My hope and prayer with this extensive research is to help any staff member make an informed choice in how they want to manage their financial partner database. The majority of staff will use either TntMPD or MPDx (Beta). If you haven’t chosen one of these, you really should (see why this is important in the previous post in the database series). Either one will give you access to donations and has these three important functions:
- Contact Management In addition to many obvious contact management features like name and address, you’ll want to build relationships with partners by tracking birthdays and anniversaries, children, church, employer information, ad infinitum.
- Task Management Building relationships with a large team of donors requires a lot of phone calls, appointments, letters, emails, and more. Over the years, these can add up into the thousands. Tracking what you need to do and having a history of what you’ve done are very important. Done well, these functions will free you from the Mire of Administration.
- Gift Management Both products give you access to gifts from donors and generate tasks related to their giving.
This third feature is the main reason why you need to choose TntMPD or MPDx over another method(s) to review monthly giving, to make address changes, and to determine who gave extra gifts or missed their donations. Let the software do this for you! For the handful of you who aren’t using either TntMPD or MPDx, please contact me (e4e at cru.org) if you’d like to discuss this major change with someone; I’d love to see you get started. You’ll have things to learn, but you’ll save many, many hours in the long run and minister more frequently and effectively to your partners than you were before.
Would TntMPD or MPDx Work for You?
First of all, this post is really not about comparison. “Comparing” MPDx and TntMPD is like offering either a Chevy sedan or a large SUV for sale at the car lot. Yes, they both get you from point A to point B, but the capabilities, features, and “value” of each is completely different. Someone who wants a sedan doesn’t want an SUV and vice versa. Each product will sell itself as far as its capabilities and usefulness to you. As I describe TntMPD and MPDx, I hope you’ll be able to see which one is the best fit for who you are and for your ministry.
UPDATED 08/05/2015: MPDx (Beta) is accessed through a password on the web, so you can view it whenever you’re online. Your spouse would see the same information; no syncing needed. Because it’s cloud-based, it always gives you a current look at what’s in your account and is “in sync” for a husband and wife to view their information on separate devices. This first release of MPDx (at New Staff Training in January 2013) currently has only the features needed for new staff. MPDx is also a beta version, meaning it has bugs that you should report. Beta users also offer suggestions for enhancements. (Learn more about being an MPDxpert here.)
Today, approximately 12,000 missionaries in more than 500 organizations use TntMPD; it’s obviously “been around the block” or maybe I should say, “the world.” It’s also available in 12 languages.
This time-tested “SUV” built for MPD, is a password-protected and encrypted program on your computer which your spouse (or a team working with a ministry database) could also share through Dropbox. Any time you work offline on separate computers, Dropbox will sync databases when you’re back online. TntMPD also will help you if any data needs a confirmation to sync correctly. This is helpful for you to be able to update your information whenever you need or want to, regardless of Internet availability (or if your PC desktop is at home and you’re working on your Apple laptop when travelling).
TntMPD works closely with Word, Excel, Outlook, Dropbox, and MailChimp. You’ll need to develop regular habits of downloading the latest donations and address changes and syncing with Outlook and MailChimp, et cetera. These aren’t difficult tasks. You can also manually add, modify, and delete contact information and some donations (like personal checks at Christmas).
Two Example Function Comparisons
I decided this extensive information is best digested in two posts, so I’ll post part two on Tuesday, but here’s a preview of what kind of content I’ll have:
Mobile Devices MPDx is viewable on the Internet. TntMPD can work on a tablet which has Windows or Mac OS X. This is not a common solution for TntMPD, so one other possibility is to use the TntMPD sync with Outlook to push just the contact information to your tablet and/or phone.
Help MPDx has a form you can fill out to send an email request to the MPDx Team and the MPDx Help site. TntMPD has many options. If a tab or a window is open, hit your F1 key and you’ll go directly to a user guide online with detailed descriptions of that feature. You can also click on the community button in TntMPD to view the TntMPD web site right inside your database to search for help or ask a question in the user forums. Users are very active; you should have a response quickly. Your questions and answers show up in an “inbox” in the bottom toolbar of TntMPD.
This was just a brief “test drive.” Part Two, on Wednesday, will take you through a more thorough look at what you can do with each software program I hope these posts will help you choose the database that is best for you.
Have you invited your friends?
<< First (in series posts)
- The puzzled penguin is available on Wikimedia Commons. I took screenshots of the TntMPD and MPDx logos and used free photo-editing software, GIMP and Paint.net, to put all three together. I’ll be glad to show you how one of these days! 🙂
- I’m greatly indebted to several people for my research on this post, but particularly to Bob MacLeod and to Troy Wolbrink.
- You’ll notice I’ve left out discussing the MPDx mobile app. Two different users have described it as glitchy and cumbersome to navigate. I’d wait on this one for awhile.