept checks on your donation page?

If you use Authorize.net or Vanco as your merchant gateway on your donation page, you now have the option of adding payment by check (aka ACH) to your donation page.


If Vanco is your merchant gateway, you will need to complete a new application ensuring you only check mark the eCheck option:




Once completed you open your Payment Gateway configuration... 

  ...click the ACH eCheck checkbox and Save and Close.


Next you will refresh your website by opening the Website Configuration...


 ...and click the link to refresh your web pages.

Update to Invoices and Payments today

We have been working on a an update to the invoice and payment system for some time.  Our intention was to roll this out over time as customers needed it.  However, over the weekend we found an issue with the existing system that forced us to switch EVERYONE over to the new Invoice and Payment style.  We apologize for the abrupt switch.  The video below shows the new process: