August 3, 2005

  In this Issue:

  1. Postcard from the Edge
  2. Hot Tip
  3. Best Practices for your Database
  4. Focus On: Getting More out of CompleteCampaigns

    Postcard from the Edge

    Dear Friend,

    Our clients use our software from all sorts of places - coast to coast, north to south, from home, from work, on dialup or via high speed internet connection. (We EVEN have a few Mac users.)

    We are quite accustomed to our clients calling us from the edge of insanity immediately before a filing is due. Still, imagine our surprise when we received a tech support email from the other end of the world! Committee treasurer Jim Parsons, was on a trip in China as he was preparing his FEC report.

    Thankfully, the internet works the same no matter where you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection to start with.

    So when Jim emailed us about a problem with his July Quarterly FEC filing, the biggest problem we ran into was the immense time-zone difference. Luckily, Jim contacted us with plenty of time to spare, and we were able to help him get his report filed well before it was due, with no telephone support whatsoever!

    While this was a really cool experience for our support team, you don't have to be in China to get extra special customer support. All we ask is that you tell us everything you know about your problem, so we can pick up where you left off and get you back on track. We are here to help - we promise!

    Hot Tip Ė Radio Buttons in the Custom Report Generator

    Itís a rare occasion that we donít label something in the database. Usually we try to give you a definitive label so there are no questions about what a button does in the system. This is one of those occasions when the label would be much larger than the button.

    You may have noticed these tiny, little buttons.

    They appear in the Query Details area of the Custom Report Generator after you have built your query in the Custom Report Generator and clicked the Add to Query button. Radio Buttons.

    Theyíre called radio buttons because about a million years ago in old car radios, you pushed one button, the dial moved. When you pushed another, the first choice was dropped and the dial moved again. (I only remember this because my dadís truck only had AM radio and it was torture to drive with him).

    When you click one of our radio buttons, that piece of the query will populate in the Query Builder (when you click another radio button, the first one will disappear and be replaced by the piece you just clicked). This can be helpful in two ways:

    1. If youíve made a mistake in the middle of your query, you can click on the radio button for that piece of the query, make you corrections and click Update Selected.

    2. If you have a big piece of a query and you have to add a similar piece, you can click on the radio button, change what you need to and click Add to Query to add the new piece.

    Hopefully this has helped you figure out a better way to correct your reports, or build more complex reports. Either way, maybe this has solved the mystery of those little buttons. In the meantime, if you have an idea on a simple label for this area, feel free to pass it along to us!

    Best Practices for your Campaign Database System

    While some politicos still cling doggedly to their well-loved clipboards and broken pencils, those items deserve a more appropriate interment in the Museum of Campaigns Past.  Today, you simply must use a database system.  It is the lifeblood of your campaign, the one place (ideally) where you will plan events, track fundraising, catalog volunteers, and manage your budget.
    There are two things you should keep in mind about database systems.  First, you need a good one.  Second, you need to use it right.  A good tool poorly used is no better than no tool at all.  Imagine using your beautiful new Milwaukee brand cordless drill to pound a wood screw into a concrete wall.  (Somewhere, a craftsman felt a shiver go down his spine.)

    Read more in's CampaignGuide.

    Focus On: Database Maintenance

    Focus On is our new series of email tutorials. We will show you a few overlooked features in our system. We encourage you to print this document and keep it next to your computer, to follow along easily through the lesson.

    In this edition, we guide you through all the steps for ongoing databasse maintenance - and no, you don't need to be a programmer to effectively maintain your data.

    Click here to download the PDF document.


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