Version 2.14, Advance-Release Date: July 16, 2018

Public Release: August 13, 2018

Click below or scroll down to learn about the newest enhancements to your Connect site.

New Features for All Sites

Check-in Kiosk

Check-in is one of the most popular features offered as part of the Connect software, but a mix of client feedback and our own research made it clear that check-in needed some improvements. With this build, a new check-in "kiosk" makes it even easier for users to add their own hours, work with teams, and more. When you activate the kiosk, you must first log out of the system. This prevents volunteers from being able to access your "logged-in view," and it will prevent the system timing out during check-in. See below for resources on the Kiosk:

Note: The list check-in (where the agency manager checks off the names of volunteers as they arrive and check in) works the same way that it did before.

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Search

We have replaced the phrase search for finding needs with a smarter, more innovative search. Users will not see any changes, but they will notice that searches find better results and have greater functionality. For details, see our updated article, Using the "Search By" Feature.

Updates to Existing Features for All Sites

PHP 7

You may not notice any changes with this update, but the move to PHP 7 will make your site faster and more secure. You can expect to see a small improvement in performance, and you can know that we are using the most up-to-date programming language possible.

One agency email for multiple shifts

During a recent release, we changed the software to send only one confirmation email to a volunteer if they responded to multiple shifts at once. That same change has been applied to the "Notice of Need Response" notification for agency managers.

Show expired needs in agency manager view

In the needs, table of the agency management area, expired needs are now hidden by default. An agency manager can select to show or hide expired needs as desired. Previously, expired needs could not be hidden, causing frustration for agency managers who just wanted to view their current and ongoing needs.

Change date of thank-you email

Previously, a "thank you for volunteering" email would be sent to volunteers seven days after the date of the need or shift they responded to. In response to both industry research and client feedback, we have changed the interval to one day. Volunteers will now get the "thank you" message the day after they volunteer.

Note: The name of the notification template is still "Notify Users Week After Need Happens On." Due to how the coding of this template is embedded in the system, the title cannot currently be changed to reflect the new one-day interval.

Columns added to site managers' hours table

Site managers who have to approve individual hours can now see the individual-hours details (location, contact name, and contact details) in the hours-management area (Volunteerism > Hours).  Use the Table Filter to add the columns with this information to your hours table.

Add description to agency time tracking table

Agency managers have let us know that it can be a challenge to approve hours quickly without a description of the volunteer work performed. In response, we have added a Description column to the agency managers' Time Tracking area.

Response and capacity count on agencies' needs view

Agency managers can now see the total spots and total responses a need has when they are managing needs. These new columns will show, at a glance, which needs are filling up, and will allow agency managers to decide how to manage those needs more easily.

Add user group to users' responses table

Volunteers and service-learning students now have a User Group column in their table of need response. This column makes it easy for them to see, at a glance, the user groups with which their past responses are associated.

Hours field added for ongoing needs

Ongoing needs can now be assigned a set number of hours. As a result, it will be easier to manage volunteer check-in for ongoing needs. Previously, you could assign hours to an ongoing need during check-in, but it was difficult to change the hours later.

Dates added to site manager alerts

The alerts the we send to system managers now include dates. You'll now be able to see which alerts are recent, as well as whether they are current or expired.

Privacy is more clear on needs

There is now a separate column for "Privacy" on the manager's need table (Volunteerism > Needs). This columns allows site managers to sort needs by private/public. It also replaces the "lock" icon, which previously appeared as part of the need title in the table. The "privacy" columns is also now included in the export.

Previous Versions

Note: A few features were added quietly to the system without a formal release procedure that comes with a new version. Although we sent alerts and retroactively added these features to older release notes, we want to highlight them again to be sure that they are not missed.

Waitlist (released as version 2.13.2 on May 1, 2018)

Your volunteers can now put their name on a list when needs or shifts are full. They will be contacted when space opens and can sign up on a first-come, first-served basis. This is a feature you can turn on in your site settings, and it's just another way your users can make sure they are a part of your most important efforts. Click here to learn more about managing volunteer waitlists.

Changes to logged-out dashboard (released as part of 2.13.1 on April 23, 2018)

The "search" graphic on the logged out dashboard was dropped for a button leading straight to the needs page, because the implication of a search misled users and caused confusion. Also, the height of the "map" image on the logged out dashboard is smaller now, so that spotlights appear above the fold on most screens.

Logged-out users are prompted to log in when responding (released as part of 2.13.1 on April 23, 2018)

User testing revealed that when someone tried to respond to a need and was logged out, most people did not intuit that they needed to log in. An overlay explaining that they have to log in now makes that process more straightforward and friendly.

Changes to users' responses table (released as part of 2.13.1 on April 23, 2018)

User testing also showed that people expected the My Responses table to be the best place to unregister from a need. We added the ability to unregister to that page, and we consolidated all of the options on the table into a dropdown, making it a little easier to navigate. See this article to learn how these options look from the user's perspective.