Syncing TntMPD

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As you know, I’ve been encouraging you this year to choose between MPDx and TntMPD if you hadn’t done this already. Hopefully, you have a central database for your donors by now and have started using it.

TntMPD is my database of choice, but I realize some of you may prefer using MPDx because you don’t need to do any syncing (and for other reasons). When you open MPDx your donations and addresses are all current. You also have birthday information gleaned from Facebook connections. If you use TntMPD, you have “a little work” to do, but it’s not hard and, if you’re like me, the benefits for how you use TntMPD make these little tasks worthwhile. (These tasks also run fairly quickly.) This post, therefore, is to help TntMPD users know about various syncing they should (or could) do.

Basic Syncing

If you’re starting out, download names and addresses from Cru using these steps.

If you’ve used TntMPD for a while, are you using the current version? When you see the little reminder at the very bottom of TntMPD about a new version, be sure to take a minute to get the latest. I do know that a handful of you have a version older than 3.0… you’ll be amazed at the many great new features in TntMPD, so check it out.

If you’ve been using TntMPD, then download gifts regularly, maybe twice per month, for example, using the Gift Input button. (Also, see the tutorial for downloading gifts from the web.) If a new donation comes in from a new donor, you’ll receive the address, phone, and email information in addition to the gift information.

Right before mailing prayer letters, I check to see if I have current address and phone numbers. Go to Tools / Update Donor Info and follow the steps listed here. If your donors have moved or added a phone or email address to Cru’s records, you’ll receive these changes. Of course, you’ll have a handful of your own addresses that you’ll prefer over the ones Cru downloads to TntMPD. For instance, you might set a donor’s home mailing address as preferred when their donation actually comes in through their business name and address.

Gifts and  contact information are not automatically downloaded. You need to be in the habit of getting your latest information from Cru. The rest of the syncing possibilities I’ll mention in this post are optional, but I strongly recommend syncing with Dropbox and with MailChimp (if you’re using it).

Syncing with Dropbox

Use a free service called Dropbox to set up an automatic backup of your TntMPD database file. If you’ve lost data in the past, I don’t need to convince you how logical it is to have TntMPD synced with Dropbox. (One of these days I’ll write a post on how important it is to do regular backups on your computer… and not just for TntMPD.)

Some more benefits of having TntMPD on Dropbox are:

  • Your data is protected from a hard drive crash.
  • Retrieve your database if your laptop is lost or stolen.
  • You can have multiple users and / or devices for your database (even when her computer is a MacBook and his is a PC desktop). TntMPD makes sure your data stays in sync.
  • Work both offline and online. For instance, we had limited internet access on a recent trip, but I continued recording appointments and thank yous, which synced later when we returned home.

TntMPD itself is both password-protected and encrypted so it’s safe on your computers and in Dropbox, which is also a secure place. TntMPD is a droplet in the ocean of data on Dropbox. Hackers wouldn’t be trying to crack Dropbox‘s code and then TntMPD’s code. If you’re still concerned about security, then MPDx’s data is on Cru’s servers, so you may prefer that option. (You can’t work offline with MPDx, though.)

Get started with TntMPD on Dropbox (learn how here or watch a video).

If you remember my post, Have (Only One) Database, you need to have a central database. Don’t have “separate houses” for the same data unless you’re synchronizing this data. The following syncs relate to that concept.

Syncing with MailChimp

We’ve received a handful of updated email addresses through MailChimp, which I sync to TntMPD. If you’re using MailChimp, you’ll want the names and email addresses there to match the data in TntMPD. Don’t keep these as two separate databases.

Here’s everything you need to know about syncing with MailChimp.

“Everything-But-the-Kitchen Sync”

Other syncs to consider:

  • TntSync is another option for sharing your database instead of using Dropbox. (Do not use Google Drive or other cloud services to share TntMPD with another user).
  • Even if you don’t use Outlook, you may still want to consider the Outlook Sync feature that’s been built into TntMPD from the beginning. Read this article to learn about sending TntMPD contacts, tasks, and appointments to your Apple or Android phone or tablet through Outlook Contacts, Tasks, and Calendar. TntMPD’s developer, Troy, is using iCloud with iPhone and iPad. I’m using GoogleApps with Android, including a Kindle Fire. (See my post, Syncing Google Apps and Outlook.)

Which sync will you start using?

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Visit the Table of Contents for the You-Can-Too series posts. This post is part of the database series.  Keep following the series for posts on databases, communication, websites, and social media.

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