Prepare for Vacation Bible School Now

TipsMost churches have some type of Vacation Bible School during the Summer. Some have it at night, while other have it during the day. Some make it a family affair and offer supper prior to the classes, while other churches have VBS at various homes instead of at the church. Whatever type of VBS you will have, I’m sure you are already planning for it.

This post is to remind you of a few tips for making this easier for both the families and the church staff. Remember, tracking enrollment and attendance in VBS for your guests and members helps you minister better to the whole family. Use that data for that 3rd bullet point!

Praying you all have a safe, happy, wonderful VBS and touch the lives of many children and their families with the love of God. That’s what it is all about (apologies to the Hokey-Pokey).

Failed Recurring Giving

TipsIf your church is using online giving, there will be times that a donor’s recurring giving will fail. This will be due to one of several reasons, such as an expired credit card, an incorrect account number, insufficient funds, or some other reason. When that happens TouchPoint will notify via email both the donor and the finance office at your church.

Notice to the Donor

The email sent to the donor will contain the failed message (the reason it failed) that TouchPoint received from the payment processor with a suggestion that he contact the church.

What does that mean for the donor?

This means that whatever amount he had specified will not come out of his bank account or be charged to his credit card, nor will the amount be added to his giving record. The donor can go online to his people record (Giving > Statements tab), select Manage Recurring Giving and revise his recurring giving settings. Depending on the reason for the failure, he may need to contact his bank to resolve the issue.

Notice to the Church

The email to the Finance user at your church will also indicate the reason for the failure but also has a link to the failed transaction.

What action should the church take?

Even though the donor should have received an email notification, too, we recommend that you contact him as a courtesy and be prepared to assist him in making whatever changes are necessary to  ensure that his online giving will successfully process. You may also want to go to your processor’s website to find out more about the codes they use for failed transactions, so that you understand exactly what the problem is.

Read more…about managing who at the church receives notices and how to create a custom email notice for your donors.


New Bundle Report Recipe

2016-10-14_18-15-16It seems we have been blogging about new features for finance users a lot lately. Sometimes that is just the way it goes. This post is about another feature for finance users – a Bundle Report.

If you like to keep track of cash and check sub-totals by donor using a printed report, we have a recipe for you. This report will put a summary at the top of the report, then a list of donors below. The list will display the cash donations first followed by a sub-total and then the list of check donations also followed by a sub-total. After that is a grand total. Because this was designed to be printed, we also included a signature line where your counters can sign off on the bundle.

This report is probably more suited for smaller churches with one or two bundles per day. It is a per bundle report. If you want a report of your total bundles for the day with a cash/check breakdown per bundle (without the details), you will use the Deposit Report.

If this seems like something you would want, check out the recipe! It’s as easy as copy and paste. Then, voila – you have your report link displaying on the bundle page ready for you to click on it and then print from your browser.

Thank you to First Baptist Church, Springfield, LA for sponsoring this project.

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Self-Support for Mission Trips

2017-02-28_10-25-24In recent weeks, we noticed several mission trip participants making payments toward their trips by using Support Links instead of their paylink or the make payment link on their people record. This can cause some confusion and cause payments to get recorded incorrectly. We decided to do something about that. We added 2 new prompts and now prevent someone from making these mistakes.

1) If a Goer (a participant in a mission trip) attempts to make a self-support payment using a Support Link that is configured with his people ID # on the end of it, he will receive a prompt saying “You cannot self-support from this page.”

2) If a Goer tries to use a generic Support Link (such as one posted on your website) that allows someone to select a Goer from the list, he will not see his name in the list. He will also see a prompt reminding him to either use a paylink or the make payment link from his people record in order to make a self-support payment.

We do pay attention to how people use the features in TouchPoint. This is a case in point. Once we realized that there could be confusion, we took steps to prevent that from happening.

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Pictures – not worth 1,000 words when upside down!

I love being able to look up someone in our TouchPoint database and see what the person looks like. But sometimes those pictures are upside down or sideways. That’s not good! But don’t despair, there is a very easy way to fix those.

Before I show you how to rotate and save those pictures so that your members are upright and not standing on their heads, let me mention a couple of related features we added a few months ago.

  • Every people record has a tab named System > Changes. We are now logging whenever someone’s record has a photo uploaded or deleted, along with the name of the user that made the change.
  • That is helpful, but even better is the email notice that we send to your church’s New People Manager(s). This email lets that staff member know that a picture has been uploaded, but it also has a link directly to the person’s record. Why? So your New People Manager can look at each picture that has been added to your database and make any necessary adjustments.


Most pictures will be just fine, but for those cases when they are oriented incorrectly here is how to make those adjustments. This can be done by anyone with Edit or a My Data user himself for his own picture.

Keep reading if you prefer written instructions to a video.

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Contributions: 3 time-saving tips

TipsOver a year ago (Jan. 2016) I blogged about 3 changes on the post bundle page that make posting contributions easier for you. We have added quite a few new clients since then and some of you may have missed it the first time. So, I am reposting about these 3 helpful additions.

  1. Split into Multiple Funds – When you have a dollar amount already entered for a donor and you need to divide it among several funds, just click Actions > Split and enter the amounts separated by a space.  If you have 3 funds, enter only 2 amounts. The third fund will be the initial entry. Now just select the correct fund for each amount.
  2.  Adding Missing Check Numbers – If for some reason your bank import misses a check number, you can easily add that to the contribution. The word Empty will display where the check number should be. Just click on that and enter the check number.
  3. Access a People Record – When you posting contributions, sometimes you need to view a people record to make address changes or verify something. Once you enter the PID# or the person’s name and add that entry, you can click on the  person’s name which will open the people record in a new tab. This makes it so easy for you to update an a record without losing your place posting contributions.

All 3 of these time-savers are demonstrated in this short (under 2 minutes) video.

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When Is Empty not Empty? When it Is the Empty Template!

WordToTheWiseWe call it the Empty Template, but it has a very important use and should be in every TouchPoint database. It presents your senders a template option that does not have anything already added such as a logo or a footer. It is also a blank slate for you to copy when creating new templates.

Every database starts out with several templates, one of which is named Empty Template, which, as previously stated, is sort of empty. It contains some code and the words “Click here to edit content” in the body of the email. These words  disappear the moment the person follows that instruction and clicks in the body of the email. The are there just to show the user where to click.

We have noticed that quite a few of our churches no longer have an Empty Template in their databases. That is because someone has deleted it, not realizing that it needs to remain in your database. So, we have created simple step-by-step instructions (along with the necessary code) for you  to add this back into your database. Remember, only a user with Admin or Design role can create, edit, and delete templates.

If you do not add this template back into your database, the system will automatically present what is named Blank Template as an option for your users when they are sending an email. While you may hope that they will select a nice template, they might just select that Blank Template. That pseudo-template does not have all the features of the Empty Template, so you really should go ahead and put this Empty Template back into your database to avoid any issues.

Click here for simple instructions and the code.

Click here to read more about creating email templates.

Click here to read about using email templates.