Tip of the Week September 26, 2016

Link to web sites for volunteer records from within Volgistics

Volunteer records in Volgistics have a Web site field on the Core tab. On group records, this field can be used to record the organization's web site. On individual volunteer records, you can record the volunteer's personal web page or their page on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.

When a valid URL address is recorded in this field, you can include a Visit link by the field. This link will take you directly to the web site entered in the field. If you're already signed into your account, such as Facebook, the link provides an easy way to go to the volunteer's page and do something like make a post on their timeline or send a private message.

If the Web site field is hidden or the Visit link is not enabled, you can change this by following these steps:

  1. Select Setup from the menu.

  2. Expand the Field options link.

  3. Select Core tab.

  4. Select Web site.

Posted in Tip of the Week, Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week September 19, 2016

Use email codes to personalize email messages.

Volgistics has email codes available that allow you to personalize email messages that are sent to volunteers. These allow you to insert specific volunteer information into an email message similar to how the mail merge function works in a word processing program. The codes available allow you to insert the volunteer's nickname, first name, full name, volunteer/PIN number, or a URL link to reset the volunteer's VicNet password into most email messages. In addition, the due date (or expiration date) can be added to Checklist reminder email messages.

Help topic 2103 shows how to use the codes to personalize your email messages.

Posted in Tip of the Week, Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week September 12, 2016

Clear your own security blocks for your account.

To protect customer accounts from unauthorized access, such as those who are not operators but who might try to guess the password or other information to login, Volgistics automatically places a security block on accounts where too many invalid login attempts have been made from the same IP address. This is sometimes inadvertently triggered if a System Operator forgets his or her login information and tries too many times unsuccessfully to login. In this case, a System Operator who can login and has access to the Setup page can clear the block by following these steps:

  1. If the operator is not logged in already, they will need to login at a computer that has a different IP address than the computer the operator who had the invalid login attempts used. If your organization uses a network where all the IP addresses are the same, you can use a mobile device such as a smartphone to login with.

  2. Select Setup from the Menu.

  3. Expand the "Account management" link.

  4. Select "Remove block."

Posted in Tip of the Week, Tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week September 5, 2016

Use the Advanced options on the Volunteer's page to fine tune searches

When you're looking for groups of volunteer records, the Basic options on the Volunteers page provide a powerful search tool. For example, to locate just Active Adult volunteers you select "Active" from the Status dropdown and "Adult" from the Type dropdown and then click the "All" link. Help topic 2023 explains more about how to locate volunteer records.

However, there may be times when you need even more options for locating records. The Sets feature offers one way to do this, but there is also an "Advanced options" button on the Volunteers page that opens a window with more search features. The Advanced options allow you to fine tune your searches more selectively than the Basic options do. For example, you can select to include or exclude multiple Statuses, Types, and Flags. This will allow a search for records with any Statuses except "Inactive" and "Applicant." Or search for all records that are the "Adult" and "Intern" Types.

The Advanced options also allow you to search for archived volunteer records. To do this, check the "Archived volunteers" box before you click the "All" or letter links.

Posted in Tip of the Week, Tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week August 29, 2016

Use Sets to make Checklist items apply to volunteers in multiple Assignments.

When you setup a Checklist item, you can have it apply to volunteers who have a specific Assignment by selecting that Assignment's name from the "Those assigned to" dropdown list. Or, you can select a Site or a Place from the dropdown to make the Checklist item apply to all volunteers who have any Assignment that falls under the Site or Place you select. (You can learn more about the Site, Place and Assignment structure in Help topic 2099.)

However, if you only want the Checklist to apply to volunteers who have certain Assignments that fall under a Site or Place, or under different Sites or Places, you can do this by creating a Set based on the "Their Assignment" or the "Their Assignment Cluster" Set rules. After you test the Set to make sure it identifies the volunteers who have the Assignments you want for the Checklist item, select the name of the Set from the "If they are in this set" field on the setup page for the Checklist item. Your Checklist will now apply to volunteers with the multiple Assignments identified in the Set.

Posted in Tip of the Week, Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week August 22, 2016

Use the Volgistics Substitute Tracking feature when volunteers are not able to serve.

When volunteers are sick or unable to serve, you can remove them from the schedule and place a substitute volunteer on the schedule in their place. However, the Substitute Tracking feature provides an easier way to handle short term absences. To use this feature you must first check the "Use substitute tracking" box on the Scheduling Ground Rules page.

To schedule the substitute, go to the date on the schedule the volunteer will be unable to serve and click the Edit link in the row where the volunteer appears. This opens an "Edit a schedule entry" box where you can select the substitute volunteer. If the volunteer is filling an opening on the schedule, be sure to click the Edit link that appears on the left in the row with the volunteer's name. Clicking the Edit link on the right will open the "Edit an opening" box used for changing the openings options. Help topic 1167 has more information on setting up and using the Substitute Tracking feature.

  1. Select Setup from the Menu.

  2. Expand the "Account management" link.

  3. Select "Delete a batch."

  4. Follow the directions given.

Posted in Tip of the Week, Tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week August 15, 2016

Delete an entire batch of service.

One method of entering volunteer service hours in Volgistics is to use the Post page to enter service for a whole group of volunteers at once. This can be handy if you're posting hours from a schedule. If hours are posted incorrectly with this method, operators must individually edit or delete the service entry for each volunteer. However, if an entire batch of service is accidentally entered incorrectly, you can delete the whole batch at once by following these steps:

  1. Select Setup from the Menu.

  2. Expand the "Account management" link.

  3. Select "Delete a batch."

  4. Follow the directions given.

Posted in Tip of the Week, Tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week August 08, 2016

Create a date field to track when contact information was updated last, or other date records.

Volgistics does not automatically keep a date record to indicate when a volunteer's profile or contact information was last updated. However, you can use the spare fields on the Profile tab of volunteer records to create a custom field for tracking this information. Here is how to create a custom date field:

  1. Select Setup from the Menu.

  2. Expand the "Field options" link.

  3. Select "Profile tab (for volunteers)."

  4. Select the first "Spare field" that has "(Hidden)" behind it.

  5. Change the "Field format" to Date, give your field a name, and change the "Hidden" setting to No.

  6. Click the Save button.

When dates are stored like this you will be able to create a Set to identify volunteer records that were updated during a specific time period. System Operators will be able to use this field to note the date they updated a record, and through VicNet this field can allow volunteers and Coordinators can note when they updated the contact information last.

Posted in Tip of the Week, Tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week August 1, 2016

Find out how a service entry was created, or if the entry was edited.

Service records in Volgistics can be created in a variety of different ways. Sometimes it is useful to be able to tell which method was used to create the record, or if the entry has been edited. To find this out you need to look at the service entry on the volunteer's record. Click the Edit link beside the entry you need when you find it.

This opens an edit window that will have a Source message in light gray text at the bottom of the window. Service records created individually, or through VicNet and VicTouch, will include a service record number. A service record entered through VicNet or VicTouch that has been edited by a System Operator will show it was edited manually. To find out which operator edited a service entry, you can note the record number and then search for it in your account's Event Log.

Service entered for multiple volunteers at once through the Post page will not show a record number. Instead, it will show the batch number that was assigned to all the records posted for that group. You can use the batch number to print a report of this posted service. The name of the System Operator that posted the service will appear on the report.

Posted in Tip of the Week, Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Volgistics Support for Windows XP Ends August 31, 2016

To keep your volunteer information safe, Volgistics support for Windows XP will end on August 31, 2016. Even if you are using a supported operating system, your volunteers may be affected if you use the optional VicNet or VicTouch modules.

As announced in our blog post from May 9, 2016, Volgistics will be discontinuing support for Windows XP. We have selected August 31, 2016 as the date this will occur. This means that after August 31, 2016 no access to Volgistics will be available if the user is on a computer with the Windows XP operating system (OS). This includes System Operators, the optional VicTouch sign-in kiosk(s), and volunteers and Coordinators who access the system through the optional VicNet module. Even if you are a Volgistics System Operator who does not use Windows XP, we recommend reading this blog if you use one (or both) of the optional VicNet or VicTouch modules.

We empathize with any difficulties updating computers may cause for you and your volunteers. The decision to discontinue Volgistics support for Windows XP was necessary because of security vulnerabilities that may be introduced. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in April 2014. Once Microsoft ended support, new security threats were no longer addressed so vulnerabilities could be present that allow hackers to access the user’s information. Please keep in mind that this involves any Internet activity (such as online banking) on a machine using Windows XP—not just the Volgistics system.

This blog post recommends strategies for each of the areas that will be affected when access to Volgistics with Windows XP ends on August 31, 2016. You can click a link below to go directly to the section of the blog that affects you:

System Operator Access

As a System Operator, you will currently see a warning pop-up if you sign-in to Volgistics using a computer running the Windows XP OS. You can see an example of this pop-up in the VicNet Access section below. If you do not see this pop-up happening now, you can continue to the other sections of this help topic because your operating system is supported.

If System Operator's will be staying with Microsoft products, they will need to update to a Microsoft supported OS. Currently this is Vista (until April 2017), Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10. While it may be possible to use the same computer for this, the recommended option is to buy a desktop or laptop computer with the new OS loaded because the hardware requirements for newer operating systems exceed the capabilities of most Windows XP machines. A used computer may be suitable for this if it is purchased from a reputable seller.

System Operator's could also purchase an Apple computer with a supported OS. A free option is to convert the Windows XP computer to a Linux based operating system such as Ubuntu or Fedora. Please note that these options would change the user experience dramatically from Microsoft products so this should be considered in making your decision.
If your organization has an IT or IS department, you should consult with them for your best option.

VicTouch Access

VicTouch is the optional module that can be added to your Volgistics service level to allow volunteers to clock-in and clock-out from touchscreen kiosks, or stations. For the most secure and reliable experience, we strongly recommend that VicTouch is used in kiosk mode. This hides the web browser controls so that users cannot navigate away from the screen or shut down the module.

If your organization uses VicTouch on computers with Windows XP, a warning pop-up similar to the example shown in the VicNet Access section below should have already appeared at some point. However, because VicTouch is designed to keep sessions active, you may not have seen this message. If you do not know if Windows XP is in use, you can check with your IT or IS department if you have one. Another option is to shut down VicTouch, start a web browser on the computer VicTouch was running on, go to www.volgistics.com, and then click the Login link. If the computer is using Windows XP, the warning pop-up will appear. This should be done at each VicTouch station because each one may use a different OS.

If Windows XP is being used, the guidelines for Microsoft computers in the System Operator Access section will need to be followed. After the replacement computers are in place, you (or your IT or IS department) will need to follow the steps in Help topic 8271 to setup the computers so that volunteers can sign-in and out again.

Please note that when VicTouch computers are setup in kiosk mode they are only performing one function. So this means the computer you purchase does not need to be the latest, greatest model in terms of things such as processing speed, storage, memory, graphics, etc. The main thing the machine will need is a reliable Internet connection and the ability to run any drivers required for the touchscreen monitor. Also, a used computer from a reputable seller may work fine for your needs.

Many organizations are also using tablets for VicTouch so this is a cost effective option you can explore. Apple tablets with iOS 6 or higher come with a built-in feature called Guided Access that can be used to mimic kiosk mode. You can learn how this works in help topic 8269. To our knowledge, Android tablets do not have a similar feature, but you can purchase third party apps to use VicTouch in kiosk mode. You will need to use the app’s support services for configuring the app to show VicTouch in kiosk mode because third party apps are not supported by Volgistics.

VicNet Access

If your organization uses the VicNet module to allow volunteers and Coordinators to access the system over the Internet, anyone using Windows XP will need to make a change in order to access the system after August 31, 2016. Any of the options for computers outlined in the System Operator Access section above will allow them to continue to access the system. They may also want to look into tablets as a cost effective alternative that will allow them to continue to access their VicNet account. You may want to check if your account has VicNet mobile enabled because this will provide a more user friendly experience if volunteers access the system from a tablet. VicNet mobile is available to all current VicNet customers at no extra charge.

The volunteers and Coordinators who are using Windows XP will currently see an alert pop-up like the one shown below when they go to the URL address of your organization's volunteer portal. People who do not see the pop-up will not need to make any changes.

Your biggest challenge will be to educate the VicNet users about the change and explain their options. One way to do this is to send an email blast out to all volunteers (and Coordinators if you use them). You can find information on how to compose an email message in Help topic 2195.
An example of what you may want to include in the message’s content appears below. You may want to research your area to look for organizations that have programs to recycle and sell computers, or find reputable computer repair shops in your area, so you can include this information in your message. Just edit the text of the example message to suit your organization's needs:

Hello Volunteers and Coordinators,

This message is to let you know about a change that may be coming your way soon when you log into the volunteer portal. The change will happen to anyone who currently sees a pop-up message regarding your computer's operating system (OS). If you see this pop-up when you when you go to the portal, please read on! If you do not see this pop-up when you sign-in, you’re free to disregard the rest of this message.

For those of you who see the pop-up, the message letting you know that after August 31, 2016 you will not be able to sign-in to the volunteer portal on your current computer. This is because Microsoft has discontinued support for computers with the Windows XP operating system so your personal information is no longer safe. Please note that this is not only true for the volunteer portal, but also true for any Internet activity you do on your computer such as online banking.

We value your volunteer service and want you to continue to be able to sign-in. Here are some avenues to explore:

  1. You can update your computer's OS to a supported option such as Windows 7, 8, or 10. Or a free option would be a Linux OS such as Ubuntu or Fedora. If you are not tech savvy, [insert the name of a local computer repair shop here] may be able to help.

  2. In many cases your Windows XP computer may not be able to have the OS updated because it cannot handle the new requirements. In this case you will need to buy a new computer or device with a supported OS installed. If you are unable to purchase a new computer, you may want to consider a used or refurbished computer like the ones available at [insert the name of a local computer shop here]. A tablet or the use of a smart phone for access may also be a cost effective alternative.

  3. If you are not able to do either of the options above, an alternative is to use a computer at your local library. Their computers are up-to-date and access is usually free for library members.

We hope the access changes do not present a barrier to serving with us. We value your volunteer service and want you to continue to experience the benefits volunteer service brings. Please contact the volunteer services office if you need assistance.

Thank you for your volunteer service!

We understand that volunteer departments, not-for-profit organizations, and the volunteers themselves may have limited budgets. However, Microsoft ending support for older systems introduces security risks that make this change necessary in order to keep your information safe. As always, if you have questions, please submit a help inquiry and we'll be happy to assist you.

Posted in News, Tips | Tagged , , , | Comments Off