Things That Go Bump in the Night

Halloween is right around the corner, and it has me thinking of things that go bump in the night. I thought I’d share the 3 scariest things I hear from people when it comes to technology and fundraising software. The good news is, these 3 scary things are all easily remedied or avoided, so you don’t need to stay awake at night in fear.

What backup?
Every once in a while, we get a frantic call from someone who has accidentally purged 1000 records, only to discover that they selected the wrong query to use for purging the records. This is a very scary situation. It’s one of those times when, if you’re the person who just watched all those records disappear, you want to scream “Eek!” If you have a backup strategy that includes periodic testing of the backups, then this “Eek!” moment can be downsized to a minor “Aw, nutz!” moment.

Before you delete records from your database, take a moment and ask your IT department to back up your database. Or, if you know your backups run every night, perform your deletion operations first thing in the morning. Then, if something goes wrong, you just need to ask IT to restore a backup. (It helps if you bring candy when you ask.)

In addition to implementing a regularly scheduled backup of your database, have your IT department restore one of the backups at least once a month. That way you’ll know that your backups are working.

If you or your IT folks do not know how to perform backups using SQL Server Express, contact our Support department. We have a document you can give to your IT department that may be of help.

Who has time for training?
Everyone is super busy these days, and training is one of those things that it may seem like there isn’t time to do. When tempted to throw some poor soul into a task for which they haven’t been trained, think of this: It will likely take hours to identify, undo, then re-do a task that was performed incorrectly in your database. And that’s assuming the “badness” didn’t accidentally get “out the door” and into the hands of your donors.

Speaking of assumptions, that’s another scary thing.

No, the software can’t do that. (Typically heard from the same person who asks “Who has time for training?”)
If you are unsure if your software can do something, first check out the online help. It’s faster than calling support. If you don’t find it there, call Technical Support; it’s possible that it is available, but that it has a name that is different from what you expect. (Some day, when I’m really hurting for topic ideas, perhaps I’ll regale you with all the time I spend searching Microsoft’s web site for things I know are there, but I can’t find because I’m searching for them using different terms.) It’s very likely your software or vendor has the feature or service you seek.

Are there things you hear that have you shaking in your boots? Do you have ways to handle these things that make them less frightening?