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Blog Posts

  • Failure To Launch
    Whoo hoo! It's the most wonderful time of the year. And here we know that that's Giving Tuesday (what else did you think we were refering to?). Your team has been busy planning, Gramming, reporting and cavorting all in prepartation for November 29. It's going to be a busy day!  While all of the prep work might be done, there will be plenty to do on the day of as ... more
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  • Ready to run the best report for #GivingTuesday?
    Is your Organization as excited about #GivingTuesday as we are?! Last year, Blackbaud moved 39.6 million dollars for Organizations just like you! That's amazing! This year, we want to make sure that you have a few tips and tricks to help make this #GivingTuesday the best one yet!  more
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  • Stopping That Next Future Payment
    A recurring gift is an easy way for donors to pay off a large donation over a certain length of time. When it's time to stop those payment from coming through to your Organization, there could be a few different places to look depending on where they are making the recurring gift.  more
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  • Extracting Your Sphere Database
      Your organization may need to extract all data from within their Sphere account for migration purposes or in order to create a report of everything in Sphere or an all inclusive data export. The file export can then be used as a database back up of Sphere. This can be done by a Database Export.   more
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  • COURSE RELEASE: Best Practices: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
    Have you downloaded Blackbaud’s 2016 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study ? If not, take a moment to do so, there’s so much to learn! Before you have a chance to read it, I’ll give you a hint of what’s to come: 2015 was another great year for peer-to-peer fundraising . Technology and social media have made it easier than ever for constituents to share their ... more
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  • Returning The Money
    What happens when someone needs a refund or gave a little more than they should have? Well we need to reverse the money or we can reverse just some of it. Now what is a transaction that I am referring to in short it would be a gift, payment, or order such as purchase and registration? For these you can perform a full or partial reversal. We may need to perform a ... more
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  • Keep The Flow Going
    Recurring giving is a highly successful fundraising method for many nonprofi ts! In addition to making it easy for donors to give larger donations over time, a successful recurring gift program can expand your donor pool and reduce donor attrition. We want to keep these contacts happy and keep automatic giving as hassle free as possible to encourage those donors, so it's key that we know how to update their donor information in the event of an expired credit card, address change, etc.  more
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  • What To Do With Fraudulent Transactions In Account
    Fraudulent transactions may happen but we can help prevent this and provide the steps to best troubleshoot and reverse the transactions.  more
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  • Charging Your Way To Your Fundraising Goal
    You have a Kinterathon event within Blackbaud Sphere that requires participants to raise a certain fundraising goal amount before its end date. If they raise under that goal amount, their credit card will be charged the remaining balance of their fundraising goal. There is a feature in Blackbaud Sphere's KinteraThon events bookkeeping that allows the Sphere user to do this. It is called the Batch Auto-Charge tool.  more
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  • Now Where Was This Supposed To Go Again
    What happens when a supporter accidentally registers for an event when they really wanted to sponsor or donate? Now you may not be sure of this is the blog for you so let me give you an example of what this may apply to, someone registered for an event and meant to donate to it, or someone completed a sponsorship when he or she should have registered. These are ... more
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  • Sphere Said, Bank Said
    If you are running transaction reports like the  Activity Summary Report , some day you might possibly find that a transaction failed. Well, of course you want to reach out to let the donor know so that they can try again and continue to support your misson! However, what should you do if the donor says it didn't fail, that instead they see the successful transaction on their bank statement?    more
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  • Let's Fix That Oopsie...Part Two!
    Your organization can choose to have different Sponsorships entered into your Kintera Thon event. These are fun because you can also choose to have a View Our Sponsors page and display their logos within this event! Sometimes, a sponsor may call in letting you know they have made a mistake and would like to change some aspect of their sponsorship. Much like the previous donation oopsie blog, sponsorships can also be edited depending on their transaction type!    more
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  • Let's Fix That Donation Oopsie!
          Have you ever had a donor call into your organization asking to change the donation that was made to your event in some way? Depending on the type of transaction, we can help you out with that! For this blog we will walk through what we can edit in both a pending and confirmed donation within a Kintera Thon event! Stay tuned and expect some tips on sponsorships as well.   more
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  • Why Might A Supporter See A Duplicate Charge
    Hearing the words duplicate charge can be a concern but we're here to help explain why this might happen for a supporter.  more
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  • Drawing A Blank With Exported Excel Reports???
    You ran a report in Blackbaud Sphere and want to export it to Microsoft Excel. You clicked the Export to XLS link to export the results.  The report export completed successfully and created a spreadsheet for the report Microsoft Excel, but the report is blank. more
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  • Getting In Formation To Credit Your Donations
      You are receiving donations in various forms of payment such as cash, checks and offline credit card donations that donors would like to be creditted to an existing participant or team within your KinteraThon event in Blackbaud Sphere. The great thing is that the donations can be entered by you as a Sphere user in the back-end; which will go towards the event's totals.   more
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  • Make The Most Of Your Resources
    Have you checked out our  Resources  page? It's a great place to find helpful tips and how-to's.     more
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  • Hide and Seek
    In just America, we have conducted a staggering 20.3 billion searches in one month. Google accounted for 13.4 billion searches, followed by Yahoo! (3.3 billion), Microsoft (2.7 billion), Ask Network (518 million), and AOL LLC (277 million). Knowing how to harness those searchers helps you attract potential donors!  more
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  • Where Does The Money Come From?
    We all know that with each and every Kinterathon we are trying to raise money. But where does the money to set up the event come from. From previous events? Possibly. From individuals? Again possibly. But what helps out a cause to get the event going? The answer is sponsors.    more
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  • WHAT THE FAQ??
      Have you ever added the pre-designed FAQ page to your Kintera Thon event only to find that it’s not your organizations frequently asked questions? Maybe you’ve wondered " Is there is a way to create a custom page that is specific to my event and participants? " This blog is here to show you how!    more
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  • Make Your Event Friendly To Find With A Domain Name
    Don’t be alarmed with what may sound like a fancy term. A domain name is a simplified web address to help people easily find and recognize your web site. For example: www.myevent.org. That domain name can then easily be shared and remembered by users for easy access to your site. more
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  • Making The Friends Asking Friends Switch: Standard To Essentials
      You currently have Friends Asking Friends events that are using the Standard Template design, but would like to give them a face lift. Blackbaud Sphere users have the option of converting their Friends Asking Friends events to the updated Essentials Template design.  more
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  • Making The Connection: Raiser's Edge Sphere Connector
      Wouldn't it be awesome to use a module that synchronizes Sphere event information so that the Raiser's Edge database has the latest constituent information? This can be done via the Raiser's Edge Sphere Connector by syncrhonizing Friends Asking Friends event information from Blackbaud Sphere into The Raiser's Edge.    more
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  • Mobile Fundraising Made Easy
      Want to expand your event's presence past the desktop? Allow participants to easily fundraise anywhere and anytime?  Blackbaud Sphere users can enable the Fundraising with Friends mobile app for their Friends Asking Friends events. The mobile app allows participants to fundraise from their iPhone or Android mobile devices. In addition, participants can download the mobile app to track their events and connect with donors. more
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  • Avoid Being Labeled As SPAM: Build A Good E-mail Reputation
      Blackbaud Sphere users can minimize the likelihood that internet service providers (ISPs) will flag their messages as SPAM by maintaining a positive sender reputation.  more
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  • Eliminating Duplicates Real-Time
      Real-Time Dedupe (formerly, Auto Dedupe) automatically checks for duplicate records entered into the database (manually, via online forms, batch entry, or import) and then merges the new record data with the most current record that already exist in the database. more
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  • Adding Header Images And Header Logos To Your Thon Event
    The Essentials template allows for you to add a header logo and header images using a number of different combinations. Knowing the correct size and dimensions to use for your images is key when trying to make your site look the best, so let’s get started!   more
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  • Tidy Up Your Sphere Users & Their Access
    Do you know who has access to your Sphere account or what access those users have? It’s not often that we check our list of users, but now may be a good time to tidy up a bit. By utilizing the Manage Users function in Sphere, you can control who has access to your account and what they can do.   more
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  • Email Blasts
    Have you ever needed to update your participants? Have you been looking for a way to notify everyone who previously participated in an event that the next one is coming up? Would you like to keep everyone updated on your organization itself? Then an email blast might be right for you.  more
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  • Spruce Up Your Kintera Thon Event Home Page
        Spring is here! While you might have already done your spring cleaning with some of the tips and tricks mentioned in our previous blog post, there are also ways to spruce up the visual aspect of your Kintera Thon event Home page to put your best digital foot forward. Your event Home Page is going to be the first page that people see when they visit your website so now is your chance to WOW them!   more
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  • Looking To Customize The Report You Receive In The Mail From Sphere?
                                                        Twice a month, you will receive a report in the mail from Blackbaud Merchant Services. If you’re looking to run that report in Sphere and also give it a little of your organizations flare, here are some steps you can take to do this!   more
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  • Help Your Participants Send Successful Emails
    To reach as many donors as possible is the goal of peer to peer fundraising. Participants have the tools in their headquarters to achieve this, track their data and see the successful results of their email communications.   more
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  • New In-Product Help Links!
    The Sphere Product Development Team just released Sphere version 9.4.6.8. The full list of issues addressed can be found here as well as on the Sphere How-To Page . I wanted to take a moment to focus on the item that I am most excited about – In-product help links! more
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  • Sphere Spring Cleaning Checklist
               It’s that time of year again. The snow has melted, the birds are chirping, and your Sphere account has gotten a bit cluttered. Don’t worry, this is normal. Throughout the course of your Thon Events it is inevitable that your different Sphere modules will become overgrown with test events and forms, with resized and copied images, and with duplicate contact records taking up space. This checklist will help you to get your account back in order.   more
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  • Looking for Ways to Optimize your Sphere Emails?
    Here are some steps you can take to ensure the maximum number of emails reach inboxes. more
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  • We Want You to Have the Best Tools to Succeed!
    Through a joint effort between our Customer Success Team and our Support Team, we’ve created new documents and videos to ensure YOU are successful using the Sphere software.     more
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  • 5 Great Tips for Sphere End of Year Campaigns!
    Sphere customers had a very successful Giving Tuesday! Nearly 7 million emails flowed smoothly through the system, watched closely by our Product Management team. To help with the upcoming end-of-year time, we’ve analyzed Giving Tuesday email results and came up with this short list of ways to optimize your Sphere email. Taking these steps can ensure the maximum number of emails reach inboxes!   more
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  • Three Easy Tools to Manage Duplicate Contact Records
    Does your Sphere constituent database need a cleanup? Do you see many duplicate records and just don’t know how or where to start the cleanup process?  Do you want to prevent new duplicate contact records or manage existing duplicates? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’ve come to the right place! Having a constituent database that is well managed provides an accurate representation of your donor pool, which allows you to efficiently target donors. In this article, we’ll discuss three simple tools to cleanup duplicate contacts records in an existing database and maintain the database going forward. more
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  • Consider the Possibilities
    First of all, I want to thank you for being a loyal Blackbaud Sphere customer. Over the past year, I’ve spoken with several of you regarding your concerns about the future of your online marketing solution. I want to make sure you know that even though important investments are being made in other Blackbaud products, you and your success are very important to us, and there’s still a place for you with us. more
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  • Customize your Sphere Admin Landing Page
    When you first login to Sphere you may not pay attention to the landing page and just start by clicking a quick link or navigating through the c-word header navigation options. Did you know that you can customize the Sphere landing page if you want to call attention to specific information or provide direct access to pages within your account? Since this may have been overlooked we'll let you know the ease at which this can be done. more
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  • Preparing for the Close of a Thon Event
    After all the hours of work spent building the perfect event website are behind you, what happens now that the registration period is over? This blog is to provide you with a few helpful tips for preparing for the end of a Thon event in Sphere. more
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  • So it's time to start looking at next year's event? Things to think about when duplicating a previous Kintera Thon event.
    So you've decided to duplicate your  previous event.... When setting up a new event in Blackbaud Sphere the best option is normally to duplicate the previous year’s event. It’s less work. All the settings remain intact that were in the previous year’s event and, if you have customization, that is the easiest way to keep the look without having to pay for new customization. Duplicating the event gives you all this with zero transactions so you are ready to start FRESH! There are a few things to keep in mind when duplicating an event that will lead to your ultimate success.  In general, we have a great  video resource  that walks you through the basics of duplicating your event. In this series though we will touch on some of the items in the video in more detail and explore other common items that may be missed when getting the duplicated event ready to go live. more
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  • How to Assist Users with Password Reset Request Email Deliverability Issues
    What do you do when you receive a call or an email from a Blackbaud Sphere Participant and/or Sphere User (Administrative) requesting assistance with retrieving/resetting their Password? This guide will walk you through the available options to assist your Customer's and/or Co-workers with resetting their Blackbaud Sphere account Password. more
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  • Working with Tables(Rooms) and Seating Arrangements in a Gala Event
    A Blackbaud Sphere Gala Event has the option for the setup and reporting for Tables (Rooms) and Seating arrangements. Within your Sphere Gala Event Admin section you can organize your table arrangements and seating assignments and view their current status as far as the number of seats still available per table. Also, you can run reports within your Gala Event Reports sections to view the Table Seating Summary and Table Seating Details. The next three parts will walk you through the process needed to create your Tables(Rooms) and Seating, Assign Participants to tables, and Report on the status of each Table(Room)/Seating assignments. more
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  • Using Social Media to Drive Donations and Registrations
    Part 1:  Let’s Talk About SEO Part 2: Email Marketing Part 3: Using Social Media to drive donations and registrations. Social media is a popular tool that has given rise to promising new ways for event participants to raise money online. The real power of social media comes through engaging a wide audience. What better way to do that than through a nonprofit fundraising campaign? Let's face it, Social Media Users are online community members who update activities, speak up for causes, express their opinions, and attempt to influence others through these tools. Event participants are active for a cause, act as community or team leaders, show their support for an organization, share emotional stories, and reach out to friends and family for support. These similarities are why events of any size should implement these tools and promote their use to all event participants through their websites. more
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  • Turn Contacts into Donors Using Segmentation
    Managing your nonprofit's constituent database is key for successful fundraising. Find out the advantages of using segments in your constituent database and turn contacts into donors today!     more
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  • How to Find Payments Based on Card Holder Name
    When a participant is registered for an event or a donation is made, the transaction owner/card holder maybe a different name than the participant or donor name entered. more
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  • Check Out the New Knowledgebase Changes Coming Your Way!
    We invite you to read more about the new Knowledgebase changes happening here in Support. Check it out:   New Knowledgebase Changes . If you want to be in the know, make sure to   subscribe   to our Support News blog! more
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  • Find The Failed Transactions in Your Account
    A contact reaches out to you and says their transaction didn't process but they've been charged.  You can't find them in the bookkeeping of your event and are concerned they were incorrectly charged or charged and not pushed through to your event. Not to worry you can find your way through Sphere to verify the transaction and help ease your clients worries. more
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  • Email Marketing
    eNewsletters are a great way to keep your volunteers, participants, and donors interested, engaged and wanting to come back. Sending a weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly email out to your subscribers is a great practice. Consider including community events, upcoming activities, classes, and certification courses to keep people involved and current. eNewsletters can help your organization raise awareness, recruit volunteers, and help your organization get donations. more
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  • Let's Talk About SEO
    Welcome to Sphere’s first blog series on optimizing your event pages and CMS using Sphere and the help of SEO, Social Media, Design, Email Marketing, and Google Analytics. more
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  • What Happened to My Payment?
    Every so often your organization may notice that a payment has been reversed in Sphere and not know why, or have an issue where it seems like a lot of online transactions are declining through your events or forms.  Did you know that there are things you can check in Sphere to help troubleshoot problems with transactions prior to contacting Support?  And the best part is these steps are fairly easy! more
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  • Blackbaud Sphere and Internet Explorer 11 Compatibility
    Microsoft recently launched Internet Explorer (IE) 11 as an automatic update. This update has caused several compatibility issues throughout Blackbaud Sphere. Some of the more prominent issues include the content editor’s only showing in HTML view, being unable to edit financial transactions on a Contact Record, and log in issues. Below are some common questions from Blackbaud Sphere users regarding IE.   more
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  • Save Time by Running Reports
    It's that time of year again, the fall events are coming to an end and everyone is preparing for their holiday campaigns; this, combined with the year being almost over and having to track donations can be stressful. During this time of year we hear common questions about which reports to run for reconciling with, what are the best reports and how can I limit the information in these reports to give me the most relevant data?   more
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  • Blackbaud Sphere 9.4.3 New Features
    I’m pleased to announce four upcoming changes to Blackbaud Sphere!  As of 9.4.3, which was released on the night of Tuesday, August 13, there are two newly implemented features in the email section of the Participant HQ that we believe will make email fundraising even easier for your participants. We also will be releasing new map functionality for Thon Events as well as a new feature to transfer Participant Credited information through the Connector.   more
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  • Why You Should Be Using Friends Asking Friends Essentials for Your Next Event
    I can’t believe we are almost at the halfway point for 2013! While some organizations have already seen this year’s event come and go, others are still heavy in preparation. Whether you are concentrating on next year’s event or just beginning to think about your event for later this year, there is one important question everyone should be asking:  Are we utilizing the new Essentials template for Friends Asking Friends? more
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  • Blackbaud Sphere 9.4.2 New Feature Preview: Mobile Donation Form
    We made it! Blackbaud Sphere 9.4.2 was released last night! I’d like to end our three part series previewing some major changes to the Mobile Donation form options. We’ve moved past the days of simply shrinking down the normal website form. Now when clients enable an event to detect and forward mobile devices to a form, the form will have new formatting designed for a mobile device.  This should allow all donors to more easily donate to the great causes we all strive for!   more
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  • Blackbaud Sphere 9.4.2 New Feature Preview: Connector Changes
    With Blackbaud Sphere 9.4.2 set for release for the night of Tuesday, April 23, I’d like to continue with part two of our series previewing the new features. With the new release, we are seeing three major changes to the Connector between Blackbaud Sphere and The Raiser’s Edge.   more
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  • Blackbaud Sphere 9.4.2 New Feature Preview: Friendly URLs
    Blackbaud Sphere 9.4.2 is set for release next Tuesday, April 23!  In anticipation of the release, I’d like to kick off a three part series that previews a few of the new features. Let's start with the ability to add, edit, and remove the Friendly URL for participant and team pages directly within HQ. This addition allows the participant to have complete control over the URL for their page and removes the need for you to file a request with Blackbaud Sphere Support for the change!   more
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  • Blackbaud Sphere 9.4.2 Sneak Peek
    New features in Blackbaud Sphere are on the way to enhance your supporter’s online experience. Our goal with feature releases is to continue to upgrade Blackbaud Sphere so you can spend less time building and maintaining your web presence and more time supporting your cause.   more
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  • Blackbaud Sphere and Internet Explorer 10
    At the end of February,  Microsoft announced  that Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) was available globally for Windows 7 users and that they would be automatically updating Windows 7 users to IE10 in the coming weeks. So what does this mean to Blackbaud Sphere users? Blackbaud Sphere currently supports Internet Explorer through version 9. The Product ... more
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  • New Product Changes in Sphere 9.4.1.4
    Sphere 9.4.1.4 was released on February 5th, 2013.  It was a maintenance release.  There was no downtime for this release. For more information about upcoming maintenance and feature enhancement releases, please subscribe to  What is a Blackbaud Sphere maintenance release or feature release? With this release, the following updates were ... more
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  • Activating the Honor Roll in Blackbaud Sphere FAF Essentials
    In the Blackbaud Sphere 9.4.1.4 release, we made a change to how customers enable the Honor Roll in FAF Essentials.  This change makes the Honor Roll style more consistent with the look and feel of Essentials event sites and prevents the possible duplication of Honor Rolls. Let’s look at how we activate the Honor Roll in FAF Essentials.   more
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