"Thanks!! I love the software and it has made our small charity a delight to manage. I also recommended it to a client, who then purchased the full package and has used it successfully to manage thousands of donors, create very professional letters and significantly improve their operation."
-- Michael D., Trident Consulting Group, Massachusetts
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In a recent survey, more than 25% of respondents said FundRaiser Basic has directly contributed to an increase in donations!
In a recent survey of FundRaiser Basic users, 90% of respondents indicated that Basic has solved their fundraising problems!

Most problems in FundRaiser Basic for Windows are caused by disk and file errors and by memory conflicts.  Fortunately, they can be easily fixed in most cases.  If the solutions given here do not resolve your problems, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@FundRaiserSoftware.com.

Run File Maintenance

One of the most common causes of problems in FundRaiser Basic is that the index files (the files that keep things in alphabetical order) get out of sync with the database files.  There are two ways to fix this:

  • First, before doing any of the following, create a backup of you data. This ensures that if any kind of error occurs during these operations, your data can be restored to its last best version. While it is unlikely that an error will occur, this is still an important step to take any time you make changes to your data.
  • Run File Maintenance from the File menu in FundRaiser Basic.  You can and should do this at least once a month.  Think of it as good housekeeping.

  • Delete all NDX files.  If you cannot start FundRaiser Basic without getting an error, the most likely cause is that one of the index files is damaged. For more detailed instructions with screen shots, see this page on deleting NDX files.

    • First, close FundRaiser Basic. When you delete the NDX files, FundRaiser Basic should NOT be running. To make sure that you only delete the NDX files and nothing else, change your Windows View menu choice to "Details", then click on the TYPE column header, so that all the NDX files are all grouped together.
    • You can delete all the NDX type files in the FRBW folder (using the Windows Explorer) because FundRaiser will rebuild them when you start the program.

Run Check Data Integrity

Sometimes, a disk or other error can cause damage to the FundRaiser databases.  Fortunately, FundRaiser can fix itself.  Just click on the File menu to see Check Data Integrity.  This process tests 4 different aspects of your databases and will, on your direction, fix them.

  • Duplicate Account Numbers  If two donor records have the same account number, then any gifts from either of them will appear on both accounts.  There will be no way to tell them apart.  This can be caused by disk errors.  FundRaiser will assign a new account to all duplicate records, and will show you on the report what new number it has assigned.  You should review the gifts on the original account - delete and re-enter any that do not belong there.

  • Data Scan  This looks for bad spots in your database.  It will blank out any bad areas that it finds.  You should examine these records and delete any that are clearly invalid.  If you cannot access these (a worst case situation), please contact us.  We will probably ask you to send or email the files to us so that we can fix them for you.

  • Verify Account Numbers.   This portion examines each account number to make sure it is valid.  Because these are almost always due to disk errors, and contain nothing but gibberish, FundRaiser marks each of these as deleted.  They will be physically erased when you next run File Maintenance.  Before you do so, however, you should examine each to make sure that there is no valid data that needs to be recovered.

  • Orphaned Gift Records   The gifts are recorded in a database separate from the main record where the biographical (name, address, phones, etc) information is kept.  They are linked by account number.  If the main record disappears, then the gifts are orphaned.  This is quite unusual and is usually caused by disk errors.

Fixing Disk Errors in WindowsBackground

Disk Errors are the inability of Windows to find all of a file, or an attempt to record foreign pieces of other programs or data in the middle of your data, or an attempt to record a portion of one file in the same place on the disk that it has already recorded another file, resulting in corrupted databases.  These errors can be found and corrected using ScanDisk, a Windows utility, after which you must run File Maintenance from the File menu.

Database programs, like FundRaiser Basic, are much more susceptible to disk errors than are less disk-intensive programs like word processors and spreadsheets.  Disk errors are the single most common cause of FundRaiser Basic problems.

Causes

Disk errors are most often caused by the computer being turned off without Windows being properly shut down.  This might be caused by a power failure, a computer lockup, a chase (children?  cats?) resulting in a pulled power cord, or a curious child wondering what that on/off switch does.  Disk errors can also be caused by a flaw on the surface of the disk itself.  It is important that you run ScanDisk after any power failure, and that you test the surface of the hard disk at least once a year.  It is also a good idea to run ScanDisk every couple of months, even if you experience no disk error symptoms, simply as a matter of good housekeeping.

Running ScanDisk

  1. Close all applications

  2. Click on the Start button

  3. Go to Programs | Accessories | System Tools, and then click on ScanDisk.

    • Some dealers do not install ScanDisk, and sometimes even leave off the entire System Tools section.  If you do not find these on your computer, then ask your computer dealer for the instructions on how to install these from your original Windows 95 CD.

  4. Select the proper drive (usually C:)

  5. For Type of Test, select Standard.

    • To also test the surface of the disk for physical flaws (which you should do at least once a year), select Thorough instead.  This test may take several hours.

  6. Make sure that Automaticaly Fix Errors is checked.

  7. Click on the Advanced button.

    • for Display Summary, make sure that Always is selected

    • click OK

  8. Click on the Start button.  This normally takes just a few minutes to run.

  9. When it is done, ScanDisk will report the results -- it will either report "errors found and fixed", or "no errors found".  Click on the Close button to get out of the report, then on the Close button for the ScanDisk dialog.

Now run File Maintenance in FundRaiser Basic

  • It is possible that your database has become corrupted by the disk error.  If you continue to experience problems, see bits of gibberish where data should be, have reports that skip over data, or get error messages that refer to "Topaz" or to data files, then it would be best if you contacted us for assistance in clearing up the database corruption.

  • It is also possible that the program itself has become corrupt.  You can always re-install FundRaiser from a CD or from a file downloaded from this website. Our program installations never affect data, just the program and help files.

Windows 95 Network Bug

There is a bug in a Windows 95 file that can misreport the size of a file when it is opened across a Windows network (Windows NT or a Win95/98 peer-to-peer network).  The result is that the database is damaged.  This error was fixed in Windows 98.

The file is Vredir.vxd, which is the "Virtual Network Redirector", and the problem definitely occurs in version 4.00.1111.  There is also some question as to whether the problem occurs in versions earlier than 4.00.1116 - our recommendation would be to update if your version is older than that.

Here is how to determine if you have the offending version, and what to do about it.  On each workstation that may open FundRaiser even once:

  1. Click on the Windows Start button, then on Find, then on Files
  2. In Named, type:   vredir.vxd   and click on Find Now.
  3. When the file is displayed in the bottom part of the window, RIGHT-click on the icon to access its popup menu.
  4. Click on Properties, and then on the Version tab.
  5. If your version number is less than 4.00.1116, and you are running Windows 95, then you should install the VRDRUPD.EXE update.

Where to get the VRDRUPD.EXE update:

  1. Go to our webpage at www.FundRaiserSoftware.com/special.html
  2. Double-click on VRDRUPD.EXE to download the file.
  3. When your browser shows you where it will download the file, you should probably choose to put it on a diskette (your 3-1/2 floppy A) so that you can install it on other computers.
  4. On any computer that needs this update, install it by going to My Computer or to the Windows Explorer, then navigating to your Drive A, and then double-clicking on the vrdrupd.exe file.

Remember, this is only for computer running Windows 95 and only if you are running on a Microsoft network.

Memory Conflicts

Background

Memory conflicts occur when a program cannot use a portion of RAM that it expects to have access to.  (RAM is the memory that is in chips, not the hard disk, and is where the program resides when it is running.)  These can be especially hard to find, but there are a few things you can try to resolve the problem:

Solutions:

  • Turn your computer off at least once a day.  Some people need to leave their computer on overnight which is when their backup system has been scheduled to automatically operate.  In this case, it is best to shut down Windows, and turn your computer off (don't just reset or reboot) for about a minute.  This totally clears memory, and keeps Windows from becoming "muddleheaded" (computer jargon).
  • Close other applications.  This is especially important if you have less than 32mb of RAM.
  • Close and re-enter FundRaiser.  If you get an error in FundRaiser, it is usually best to close the program so as to clear up any memory problems.  In some severe cases, it may be necessary to also shut down Windows in order to fully clear the memory.  You should do this whenever you have difficulty in clearing FundRaiser from the Windows taskbar at the bottom of the screen.
  • Reduce Static Electricity.  Especially in the winter, static electricity can severely disrupt the memory in a computer.  If you can feel any static, that is too much for your computer.  A common technique is to spray a wide area (within 50' of the computer) with a solution of fabric softener and water (1 or 2 capfuls per quart/liter of water).
  • Make sure your computer is grounded.  Older electrical outlets may not have a proper ground.  Inexpensive outlet testers may be purchased at hardware stores with which you can test whether outlets are grounded and are wired properly.  You can also ask an electrician to test this for you.