Click here to see a video overview of the 2.10 enhancements.
The following features have been added or updated with the newest release of the Connect platform.
Core System: New Features
Integration with Google calendar
Volunteers who respond to shift needs can now easily add those shifts to their Google Calendar. They'll have two opportunities to do this:
- Once they've responded to the need, a pop-up will offer them the option to add the shift to their Google Calendar.
- The confirmation notification (Need Response Thank You message) can now include a link.
Click here to learn more.
Note: Because a start and end time are not always defined for ongoing, runs until, or happens on need, this new feature only works for shift needs.
Agency manager digest email
A weekly email will now be sent to agency managers with several important reminders, including:
- Any pending hours from the past week
- Any content (such as date-specific needs) that is about to expire
- Any content (such as ongoing needs) that may need to be updated
Because this notification covers information offered in several other automated notifications (such as the Pending Hours Notification for Agency message), the agency manager digest can replace those. Those notifications are not being discontinued, however, so you can continue to use them if desired.
As with any template, you can customize the wording of the notification as needed.
To learn more about the agency manager digest, click here.
Three new scheduling calendars are now available, making it easier for site managers, agency managers, and volunteers to see which shifts are coming up, and who has been scheduled to work them.
- The Site Manager Schedule shows which volunteers are scheduled to work which shifts each day.
- The Agency Manager Schedule shows which volunteers are scheduled to work for that agency each day.
- The Volunteer Schedule shows what needs the volunteer is scheduled for.
All users can view one month at a time, and calendars are searchable by distance, agency, and keyword or phrase. The data in each calendar is determined by responses to shift needs, and the start date and time of each shift.
"Today's Shifts" report
A new "Today's Shifts" report lists all shifts that will occur on a given day, based on responses to shift needs. For each shift, the report includes:
- The need title
- The agency that posted the need
- The shift start and end times
- The number of responses
- The total number of slots available
- The number of open slots remaining
Site managers can use this report to identify gaps in their coverage and determine where to focus recruiting efforts for important days.
Click here to learn more about the reports available to Connect site managers.
Core System: Updates
New email service
Emails sent from Connect platform sites will now go through Amazon Web Services. This change will allow for emails to be stored more efficiently, queried faster, and sent more reliably. You'll likely notice a small decrease in the percentage of emails that fail to arrive to your site's users, if you notice any difference at all.
Update to the age search
When posting a need, site managers and agency managers can now specify minimum and maximum volunteer ages for each need they post. When searching, volunteers can enter a specific age and see all needs that include that age in their range. The new search feature allows volunteers to more easily find opportunities for their age group.
A need can still be marked as family-friendly, and volunteers can still run searches for family-friendly needs.
Updates to individual hours
The individual hours feature has been updated in a several ways:
- The wording on the individual hours submission form has been revised for clarity.
- The hours table and volunteer resume now indicate that the hours are individual hours and show where the person volunteered.
- You now have the option to require that a volunteer, when posting individual hours, provide the email address of the person who can approve them. Click here to learn more.
- Individual hours are now assigned a status (Pending, Approved, etc.) using the same rules as regular hours. In other words, if hours for regular needs are automatically marked as pending, individual hours will be marked as pending. too.
As with previous versions, only site managers can approve individual hours within the Connect site. Click here to learn more about individual hours.
New data for the users' need response email
The response confirmation notifications (the email sent to volunteers when they respond to a need) now includes four new template keys that you can add to the templates:
- need_title - pulls the title of the need
- need_link - pulls the link to the need-information page
- shift_times - pulls the start and end times for a shift need
- calendar_links - enables the option to add the need to the volunteer's Google Calendar
These links are not part of the notification by default; they must be added to the template message by a site manager.
- Need Response Thank You Message
- New Users: Welcome to the Team (submitted ticket to have keys added)
- Volunteer Team Created (submitted ticket to have keys added)
Sites can now feature unlimited spotlights in the navigation menu. Site managers can select three spotlights to appear as banners on the dashboard while all other spotlights are available in the menu. With this enhancement, site managers now have greater control over how different elements of their sites are highlighted. In addition, the Settings > Spotlights area of the site manager panel now features an updated table for easier management of spotlights.
Click here to learn how to use spotlights in Connect version 2.10.
Hour-management table is searchable
The hours table in the site manager panel (Volunteerism > Hours) can now be searched by typing a name, email, or need into a search box. This enhancement will make it easier to find hours that need to be approved, or to investigate a volunteer's service. It also makes the functionality of the hours-management area more consistent with the other management areas of the site.
Click here to learn about managing hours in the site manager panel.
"Skip-registration" links point to need-response page as applicable
If a site allows users to skip registration steps, that process now works even better for the new volunteer who is responding to a need for the first time. Rather than taking the volunteer to their Dashboard, the "skip-registration" links now return them to their need-response page.
New format for the sign-up button on the login page
The link to user registration that appears on the login page has been formatted to resemble other buttons (e.g. single sign-on, Facebook login, etc.) on that page.
Previously, the sign-up feature appeared as smaller, linked text. This new format should make it easier for volunteers to find the button and register from this page.
Need card now features agency name
The agency name has been added to need cards, as shown in this example of a need posted by the agency "Higher Ground."
Previously, the text beneath the title was a truncated version of the need description. This change will make it easier for volunteers to know which agencies have posted which needs.
Pagination at the top
Pagination has been added to the top of all paginated tables for volunteers, agency managers, and site managers.
With this enhancement, Connect site users will be able to skim search results and find information more easily.
County format on user registration streamlined
The county field on the user registration form had been updated to allow for a better workflow and clearer instructions. A ZIP code is still required before county can be selected.
Note: Because County is an optional field for user registration, your site may not have it on the registration form. For information about customizing your site's user-registration form, click here.
Advanced Events Module (AEM)
No new features or updates were made to the AEM.
Service Learning Module (SLM)
Inactive SLM courses and blocks are visible
The SLM now includes a Show Inactive button for the blocks and courses tables. In addition, blocks and courses can now be reactivated once they have been deactivated. (Previously, site managers had to contact Galaxy Digital to reactive deleted blocks and courses.) With this enhancement, site managers should be able to get data from past semesters more easily.
Disaster Response Module (DRM)
No new features or updates were made to the DRM.