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New Software Hits Me Hard

     You won’t believe the mess I got myself into. Yes, you will. You’ve done it, too. I know you have. Can be with computers, can be with a new car, a new significant other, a new boss. Things are just never the same again once you decide to make a change.

     Well, me - I thought I’d make my life easier by going out and buying a software package specifically designed to fit the nonprofit business I’m in. I know – nonprofit isn’t a business. And you’re right. Too bad the nonprofit software designers didn’t know that.

     I figured I’d be smart and wait until the fiscal year-end (if you’re not into accounting and all that, don’t worry about the fiscal thing – it doesn’t mean anything different than a regular year-end and you know what that is) to make the switch, so at year-end all I had to do was finish off the books for the past year and rev up the books for the new year and I’d be swimming along into fall.

     Not even. That nonprofit software has inventory and sales invoices and customers and ITEMS. No donors, contributions, pledges – none of that stuff. After trying my valiant best to convert to this custom-designed-for-nonprofits software, I’m drowning in undone, redone and needs-to-be-done work.

     I started out merrily telling the software how much cash we had here and there and over at that other place - and that was just fine. I told it about our furniture and equipment and all that stuff. Then I told the software about the people that owe us money.

     N’unh-uh. The people that owe us money are kind and good people (prob’ly you’re one of them) who have pledged to give us more money come next year and the year after and... Unlike in your normal business situation, they give us money for nothing. Well, it’s not for nothing, but it isn’t for an ITEM that you can buy or make or carry in inventory. 

     In order to record a pledge, the specially-designed-for-nonprofits software insisted I put in an ITEM. No ITEM, no PLEDGE.

     They didn’t buy an item! You should have seen me, sitting there screaming, “We don’t have any ITEMS! We don’t sell anything! We’re a NONPROFIT!!!” Of course, software doesn’t care what you scream.

     After a while I stopped screaming and looked for Help. There were oodles of Help Topics, but none that Helped me. So I went to the online Help. Which wasn’t any more Help than the software Help.

     I found a phone number for customer support and called. The lady told me to look up “pledges” in the Help index. Hey! C’mon. Then she told me there was Help online and said it’s a really good resource. Yeah.

     As a last resort she timidly suggested I might want to call Technical Support, but warned me they charge. The way she said it, the charge must have been eighty dollars a minute or something so I decided that wasn’t an option.

     I rested for two days and then I e-mailed the people at my old software – it’s related to the new - and begged for help. These guys/gals always understand. And they don’t charge. Within five minutes they called me on my very own phone and Helped me. Really Helped me.

     That’s when I decided to stay with the old software.

     So now it’s the middle of August and everything I input to the new software has to be input to the old software and bills are still coming in for last year and none of July has been recorded and the reports are due to the Board of Directors next Tuesday.

     Next time I’m going to change my significant other. It’ll be a lot easier.

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