Tip of the Week May 23, 2016

Customize which fields show on the Volunteers Page

By default, the Volunteer List page shows the Name, Tag, Group name, Street, City and Status fields in new trial accounts. However, you can customize the fields that are shown here to make this page more usable for your organization. To do this, you will need access to the Setup page. Help topic 1202 provides instructions on how to customize these selections.

You may wish to avoid selecting too many fields because this will make the page hard to read if your monitor isn't wide enough to show all the columns. When using the Volunteers Page features, you can click on any of the column headings to sort by the column of your choice. You can also use the Search bars under the headings in each column to filter the Volunteer List you've generated based on specific field criteria. Defaults will be restored when you leave the page.

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Tip of the Week May 16, 2016

Fiscal Year, Calendar Year, and YTD Statistics

Your organization may have a Fiscal Year (also sometimes called a Budgetary or Financial Year) that differs from a standard Calendar Year. While a Calendar Year is measured from January 1st to December 31st each year, a Fiscal Year may begin on the first day of any specific month, and end on the last day of the preceding month in the following year.

Setting your Volgistics Fiscal Year is important to ensure the accuracy of Statistics, Service Summary Reports, and Award criteria in your Volgistics Account. In Volgistics, "YTD" statistics always refer to your organizations' Fiscal Year-To-Date, or the elapsed period in your current Fiscal Year. Such statistics are used for award and report ranges, and appear on the 'Core' tab of volunteer records, the 'My Service History' tab of VicNet, and the 'View my service' page of VicTouch.

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Tip of the Week May 9, 2016

Helpful hints for using Tags

The Tags feature in Volgistics provides a useful way to temporarily mark multiple volunteer records so you can perform tasks for all of these records at once. Help topic 2137 explains more about what tasks you can perform for tagged records.

Here are some helpful things to keep in mind when using the Tags feature:

  • Tags only stay in place during the operator's current session or until they are cleared. If you need to mark records so you can identify them when you log in again, use the Flag feature as shown in Help topic 2140.

  • Each operator in your account will only see records that he or she tags. If another operator at your organization is logged in at the same time, his or her tags will not show on your computer—and vice versa.

  • Tags are cumulative for your session unless they are cleared. For example, if you tag 8 records and perform a task, and then tag 5 more records without clearing your tags, the next task you perform for tagged records will be made on 13 records.

  • You can clear tags by un-checking the box on individual records, or you can clear all tags at once by clicking the 'Clear all tags' button found under Tags on the menu.

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Improve Security by Keeping Your OS and Web Browser Up-to-Date – Support for IE 7, 8, & 9 is Ending

Out dated operating systems (OS) and web browsers do not contain the lastest security updates, which may put your data at risk. Support for Internet Explorer 7, 8, & 9 is ending. Please see the blog post for more information.

The Volgistics system is automatically updated to include the latest new features and important security updates so you never need to worry about Volgistics being out-of-date. However, if your web browser (which in turn uses your operating system) is not up-to-date, your system may be at risk.

As new threats are discovered, web browsers and operating systems (OS) are continually updated to protect users. But, if you do not update regularly, you’re still vulnerable! The risk in this case is not limited to Volgistics, but extends to any Internet activity you engage in such as online banking or shopping.

The best course of action is to enable automatic updates for your OS and web browser. If you’re not able to use automatic updates for your web browser, you can find a handy resource to make regular updates here. You will need to use local resources to learn about making updates to your OS.

These simple precautions will protect the vast majority of Volgistics customers. However, if you’re still using Windows XP or Vista as your OS, things are much more complicated because of Microsoft’s lifecycle for support. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in April of 2014 and support for older versions of Internet Explorer in January 2016. Microsoft will end support for Windows Vista in April of 2017.

Because Windows XP uses Internet Explorer 7 and 8, and there will be increasing security vulnerabilities due to Microsoft dropping support, Volgistics will be ending support for these browsers in the near future. This means that if you’re currently using Windows XP, you will need to use a supported OS in order to access Volgistics instead. This includes access by System Operators, access by volunteers and Coordinators through VicNet, and the volunteer sign-in stations that run VicTouch.

Later, Volgistics will end support for Internet Explorer 9 so Windows Vista users will need to switch to a supported OS to access the system.

We understand that volunteer departments and not-for-profit organizations may have limited IT budgets and we empathize with any hardships that updating the OS on computers cause. However, as manufacturers such as Microsoft end support for older systems we are left with no choice but to end support also so your information is safe. If you have questions about the end of support for Internet Explorer, please submit a help inquiry and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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Tip of the Week May 2, 2016

Create clickable links to your Application Form from the Opportunity Directory

To create an HTML link that visitors to your Opportunity Directory can click on to navigate directly to a particular Application Form, you can enter your application form's URL as the 'Web site' for the Assignment records you advertise (so long as you're not already using your Assignments' 'Web site' field for other purposes). Since the Opportunity Directory doesn't include any native features for linking to application forms, this can be an effective workaround.

The 'Web site' field for your Assignment records can be found on the 'Assignment' tab. When you include Assignments' Web Site information on the Opportunity Directory, it will appear as a clickable hyperlink, allowing visitors to click on that link to be directed to that web site – in this case, a corresponding Online Volunteer Application Form.

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Updated Password Security Policies

As part of our commitment to the security of your volunteer data in Volgistics we will soon be making some changes to the way passwords can be saved and sent to volunteers, coordinators, and System Operators. These changes will be going into effect with our next update, planned for Friday, May 6. Before the changes are released, we wanted to let you know how this might change your processes within the system.

Changes we're making

After the change, Volgistics will no longer send passwords out to volunteers, coordinators, or System Operators. Instead, the system will send them a link they can use to set a new permanent password.

Password reset email

In addition, volunteers and coordinators will no longer be able to re-use their current password. When they update their password, they'll be required to enter something other than their current one.

On the Vic tab in a volunteer's record, you'll still be able to set a temporary password, but you can't send it to the volunteer. If you need to send something by email, you can send them a reset link.

Volunteer Vic Tab

Likewise, the Tags page will include the ability to set a temporary password for multiple volunteers, but won't actually send it to them. There will also be a new option to send a reset link to the tagged volunteers. They can use that link to set their own permanent password.

Tags page

Like before, if you set a temporary password for a volunteer or coordinator, it will overwrite their permanent password. So they'll need to use the temporary value you set in order to access the system.

If you send a password reset email, or if they request one using the 'Forget your password?' page, it will not change their current permanent password. So if they remember their password after getting the email, they can still use it to login without the need to set a new password. The reset links will also expire after 24 hours.

Changes you'll want to make

Volgistics uses a customizable message when sending volunteers and coordinators their VicNet passwords. In the past, a temporary password was inserted directly into the message. We recommend updating the wording here to make it clear that they'll need to click a link to set the password, since the password itself will no longer appear in the message. This message text is used when you send password reset links to your volunteers, and also when they request one using the 'Forget your password?' or 'Need a password?' links on the VicNet login page. To make this change:

  1. Choose Setup from the menu
  2. Select VicNet
  3. Click Ground rules
  4. Under "Password email" enter the text you would like for the top and bottom parts of the message. The password reset link will be inserted in between these parts.VicNet ground rules password email
  5. While you're here, take a look at the password strength rules just above this section. Requiring volunteers to use secure passwords is an important step to making sure their personal data is safe.VicNet password strength rules
  6. When you're finished, click the Save button to save your changes.

If you're in the habit of setting temporary passwords for new volunteers and sending them out by email, you won't be able to use quite the same process. In this case you could start sending the password reset links, allowing volunteers to set their own permanent password instead of using a temporary password. Or, you could set a temporary password for all of the volunteers at once and communicate this to them through another channel. For example, by including it in a volunteer handbook, or letting everyone know at an orientation session.

Questions?

If you have any questions about these password changes, or anything else in Volgistics, we're here for you! Just click Help from the menu or visit the Support page to send us an inquiry.

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Tip of the Week April 25, 2016

Protect your account with strong passwords

Data security is often at the forefront of the news today. We strive to make your Volgistics account secure behind the scenes, prevent unauthorized users from gaining access by using three-factor authentication for login, and security blocks to prevent repeated login attempts.

However, security experts feel that the greatest threat to security is the use of easy-to-guess passwords. Passwords such as the ones listed here make it easier for unauthorized users to gain access to your account. We encourage account Administrators to require strong passwords for System Operators. Experts recommend that passwords be at least 11 characters long. Click here for information on how to setup the password strength settings for your account.

Please note that if an unauthorized user does hack a password to gain access to one particular account, they will only have access to that account's information. The data in other accounts is not accessible. Similarly, if a volunteer's login information for VicNet is jeopardized, only that particular volunteer's information is available in the VicNet account.

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Tip of the Week April 18, 2016

Finding and recording volunteer absences

If your organization needs to keep track of when volunteers do not show up for scheduled assignments, Volgistics can help. The first step is to make sure all volunteer service for the date in question has been entered into the system. When this is done, you can create a Set to look for volunteers who were scheduled on a certain date, but who do not have any service recorded for that date. Help topic 2320 shows how to do this.

Once you identify the volunteers who were absent, you can use Volgistics' Service Measure feature to keep track of the date and assignment they were absent from. Help topic 2275 shows how to create, and use, a Service Measure to do this.

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Tip of the Week April 11, 2016

Volunteer & Assignment Matching

Volgistics' matching features for volunteers and assignments were recently revamped to make them more user-friendly and practical for regular use. Now, in lieu of categories or 'levels' of matching, volunteers are now considered as matching-or not matching-an assignment based on the criteria selected for that assignment record.

The revised matching features can be a great way to place volunteers in assignments based on specific requirements or qualifications they possess, helping service to be allocated efficiently. Matching can be used to find volunteers who fit the needs of particular service events or locations and can even be setup to determine eligibility for those assignments, automatically allowing volunteers to schedule themselves where they're a good fit. Help topic 2249 explains more about the new Volunteer & Assignment Matching features, and you can learn more about the update in the blog.

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Tip of the Week April 4, 2016

Add links to training videos, web pages, and more on the VicNet module.

If your organization uses the VicNet module you can place a link on the Home tab of VicNet to training materials the volunteers need. Volunteers can login and click the link to be taken to the web address that has the information. This allows you to post links to training sites for your volunteers, but not make these links available to the general public. Please note that there is not a way for the actual content of the web site (i.e. the training video, document, PowerPoint, etc.) to be hosted through Volgistics. You will need to host the material on your organization's web site, host it on a third party's site (such as Screencast or YouTube), or use an existing web site that already has the material in place.

The setup uses an image as the link to the URL address. Once you have an image to use, follow the process shown in Help topic 2288. It will work the same even though you're not setting up an advertisement. You can see an example of how this is used to link to the Volgistics' volunteer training videos in our Sample accounts.

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