New Software4Nonprofits Website

Hello DONATION beta testers and advisors.

We have been working on updating our website to look good on any device, especially mobile devices like phones and tablets. It should have an appropriately adjusted display for those devices, so it’s not just squished pages as it is now. On your computer, it should look very much the same as before.

While we have been able to test the pages on a couple of different phones and tablets, obviously that testing is still limited. So we would like to invite you to please take a look at the draft version, which starts at www.software4nonprofits.com/NEW (the caps on “NEW” are required!). If you can, look at it with both a regular web browser on your computer, and any devices you have. Please report any problems in the display and navigation of specific pages to us, so that we can fix them.

When reporting display and navigation problems, please include:

  • the device and the screen size (if known),
  • the problem web page,
  • and the description of the problem.

If you see any typos or anything that appears to be bad writing or factual errors, we’d also love to hear about that! (Those things probably haven’t changed from the current live website.)

Please enjoy the new experience of our website on your mobile devices. As soon as we have a reasonable number of replies, we will upload this draft to be the new official site for DONATION and ACCOUNTS at the main web address.

Thank you.

DONATION New Version Testing

Hello again DONATION beta testers. I have uploaded a new beta test version, 3.79 Beta3. We would greatly appreciate it if as many of you as possible could test it out. As usual, you get it from:

http://www.software4nonprofits.com/pretest.htm

There are a lot of small improvements in it, including:

  • Email Sending Configuration working better with Gmail addresses
  • special setup for users in New Zealand
  • built-in receipts for English Canada fitting in #10 single-window envelopes
  • fixed the date format used in receipts for English Canada and the U.S.A.
  • detecting and trying to prevent duplicate envelope numbers in the same year
  • lots of other small feature improvements and bug fixes, all of which are listed on that pretest.htm page, and the Revision History in the program’s Help.

However, the biggest change from our perspective (which you should really not see at all) is a significant re-organization of the program’s code so that a lot of pieces of it can be shared with our ACCOUNTS bookkeeping program. If we have done this correctly, you won’t see a single difference from it, but if we missed something, some features could fail to work.

Of course, both Kwame and I have carefully tested pretty much every feature in the program, but we know from experience that the more different people test things, the more likely problems are to be caught, because someone else will just try something in a slightly different way than we thought of trying it.

Of course, if you encounter any problems report them to us ASAP and we will fix them and get a fix back to you ASAP as well.

Thank you very much in advance.

DONATION donor-info only password?

Hello again DONATION advisors.

If we added a special password that allowed access to only donor information, no donation or receipt information, would you see this being of value to your organizations, to let another user use the program with that password?

Doing this would actually be a fair bit more complicated than one might think – it’s not just hiding a bunch of reports and parts of various windows. For instance, some reports like Reports -> Donor -> Mailing Labels have a hidden field, that you can Filter on (or export with Save As!) showing each donor’s total donations in the current year. All such reports (and other similar places in the program that perhaps unexpectedly expose donation information) would have to be found and modified.

If this sort of password interests you, please let us know by commenting on this blog post or replying by email. If it doesn’t interest you, there’s no reason to reply, unless you have other thoughts about this possible feature (other than that you wouldn’t use it)!

Thank you.

Cloud Storage Beta Test (2)

Hello again all. I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas had a good one, and anyone else had at least a lovely few days off!

Can I ask again whether some of you who have the Standalone version, use DONATION on more than one computer, and have reliable fast Internet, could please test the new Cloud Storage Service? I really don’t want to release it without more than our own testing and the two users who I know have tested it so far.

Again, you can find it at http://www.software4nonprofits.com/pretest.htm, and the earlier post with more details about this is at https://donationusers.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/cloud-storage-beta/.

The feature is sort of an automated combination of the techniques in the Help topic “Transfer your Data between Computers” and our existing Internet backups. It prevents the dangers of two users making independent changes to their own copies of the database, which then can’t be merged, and means that you never have to remember who has the current “official” copy of the database – the program does that for you.

Testing Rewards

Anyone who does any of the following things, prior to the official release of this version (planned for the end of this month!), who is currently up to date on their payments for DONATION, will receive an extra 3 months’ renewal for support and upgrades:

  • Find and report something that we consider to be bug in a new feature (something larger than a typo in the Help).
  • Point out a flaw, that we consider should be fixed, in the design of a new feature.
  • Do very thorough testing of most or all features in a new release, evidenced by a thorough report back to us on that testing.

I’d be happy to give the same reward to anyone who already did such testing, on request.

Many thanks!

Cloud Storage Beta Test

Hello again DONATION beta testers. As you know, we have been talking about adding a Cloud Storage Service to DONATION for quite a while. It is finally available for beta testing, and we would really appreciate as much testing as possible before we release it to everyone!

The Cloud Storage Service is an optional feature. It is an extension of using Internet Backups to “Transfer your Data between Computers” (as explained in the Help topic with that title). The extension is that when you have it turned on, the program “takes control” of the database when you start DONATION, and then downloads the latest Internet backup. When you exit DONATION, the program uploads your database to become the new latest Internet backup, and releases the control.

You turn on the Cloud Storage Service through a new option at the bottom of the Backup/Restore -> Backup Frequency and Options window.

Under normal circumstances when using Cloud Storage, only one user is able to use the program at a time, because you can only take control if nobody else currently has it. That prevents the current potential problem of multiple people making changes on different copies of the database which cannot be merged. (If someone else has control, you do get an option to use the program “read only”, to just look at data and reports, without making changes.)

The Cloud Storage Service is meant for users who use DONATION on multiple computers, have fast and very reliable Internet access, and do not need simultaneous access. It is a safer alternative to the current “Transfer your Data between Computers” methods, and also an alternative to using the Network version over the Internet, which is complex to set up and something that we don’t strongly recommend!

For many more details, check the following earlier blogs: https://donationusers.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/web-proposal/, https://donationusers.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/cloud-storage-details/ and https://donationusers.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/cloud-storage-question/.

And of course it is described in detail in the Help in the new version! The main topic is titled “Cloud Storage Service” – look that up in the Index of the Help. The topic “Multiple User Options” has also been greatly enhanced to give pros and cons of all of the options.

The new version 3.75 Beta version with the Cloud Storage Service in it is available from our usual beta testing page, http://www.software4nonprofits.com/pretest.htm. Please try it if you can, use the feature, read the Help, and let us know your reactions. If there is any unusual behaviour please let us know in as much detail as possible, and also please give us a general sense of how the service works for you. Corrections or comments on what think might be missing in the Help will also be extremely useful!

There are a lot of features in the Cloud Storage Service. For example, we would like to know your reaction to the way in which we deal with encryption passwords of the Internet backups, especially when you have forgotten your password. A table at the bottom of the “Cloud Storage Service” help page lists various issues that can come up and how the service, or you, deal with them.

You may want to backup your data on to an external location (like a USB memory key) before starting this test. That way, you would be able to go back to the earlier version of your data if something happens during the testing. Another option, if you have extra computers, is to try it on those other computers instead!

Thank you so much in advance for whatever testing you can do. While this feature is conceptually fairly simple, the programming for it was rather complex, so the more different people that test it, the more likely it is to be bug-free when we release it for everyone to use.

 

U.S. Non-profit Postage Permits

This is for our users in the U.S.A. Do any of you use non-profits postage permits from the US Post Office, as described at http://pe.usps.com/businessmail101/postage/designPermit.htm?

One user has asked us to be able to print them on envelopes, and if we are going to consider that, we’d like to know how many other users it would benefit, and what variations in the appearance you are using. If you could send us a scan of an envelope or other piece of mail with that permit printed on it, that would be really helpful.

Thank you.

Help test DONATION Bank Deposits in QuickBooks

If you import bank deposits from DONATION into QuickBooks, and are using QuickBooks 2015, we would very much appreciate it if you could help us with some further testing of a problem one user has encountered. Please email us directly if you can help.

In case you are wondering, the problem has to do with how potentially ambiguous dates, like 11/07/2015 (Nov 7, or July 11?) in the import file are treated, depending on the Short Date Format set in the Window Control Panel Regional & Language tool.

Thank you very much.