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Reported Reminder Email Issue on September 24, 2018
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 25 September 2018 09:16 AM

VolunteerHub encountered a technical issue with outgoing automatic reminder emails on September 24, 2018, beginning around 12am and lasting until about 9pm. During that time, reminder emails may not have been sent to volunteers for their registered events.

The issue has been resolved and your volunteers should now continue to receive those emails. We apologize for any inconvenience that may have resulted from this technical issue.


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VolunteerHub September 2018 Mini-Release Notes
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 23 September 2018 11:57 PM

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

Name Auto-Capitalization in Volunteer View

Now, cases in users' names will automatically be corrected upon submission of the User Form. For any field in a name-type User Form question:

  • The first letter of each word will be capitalized automatically when names are entered entirely in lowercase. For example, "john smith" will be changed to "John Smith" automatically.
  • Names entered in ALL CAPS will be converted to lowercase with only the first letter of each word capitalized. For example, "JOHN SMITH" will be changed to "John Smith" automatically.
  • Names with at least one uppercase letter and one lowercase letter will not be altered. For example, "John deSantos" will not be altered by the system automatically.

Minor Updates & Bug Fixes

In addition, several minor bug fixes and optimizations were made to VolunteerHub, including an update to the final page of the Batch Modification Wizard to accept the wizard's terms upon completion.

NOTE: Links to event Sign Up pages have changed! If your organization sends volunteers links directly to the Sign Up button for events, please send them the link to the events' Detail pages instead, as that URL has not changed.


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5 Simple Strategies to Bridge the Gap Between Volunteers and Donors
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 20 August 2018 05:53 PM

You probably already know that individual contributors make up the vast majority of financial donors in the nonprofit sector. But did you know that financial contributions made by volunteers average ten times higher than non-volunteer donations? Or that the most common reason someone participates in a cause is because they were asked to do so?

If your organization currently manages donors and volunteers separately, it’s probably missing out on a huge potential source of donations and volunteerism. This article will give you some tips for bridging that gap using various features offered by VolunteerHub.

Before getting started, we recommend involving a member of your organization's donor management team to ensure your teams and goals are aligned. For instance, you might share the link to this article with them via email or print this article and bring it with you to your next meeting with them.

1. Develop a Targeted Email Strategy to Convert Volunteers to Donors.

Email is a powerful and universal communication tool that everyone is familiar with (including my 90-year-old grandmother). And best of all, it’s 100% free and easily accessible in every VolunteerHub site in a variety of manual email areas. Rather than using that feature solely to promote upcoming activities or send announcements/reminders, use it to engage your volunteers in your fundraising initiatives.

Sending an email from VolunteerHub can be done in one of several ways. For this strategy, we’ll focus on the two non-transactional email options as well as automated thank-you emails. These emails are the most powerful options you have for engaging volunteers since they allow you to be more targeted in your approach, which is key for ensuring your solicitation efforts appear more personalized as well as relevant to your volunteers. As with any email, be sure your message and the volunteer’s next steps are very clear.

Note that in order to send non-transactional emails, you must have the Email Opt-In question in your site with the Allow Email token enabled. Click here to learn more about this requirement, or click here for troubleshooting tips and instructions on how to rebuild the Email Opt-In question.

Solicit by Type/Location of Opportunity

This email is based on your Event Group structure and is useful for targeting volunteers signed up for events that occur within a specific date range (e.g., everyone who volunteered last week, volunteers who helped in the office since January 1st, etc.). For instance, you might ask your volunteers to give based on a specific location, program or activity they’ve provided their time to in the past.

To send an email from an Event Group, navigate to Events > Event Groups and click on an event group. Then, click into the group’s Email page. From there, select your date range and build/send your email right there on the page. (Don’t forget you can send emails from “All Events.”)

Solicit by Type/Classification of Volunteer

This email is based on your User Group structure and is great for targeting a specific group of people based on common interests, affiliations, etc. For instance, you might ask volunteers to donate based on the type of group they volunteer with, the church they belong to, specific skills or interests they have, and so on.

To send an email from a User Group, navigate to Events > Event Groups and click on an event group. Then, click into the group’s Email page. From there, select your date range and build/send your email right there on the page. (Don’t forget you can send emails from “All Users.”)

Solicit by Activity Follow-Up

There are a variety of ways to email based on events. For the purpose of soliciting your volunteers for donations, the most effective method would be to customize the content of the automated Thank-You email as a natural follow-up to a recent volunteer activity. For instance, you might thank volunteers for participating in a Fundraising event, describe what kind of difference volunteering made for that event and then invite them to make a monetary donation for the same fundraising effort.

To edit the Thank-You email on an event, navigate to the event (or, if applying to a recurring event, navigate to Events > Masters and click on the master) and click Edit. Scroll down to the Email Notifications area and click on the Thank-You Email tab. From there, draft your custom message and click Save Event.

Don’t forget that the Thank-You Emails setting in the Setup > Organization page will affect whether all registrants or just those who checked in/received hours will receive your thank-you message.

2. Develop a Targeted SMS Strategy to Convert Volunteers to Donors.

If you’re using email to solicit volunteers for donations, why not also use texting? Each of the two non-transactional Email pages mentioned in the section above include an option to use an SMS (Short Message Service, the techy term for “text message”). Since texting is a more immediate communication type, it imbues a sense of urgency and puts your message immediately into the fingertips of your smartphone users. In addition, as of this recent update you can do all that for just a penny.

To get started using the Texting feature, navigate to an Event Group or User Group in your site and click Email. This will open the email page mentioned in the section above on emailing, but this time scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to view the SMS option. From there, draft your message in 155 characters or less. For instance, you might direct volunteers to a specific donation link and briefly mention you need them to help your organization reach its specific goal (telling potential donors the specific goal you’re trying to reach has been shown to increase the chances that they will make a donation).

Note that in order to send non-transactional emails, you must have the SMS Opt-In question in your site with the Allow Email token enabled. Click here to learn more about this requirement, or click here for instructions on how to reinstate your site’s SMS Opt-In question.

3. Prompt Volunteers for Donations During Event Registration.

There’s no better time to ask for a donation than when your volunteer is already in a giving mood. Capitalizing on that little-known fact that volunteer donations are ten times higher than the average non-volunteer donation, the Volunteer Fundraising feature helps you get the absolute most out of your volunteers while forming a long-term approach for converting volunteers to donors at the same time. 

This feature allows you to:

  • Make donation requests specific to a cause the volunteer’s already interested in.
  • Keep volunteers in your VolunteerHub site, ensuring a higher potential for donation than if you were to send them to a separate website to make a donation.
  • Prompt for up to three static amounts, making donating fast and simple for volunteers in a hurry.
  • Allow a custom donation amount for those who want to give more.
  • Accept not only credit card payments but PayPal donations as well, making it easy for volunteers to donate without having to fish for a credit card or checkbook.

Ask Gala volunteers to donate $5 to make the Gala even better, or prompt your office volunteers to make a general donation of $10, $25, $50 or a custom amount to help pay for administrative support and office materials. Customize the message they see when prompted, and even include a custom thank-you message and email (with an automated receipt) to recognize them and let them know how their contribution will make a difference. Finally, if your organization already has our integration with either The Raiser’s Edge or eTapestry, watch the donations sync into your CRM without having to deal with manual entry.

VolunteerHub offers a variety of pricing options for this feature, including a risk-free option with no annual or setup fees as well as a long-term investment option that can practically pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time. If you’re interested in adding this feature to your site, please send us a message.

4. Include a Donation Link in Your Site.

This is probably the simplest change you can make to your site, making it an easy win to start your efforts to bridge your volunteer base with your donor base. Asking volunteers to donate can start simply with the click of a button in your default landing page’s Schedule Message.

First, you’ll need to decide where you plan to send your volunteer. Will it be an external link to a PayPal payment page or Luminate Online campaign, or will it be an internal link to a donation page you’ve created with the Volunteer Fundraising feature? While either can work, a donation page not only makes the experience much more streamlined for the user but also ensures your volunteer isn’t taken away from your volunteer site (after all, that’s why they’re here to begin with!). In addition, donations made through a donation page will appear in the three donation reports in VolunteerHub and provide a more holistic view of your volunteer’s contributions to your organization right in their VolunteerHub profile.

Using the Volunteer Fundraising feature to create a donation link is simple: Navigate to Setup > Donation Pages, click Add Donation Page, draft your custom Ask and Thank-You Messages, and choose the donation amount options you want volunteers to see, then click Save Donation Page. Once saved, you’ll see a unique link for the new donation page that you can share with your volunteers.

Now that you have a donation page, follow the steps in this FAQ to insert a button or text link to the page in your default page’s Schedule Message. Don’t forget to change it up every few months to ensure returning volunteers notice it.

5. Sync Your Volunteer and Donor Databases.

Each of the four tips we’ve discussed are focused solely on converting volunteers to donors. What if you could have it both ways? How might you unify your Development and Volunteer Management teams in the effort to support your organization’s mission?

The single most powerful and most efficient strategy to accomplish this task is to put all those givers – volunteers and donors – “under one roof,” so-to-speak. In other words, put all your volunteers’ information into your organization’s donor database so you can solicit volunteers for donations with the rest of your donors while also including your donors on newsletters and volunteer announcements. That said, manually exporting and importing can be very time-consuming and error-prone, making this a daunting and sometimes even an unrealistic goal. That’s where VolunteerHub’s partnerships with Blackbaud and Salesforce can lend a helping hand.

VolunteerHub is the only volunteer management solution with a true integration with every Blackbaud donor platform, including The Raiser’s Edge, eTapestry, Blackbaud CRM, Altru and Luminate CRM, as well as with SalesForce. Our integration with The Raiser’s Edge lets you sync volunteer information from your VolunteerHub site into your donor database with the click of a button and includes a variation of our Intelligent Deduplication feature built right into the sync, while all of our other integrations are fully automated, syncing volunteer updates into your donor platform every 15 minutes.

Check out the table below to see what each integration can automate for your data management teams, or click on the name of an integration to view its corresponding article in our Knowledgebase.

Volunteer Data Synced to Donor Database

The Raiser’s Edge Integration

eTapestry Integration

SalesForce or Luminate CRM Integration

Blackbaud CRM Integration

Altru Integration

First, Middle and Last Name

X

X

X X

X

Home Address

X

X X X

X

Up to 3 Phones

X

X X X

X

Email Address

X

X X X

X

Email Opt-In Status

X

X X X

X

Date of Birth

X

X X X

X

Gender

X

X X X

X

Group Memberships

 

 

 

X

X

Emergency Contact
Name and Phone

 

X

 

 

 

Date of Last Sync (per User)

X

X

X

X

X

VolunteerHub ID

X

X

X

X

X

Event Registrations (Event Name, Date, and Hours)

X

X

X

X

X

CRM Job Name (per Event Registration)

X

 

 

X

X

Interested in integrating your volunteer data with your donor database? Send us a message to get started. 


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VolunteerHub August 2018 Mini-Release Notes
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 13 August 2018 09:15 AM

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

SMS Credits Now Only 1¢ Each!

Texting users through your VolunteerHub site just got a lot cheaper! To help organizations gain increased access to this powerful communication tool, VolunteerHub recently renegotiated texting prices with our vendor. Now, we can share that savings with you, so you can send a text reminder or message to your users at a budget-friendly $.01 USD per SMS credit.

Credits will still be available in bulks of 250 and can be purchased over the phone with our billing team or within your site’s Setup > Billing > SMS page if your regular Payment Method includes a credit card on file. Please review this FAQ more information about how SMS/Text credits work and how to purchase them.

Note that your site must have the following two User Form questions enabled in order to use the SMS feature:

  1. A phone-type question with the Mobile token enabled (e.g., Mobile Phone).
  2. An SMS Opt-In question with the SMS Allowed token enabled. If your site is missing the required SMS Opt-In, you will not see the texting options within your email areas. Review this article for steps to recreate it.

Minor Updates & Bug Fixes

  • Several optimizations have been made within the software to make it run faster and smoother for administrators and volunteers.
  • Events scheduled from 12am until 12am were appearing that way in Kiosk. We’ve corrected this so that events will be displayed as “All Day” to be consistent with your site’s schedule view of those events.
  • An issue with the Altru/BBCRM integration’s Job list field not pulling in the list of jobs has been resolved.
  • Attaching a minor waiver to an event without an adult waiver led to users receiving an error when registering for an event. We’ve corrected this so that events that only require a waiver for minors will not require the adult waiver also be attached.
  • Hours of “0” were being granted to users whose hours were still blank in the Hours page of the event. This was caused when administrators saved the hours page. Now, if a user’s hours are blank, the page will leave the value null and update only those lines with a value entered.
  • Occasionally, the Search function in Volunteer View previously pulled in results farther into the future than set by the Months to Display in Schedule field in the Setup > Organization page. This has been corrected so it follows the same rules as events displayed in the regular schedule.
  • Similarly, the embedded schedule was previously limited to show up to 60 days at any given time. We’ve changed this functionality so that it displays events per the rule set in the Months to Display in Schedule field.
  • When importing users, those users would be signed out immediately after accepting the invitation and completing their profile. We’ve resolved this problem so that they remain logged in and can immediately sign up for events.
  • The Excel version of the Sign-In Sheet was not opening properly in Firefox browsers and had to be saved prior to opening. You should now be able to click the button regularly and open the file immediately.
  • A circular issue was found when using the Batch Modification Wizard to modify event times for instances of a recurrence master, which had to be done at the Master level to avoid detaching those times. Now, the Batch Modification Wizard will no longer detach times when editing them, making it possible to use the wizard to make an event have the same start/end time. To change times so that they last a full 24 hours (until the same time the following day), however, you must fix the times in the Master’s Instances page by recreating the existing instances with the new time.
  • Some confirmation emails were not being sent to volunteers when the Event Contact had no email in their profile and the “Carbon copy the event contact” option was enabled for the confirmation emails. This has been corrected so that it will send the email to volunteers, but not CC the event contact.
  • Images entered into the Donation Thank-You message were still appearing in the email version of the message when sending the user a receipt. We’ve disabled images to avoid problems with those emails going to the user’s spam folder.
  • Points were previously being displayed in some feature pages of the administrative interface. This has been removed so that point totals for the currently logged-in user are displayed only in Volunteer View as intended.

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VolunteerHub June 2018 Mini-Release Notes
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 25 June 2018 01:22 PM

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

User Group Auto-Populate Field in Registered Users Page

Now you can add that user group reservation a lot faster! We’ve converted the User Group drop-down in the Registered Users page to an auto-populate field to match the User Group filter fields in reports. The field will show the first 25 user groups in your site when clicked; to view your other groups, begin typing the name of a group. After entering a few characters into the field, select a group from the matches that appear.

Minor Updates & Bug Fixes

  • Previously, all hours logged via OnSite and Kiosk’s check-out method were rounded to the nearest hundredth in OnSite but rounded to the nearest 15 minutes in reports. We’ve made this more consistent by rounding all hours in the site to the nearest hundredth. Going forward, hours in reports and the Hours page of every event will show two decimal places.
  • Due to a change to eTapestry’s login procedures, VolunteerHub’s integration with eTapestry was temporarily taken offline. All eTapestry integrations should now be running every 15 minutes as expected.
  • In rare cases, certain weeks for calendar mode in the Volunteer View were not being displayed properly. This issue has been resolved, so all weeks should be displayed left-to-right as Sunday through Saturday.
  • Users were previously able to create usernames longer than the allowed limit (16 characters). We’ve corrected this issue as well as a related problem with users not receiving password reset emails when their usernames were longer than 16 characters.
  • Event filters applied in the Volunteer View of one landing page will no longer be applied in a second landing page if that filter shouldn’t be available in the second landing page. This fixes a rare issue with no events being displayed when moving to another landing page.
  • A minor bug regarding Google Analytics previously not being able to track Volunteer View pages properly has been resolved.
  • Several optimizations have been made to VolunteerHub to make reports and events display faster. 
  • In order to make events load much faster, we've removed the 3 weeks, 1 month, 2 months and 3 months options from event reminder email options.

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VolunteerHub May 2018 Release Notes
Posted by Gabrielle Long on 16 April 2018 01:17 PM

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

Emails No Longer Sent “on Behalf of” Users

Due to increased security measures taken recently by most popular email inbox providers such as Outlook and Gmail, VolunteerHub no longer sends emails on behalf of a user account’s email address. Instead, VolunteerHub will follow the industry standard of sending emails from a generic account while keeping the reply-to intact.

All emails sent from any VolunteerHub site will now be sent from “VolunteerHub Messaging.” No changes have been made to reply functionality, so administrative users will continue to receive replies to their VolunteerHub emails as follows:

  • Replies to automatic event emails will continue to go to the email address in the Event Contact’s user account.
  • Replies to automatic system emails (e.g., Account Created) will continue to go to the Organizational Contact’s email address.
  • Replies to non-transactional emails sent from the Email pages of Event Groups, User Groups and Events will continue to go to the sending user’s email address.

If necessary, you may choose to include a note in your site's Schedule Message or send an email to your existing volunteers to let them know your organization's communications with them going forward will appear to be from "VolunteerHub Messaging." However, this is not required.

Language/Date Format Support for French and UK English

VolunteerHub’s Volunteer View now supports French and UK English! This update also includes support for the YYYY/MM/DD date format, which is applied automatically when selecting one of these new language preferences.

To select a language preference, a user who is not logged in may click the flag icon at the top of the screen. A user that's currently logged into your VolunteerHub site can click on their name, then click the language indicator in the menu that appears (see screenshot below).

Registration Wizard Return Filter Added

Per our previous January 2018 Release, a user may click “Back to Event List” to return to their original place in the schedule immediately after registering for an event. We’ve now added the ability to hold the user’s previous filter selection upon return to the schedule rather than returning them to the event with no filters applied.

Event Time Details Formatting

In our previous January 2018 Release we increased the clarity of information provided in the colored time pills above event names in Volunteer View. We’ve now updated the event date/time area above the Abbreviated Description as well as the Calendar view to be consistent with January’s update:

  • All Day: If an event is scheduled for 12am until 12am the following morning, the pill and time will read “All Day.”
  • Date Range: If an event is scheduled for 12am until 12am on a day further in the future, the pill and time will show the date range of the event only (helpful when posting long-term activities like internships and retreats).
  • Normal Shift: If an event has a duration of less than 24 hours, the pill will show the start time only while the time will provide the start and end times.