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Oct
25
VolunteerHub October 2017 Release Notes
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 25 October 2017 11:35 PM

Several updates to existing functionality have been added in VolunteerHub. Each update in this release is listed below.

New Open API Access

VolunteerHub offers a REST-based API for all VolunteerHub sites, now with a resource page that provides access to an open API file as well as interactive endpoints that allow you to test the API without a single line of code. The API can be used to pull a wide variety of information from your VolunteerHub site, such as users, event registrations, user groups and more. 

Please note that use of the API requires some development knowledge/experience, and our support team is not able to provide support on how to use the API outside of bug reports or assistance accessing the API information in the reference page or our support site. We’ve updated our API documentation to include information on the new Open API, such as how to access it and full descriptions of the available endpoints.

You can access the Open API resource page in your site by entering /openapi at the end of your site's URL (e.g., "YOURORG.volunteerhub.com/openapi"). At the top of the resource page, you'll find an open API file you can use to create custom connectors with applications like Microsoft Flow to automate various processes and integrate your VolunteerHub site with everyday applications like Outlook and Excel, send yourself emails or texts when someone creates an account, build custom reports, and more! In addition, you can use the interactive endpoint/parameter fields to build and test a query in the resource page without writing a single line of code. 

Want to get started building your own custom workflows, integration points and notifications via Microsoft Flow using VolunteerHub's Open API? If you have access to Microsoft Flow, get started automating various workflows by following these steps (note that this will require knowledge of how to use an API):

  1. Grab the Open API File link from the API reference page of your site.
  2. Log into Microsoft Flow and click Connectors
  3. Select "Custom Connectors" from the settings menu (settings wheel icon beside your name)
  4. Click + Create custom connector > Import an OpenAPI from URL
  5. Give your workflow a name and paste the API file link you copied from the reference page, then press the arrow and click Continue.
  6. Enter your VolunteerHub site URL into the Host field (e.g., "YOURORG.volunteerhub.com") and click Continue.
  7. Choose Basic authentication and update the authentication field titles to be "VH Superuser Username" and "VH Superuser Password," then click Continue.
  8. The page will pull in our API endpoints automatically for you to use to build your custom workflow! (Please refer to Microsoft's documentation for detailed instructions on building Flows).

Don't have Microsoft Flow? Get started for free.

All Superusers have the necessary authentication to perform queries against VolunteerHub’s API. If you are logged in as a Superuser and encounter an authentication error, please contact our support team so we can ensure your Superusers group has the necessary permissions to access the API. 

Bug Fixes

The following issues have been resolved:

  • To improve security, we have updated our rich text editor fields throughout VolunteerHub. This update may require you to refresh your browser (Ctrl+Shift+R for Chrome/Firefox, Ctrl+F5 for Internet Explorer) in order to edit event descriptions, email bodies and landing page messages during the first 24 hours after deploying the release.
  • A timeout error occurred in some sites when attempting to access the Deduplicate page in the People tab or editing a User Form question.
  • The Event Participation by Event report occasionally gave a “Service Unavailable” message when run in some sites.
  • The logo graphic for the organization was not populating at the top of some donation receipts for sites with the Volunteer Fundraising feature enabled.

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Oct
24
Reported Email Outage October 21 and 24, 2017
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 24 October 2017 01:40 PM
We've received and confirmed reports of an email outage between Saturday, 10/21/2017 at 2:17pm and Sunday, 10/22/2017 at 11:19am Eastern Time. In addition, we received and confirmed a brief outage this morning, 10/24/2017, between 10:13am and 10:37am Eastern Time. Email services have been fully restored as of 10:37 this morning. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
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Oct
13
Automating Registration for Group Leaders
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 13 October 2017 12:37 PM

Save time by eliminating emails and phone calls with your group leaders while also increasing group retention and onboarding rates.

Early last year, we posted a Quick Tip to help you "Allow New Volunteers to Reserve Events for Their Group." Since the release of the Volunteer View and feedback from organizations using this process, we've refined our strategy for having your group leaders search and register for group-enabled events and input the number of group members attending, all without ever having a phone call or email conversation with the Volunteer Coordinator. This can be extremely helpful for larger organizations dealing with hundreds of groups, especially for large annual events where there may not be room for every group expressing interest.

Since a growing number of organizations are finding success with this updated process, we want to break it down for you step-by-step so everyone knows how to apply it to their group management efforts. 

The steps below will allow your group leaders to:

  • View a list of events catering specifically to groups.
  • Answer additional questions about their group.
  • Register their group for a group activity.
  • Indicate the number of group members attending.

While it may take a little time to set up, the result of this process will provide a unique and more efficient experience to group leaders while potentially increasing the information you’re gathering about your groups and group members. In short, group leaders will answer questions about their group and sign up their group for an event. An administrator will then convert that registration to a user group reservation on the event and provide a landing page for the rest of the group members to complete their individual registrations.

Here’s a brief look at the complete process! Click on a step to jump to the step-by-step expanded view below, or simply scroll down to view the entire process in greater detail.

  1. Create the “Group Leaders” user group.
  2. Create Multiform questions for the “Group Leaders” user group.
  3. Create a “Group Leaders” landing page.
  4. Reserve group activities for the “Group Leaders” user group.
  5. Ensure the event is set to CC the Event Contact.
  6. Make the “Group Leaders” landing page public.
  7. Convert group leader registrations to user group reservations.
  8. Confirm the group’s reservation.

Step 1. Create the "Group Leaders" user group.

In order to provide a different user experience for a group of users, they will need their own user group. User groups can allow you to change the questions in a user’s volunteer application, change which events the user can see and sign up for, change how you communicate with and report on groups of users and even change what your site looks like for a group of users.

To create a "Group Leaders" user group:

  1. Navigate to the People tab > User Groups sub-tab and click Add User Group.
  2. Enter “Group Leaders” into the User Group Name
  3. If you want this group to exist as a sub-group under an existing user group, select that user group in the Parent User Group field (e.g., you might place it under your “Volunteer Groups” user group).
  4. Click Save User Group.

Step 2. Create Multiform questions for the “Group Leaders” user group.

If your organization has an Enterprise-level VolunteerHub site, or if your organization has purchased the Multiform feature, you can create special questions for your site’s volunteer application that only group leaders will see. This will allow you to capture information about new groups expressing interest in volunteering without having them fill out an external web form and manually entering that information later. This step is key if you want to eliminate manual communications with new group leaders.

To create Multiform questions for the “Group Leaders” user group:

  1. Navigate to the People tab > User Groups sub-tab and click on your “Group Leaders” user group.
  2. Click User Form in the bar below the group name.
  3. Click Create New Question in the top-left corner of the form.
  4. Select a Question Type (e.g., “Text”).
  5. Enter a Name for your question (e.g., “Group Name”).
  6. Enter a Prompt for your question (e.g., “What is the name of your group?”).
  7. Check the Require a response to this question box if the question should be required.
  8. Click Save Question.

Keep in mind that group size often varies from event to event. Therefore, you do not need to create a question to ask the group leader for his/her group size, since this is something they will be prompted to provide when signing up for each event.

Step 3. Create a “Group Leaders” landing page.

Providing a new landing page for group leaders can significantly improve their user experience by reducing the amount of time it takes them to find an available group activity as well as eliminating the need for them to contact you to determine which activities are available and will fit their group size. In addition, this can increase the number of groups your organization can onboard, as the inability to find eligible group shifts can actually deter new groups from expressing interest.

To create a “Group Leaders” landing page:

  1. Navigate to the Setup tab > Landing Pages sub-tab and click Add Landing Page.
  2. Enter “Group Leaders” into the Name
  3. Enter “groupleaders” into the Subhost
  4. Select the “Group Leaders” user group in the User Group field under the Behavior section.
  5. Check both boxes under the selected user group in the Behavior section.
  6. Verify that Social Media is turned off by checking the Override the default look and feel box and ensuring the Social Media box is unchecked.
  7. If desired, customize the Messages section to ensure the information in each message pertains to group leaders.
  8. Click Save Landing Page.

Step 4. Reserve group activities for the “Group Leaders” user group.

Reserving group activities for the “Group Leaders” user group will allow your group leaders to access those events in the new landing page as well as indicate the number of attendees for each event.

To create a reservation for “Group Leaders” on an event:

  1. Navigate to the Events tab and click on the name of the activity you want group leaders to be able to register their group for.
  2. Click Registered Users in the bar below the event name.
  3. Select “Group Leaders” from the drop-down at the bottom of the page.
  4. Click Add Group.
  5. Check the Allow Overflow? box within the “Group Leaders” section.
  6. Change the Default Slot Limit from 1 to the maximum group size for the event. For example, if the event has 100 slots and you want groups of no more than 20 to register, enter “20” here. If you want a group to be able to fill the entire event, enter the same limit you put for the Event Slot Limit in the event’s Edit page.
  7. If individuals should not be able to register for this event, uncheck Allow Overflow? within the Unaffiliated Users section. To allow individuals as well as groups to register, leave the Unaffiliated Users section as is.
  8. Click Save Registration.

Don’t forget that this step will need to be completed for any new group events you add to your VolunteerHub site in the future. Because reservations must be created for each instance of an event, we highly recommend using the Batch Modification Wizard to add the reservation to all group activities at once, which will save you a heap of time!

Step 5. Ensure the event is set to CC the Event Contact.

You’ll need to know when a group leader registers his or her group for an event. To receive a real-time notification, simply CC the Event Contact on confirmations.

To CC your Event Contact on group activity confirmation emails:

  1. Navigate to the Events tab and click on the name of the activity you want group leaders to be able to register their group for. (To update this setting for all future instances of a Recurrence Master, instead navigate to the Events tab > Masters sub-tab to find your event.)
  2. Click Edit in the bar below the event name.
  3. Ensure the user selected in the Event Contact field is the person/email address you want to receive the notification when a group leader registers his/her group.
  4. Scroll down to the Email Notifications section and check the Carbon copy confirmation emails to the event contact
  5. Click Save Event.

Step 6. Make the “Group Leaders” Landing Page public.

The final step to prepare your site for the new group leader experience is to make your new “Group Leaders” page accessible. To do this, simply add instructions to your organization’s primary website specifically for group leaders to follow.

For instance, in the Volunteer page of your organization’s website, you will have instructions for Individuals to click on a button to start volunteering (and that button will be linked to your default landing page most times). For groups, on the other hand, you will provide separate instructions stating that members of returning groups should use their group’s specific landing page, whereas the leader of a new group who’d like to express interest in volunteering with your organization should click a special link directing them to the new “Group Leaders” landing page.

So what does this all look like to a group leader?

Once the group leader clicks that link, they’ll first see all opportunities available to groups (i.e., the events you reserved for “Group Leaders”) as well as how many slots are available on each. Next, they’ll create an account and complete the volunteer application, which consists of the User Form within the “All Users” user group in addition to the questions in the User Form within the “Group Leaders” user group since the landing page they are creating their account in has auto-joined them to “Group Leaders.” Finally, the group leader will complete their registration for the event. That registration will include a page asking for the user’s party size, at which point the user can indicate the size of their group.

Step 7. Convert group leader registrations to user group reservations.

Whenever a group leader registers for a group event in your site, your Event Contact will receive an email notification. At that point, you need to return to the Registered Users page of that event to convert the group leader’s registration to a true reservation, which will segment off the necessary number of slots on that event so that only other members of that leader’s group can register themselves for the event.

Note that this step is only necessary if you intend to track each group member. If you want to track only the group leader and number of participants, you may stop after Step 6.

To build a user group and landing page (for a brand new group only):

  1. Search for the group leader’s user account and click on it to view his or her profile.
  2. Find the user’s response to your question asking for their group name.
  3. Navigate to the People tab > User Groups sub-tab and add a new user group for that leader’s group. Be sure to select the “Only administrators may add users to this group” option under Membership Control.
  4. Navigate to the Setup tab > Landing Pages sub-tab and add a new landing page for that leader’s group. Be sure to check both boxes under the User Group field in the Behavior Section.

To convert the group leader’s registration to a user group reservation:

  1. Navigate to the Events tab and click on the name of the activity your group leader registered for.
  2. Click Registered Users in the bar below the event name.
  3. Select the name from the drop-down at the bottom of the page.
  4. Click Add Group.
  5. Enter the number in the group leader’s Slots Used field into the Slots Reserved field for the group reservation you just added.
  6. Change the Slots Used for your group leader to “1”.
  7. Click Save Registration.
  8. Move the leader’s registration to their group’s reservation. To do this without triggering any confusing cancellation/confirmation emails, in the large text field directly below the group name, enter the group leader’s name. The leader’s user account should appear below the field; click on the leader’s account and click Add User.

Step 8. Confirm the group’s reservation.

Finally, once you’ve converted the group leader’s registration to a true group reservation, simply send the leader an email with a link to his or her group’s landing page to confirm their group for the event. Their group members will each register for the event individually within the group’s landing page, and as a result will be tracked as members of the group so you can report on the group’s activity down the road.


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Oct
11
Reported Hotmail Issue on 10/9/2017
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 11 October 2017 09:39 AM
We received reports of outgoing emails not being received by users with Hotmail/Outlook email addresses as of Monday, 10/9/2017. While we haven't been able to pinpoint an exact date/time as of which emails stopped being received by Hotmail users, it appears that our recent server change toward the end of September changed the outgoing IP address of emails sent from VolunteerHub sites, and shortly thereafter those emails were not being allowed by Microsoft. We have worked with Microsoft to resolve the issue, so emails sent from your VolunteerHub sites should again be received by Hotmail users going forward.

Please note that this change can take up to 48 hours to become fully effective, so please continue to ensure users with Hotmail addresses are receiving the information they need. In addition, once the change takes full effect, Hotmail users' emails may initially go into their spam folders - please have them mark the email as "Not Spam" so that future emails will start to flow directly into their inboxes.

To determine who may have been affected by this issue, you may export your User Roster for all users to Excel and filter the email address column by @hotmail.com addresses.

We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused. 


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Oct
2
Reported Outgoing Email Issue on 10/2/2017
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 02 October 2017 12:43 PM
We received reports of some (not all) outgoing emails not being received by users as of 11am EST today (October 2, 2017). The emails were delayed, and the issue was resolved as of this afternoon around 5:00pm EST. Volunteers should receive any missing emails by 8am EST tomorrow, October 3rd.

We apologize for any inconvenience the delay in email services may have caused.
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