Category Archives: MOW Scheduler

MOW Scheduler “What’s New” Newsletter

Hello Friends of MOW Scheduler

We want to send you a quick note to update you on what’s new and happening in 2019:

  • There’s now an option for you to send volunteers text reminders the day before their scheduled shift. Several of you told us that you would prefer an earlier text reminder. We did not forget. Go to “Site Preferences” under System Admin and you will see the new option.
  • Another new feature is to optionally include a “cancellation link” in your email and text reminders. Volunteers who can’t make it can follow the link and cancel the appointment themselves (yes you will get an email notification right away when that happens). You can turn that feature on in “Site Preferences”. If you want to see what the “cancellation link” looks like in a reminder, turn the feature on and then click “view sample”. Leave it off if you are worried about cancellation being “too easy”.
  • You may or may not have bothered to provide descriptions for your job groups. What should I say about the groups, and who will see that anyway and how is that useful? Well, you may consider including information like “site coordinator Linda’s phone # is …”, or “arrival time is 11:30 to 11:45”. We have made these descriptions accessible in a pop-up window next to the job group’s name in both weekly/daily schedules, and on the Help Wanted page.
  • Have you tried to figure out how many “active” volunteers you have? should you count those who only showed up once the whole year? try this simple feature we added to help you decide that. Look for the filter “Minimum # of shifts performed” in the Volunteer Shift Activity Report. It’s there to help you figure out who came in at least twice last quarter, or 10 times last year. Set the bar at what you think is reasonable.
  • We have always had the “Volunteer Shift Activity Report to help you see how many shifts each volunteer has performed or cancelled over time periods. Someone (named Molly :-)) suggested that a similar comparison among routes/jobs is also useful. so we added the Job Shift Activity Report. Take a look at that when you have a chance. Let us know what you think.
  • For those of you who make frequent use of “shift notes”, we have added a “Shift Notes Report” to help you find particular notes that are over a week old. Find the new report under the Jobs menu. You can search for a note by time period and by specific words in the note.
  • If an individual is associated with an organization that has the new “Display on Schedules” setting enabled in its company profile, the organization name will be shown next to the individual’s name on the schedules, for example Mary Cunningham – United Methodist Church. This can be useful when an employer or church group drives a route as a group. Often you don’t necessarily know which individual is to come on which day, because you rely on the group’s main contact to arrange that internally. In that case we recommend that you put the “group coordinator” in the schedule because that’s the person who should get reminders, and it’s his/her contact info you would need in case there’s an issue.
  • Most of you know how to link to your Help Wanted page, say in an email that solicits help. But did you know that you can use a similar link that’s job group specific? Find the new Job Group Public Help Wanted URL from the Admin’s Manage Job Groups menu. Or, select multiple job groups using the filter on the Help Wanted page, and copy and paste the URL from your browser.
    We hope you will enjoy the features/tips in this email.

Happy scheduling!
The Purplewire Team

[newsletter sent by email to current MOW Scheduler customers and selected prospects on 2019-05-06]

New MOW Scheduler Release

Today, we’re rolling out a major new release of MOW Scheduler. This release includes a new feature we call the “Offers Inbox”, which helps staff (“Volunteer Coordinators”) manage volunteer shift signups (“offers” to help) that are submitted online. Previously these submissions were sent and received by email, outside the system. This new feature makes things easier for both the volunteers and staff, and it also paves the way for some exciting new features such as “auto-approval” that will be available soon.

New Features

Some of the more visible changes in today’s release:

Navigation changes
To accommodate several new and upcoming features, we’ve eliminated the old “Reports” menu and moved the volunteer performance reports to the bottom of the “Jobs” menu. The “Admin” and “Help” menus have been moved to the right and are now represented by icons.

New “Shift Sign-Up” form on public calendar, and new “Offers Inbox”
Volunteers may offer to volunteer for an open shift found on the public “Help Wanted” page /helpwanted (formerly known as “Available Shifts”, see below) by filling out a form that:

  • creates a new entry in the volunteer coordinator’s “Offers Inbox”
  • sends the Volunteer Coordinator an email notification.

The new form replaces the old “mailto:” links, which don’t work well with web mail programs like gmail
The Offers Inbox has tools for the coordinator to easily turning these volunteer “offers” into filled slots.

We invite current customers to view the new “Offers Inbox Tutorial“, available through the “Help” link the main menu bar of your MOW Scheduler site.

“Pickups” are now called “One-time Assignments”
The term “pickups” was a source of confusion. Gone.

Simplified contact data
A contact’s email address and phone numbers may now be edited directly in the main contact form.

Prettier emails
All email notifications to staff and volunteers now use a more polished layout, and include a notice that explains that the notification is sent by MOW Scheduler on behalf of your organization. This eliminates a source of confusion with new volunteers about where the emails are coming from (us) and why (because they volunteer for you).

You may now preview a “sample” of all notification emails (and SMS texts!) through the Admin/Notifications section.

New Home page
Previously, anyone who wasn’t signed in that tried to load your site’s home page http://yourorg.mowscheduler.com was redirected to the login page. This made sense for staff users, but could be confusing to volunteers who were looking for the public “available shifts” page. The new home page is helpful to all types of users.

Public “Available Shifts” page is now “Help Wanted”
You can now link to the simpler url http://yourorg.mowscheduler.com/helpwanted
The old url http://yourorg.mowscheduler.com/jobs/available still works, but it now redirects to /helpwanted, so you don’t need to worry about broken links or obsolete bookmarks.

Coming Soon

We’re planning to release 3 other major new features in the coming weeks that integrate with the new Offers Inbox:

Volunteer Portal

Your volunteers will be able to self-register for an account that will allow them to sign up for shifts, view their current commitments and past volunteer activities, cancel shifts, update their contact info, etc. — without needing to contact their Volunteer Coordinator directly.

Auto-Approval of Volunteer Shifts

When volunteers who have signed into the Portal sign up for a shift, we’ll know exactly who they are. So we have the opportunity to automatically complete the shift assignment and update the calendar — without staff intervention. You’ll be able to control which volunteers are eligible for auto-approval.

Staff Notification Subscriptions

Currently, all notifications related to shift signups and cancellations go the the email address (or addresses) specified for use on the public Help Wanted page. The new feature will allow individual staff members to “subscribe” to notifications related to the Job Groups they’re involved with. In this way, it will be possible for Volunteer Coordinators to get notified only about Kitchen shift signups, or only about routes that start from the West Side location.

 

Managing your Volunteer Score Board with MOW Scheduler

Our new and improved “Job Settings” page makes it super easy to update the miles and hours that volunteers contribute on each job.

Most of the time you probably don’t even notice that MOWscheduler is quietly keeping volunteer score for you: who drove which route on what day, and the mileage and time they spent doing that. When those numbers are needed, whether tax season, PR or grant-writing time, they are right there with a few simple clicks on the “Volunteer Credits” page.

Occasionally though, work is needed when clients are added, deleted, and/or reshuffled from one route to another. That’s when estimated shift duration and distance required to deliver the impacted routes need to be reviewed and adjusted to keep the records accurate. To make that work as easy as possible, we recently redesigned the “job settings” page.

Screenshot: Job Settings Page

Volunteer resource requirements such as miles and hours, plus volunteer head counts and the weekdays applicable to each job, can all be reviewed and adjusted in one intuitive and productive environment.

http://MOWScheduler.com

Finding a Substitute Driver with MOW Scheduler

Our “Advanced Search” tab makes it easier to find a substitute driver for a route.

Figuring out where to start when looking for someone to substitute for a route isn’t always simple. Determining which volunteers are likely to “step up” can depend on a number of factors that may be hard to remember, especially in a rush. There are several tools in MOW Scheduler to help you with that.

Screenshot of Advanced Search

For example, some routes may be tricky to navigate, so volunteers who have driven the same route before might be the best candidates. Or, possibly a pool of “regular substitutes” is the place to start. MOW Scheduler keeps track of the factors that may be most useful to you, and puts that information right where you might need it.

So next time when you need to fill an open route, the “Advanced Search” tab is here to help.

http://MOWScheduler.com

MOW Scheduler New Feature: “Service Anniversary”

The Volunteer Coordinator’s dashboard now includes a widget for “Upcoming Anniversaries”. This new widget, and alongside its older sibling the “Upcoming Birthdays” widget, prepares the coordinator to greet and congratulate his/her volunteers every week.

This new feature was suggested by our users at @MOWDurham. We liked it, so we did it. Thanks for the suggestion!

MOW Scheduler Feature Update: “Available Shifts” Public Page

The “Available Shifts” page in the MOW Scheduler is a public page that can be linked from your social media or email requests for volunteers to help in filling “open routes”. The Available Shifts page shows current route and other job openings, and is continuously and automatically updated as openings occur and are filled in the system.

New feature: Volunteers can respond by phone, text, or email, but previously we allowed only one email address to be used for receiving volunteer responses. Thanks to a suggestion by our users at Senior Connections in Atlanta (@SrConnections), you can now list multiple emails so that several people can be “keeping an eye” on volunteer responses at the same time.

MOW Scheduler Feature Update: A Slicker “Ongoing Assignments”

At Meals on Wheels, we rely on many volunteers who come in regularly to drive a route or pack meals. Even though they are “regulars”, they often have very different schedules. Mary may drive route 3 every 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, while Bob drives route 10 only on 1st and 3rd Tuesdays. MOW Scheduler’s “Ongoing Assignments” feature, which stores different types of recurring schedules and uses them to automatically populate the job calendar, has been a major time-saver for the volunteer coordinators.

The following additional improvements to this feature were introduced recently:

1. Multiple weeks of the month can be added (or cancelled) in one action.
2. An existing schedule can now be simply modified without having to vacate and start over.

MOW Scheduler – State of the Union

Our MOW Scheduler product was officially launched about 8 months ago (although we’d been in production use at beta sites for over a year at that point), and since then we’ve been busy! A few highlights:

  • focus on usability: we’re constantly striving to make the every day tasks as simple as possible (but no simpler!), and the complicated stuff doable.
  • new features, including “monthly” ongoing assignments, job groups, performance reports, etc.
  • easier setup, improved administration tools for adding new routes, importing volunteer data, etc.
  • new users: in our first few months we’ve helped a number of customers successfully implement the Scheduler, and received a lot of valuable feedback in the process.
  • conferences: it was great to meet so many motivated people at the national MoW conference in Nashville and the NY state conference. It’s nice to be able to put a face to the names, and our “early adopter” customers have become our most enthusiastic supporters.

What’s next for MOW Scheduler? 

  • more features… what do you want to see?
  • continuous improvement in performance and usability
  • we’ll be at the national MoW conference again this year, plan to stop by our booth in Denver

MOW Scheduler is a web application that helps Meals on Wheels and similar home meal delivery nonprofit organizations schedule their routes and other recurring volunteer commitments. Visit the website at www.MOWScheduler.com — then contact Cha through the form on the site, or by phone (315) 234-0079 x301 to talk about your needs or to schedule a demo.