Tag Archives: announcement

Announcing: MOW Scheduler “One-Time Events”


The focus of MOW Scheduler is to facilitate the scheduling of daily/weekly recurring volunteer jobs such as delivery routes, since this is the most common — and most unique — scheduling need for typical Meals on Wheels operations. However, most of our customers also have other volunteer scheduling challenges, including the need to find volunteers to help with occasional or one-time “events” such as fundraisers, special holiday deliveries, etc.

There has never been a convenient way to schedule these one-off jobs in MOW Scheduler, although some customers have found creative workarounds. The challenge for us was how to address this need in a way that integrates smoothly with the existing week-centric scheduling tools. And we think we’ve found a good solution!

One-Time Events Features

We have a new interface to manage all one-time events, and we’ve also added some one-time events features to existing pages such as the familiar Daily and Weekly schedules.

One-Time Events Management Page

One-time Events can now be managed and viewed as a list and on a simple monthly calendar from the new One-Time Events section under the Jobs menu in the staff interface. You can add a new Event by clicking the + icon inside a calendar cell, or view details and edit an existing Event by clicking on its name. As with “normal” recurring jobs, an Event can be public (shows up on public Help Wanted page) or private (for internal use only), you can specify how many workers are required, and you can award hours and/or mileage credit to volunteers who sign up. And like normal jobs, the Event is displayed with a pink background if the required number of workers has not been satisfied.

Integration of One-Time Events with Existing Features

Most of our volunteer coordinators spend much of their time in the Daily and Weekly schedules, so we wanted to allow them to view and schedule Events without needing to jump to a different section. To do this, we’ve added a new special Job Group “One Time Events” which is by default the last Job Group shown on daily and weekly schedules.  

Like other job groups, you can choose to view or hide this special group in the job group filters. Tip: if you have default job groups specified in your My Accounts settings, you may want to add the new One Time Events group to that list. Any events scheduled for the given day or week are shown in a new row under this special job group, and you can add a new Event by clicking the + icon in this row. Unlike normal jobs, there is never more than one row displayed in the One Time Events job group, and if more than one Event is scheduled on the same day, they are shown as separate boxes within the same “slot”.

One-time Events are treated much like regular jobs in most other parts of the system, including shift activity reports, confirmation emails, daily email and SMS reminders, and monthly reminders. One-time events are shown on the job calendar and One-Time Assignments section of a volunteer’s Contact Profile page.

One-Time Events on Help Wanted Pages

Your volunteers will see a new Job Group at the bottom of the Help Wanted page (either the Public version or inside the Volunteer Portal) — but only if there are any “pink” Events for the week, i.e. Events that have status “open” and the number of signups is less than the “required workers” setting for the Event. The volunteer can click an icon to see your description of the Event and sign up if desired. The signups work the same as with “normal” recurring jobs, after they submit, the signup will go into your Offers Inbox (possibly auto-approved, the rules are the same as for recurring jobs).

There is also a list view of upcoming one-time events on the right side-bar of the Help Wanted page, so that events beyond the current week can be viewed (and signed up for). We expect that some special events will be scheduled further in advance than the “routine” regular jobs.

Each Event has a unique URL that you can use to link directly to the details and volunteer signup form for that particular event. This could be useful in event promotions. You can find this URL on the Event detail page in the staff interface.

Announcing New MOW Scheduler Features for Volunteer Groups

Many Meals on Wheels and similar organizations have special relationships with other local community service organizations in their area. Often, these groups help recruit, supply, and organize volunteer workers for the Meals on Wheels operation.

We’re happy to announce a new set of “Volunteer Group” features in MOW Scheduler designed to facilitate collaboration with these organizations.

Once an organization has been designated as a Volunteer Group, it becomes possible for the Meals on Wheels volunteer coordinators to “delegate” some scheduling capabilities to the Group. The following features become available:

  • Jobs can be assigned by the Volunteer Coordinator to the Volunteer Group (rather than to an individual volunteer) via a special “Group Placeholder” contact. These assignments are readily identified on schedules by a distinctive icon.
  • Designated “Group Leaders” within the Volunteer Group are given the ability to reassign shifts from the Group Placeholder to individual group members. In this way, scheduling for the Group assignments is effectively delegated to the Group Leaders, but the Meals on Wheels volunteer coordinators retain visibility and control.
  • Shifts that have been reassigned within a Volunteer Group are easily identified on schedules by a special Group Assignment icon.
  • Group members can see the assignment schedule and contact info for other members of their group in the Volunteer Portal, facilitating collaboration within the group.
  • Group assignments that are canceled by group members are automatically reassigned back to the Group placeholder (with an email notification to the Group placeholder contact) and remain the Group’s responsibility, unless the entire Group assignment is canceled by a Group Leader.

To get started with Volunteer Groups, you just need to specify a “main contact” for one of your existing organizations (under Contacts > View All Organizations) and then edit the Organization and turn on the Volunteer Group switch. A new Placeholder contact will automatically be created and the Contacts associated with the organization will automatically become Group members and will see the new Volunteer Group section (with group calendar and member contact list) in their Volunteer Portal accounts. For more info, visit the new Volunteer Groups tutorial on the support site.

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.


Purplewire Has Moved

Purplewire has moved our offices downstairs in the same building (the Loew’s Building) to Suite 305. Our new address is

108 W. Jefferson St., Suite 305
Syracuse, NY 13202

The new space looks great. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop in and check it out!

Also, please note that our fax number has recently changed to (888) 501-4949. Our phone numbers have not changed.


Announcing channelLEADS 6

The latest version of Purplewire’s popular lead distribution and tracking system — channelLEADS, the flagship component of the channelSUITE ™ product line — comes with a host of new and powerful features and a brand new interface to make the user experience simpler and more intuitive. The new version lets the user devise and tailor their own lead distribution rules and more easily manage footprints in Europe and Asia. Highlights of the new features are:

  • Use postal codes anywhere in the world to manage geographical territories
  • Ability to design and store lead-processing “schemes” and tailor them for each individual lead source
  • New “Market Match” feature systematically and continuously finds the right channel for each lead by geography, product, or both.

For more info, visit the channelSUITE website or talk to one of our sales engineers today, at (315) 234-0079 extension 346.