This product suggestion started as a bug report, but based on the advice from Galaxy it has been rewritten as a product suggestion. It concerns the issue of double counting of hours that easily occurs through the SELF CHECK-IN process. This suggestion does NOT affect the check-in process through the KIOSK or the submission of INDIVIDUAL HOURS. Furthermore, SELF CHECK-IN is available currently for only two types of Needs/Opportunities; RECURRING and CUSTOM. As a result, the problem of double counting is scoped further to just those two instances of Needs/Opportunities.
What is the problem, or how does double counting occur?
It occurs very easily. Here's an example, which is simpler to follow than an abstract explanation.
1. A Need/Opportunity is defined as RECURRING every Monday from 9 to 5 - a total of 8 hours per shift
2. A volunteer responds and signs up to volunteer for one of the Mondays
3. The night before the shift begins, the volunteer uses the SELF CHECK-IN feature to check-in
4. They select the option to CHECK IN WITH THE SHIFT START TIME
5. They complete the check-in by hitting the blue CHECK-IN button
6. They then select the option to CHECK OUT WITH THE SHIFT END TIME
7. They complete the check-out by hitting the blue CHECK-OUT button
So far everything is good. The volunteer will be attributed with 8 hours of volunteer work.
Now the volunteer decides they're not sure that the self check-in/check-out process worked, or they have a brain freeze a couple hours later and forget that they already completed the check-in process, or they get the system notification at 6am the morning of the shift with a link reminding them to check-in for the upcoming shift, so they repeat steps 3 through 7 above - just to make sure they're really checked in. Boing, double counting just occurred! The second check-in results in another 8 hours of work being attributed to the same volunteer - for the exact same hours for the exact same shift! If the volunteer does the same steps a third time, they will have a total of 24 hours of work attributed to them. There's nothing in Connect stopping them from doing this as many times as they would like. Taking it to the extreme, an unlimited number of hours could be attributed to the volunteer for this one shift by simply repeating steps 3 through 7, over and over.
Double Counting is never good. If the hours are AUTO APPROVED, or if the Program Manager misses seeing the double counting during approval, the hours data related to it are wrong and any reports referencing them will be corrupted.
So what can be done? Here's a product suggestion to eliminate the problem without relying on the good manners of volunteers, or the hawk-like eyes and time required of a Program Manager to correct the errors.
Again, an example is the easiest way to understand the suggestion:
1. Using the example above, a RECURRING shift is defined for every Monday from 9 to 5
2. When a volunteer uses the SELF CHECK-IN feature and they select a check-in time with any of the three options (NOW, START TIME, or CUSTOM TIME), the time selected should be checked against all previous check-in and check-out times for the same shift, if any exist.
3. If this is the first occurrence of a check-in within the shift, proceed onward.
4. If a previous check-in is found for the same shift, but there is no corresponding check-out, then prevent the volunteer from continuing. Let them know they have already checked-in, and before proceeding with a second check-in, they will first have to check out of the existing one.
5. If both a previous check-in and check-out are found, check to ensure that the new check-in time is greater than or equal to the previous check-out time. If it is not, inform them of the problem and require that they change the new check-in time before proceeding
6. If multiple check-in and check-out times are found for the shift (which is legitimate), find the latest check-in and see if it has a corresponding check-out. If it does not, repeat actions in rule 4.
7. If multiple check-in and check-out times are found for the shift, and the latest check-in has a corresponding check-out, then ensure that the new check-in is greater than the latest check-out time and repeat the actions in rule 5.
PS: I presume the Kiosk does not have the problem of double counting, but am not certain. Our organization is not able to use the Kiosk because our volunteer sites are located in areas where cell phone service does not exist or is very unreliable. Furthermore, we do not have electricity during the early stages of construction and as a result are not able to set up routers and WiFi. Yes, we're slaves of progress, but very thankful for the SELF CHECK-IN feature. SELF CHECK-IN enables our volunteers to check in from home before driving to the construction sites. Hence, the importance of this suggestion and the elimination of double counting.
I would like to add my voice to this suggestion as well!
Another issue with double reporting hours is that we have to decline one of the sets of hours. This has resulted in a volunteer being concerned that we are declining hours they actually worked because they get an email informing them their hours were declined. We of course explain the situation, but it creates extra work on our end and concern and confusion on our volunteer's end.
John - Thanks for the thorough write up. We always appreciate hearing how things are working "on the ground" and how they could be improved. Thanks for taking the time.
Melanie - Thanks for throwing in your notes as well. They'll be included when the development team reviews our product suggestions.