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”.
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!
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.
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,
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.
- When you schedule a volunteer using our NEW volunteer scheduling interface and have automatic email/SMS turned on in service settings.
- When you send volunteers an email/SMS manually from a service or the edit multiple service screen.
- 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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
Our team is currently putting the finishing touches in place for our new volunteer scheduling update we’ve been building. Our goal was to simplify and speed up the scheduling of volunteers.
Here’s a quick demo of the new volunteer scheduling update:
Some cool new features:
- Users will be able to schedule multiple volunteers at once over multiple departments.
- Users will see live updates of other users scheduling on the same service.
- Better filtering and sorting of volunteers.
- Ability to set a default volunteer status (Confirmed or Unconfirmed) on a department level.
- Ability to choose the default service times for positions when scheduling on a specific service type.
Configuration Options Now Available
We plan to roll out the new update in the coming weeks. Being able to set default volunteer status and service times will be a huge time saver for some of our customers. This will change the current process of “Choose Volunteer -> Configure Options -> Schedule Volunteer” to a new process that removes the middle step because the “Configure Options” (setting volunteer status, contact options and times) will be configurable within Service Types and Departments.
We figured it would be handy for you to be able to configure these default settings now prior to launching the new update. Today we have released these new settings so you can jump in and get your account prepare for when we release the new volunteer scheduling update.
Here are some more details on the configuration options.
Default Volunteer Status
In the current version of Elvanto, you can configure the default volunteer status to be confirmed or unconfirmed within settings. This applied to every department.
We have now added a new option when editing a department so that volunteer status can now be individually configured on a per-department basis. When editing a department you can set the status as well as whether you want volunteers to be marked as needing to be contacted.
Default Service Times for Service Type Departments
We have also added in the ability to set default service times for positions within a service type. For instance, you may have volunteers on certain positions who need to be onsite early for the set-up time. Other volunteers on different positions might only need to be there at a rehearsal time. Rather than having to uncheck times when scheduling each volunteer, you can now set defaults.
When on the ‘Departments’ tab of a service type, you will now see a little clock icon next to each department and position…
When you click this, you can choose whether all times are to be clicked…
Or you can customize those times…
You can choose for sub-department and positions to inherit times if a department or sub-department all have the same times…
Jump on in and get your account ready. We’ll be releasing the new volunteer scheduling update soon 🙂 Can’t wait! Let us know what you think of the new design.
We’ve been busy as ever these past few months improving our backend systems to allow us to really ramp up releases in the new year. Here’s an overview of what’s been happening.
Department Non-Conflicts Are Here!
I’m super excited about this feature! You can now set non-conflicts for departments, sub-departments, and positions. This means scheduling for positions that can be filled by the same person have the ability to not conflict. For example, you might want to allow a worship leader to play acoustic guitar.
This doubles the power of swap/replace requests and the auto-rostering tool which both have been impeded by not having the ability to set non-conflicts.
The potential is endless! You can make positions not conflict with other positions in the same department or make a position not conflict with a position in another department. You can make position not conflict with an entire department or make a sub-department not conflict with another sub-department. I could go on with all the options but I’m sure you catch my drift.
Non-conflicts are also inherited. What this means is if you set the Worship Team department to non-conflict with the Set Up Team department, all sub-departments and positions within those two departments will not conflict.
Other Department Updates
We’ve also made a couple of other improvements to departments this week.
The interface when editing a department has been given a makeover to be more user-friendly and simple. We now have 3 buttons to the right of each sub-department and position allowing you to edit extra details (reports to for example), set conflicts and delete.
We’ve rebuilt our old merge positions feature so that you can now merge departments and sub-departments if you so desire.
More Department Enhancements Coming Soon
In the new year we’ll be releasing a couple more enhancements to departments:
- Ability to set a ‘Reports To’ person for an entire department.
- Ability to remove sub-departments and just have positions in a department.
Mobile App Version 2 BETA
I’ll admit, the Mobile App has not had the attention it has needed this past 12 months. This has been due to a couple of factors but we want to assure you the Mobile App is a huge part of Elvanto’s future.
I do have some good news though. We’ve rebuilt the Mobile App from scratch. We’ve added a couple of new features since the first version but our main goal with version 2 was to put get our code to a state where we will be able to add features to it much faster in the new year.
New features include volunteer swap/replace which I know many have been waiting for. We’ve also added a media player so you can play music in a playlist just like the Web App. We’ve also improved the user interface here and there.
We’ll be sending out BETA access very soon so to obtain your invite to give it a whirl, please fill in this form.
Updates to Automatically Generated Giving Numbers
A couple of months ago we released an update to automatically generated giving numbers. Previously we had a more random way of generating giving numbers which caused problems due to the restrictions that existed (such as running out of possible giving numbers if you set your limits too low).
To alleviate this we’ve removing the randomness from the system and making this more sequential. In this method, we’ll simply be looking at the highest existing number, and simply using the next number.
This method simply allows us to ensure that when a new giving number is getting generated, we’ll always have a number to give them. This will ensure we have a number to give every time it’s required.
Chord Chart Improvements
To make chord charts easier to use, we’ve recently made some changes to how chord charts can be configured to suit your desired look and feel.
Two Columns in Portrait mode
After adding in two-columns for landscape we had a number of people asking for two-columns for portrait charts too, so we’ve added this in, just for you!
Bold and italic lyrics, page and column breaks and colored chords!
That’s right. We’ve added a number of additional options for formatting in the chord charts!
More flexibility when adding chords to lyrics
Previously, this was the only way to add chords to your lyrics:
Verse 1 [D]Amazing Grace, how [G/D]sweet the [D]sound That saved a wretch like [A/D]me I [D]once was [D/F#]lost but [G]now am [D]found Was blind but [A/D]now I [D]see
You can now enter these same chords above the lyrics follows:
Verse 1 D G/D D Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound A/D That saved a wretch like me D D/F# G D I once was lost but now am found A/D D Was blind but now I see
The chord chart that gets generated will look exactly the same.
- Added new settings page under Account to allow you to customize your password requirements
- Added the ability to export a list of tickets along with registrant data for events
- More data is now sent to Stripe and PayPal for event registration payments
- Enhanced search to find names that sound like the search term (searching “stewart” should return people named “stuart”)
- Form admins can now preview un-published forms
- Improved the speed of sending email invites for events
- Made what services appear on the roster more consistent, so any service on the current day should always appear even if it started in the past
- Improved handling of members who have chosen to hide their photo from the member directory
- Improved translation of check-in search text
- Improved how hidden photos appear in the member directory
- Added ‘Edit Multiple Services’ link to the main services menu for easy access
- Improved people search in most areas to help assist with typos
- Adding a song to a service should now remember the settings you used last time
- Improved the instructions for creating your ViaNett SMS integration
- Countless small bug fixes and improvements
Other things we’re working on
These features aren’t all we’re working on, but they’re the largest things that will be out in the new year. Some of the other things we’re working on includes:
- Accept Tithe.ly payments within Event Registration
- Adding custom fields to groups
- Version 2 of our API
- User interface updates to groups, reports, services and songs
Hopefully, these upcoming changes make your experience of Elvanto just that little bit easier. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to our Releases Site to stay up-to-date with when these features get released.