Our September software update saw the release of our redesigned Scheduling feature. While you provided some great comments about what we got right, we also heard that there were some experiences we could have made even better. We agree. Based on your feedback, we devoted our last development cycle to providing even more improvements to the newly redesigned scheduling tool.We also focused our efforts on cleaning up some bugs and performance issues to make sure you’ve got a great experience with our software going into this busy holiday season. All of these changes are coming to your site the evening of Wednesday, November 9.
Improvements for Schedule Creators / Organizers
We know the scheduling tool is large, and the task of creating a new schedule can be daunting. That’s why we created a quick walkthrough for you. You’ll find this icon when creating a schedule and on the Grid, and clicking on the icon will open up a slideshow to give you a quick refresher on the most common scheduling tasks. If you are still having trouble with creating your schedule, the walkthrough provides a link to our help articles to give you even more detailed information.
Filter By Service
The Grid is a great place to see all of your scheduling needs across an entire schedule. But sometimes you want to hone in on narrower information. For times like that, we’ve added the new ‘Filter By Service’ option. This pulldown will allow you to filter your Grid view down to only look at a specific service time on the schedule. When you Send Requests to Volunteers using this filtered view, only the volunteers scheduled in that service time will receive notifications.
You can now filter by status on the Printable Schedule report. You can choose to include people with an Accepted, Pending, and/or Declined status. If you include people with a ‘Declined’ status on this report, we will also display the reason they declined.
Improvements for Volunteers
Automated Text Message Scheduling Reminders
In the redesigned scheduling feature, we released the ability for a schedule organizer to manually send out a text message reminder to all of their volunteers. In this update, we have added an automated text message reminder. This text will go out around 7:00pm the night before your volunteer is scheduled to serve. Anyone with an Accepted schedule assignment who has their communication settings set to receive text messages will get these reminders.
Mobile-friendly Serving Availability
When your volunteers get those handy text message or email schedule reminders, they’ve been able to click on that link to take them to a mobile-friendly page where they can accept or view their schedule assignments without ever having to log in to the software. With this update, they will also be able to set their Serving Preferences and Block Out Dates from this same logged out, mobile-friendly page.
We’ve also made some improvements to the Block Out Dates calendar to better serve your volunteers. Now, a volunteer can now see dates with accepted and pending service requests from the Block Out calendar view, better equipping them to make decisions about their availability to serve. If you’ve accepted a scheduling assignment and can no longer serve in that time, previously, your only option was to find a replacement for that schedule. However, we understand that sometimes people need to just decline those requests outright. If your volunteer can no longer serve in an assignment they previously accepted, they can now block out that date to remove themselves from that schedule. The Schedule Organizer will be notified of this change so they can work to find someone else to fill that spot.
Improvements to Performance and Usability
Rooms and Resources Modal
Over the last year, we’ve become aware of a problem with the speed of events. When going to book rooms or resources for your events, it was sometimes taking several minutes for the modal to load. That was not a great experience, and we were not okay with that. We isolated the problem and have fixed it so it should now only take a few seconds for this modal to load. This fix should also improve some of the slowness experienced in setting up Check-In stations and checking people into events. Happy (faster) eventing!
Removing Age Bracket from the Software
For years we’ve had a profile field in the software called Age Bracket. Unfortunately, this field does not behave the way people expected. It is not connected to someone's actual date of birth and doesn't update automatically when someone moves from one range of ages to the next. This leaves you having to make manual updates anytime someone crosses from one age range to the next and severely jeopardizes the accuracy of your data. For this reason, we’ve decided to eliminate this field from the software.
If you keep up-to-date birthdate information in the software, you should be able to get the data you are really looking for by using that criteria in saved searches and custom reports. Check out this post for more detailed suggestions on how to export your Age Bracket data, how to set up your custom field options, how to edit profiles, or how to search for people by Age, Birth Month, or Birthday.
- Group_search API Service: The optional limit_records_start parameter was set up as an offset from the beginning of the results, so limit_records_start=1 started after the first record, which caused the first group to not be returned in the XML. We improved this parameter to accept 0 (or no value) so the first result can be returned.
- Individual_search API Service: In the past, when an invalid email address was provided for the optional email parameter in the individual_search API service, we did not provide a <response> XML element. Now, we will search for the string provided in the optional email parameter, and the XML will return results that contain the given string for the parameter. If the string is found anywhere in a user's email, it will be returned in the XML.
- Individual_profile_from_login_password API Service: The individual_profile_from_login_password API service had an optional parameter called "include_inactive" which was being ignored, even when included in the curl statement. We have decided to remove this optional parameter from the service. The service will return active profiles (and exclude inactive ones), as it has historically worked.
- Individual_profiles API Service: The individual_profiles API Service was not properly handling the 'include_inactive' optional parameter. We fixed this bad logic so this service now properly respects the 'include_inactive' optional parameter.
- Lookup Table Services: In alignment with the removal of the Age Bracket field in the software, age_bracket will no longer be a valid parameter for one of the Lookup Table Services. If you attempt to perform an age_bracket call (e.g., age_bracket_list, age_bracket_detail, etc.), the response will return an error.
- Public_calendar_listing API Service: The public_calendar_listing API Service was incorrectly returning in the XML response 'Attendance Only' events and events that had not yet been approved. We've fixed this so the public_calendar_listing API service is consistent in only returning approved events that are published to the public calendar.
- In some instances, users were not able to subscribe to certain calendars using their Google calendar. The .ics feeds on most of our calendars were sending over all events regardless of how far in the past they may have happened. This, in turn, caused some feeds to be larger than Google's 1MB cap. We have decided to limit calendar feeds to include events no older than one year in the past. All historical events can still be found by logging in.
- iCal subscriptions to My Calendar would sometimes improperly show HTML elements in the event location. We've made sure those confusing bits of code no longer show there.
- We added a couple of missed parameters that will hopefully make calendar subscriptions work more consistently in more calendaring programs.
- In some instances, when an individual had HTML source code as part of their Campus Welcome Message, the preview of the message on the campus edit page was not being rendered appropriately. We've improved this so the preview now properly reflects what will display on the Welcome page.
- When someone was checked in using the iPad Check-In app, it was not properly reflected in the Attendance tab of an event in the browser software. That attendance is now appropriately recorded.
- When adding a new family during Check-In, the duplicate search was inappropriately including deceased individuals. Now that Halloween is over, we’ve removed these ghosts from the Check-In search.
- Sometimes when adding a new family during Check-In, you would encounter the dreaded eternal spinner and be stuck on the create page for-ev-er. We’ve isolated and removed the problem so new families can be added quickly.
- In some instances, emails that should have allowed for replies to the sender were instead being set to 'do not reply'. We’ve fixed this issue.
Events & Attendance
- When a form had automation to an event, unmatched form responses were being counted in the Guest List tab of the event, but not in the RSVP guest count. This was a confusing experience. We've made these counts consistent by including unmatched form responses in both places.
- In most instances, approving all room and resource requests for an event removed that event from the list of approval-related items. But in some cases, the event was not removed. We've corrected this, so the list is behaving as expected.
- When a Limited Event admin attempted to set an attendance grouping for an event, we correctly let them choose an attendance grouping, but incorrectly did not save it. We save those now.
- When attempting to record attendance using the 'old method' of entry, you were not able to save the data you entered. We fixed this, so it now saves properly whether using the old or new (default) method.
- When viewing the upcoming (or past) events for a specific room or resource, the list order sorting based on when the event was created. This was not helpful. We returned to ordering based on date and time of the event.
Files and Uploads
- When trying to access a file attached to a person's profile via the More->Files menu, it would give a permissions error. We have fixed this, so those files are once again available from the profile and from the Files list.
- We discovered a potential issue with uploading a 3MB or larger file for images (profile, family, group, and event). To head off any trouble for you, we have temporarily lowered the limit of those image files to 3MB or less until we can resolve the core problem. All current images, regardless of size, will be maintained; we will not remove any existing images. This change does not affect any other files such as message attachments and schedule attachments; those are retaining their 10MB limit.
- When looking at a form detail page for a form that included an ampersand (&) symbol in the title, that symbol was displaying as “&” instead of just displaying the symbol. We fixed this.
- In some instances, forms that had quotation marks were not behaving and displaying properly. We've fixed this.
- When there was a long item name for a Product/Ticket question in forms, that would sometimes cause alignment issues within the form. We've improved this, so items for Product/Ticket questions display better.
- If there was a form that had question-level automation, and the selected answer choice to trigger the automation was long, the text in the AUTOMATION tab for the Form did not display well. We've improved how long question answers are displayed, so this is easier to read.
- When a form had a Product/Ticket question with multiple items, and the question was configured to 'Limit to one item', the form would not allow a user to change their initial selection for the Product/Ticket question without refreshing the entire form. We fixed this so a user can make a selection and then zero it out to choose from one of the other available items.
- There were some instances where a user editing a form response experienced some strange behavior with the top information banner when scrolling through the form. We fixed this, so the information banner remains stuck to the top of the page where it belongs, and the form content scrolls beneath it.
- When editing form responses with payments, you could hit a 404 page if you clicked the right combination of buttons. We have fixed this by opening a new tab every time you edit a response.
- When you created a batch from form transactions and set that batch to closed, it wasn’t always staying closed. We’ve fixed the latch, and now those batches stay closed.
- We attempted to alleviate some of the confusion around the Annual Summary by Categories report by updating the text to show exactly how the Date Ranges impact the report output.
- When searching for Repeating Gifts from Financial > Repeating Gifts, we weren't showing Pushpay's frequencies as a searchable option. Now you can search for the frequency "1st and 15th" to match the repeating gift options from Pushpay.
- In the last release, the Bank Deposit List lost track of the total number of checks. We’ve improved our counting skills and have added that number back into the report.
- When searching for transactions from Financial -> Transactions, our search worked great for the 1st page of results; however, if you clicked to the next page of results, we would forget we were searching for something specific and return every transaction. The transaction search now behaves as expected, even on page 2!
- When giving to Campus A when your profile belongs Campus B, we were incorrectly showing Campus B's name. The online gift went to the right place; we were simply showing the wrong name. We cleaned this up to show the campus that you are actually giving to.
- We’ve fixed the experience when searching for Transactions by amount from More > Financial > Transactions, so it now works correctly.
- If you had a pledge statement that included a gift with multiple memo lines, we were duplicating the row for however many memo lines you had. The Pledge totals were still correct; you just would get disparaging numbers if you added up all the rows. We’ve fixed our math.
- You can now successfully create transactions from Online Gifts that were given to COAs with special characters in their names.
- When Form payments went to Bluepay, we used to pass the Form ID in the Order ID field. In our last release, we changed this inadvertently. Once again the Form ID is being passed through.
- If you had a Public Gift Message that had paragraph breaks in it, we were displaying \r\n\r\n instead of the break. We fixed this, so the paragraph breaks are appropriately rendered.
- When creating transactions from form payments, we were only saving the card type if it was Visa. We figure you’d want to know if it was a Discover, Mastercard, or AMEX too, so we’ve added those card types to be displayed in form transactions.
- To make it even easier to give, we have removed the phone number field altogether from Logged Out Giving, Logged In Giving, and Form Payments.
- When printing giving statements by Family, we are now printing Primary Contact and/or Spouse first, followed by Children and Others sorted alphabetically by first name.
- Pushpay offers the repeating gift frequency option of "1st and 15th of each month". Within Church Community Builder's giving interface, we had a date selector paired with this option; however, the date selection was not being honored and was setting up the gift at the next occurrence of either the 1st or 15th. To give clarity to the donor as to when their first gift actually starts, we have changed the display to exclude the calendar interface and tell the donor when their repeating gift will begin.
- When using the Pushpay integration, Church Community Builder was sometimes duplicating ACH payments. As duplicated payment records for the same payment are generally frowned upon in the financial community, we fixed this.
- There have been some intermittent challenges with uploading group images. We've made some changes we believe will make this a consistently better experience for you.
- A Limited Access User (LAU) was incorrectly able to see the Participants tab from a members interact group that they are a part of, but were receiving an error when they accessed it.LAUs can now no longer view the Participants tab.
- Basic users were incorrectly able to see unlisted profiles in the Participants tab of a group. We are now hiding unlisted profiles on the Participants tab for basic users.
- On the participants tab of a group, the tooltip showing contact information for the group's participants was failing to display. We’ve restored that helpful information.
- The "sticky" tabs in a group were providing an inconsistent experience when switching between groups. We added some super glue and duct tape, and now the tabs remember which tab you were on for each group, so you return to the right place every time.
- When adding a person to a group from their profile, there was an error if you clicked the "Add to Groups" button before the modal had fully loaded. The button is now disabled until the modal finishes loading.
- When using the Add to a Group modal from someone's profile, we were incorrectly not loading suggested groups into that modal. We've added back those suggested groups.
- We had a problem with people seeing the My Groups and Group Leader List when they shouldn't. We made sure that it is now limited to coaches and directors. Coaches and Directors only see the groups they coach or direct.
- On the participant's tab of group detail, we had previously removed the Send Email link. We put the link back on the second line with the phone number.
- When sending a group message that included bullet points, the message composer would display the bullet points in a larger font than the rest of the message. Bullet points are important, but not THAT important. We corrected the issue so that the bullet points remain the same size as the rest of the message body.
- A department admin was able to see, but not send, messages to groups in their department.They are now able to send messages too.
- When a user clicked the 'Forgot username or password?' link when trying to log in to the software, if they entered an incorrect email address, the page would reload without telling you an error had occurred. We fixed this to have more helpful error messaging.
- When a church had a logout URL set, the system was incorrectly not allowing people to log out of the software. We’ve fixed this so logging out of the system now correctly takes to user to the logout URL destination. Unlike Hotel California, you can now check out and leave.
- When looking in Safari and editing the name or email subject of a Mail Merge, the lower portion of the text was being cut off. We fixed this, so all of the name and subject text is visible.
- Mail Merges have a limit of 65,000 characters within the body text area; we did not clearly show that character limit nor notify a user when it was exceeded. Now when a user copies (or types) a large volume of text or HTML into the body of a Mail Merge, we truncate and remove characters in excess of 65,000 and show a helpful character counter at the bottom right of the body text area.
- Users were unable to export their Metrics data when using Firefox. We’ve fixed this issue.
- When viewing Metrics, and unchecking the "Show All Campuses" checkbox, the goals were not adjusting to be campus-specific. They are now respecting the "Show All Campuses" checkbox and will be campus-specific when viewing a single campus.
- In some case,s reordering your metrics would prevent you from being able to compare campuses. We fixed this issue.
- Users were temporarily unable to search for people by phone number or street address number. They can now search by both.
- We have removed the ‘Email Entire Database link’ from the main people page.
- When editing a profile in mobile login, trying to save a birthday or anniversary was resulting in an error message. You can now successfully save birthdays and anniversaries in mobile login.
- A Position Admin was incorrectly receiving a blank white screen when trying to run the contextual Position Description report.They can once again run that report.
- Queue managers, process managers, and process admins, when sending an email to someone in a queue, can now save a copy of the email to the person's notes. They could previously do this through the "Other Actions" in the queue, but now they can also do it through the "Send email" link.
- We improved the email that a queue manager receives when an individual has been added to their queue via form automation. We now clearly indicate that they were added via a form and that the individual is unassigned.
- The notification bell in the top navigation bar was not properly excluding archived process queues when deciding to alert a user that they had process queue actions to take. Thinking you have work to do and then finding out you don’t is relieving the first time it happens, but it gets annoying after that. We’ve fixed this, so archived process queues no longer trigger the notification bell.
- We've made some changes to the FORMS tab when looking at a specific person who has been added to a queue. Previously, this FORMS tab showed sections that were irrelevant to someone in a queue. We've refined this page to only show forms that moved the individual into this specific process queue via form automation.
- Formerly, when a queue manager was removed from managing a process queue, people stayed assigned to that manager, which didn't make sense and caused a permissions problem. Now, when an admin attempts to remove a queue manager who has people assigned to them, we let them know how many people were assigned to that queue manager and that those people will now be set to ‘Unassigned’.
- When deleting a file from someone's profile, we were showing an error message and not deleting the file. We fixed this so that when deleting a file from a profile actually deletes it and does not show an error.
- If two login activation emails were generated for one profile, we would incorrectly send them the second login activation email with a different username. We changed this so that it keeps the same username if the first activation email is not used.
- When creating profiles, it was possible that a user would get a false Duplicate Individual error. We fixed this problem.
- We have removed the ‘Edit Profile’ link for group leaders who have Full Read but not Full Write admin privileges.
- The printable directory was failing to respect individuals' privacy settings regarding their email address. We fixed the issue, so the email address is only shown in the report for people with an email privacy setting of "Everyone" or if the person running the report chose to override privacy settings in the report settings.
- Department admins, coaches, and directors were unable to run the Blank Attendance Marking Sheet report from within a group from the department they lead. We’ve restored this ability for them.
- When running a Group Contact Report by Department, we were incorrectly showing leaders of inactive groups when running by Leaders only. We now do not show leaders of inactive groups.
- On the Category Summary by Donor reportgreat, if you included a COA that a giver had a refund against and had also given to, we incorrectly zeroed out the refund amount on the report. We've fixed this issue.<
- When running the Donor Analysis report using both Transaction Count and Family, the total number of transactions would either be 0 for no gifts given or a 1 if there were any number of gifts were given. We figured you wanted to see the actual number of gifts given for a family unit, so we’ve fixed this report.
- When running the 'Annual Summary by Categories' report with the 'Family' Type, the first name for an inactive profile was not showing up in the report. We've fixed this so both the first and last names are shown on the report, even if the profile is inactive.
- When running the Pledge and Giving Summary Report for a COA that had an outstanding pledge against it but no giving towards it, in the Outstanding (all-time) column, we would display 0. We have modified this to accurately display the original amount of the pledge.
- When exporting the Contribution Amount Statistic report to Excel, the Contribution column was set to Currency as opposed to General. We fixed this.
- When viewing the Donor Analysis Report On Screen, the columns would sort oddly. We've fixed this, so the columns once again sort numerically.
- When running the Pledge and Giving Detail report by Family for Givers without a Pledge, and the "Display children and others in their own rows" checkbox was unchecked, you would expect that if any family member had a pledge tied to them, the rest of the family would be excluded from this report. We fixed this report to work correctly in that scenario.
- When clicking on the "Download CSV" link in a scheduled report email, the file’s data was not lining up with the correct column header. We've fixed this, so the data now lines up with the correct column header.
- The Transaction by Category Report data was overlapping the page numbers. We nudged that data up a bit to give those page numbers some breathing room.
- The "Form question answer" search criteria in a custom report was not returning accurate results. We fixed this.
- Files added to a schedule were not given a Created date. We are now entering a created date so they can be sorted and found easily from a group.
- The link in the scheduling text message reminder would take the volunteer to a specific schedule week detail page. We felt it would be more helpful to send the volunteer to their listing of upcoming volunteer assignments. From there they can click on an assignment to find a replacement, view the schedule week details, or email the schedule organizer.
- When assigning volunteers and dragging a whole week to another, we were replacing currently existing statuses on the second week rather than leaving them. We fixed this so that if statuses exist, they remain even after dragging and dropping other volunteers into that week.
Sometimes we become aware of issues in the software that are so important, they can’t wait for the next scheduled software release to be fixed. We call those ‘Hot Fixes’. Here is a list of all of those Hot Fixes that have already been resolved since the last release.
- (9.29.16) Individuals were having issues when trying to take attendance from an Event Attendance Reminder email. There were issues where users would see the banner to promote our Group Leader App, but they did not see the underlying information to record attendance. We isolated this problem to Internet Explorer and fixed it.
- (10.7.16) We now allow safer HTML code to be saved into Custom Fields on a user's profile.
- (10.18.16) Issues with the new payment system resulted in repeating gifts not working correctly for churches using Pushpay. We identified and resolved this problem.
- (10.26.16) If you tried to give using Bluepay as your merchant and your first name was really long, it wouldn't work. To be inclusive of all names, we have fixed this so that you can give even if your name long.
- (10.14.16) We identified some inefficiencies in our backend code that was causing slowness on the home page, profiles, group list, and group detail pages. We have fixed this code, and those pages should be running much faster now.
- (10.7.16) When a new custom report was created, certain columns were being excluded, and the order of columns was not sticking. We have corrected this issue so that all columns wanted in a custom report will display, and will remain in the order preferred.
- (10.17.16) When attaching a file with spaces in the file name via email to a schedule, we were giving an error to the user trying to open the file. We fixed this so that the file should always load when clicking on it.