Product Updates

April/May Updates

Oh boy, what an exciting few months this has been!

Company News

We are still continuing to grow our team, not only in our development team, but continuing to put more support staff on, and have grown our data migration team to help new customers get setup easier as well.

If you’re interested in applying for a job with us, feel free to send through your details using this form.

Feature Highlights

  • Added the ability to filter songs by a BPM range, or by song key when viewing the list of songs, and when adding songs to a service.
  • Added some extra placeholders to the “Notify Reports To Person” email templates.
  • Added an advanced search filter for “Parents with children of specific gender”.
  • Added the ability for an account to be set to allow primary/spouse within a family to submit unavailability for the entire family at once.
  • Added the ability for admins to submit unavailability for multiple people at once.
  • Added the ability for admins to export form submissions as CSV files as well as Excel files.

Updates to Unavailability

These are just the first few updates to the unavailability area, and we’ve got a few more incoming.

Family Unavailability

This allows individuals marked as Primary/Spouse/Partner in a family to submit unavailability for their entire family at once. It does need to be enabled in the account first though.

To enable this, navigate to Settings > Services > Roster.  We’ve added a new setting for “Family Unavailability”

With this enabled, when a person with one of the above family relationships goes to submit unavailability, they’ll see the following checkbox when submitting unavailability in the Member area.

This does take the other unavailability settings into account, so the unavailability may be blocked if a family member is already scheduled on etc, depending on your individual account settings.

It’s also worth quickly noting that the exact UI here in the Member area is likely to change soon as we add some more features to this in!

Admins adding unavailability for multiple people

As it should sound like, it’s now easier to add unavailability for multiple people at once as an admin, including the ability to submit it for an entire family as an admin as well. Here’s a quick Gif that looks at how this works!

Song Filtering

This has been a feature that worship planners have been asking for a while now. Often you might want to ensure that the songs in a service flow together well, and ensuring that the songs are in either the same key, or a complimentary key and have a similar BPM will assist in this.

Now, when adding a song to a service you can filter by these keys and BPM range.

While we were adding this in, we decided to add the same filters to the Songs index page.

The future

Without spoiling too many surprises, here’s a quick summary of what we’re currently working on.

  • A better way for super-admins to opt-in to Beta features
  • A new Multiple Services Editor
  • A new People page
  • More updates to Availability
  • Submitting Group Attendance via the Mobile app
  • Group Messaging in the Mobile App

We’ve laid a lot of the ground work for the above already, so you should see some of these coming out in the next few months!

Releases in this period

To get more details, including information on the bugs fixed in this period, here’s the full release notes:

2019 so far (Jan -> March Updates)

Hello everyone.

It’s been a few months since we posted anything over on this blog!

I hope to keep up monthly summaries going forward, but as we haven’t really had a nice summary of what’s been going on since August last year, I’ll do this as a “What have we done this year” summary instead of just doing “March”.

Company Updates

Since November, we’ve grown quite a bit as a company! I’m now writing these posts to help give Ben more time to focus on higher level things. Our development team has grown from 3 developers at the start of November, to currently 6 backend developers, with another backend developer on their way soon. We’ve also got another front-end developer starting soon, to help give Aaron a bit of help.

All combined this has helped us develop really great momentum when it comes to getting new features out, and bugs fixed!

We’ve also grown our Australian based support team from not just me, so I now have Lachlan assisting as well, and we aim to have another support person starting over the next few weeks as well! Not to mention the inclusion of the rest of the Support team from Tithe.ly, overall this means we’re better able to get back to customer questions in super quick times!

Feature Highlights

For those that aren’t subscribed to our releases blog, we’ve had 6 releases that we’ve published this year.  For the eagle eyed observers out there, we’ve also moved to weekly release notes, and that’s something we hope to keep up in the future. We’ve also simplified our version numbering.

To give a quick summary some of the highlight features we’ve added this year so far:

  • Added an option to the Check-in Room Attendance report to show the date/time of the service children were checked into.
  • Added an option in the People Notes report to only look at specific notes (ie only notes in People Flows or Group Attendance)
  • Admins can now control what steps for people flows appear when you add someone to a people flow within their profile or mass manage.
  • Added ability to set a default song length under Settings > Songs, that is used when adding new songs to the account.
  • Form submissions can now be individually exported, or you can select specific submissions to export, instead of having to export all of them all the time.
  • Added a number of options to mass managing Service Teams and Sub-Service teams.
  • Ability to Email and SMS people from Form submissions

We’ll look more into some of these more further down.

There’s a few other minor new features we’ve added that I’ve skipped here, as well as a whole raft of improvements to the UI and bug fixes that have also happened. Check out the releases blog for more detail!

Service Date/Times in Check-in Room Attendance Report

While this feature in particular may not be seen as the most important thing that we’ve ever built, it will be useful for churches who have had issues with people being checked into the wrong service. In the past, it was a lot of work to figure out if a person had been checked into the wrong service, which then made ensuring attendance statistics were accurate was really hard.

Using this option though you should now be easily able to tell if someone was checked into the wrong service and go in and amend attendance stats as needed.

People Notes Report

When generating a People Notes report, under People > Reports, you’ll now see an option for “Which notes to view”, which at the time of writing this blog post is actually the second “which notes” question in generating this report, so we’ll get that improved soon!

This dropdown then gives you 4 options.

  • All – Notes written anywhere in the account about the person
  • Unconnected – Specifically notes written about a person, from within the “Notes” tab of their profile
  • Flow Notes – Specifically notes written about a person, from within a People Flow Step
  • Group Attendance Notes – Specifically notes written about a person, when taking Group Attendance

You can use this to only look at notes written during group attendance etc.

People Flow Entry Points

When setting up a people flow, once the Steps have been entered, you should see something like this:

When you then went to add a person into that people flow, you’d be given all the steps as an option to add them into, even though they probably should always be going into the “Initial Email” step to begin or maybe the “Phone Call” step if you didn’t get their email address.

Now when you go to the “Edit” tab of the people flow, you’ll be able to define what we’re calling Entry Points.

Using these, you can now control what steps a person can be added to from within their profile, or when using Mass Manage to add people into a flow. If we select “Initial Email” and “Phone Call” as the entry points, when adding a person into this people flow, you’d only see them as options.

This will help you control where people get added into the different flows and help prevent people from being added into the wrong steps and missing vital steps from happening!

It is worth noting that this setting is only taken into account from within a users profile or when using Mass Manage. A form, or another people flow step, can still have actions set to add a person into a people flow step that’s not one of the entry points of a flow.

What the future holds

Looking forward, we’re continuously working on improving the system, so expect many good things to come. There are of course many great things that we’ve spoken about in past blogs so I won’t go into too much detail about everything we plan to do one day, but in the short term future some things I can say that you should be expecting to see soon include the following:

  • Ability to submit unavailability for an entire family at once
  • Calendar view of unavailability
  • New and improved Edit Multiple Services screen

If you have any questions, feel free to leave some comments below or to reach out and ask, and if you haven’t already feel free to join our Facebook Users group to help communicate with other churches and find out how they’re using the software!

Until next time,

Stewart out.

Upcoming Change to People and Group Access

On the 15th January 2019 (AEST), we will be making some changes to how People and Group access permissions work in relation to lockdowns and restrictions. These changes are minor, but large enough that you may, or may not, need to review how your access permissions are setup.

The goal of these changes is to hopefully make access permissions make a little more sense, but as you may have set things up with how they currently work in mind, if you have lockdowns in place please review these changes.

If you do not make use of lockdowns in your access permissions, nothing will be changing.

How Lockdowns and Restrictions Currently Function

Right now, when a person is locked down, these lockdowns are taken into account before any restrictions are taken into account. This can lead to some interesting scenarios. The biggest example of this is group leaders who lead a group that’s not at their assigned location.

Scenario 1: Jordan

We have a group leader Jordan. Jordan regularly serves at, and is assigned to the “North” location.

Jordan has a “Group Leader” access permission, which is setup as follows:

  • Access to People
    • Restrict access to:
      • People in groups they lead
      • People in the “Regular Attenders” people category
  • Access to Groups
    • Restrict access to:
      • Groups they lead
  • Locked down by assigned locations

Jordan leads two groups:

  • “Jordan’s Awesome Bible Study”, which is assigned to the”North” location
  • “Thursday South Playgroup”, which as the name suggests is at the”South” location

Spencer is assigned to the”North” location, and attends”Jordan’s Awesome Bible Study”.

Rowan and Sam attend the”Thursday South Playgroup”. Rowan is assigned to the”North” location, and”Sam” is assigned to”South” location.

Currently how this is handled, Jordan can see Spencer, and Rowan, but can not see Sam, in the People area. In the Groups area, Jordan can only see “Jordan’s Awesome Bible Study” but not”Thursday South Playgroup”, even though Jordan is a leader.

Scenario 2: Morgan

At the same church, the “Connect Group Pastor” access permission is setup as follows:

  • Access to People
    • Restrict access to:
      • People in group categories they’re an admin of
      • People in the “Regular Attenders” people category
  • Access to Groups:
    • Restrict Access to:
      • People in group categories they’re an admin of
  • Locked down by assigned locations

Morgan is a Connect Groups pastor at this church, and is assigned to the South location, and is a group category admin for the “Bible Study” group category.

Elliot is assigned to the”Community Outreach” group category and is assigned to the “South” location, but is a member of “Jordan’s Awesome Bible Study”, which is in the”Bible Study” group category and as mentioned above, assigned to the “North” location.

Dallas attends a “Bible Study” group that is assigned to the”South” location, but is not assigned to the “South” location them self.

In the current system, Morgan can see Elliot, as they’re a member of a “Bible Study” group and assigned to the “South” location, even though their group is not at the same location.

Morgan can not see Dallas, as Dallas does not match the location lockdowns.

Current Diagrams

We have some pretty complex diagrams that are available to those who want to see them. The thumbnails are below – click to view in full size.

Current Group Access Logic – click to view full size

Current People Access Logic – click to view full size

What’s Changing in January 2019?

We’re changing how lockdowns and certain restrictions combine together, so that the following people restrictions are considered more important than lockdowns:

  • Can only view people in groups they lead
  • Can only view people in groups they’re a member of

We’re also changing how the “Can only view people groups within group categories they administer” restriction works, when tied with lockdowns, but in a different way.

We’ll also be changing how the following group restrictions work:

  • Can only view groups they lead
  • Can only view groups they’re a member of

You will note that the “Can only view people in specific people category” restriction for people, as well as the “Can only view groups in categories they administer” restriction for groups are unaffected by the coming changes.

Each restriction’s change is detailed below.

Can only view groups they lead or are a member of

This applies to the following permissions in the People and Groups areas:

  • Can only view people in groups they lead
  • Can only view people in groups they are a part of
  • Can only view groups they lead
  • Can only view groups they are a part of

These restrictions will now ignore completely lockdowns. If a person has these restrictions in place, they will now see all groups and people in groups they lead/are a member of, regardless of any lockdowns in place.

Can only view people within group categories they administer

This restriction will also ignore lockdowns, but in a more intelligent way. To determine which groups they are considered an admin, we will still apply lockdowns to the groups, but we will not apply lockdowns on who the members are.

New Diagrams

Again we have some diagrams if you’d like to see. It’s worth noting that the group access diagrams is needed to fully understand how the people access diagram works now too.

New Group Access Logic – click to view full size

New People Access Logic – click to view full size

How things will work with the new changes

After we make the changes on the 15th January 2019 (AEST), the scenarios described above will work as follows:

Scenario 1: Jordan

In the People area, Jordan will now be able to see all members of the groups that Jordan leads, no matter what location they are assigned to. Jordan will still only be able to see people in the “Regular Attenders” people category, if they’re also at the North location.

In the Group area, Jordan can now see any group they lead, no matter the assigned location on the group.

Scenario 2: Morgan

In the People area, Morgan will no longer be able to see Elliot’s profile, but can now see Dallas’s profile, as they are a member of a group inside the category and location that Morgan is an admin for.

In the Groups area, Morgan’s access to groups will remain unchanged.

In the scenarios mentioned above, we’ve spoken exclusively about location lockdowns, but this will apply to other lockdowns as well.

Wrapping up

We are hoping that these changes will make lockdowns and restrictions a little easier for you, our customers, to work with and get your head around.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave comments below, or to send an email to support@elvanto.com.

Thanks!

Stewart Polley

Push Notifications are here!

Today I am excited to announce we now have push notifications in our Mobile App for service scheduling and volunteer swap & replace!

When your volunteers upgrade to the latest version of our app (it should be circulating on App Stores now), push notifications will be turned on by default and give your volunteers a choice to disable them.

How to Send Push Notifications

Push notifications can be sent the following ways listed below. Not every volunteer will have push notifications enabled so which is why we send push notifications when an email or SMS is sent.

  1. When you schedule a volunteer using our NEW volunteer scheduling interface and have automatic email/SMS turned on in service settings.
  2. When you send volunteers an email/SMS manually from a service or the edit multiple service screen.
  3. When a volunteer requests a swap or replace – any email/SMS that is sent during this process will also get a push notification.

We’ll also be adding push notifications to service reminders and follow-ups in the near future!

More Mobile App Features Coming

Some of our top priority items are…

  • Ability to view groups and report on attendance (well be adding push notifications to reporting reminders also)
  • Ability to schedule volunteers and manage service plans
  • Ability to view people

We’ll keep working to make our Mobile App more robust! Rather than one massive update, we’ll keep chipping away at each area and release an update so you get the benefit quicker!

Other Updates

We’ve made a bunch of other improvements noted on our releases website.

  • Added two new Avery Label Template sizes for A4 paper: The Avery L7180 and Avery 3422
  • Added the ability to require a reason for archiving a person and specifying default reasons for this
  • Added the archived reason field into the people activity report
  • When Mass adding individuals to a service, you’re no longer scrolled to the top of the page after adding a person in every time
  • Improved speed of mass adding individuals to services
  • When adding people to a group, the search window grabs focus when the window is opened
  • New service scheduling now correctly handles errors and doesn’t just freeze
  • Brand new interface for editing and adding group categories

People Flow Reminders are here!

Today I am excited to announce that we’ve released the ability for your Step Admins to have automatic reminders sent to them, reminding them to follow up people in their people flows. The days of only getting the initial email are over!

Highlights

Updated Interface

We’ve updated the interface when editing a people flow to include the new options. Not the most important aspect of the update, but worth noting!

Step Admin Reminders

When setting up each individual People Flow, you can now set the Flows to have different reminders.

Reminder Type

You can either set the Flow to send Email and/or SMS reminders to your admins, or you can set it to only send SMS reminders to admins who don’t have email addresses in their profile.

Reminders

You can have multiple reminders sent out on days of your choosing. These can be set to be X days before, the same day and X days after. You can set as many of these as you desire to help ensure that your admins are following people up!