You might think the information under the Family tab in TntMPD is pretty straightforward… and it is, but you may be able to use this information more fully. (Part two of these posts about the Family tab in TntMPD will look at the Interests and Profession fields.)
The “Children” field is just a big empty box, in a sense, for up to 100 characters, so what can you do with it? The first question may be what do you want to do with information about family members? I keep track of who’s who while you may wish to send birthday wishes to children. First, let’s look at the simple tracking I do.
A Simple Way to Track Who’s Who
I have a pattern that I use for all records. First, I’ll show young children and then adult children:
- 1st child (birth year), 2nd child (birth year), 3rd child (birth year). I might also include male or female if the name doesn’t make that clear.
- 1st child-spouse (1st grandchild-spouse [great-grandchild]), 2nd child-Wspouse [great-grand, great-grand], 3rd child-spouse
Use the birth year instead of the age of a child or grandchild as these change yearly, obviously. Guess the year if you need to, such as “98?” or “c. 2003.” Here’s some examples for the children field (W is widowed and D is divorced):
- Judy-Nick Powers (Gretchen 2013), Kate, Roy
- Barb Fuller-Chris (3), David-Ellen (7) I didn’t ask for the names of the grand-kids.
- Craig-DJulia (Michael, Tina, Peter), Barb-Paul Carson (Taylor-Shelly [expecting 2015], Andrew, Brenda, Emily), Kathy
Because I know and stick to my system, when I get Christmas letters with all the family activities, I know who’s who. For example, in the last family, the oldest son is divorced, the oldest daughter’s son is expecting the first great-grandchild for the family, and the youngest daughter is unmarried.
Two More Options for Tracking Children’s Birthdates
Mike and I didn’t send birthday wishes to children, but we know staff who have… and then later cultivated these adult children as new ministry partners, so I know this can be worth doing. We have only a few pairs of contacts where parents and children are separate contacts. With that small number and our personal relationships with them, we don’t need to identify who the parents and children are within TntMPD itself.
- If you must have the actual birth date of each child AND you want that birthday to show up in the Birthday & Anniversary Report because it’s a priority to you to acknowledge birthdays, then set up each child as their own contact.
- There’s no limit to how many contacts can be in a TntMPD database.
- I suggest putting the parents’ names in the Referral field as a way to “connect” them together.
- Additionally, by using sync features, TntMPD automatically creates calendar entries to Outlook for birthdays and anniversaries. I also use Google Apps Sync to seamlessly link these Outlook calendar entries to my Google calendar, as well.
- If you don’t want to set children up as individual contacts, schedule a “Recurring Task” for each of the children under the parents’ “Task Tab”.
- Create a “Letter” task and assign it to the 20th of the month before the child’s next birthday, then set this task up as recurring annually using the “How often” button (see next paragraph).
- You should include the birthdate in the description of the task: “Send Phoebe a birthday card (10/14/2001).”
- After you write the birthday card and log the history, TntMPD will automatically generate the next task for the next year.
In order to be on top of card-sending, it’ll help you to address all birthday and anniversary cards on the 20th of the month for next month’s cards. (Read Keep Those Cards Coming.)
I put other children’s information under the Notes tab, such as college attending, missions trips, club recognitions, etc.
How do you use the “Children” field?
- For MPDx users, children and elderly parents and others living with your ministry partner are all added with their own fields inside the donor’s record, so a “system” is not needed.
- Birthday & Anniversary Report tutorial on the TntMPD website.
- Scheduling tasks on the TntMPD website.
- I’m using one of my favorite old family photos for today’s image. I’m in front with my brother, sister, and two uncles.