Walking Tour

 

A Walking Tour of MemInfo
If you’d like to view the broad picture before zooming in for closeups – and especially if you haven’t dealt with many computer programs – this tour is for you. It walks you through the program at a comfortable pace, neither rushing nor lingering. You emerge with an idea of MemInfo‘s overall design and its basic features (or so we hope). We won’t cover everything in this chapter – we just want to give you a good feel of what it’s all about. But if you’re in a hurry to start using the system, you can skip the tour without missing anything crucial.

— To enter into MemInfo, double-click the MemInfo icon on your desktop.

— An operational note: When the program first starts, an initial screen is displayed containing our logo. You can select items from the main menu (at the top of the screen) only when you are at this initial screen. If you are looking at the Family screen, for example, the menu items (except for Help) are deactivated – you cannot access them until you leave the Family screen and return to this main screen.

small family screenClick the thumbnail for a large image

— You will be asked for your User ID and Password.  If user ID’s have not been assigned, yet, then just leave the signon fields blank and press the Enter key twice. Later, you will learn how to assign User IDs and specify what that user is allowed to do and prohibited from doing. For example, you can indicate that someone is allowed to maintain membership information but cannot view any financial information.

— Click on Membership from the main menu. Then click Families and People. This brings you to the Family screen. Take a moment and study each of the fields that are on this screen. Notice that the address and phone number are on the Family screen (there are also phone numbers on the People screen). In the lower-left area are the names of the People in the Family. And, in the lower-right are some of the special fields that you get to define (1st Class, Newsletter).

— At the top of the screen is a Help menu item. You can click this at any time to learn how to manage the screen you are looking at. For example, if you are on the Family screen, clicking Help will tell you how to fill in each of the Family fields. You also can get Help by pressing the F1 key.

— Click on Pick Person, which is near the lower-left corner of the screen. This takes you to an individual’s screen. Take a moment and study each of the fields that are on this screen. It’s OK to change any of the values if you want to. Click the Modify button on the lower right to permit changes. Notice that work phone numbers and Email address are on the People screen, not the Family screen. And, in the lower-center/right area are more of these fields that you get to define (RE Class, Teacher) – there is one set of fields that apply to Families, and another set that apply to People.

— Click the Next button at the bottom of the screen. This will take you to the next person in that family.

If you have hundreds or thousands of names in your database, you will need an easy way to find particular records. Well, there is such a way. Notice the Searchbutton at the bottom of the screen. There’s one on the Family screen and another on the People screen; they are put on both screens for your convenience, and they do exactly the same thing. We won’t try it now, but this feature will let you find a particular person’s record, or for example it will let you view only those people who have a birthday in the month of July and are Members and live in Bloomsburg.

— Recall that we went from the main menu to the Family screen to the People screen. We have to reverse that order to get out. So, click the DONE button at the bottom of the screen to return to the Family screen, and then click the Done button at the bottom of the Family screen to return to the main menu.

— Choose Membership and then Families and People from the main menu, again. Now, click the Financials button at the bottom of the screen. The top (white) area shows pledges or dues and their payments (the latest transaction is shown first). The bottom (gray) area lists other contributions. Initially, only transactions for the current fiscal year are listed, but if you click the box at the top of the screen that says show all, you’ll get a complete listing of all transactions for that family. Go ahead and try it. Then try clicking the Summary button – read that screen and then click OK.

— Now, return to the main menu by clicking the Done button as many times as necessary.

Great! You now can navigate the Family and People screens. And, the rest is even easier.

— From the main menu, click Finances and then Bulk Data Entry. Do you remember when we went to the Family screen and then to the Financials screen? From that screen we looked at the pledges and receipts for that family. From that same screen, we could have entered new financial data for that family. And, that is the easiest way to manage an entry for one family. But, if you want to enter receipts for 72 families, that would be a real pain. So, instead, we provide this Bulk Data Entry screen. At the top, click Payments. Now, click the center box (where it says “none”) and then click Building Fund. Then, in the middle of the screen, under Amount, type some dollar amounts. You can move across the line by either the Tab key or the Enter key, and you can use the arrow keys or the scroll bar to move up and down, or just use the mouse. Note that a running total is display in a window at the bottom of the list.

In our little test database, we have only a few families; imagine when you have hundreds or thousands of names how easy this will be for entering data! Then, click the Done button, and answer Yes to the next two questions. So, now you’ve looked at all of the data entry capabilities! Next, we’ll generate some reports.

— Click on Membership from the main menu. Then click Reports & Labels. This is where you can print out listings about Families and People. You indicate whether it’s to be a standard report listing or in the form of mailing labels. You indicate whether you want the report to output information for the Family or for each Person. And you indicate how much information is to appear on the report. If you were to just click the Produce button, you would get quite a lengthy listing – of everyone. Usually, you want only a subset of your database – for example, you want mailing labels only for current Members. That’s why we have theSelect button at the bottom of the screen. So, here we go:

— On the Reports & Labels screen, click on Person. Select the sort sequence by clicking on the down arrow by the Sort On window and then scroll down to [P] Last Name. Click the Select People/Families button at the bottom of the screen. Next to Type, double-click on Member. At the bottom of the Search screen, click theSearch button. Then, read the results and click OK. This same Search screen is available in various places in MemInfo. Notice at the bottom of the Reports screen it says “Only Searched Entries Will Be Included.” Now, click Preview. Now you can scroll around the report, or maximize the window.

— Close the preview screen and click Done to get back to the main menu.

— Under Membership, you’ll see Newsletter Labels and Membership Directory. We won’t look at these special processes now, but keep in mind that they are available.

— Click Finances on the main menu. Under Reports there are many options. We won’t do these now, but here’s a summary: Pledges/Dues and Receipts(Detailed)shows which families have paid or promised to pay how much. Summary/Analysis Reports provides various statistics on overall dues/pledges, so that you can analyze these activities. Statements prints reports of pledges and contributions for each family who has any financial activity.

— Click Tables and then Member Types on the main menu. Look familiar? You can add to, remove from, or modify this list. Click Done.

— Click Tables and then Member Relations on the main menu. This is used to try to identify who are the grown ups in the family and who are the kids. The only place that MemInfo uses this is in generating the membership directory . You can add to, remove from, or modify this list. Click Done.

— Click Tables and then Member Activities on the main menu. This is used to specify the types of activities that you want to track (for example: board member, teacher, committee head). Click Done.

— Click Tables and then Member Interests on the main menu. This is used to specify the types of interests or skills that you want to track (for example: Choir, Computers, Social Events). Click Done.

— Click Tables and then Custom Fields on the main menu. This is used to specify attributes of families and people that you want to track (for example: Cluster, Newsletter, Religious Education Class). Click Done.

— Click Tables and then Accounts on the main menu. This is used to indicate the accounts for pledges, dues, and receipts. Lots of options, here: are balances carried forward to the next year? Are payments tax deductible? etc. Click Done.

— Click File and then About on the main menu. Read the screen, and then click Done.

— Click Membership and then Integrity Check (Membership). Your data can have inconsistencies in it or may be incomplete. This screen tries to find them. Click Go, Preview and read the report. MemInfo can remind you to run an integrity check at appropriate times. Close the report window and Cancel the Integrity Check

— Click File and then Setup and then Preferences on the main menu. Normally, you would set the values on this screen once, and never need to change them. Notice that the first question on the screen asks you if MemInfo should remind you to run integrity checks. We recommend “Yes.” Click Done.

— Click File and then Setup on the main menu. Rebuild Indexes aids the recovery from catastrophes, such as the electricity going out while you are working onMemInfo. User ID’s and Rights is where you assign identification names and passwords, and indicate what each user is/not allowed to do in MemInfo. Delete Data resets your database, either removing financial information for a specific year, or starting over with no families, and no people – don’t worry: security on this is very tight.

— Now, click Exit on the main menu.

There, you’ve made it to the end of the tour. We hope you’re not too pooped out. It’s really not too tough to use MemInfo. The only difficult part is decidinghow you want to use it: What are the categories of peoples? What are the special pieces of data that you want to record? …

So, good luck, and enjoy!