Learning from the Learners

This week we are in the midst of a three-day session of the ResultsPlus Essential Elements class here at our corporate headquarters in Rochester MN. (We’re also in the midst of a serious heat wave, but thankfully most of the attendees are from the Midwest and are well-accustomed to this type of mood-swing in the weather.)

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YouTube Channel

Metafile has recently launched a YouTube channel for ResultsPlus. We have put a video on Solicitor Metrics on the channel for your viewing. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be uploading additional videos on industry topics. If there is a topic you’d like to see us cover, let us know!

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Moves Management, ResultsPlus and You

An increasing number of inquiries are coming in about Moves Management and how software can help implement it. For organizations with a staff large enough for specialists, it is probably a familiar concept and term. For smaller and one-person development offices, it may be yet on the horizon.

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Query…Everyone’s Favorite Tool

Today I held a somewhat long conversation with…myself. It went something like this:

Query is one of the most powerful tools I have in my ResultsPlus toolbox. It’s my favorite thing to do in ResultsPlus. I can use it to analyze most any imaginable scenario, as long as I’ve got the data. With this kind of magical tool in everyone’s hands, how could it not be the hands-down favorite?

Ah, Self, let me count the ways for you…

  1. I don’t know where to find the information I want to analyze.
  2. I cannot ensure that the data is entered that I will later want to analyze.
  3. Ands and Ors are confusing.
  4. Parentheses: The bane of my existence.

Hmm…Self, you make some valid points. Let’s work through them.

  1. Did you know that the database fields are identified in the tooltips for the fields? If you know where the information “lives” on the screens, you can hover your mouse pointer over the label and the database field name will appear. If you prefer to see the fields in list form, you can print the fields from the ResultsPlus Help system.
  2. This one is tricky. At the start of any campaign, we probably identify how we want to analyze it later. Perhaps we can make certain fields required in ResultsPlus so we cannot accidentally forget to populate them. We can also set up default values in our Quick Entry forms for gift, pledge, membership, and adding new constituents. If the needs are more complex, we can talk with support about additional options. (OK, so maybe I didn’t have this whole conversation with myself, but the suggestions are still valid options! :-))
  3. Ands and Ors can definitely be confusing. This is because, in English, sometimes “and” actually means “or” (“I want everyone from Minnesota and Iowa included”), but in query languages that NEVER happens. Being aware of when this is likely to occur goes a long way toward clearing up the confusion.
  4. Ah, parentheses…think of them as the two arms of a hug. A hug you only need if you are working with both Ands and Ors in the same query. (After all, Ands and Ors are confusing, so a hug seems like it might be needed therapy!) Years ago, we had a trainer who had one of the best examples of how parentheses are used in “real life.” She used the example of ordering breakfast.A person would get steak and eggs, country potatoes or hash browns, and toast or fruit. In this case, the commas work pretty well as parentheses. Let’s re-write the menu:  Steak and eggs and (country potatoes or hashbrowns) and (toast or fruit)

If you still aren’t convinced the query is one of the best things ever, we also cover many aspects of query in the Help. Here is a snapshot of some query topics:

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