FileMaker, the publisher of the newly released Bento 2 individualized database application, has just released a Holiday Pack with special templates and new views that let you easily create a database for your holiday card list and/or your gift and donation list.
The company is offering the Contacts & Cards and Gifts & Donations templates along with a free 30-day trial of the software. Those who already own Bento 2 can get the free Holiday Pack as well.
I have done the whole thing for my holiday card list– handwritten notes, neat little tables, even databases. This simple database beats them all hands down. And the Contacts & Cards template is not just for this year; it lets you continue your list through 2012 so you can just continue to modify it as needed.
To use the holiday card list theme, called Contacts & Cards, you can enter your data name by name. If you already have the information in a spreadsheet, such as a Numbers or Excel database file, it is even easer because you can import the data quickly.
One of the beauties of this is that you can set your name file up anyway you want to so that if you address your cards to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, or John and Jane Smith, or John Smith and Jane Jones, or whatever other combination you need, you can put it that way in your first field and then stretch the field to fit as demonstrated in my sample.
To save yourself a headache, if you are importing a database file, be sure the names of your columns exactly match the names of the fields that they will occupy. To do differently confuses the program.
The other template in the free offering, Gifts & Donations, allows you to keep up with gifts and donations. Here is an example of an entry:
As you can see, the basic format lends itself to both personal and business giving and allows you to keep records as needed. You have the option of installing more than one copy of the free templates so if you wanted to create one for business and another for personal use, it would not be a problem.
The Bottom Line
This free holiday pack presents a great opportunity to try out Bento 2 while setting up two great systems, one for monitoring holiday cards, and the other for monitoring gift giving and donations. The learning curve is about an hour.