For the Connected Missionary

Missionary Geek

This guest post is written by Bob MacLeod. Bob serves with Campus Crusade for Christ as the project manager for DonorWise, a ministry donation software. He installs DonorWise in Campus Crusade’s overseas offices. He wrote the documentation for TntMPD and is a frequent contributor to the forums. He also travels the world teaching TntMPD as a regular part of his ministry.

TntMPD logo imageTntMPD is a missionary-focused contact manager uniquely designed to help missionaries build relationships with donors as they seek God’s provision for their ministry funds.

TntMPD was developed by a Campus Crusade for Christ staff member, Troy Wolbrink, for his own benefit in managing his relationships with his ministry partners. (In Campus Crusade, the fund development process is called MPD, “Ministry Partner Development”). The name of the software, TntMPD, is an acronym for Troy and Tammy [Wolbrink’s] Ministry Partner Development. Though he originally wrote it for his own use, it quickly spread to his co-workers and then to their friends, and eventually to those in other mission agencies. Today, approximately 8000 missionaries in more than 150 mission agencies use TntMPD. Because Troy raises his own support, he is able to make TntMPD available completely free at www.tntmpd.com.

If TntMPD saves each missionary 4-6 hours of administration per month for 8000 missionaries, that’s equivalent to sending hundreds of additional missionaries into the field.

As mentioned above, TntMPD has three primary functions:

  1. Contact Management In addition to many obvious contact management features like name and address, TntMPD helps build relationships with partners by tracking birthdays and anniversaries, children, church, employer, etc. Aside from just managing the names and addresses and downloading gifts, TntMPD’s most popular feature is the automated mail merge feature for producing newsletters.
  2. Task Management Building relationships with a large team of donors requires a lot of phone calls, appointments, and letters/emails. Over the years, these can add up into the thousands. Outlook, the most common (I can’t say “most popular”) contact manager, is terrible at tracking tasks with contacts.
  3. Gift Management TntMPD records all of the gifts from donors, and generates tasks related to their giving. The automatic actions are specific to the partner and in response to their financial commitment. For more than 100 mission organizations, they automate this gift input by making it possible for TntMPD users to download gifts directly into TntMPD.

It is the donation management features that set TntMPD apart from basic contact managers such as Act!, Outlook, Google, etc. There are many easy tools for managing names and addresses, and some of those also work well for recording tasks and history such as appointments and phone calls. TntMPD correlates people to the gifts they give, and then generates tasks in response to the contact’s giving. For example, if I tell TntMPD that a donor commits to $50 per month and that donor gives a $250 extra gift, TntMPD will automatically generate a “thank you” task. On my own, I may not have noticed that extra gift.

It is this kind of automation that has proven helpful to many missionaries who use TntMPD. Prior to TntMPD, every missionary had to meticulously review their monthly giving reports looking for donors who gave extra gifts as well as checking to see that partners were current on their commitments. TntMPD not only looks for extra gifts, but also helps the missionary be aware of all unusual giving—above or below their normal commitment.

TntMPD is useful to missionaries at whatever extent they want to use the software. Some use only a few features, while others would describe themselves as “heavy users.” Yet both benefit.

I compare this to two of Intuit’s personal finance tools. Mint.com is delightfully simple, but you have to accept the few features it has; Quicken, on the other hand, is woefully complex for many people, even if they only want to use it simply. But TntMPD does simple and complex things equally well.

TntMPD offers several features that are really helpful if a missionary chooses to use them.

  1. Appeal Tracking tracks special gifts that are given for specific projects. Many missionaries send specific appeals for projects. TntMPD not only tracks the results of specific fund appeals, but also keep those gifts separate from a donor’s regular giving.
  2. TntSync helps spouses use TntMPD separately but keep their databases synchronized easily. One spouse can record phone calls, while another might record a “thank you” written and update an address. When they run TntSync, it sends each person’s task to the other’s TntMPD database so that both have the same information.
  3. TntMPD Pro brings the power of TntMPD to whole teams and even small ministries. A local ministry with five donation accounts can track all of them in one TntMPD database (separate from the individual missionaries own databases), and still synchronize them among the team members using TntSync.
  4. Reporting and Analysis Tools help missionaries review their donors’ giving and help them plan for their fund development. Personally, I had given up raising funds in my home city (Salt Lake City, Utah) because of so much difficulty doing so over the years. But then I discovered when using TntMPD’s analysis tools that Utah was our number one source of funds, even though my wife was from Minnesota. I trusted God anew and stepped out in faith, and since then, almost all of our new support has come from Utah—a state I had all but abandoned.
  5. Comprehensive Help is available right in TntMPD. For any screen a user is in, they just press F1 and get help for that screen. The TntMPD web site—which can be accessed right from within TntMPD—also has a very active forum where users can get answers to questions, or download helps like Handy Reference Guides, a self-study guide, and a packet of tips.
  6. TntMPD.DataServer is a free tool for mission organizations that allows the individual missionaries to download the donation information into their own copy of TntMPD from the organization database.
  7. TntTranslator allows users to translate TntMPD (and the help tools) into their own language using one of three methods: right on the TntMPD web site (ideal for shared translation efforts), in an Excel text file, or in TntTranslator itself (ideal for someone translating everything themselves).

Download and install TntMPD to help you stay better connected to your supporters. It is available for Windows and Mac. If you have any questions you can find the answers in the forums by searching or by asking for specific help for your needs. There is also a Facebook fan page where you can stay up to date with announcements about TntMPD.

About the author

Bob serves on the International Finance team at Campus Crusade for Christ. He works as the project manager for DonorWise, a ministry donation software. As part of his ministry he installs DonorWise in Campus Crusade’s overseas offices as well as trains new missionaries on how to properly manage their finances.

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