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.
Last week we released an update to the Member Roster page. While on the surface it looks similar, we have made lots of small improvements under the hood and a completely new media player that we’d love to tell you about!
The media player now launches at the bottom of the page so you can continue using it when viewing the current service or browsing other services.
Whilst we previously had some video integration with the player, it was limited in what it could play. Exciting to us (and hopefully to you too), we have added YouTube and Vimeo integration into the player and these will play in the playlist alongside your other audio and video files.
Video is too small? Click ‘Expand’ and voila, nice and big for your viewing/learning/listening pleasure! Or, click ‘minimize’ to tuck the media player completely to hide it but keep playing!
We’ve also taken great care in improving the ease of access to song charts & lyrics. We now include all relevant files, whether attached to the song, arrangement or key, in both the service plan and the songs box. This also now includes the generated number/roman numeral charts.
We are working on improving the integration of swap and replace in both the member area and in the upcoming version 2 of the mobile app. This will make creating, and responding to, swaps and replaces easier than ever.
The mobile app version 2 will also include a brand new media player supporting playlists and background controls from your device.
For all those ‘techies’ or if you just like to read the fine-print, our releases website has had facelift. And if you’re really ‘bleeding edge’ it now offers the page feed in the new (and hugely popular) JSON Feed format!
We hope you enjoy it as much as we do, we’d love to hear your feedback!
Good news! Volunteer Swap & Replace is now out of BETA!
You can view the original announcement here which contains details on how to get set-up. We also have a help article you can send to your volunteers on how to create a swap or replace once you’re live.
Some features we will be working on soon to make this feature better:
- Choose positions that do not conflict with each other.
- Disable declining and force volunteers to swap or replace.
Enjoy and make sure you send feedback on how we can improve!
Today I am pleased to announce that the BETA version of Volunteer Swap & Replace is here!
This feature empowers your volunteers to organize their own swaps and replaces once they have been scheduled for a service. This means your leaders do not have to get involved and volunteers do not need to send out emails, text messages or try catch people at church to organize a swap or replacement. This is an exciting feature that will revolutionise volunteer swaps!
Swap vs Replace: What are they?
There are two options you can now choose to enable in your account. Before I go on there are two groups of people we’ll discuss in this article.
- Requestor – the volunteer who would like to swap or be replaced
- Requestee – a volunteer who the Requestor has asked to swap or replace them.
Now that’s cleared up, I’ll explain both swap and replace.
Swap allows a Requestor to ask Requestees who are scheduled for other services to swap with them. Elvanto will find services to swap with that match the same service type and location as the Requestor’s service.
Replace allows the Requestor to be replaced by a Requestee. There is no swap or trade, a Requestee simply fills in for the Requestor. Elvanto will find Requestees who in their profile, match the same service type and location assigned to the Requestor’s service.
Both scenarios check for availability, conflicts, and scheduling preferences so that only Requestees who are available will be included in a request. Same goes for when searching for services they can swap with. Only services the Requestor is available to swap with will be options.
How it Works
Once enabled in settings (we’ll talk about that further on), a Requestor can send out requests by clicking the same ‘Decline’ button found on their roster.
Once clicked, they’ll be asked if they would like to swap with another volunteer, be replaced or decline. These options can be configured in settings.
Creating a ‘Swap’ Request
Elvanto will find services and Requestees available to swap with. The Requestor is then given the power to choose what services or Requestees they’d like to ask.
On the left, is a list of all upcoming services (within the timeframe you’ve set under Settings > Services > Roster) and the right are the Requestees scheduled for the services on the left.
Only services and Requestees who are available to swap with the Requestor will be displayed. Elvanto takes the following into consideration before including a Requestee:
- Their service must be assigned the same location and service type as the Requestor’s service
- They must not conflict with the Requestor’s service
- They must be available
- Their volunteer scheduling preferences must allow them to be scheduled
- They must be assigned the same department position that the Requestor wishes to be replaced
Unlike finding a replacement (more on this below), we don’t take the Requestees assigned departments, locations or service types from their profile into account. We simply look for Requestees who are scheduled on the same position, in a matching service.
The Requestor can select which services they want to swap with and/or the Requestees they’d like to include. Unchecking either side will toggle the available services and Requestees.
Looking at the screenshot below, only Aretha is scheduled on for the second service, so only she shows in the list of Requestees.
In the same way, only Aaron is scheduled on for the first service, so only she shows in the list of Requestees.
Creating a ‘Replace’ Request
When finding a replacement, Elvanto will ask the Requestor who they want to send the request to.
Like swaps, Elvanto will only find Requestees who are available to replace the Requestor. Elvanto takes the following things into consideration before including a Requestee:
- They must not conflict with the service
- They must be available
- Their volunteer scheduling preferences must allow them to be scheduled
- They must be assigned the same location and service type as the service in their profile
- They must be assigned the same department position that the Requestor wishes to be replaced in their profile
Accepting or Declining Requests
Once a request has been created, Requestees will be sent an email that includes the service the Requestor would like to swap or replace. If it’s a swap, it will also give a selection of services that the Requestee is scheduled on for them to choose from.
When a Requestee logs into their Elvanto account, they will see swap and replace requests in the Member Area just like they would any other scheduling request.
With a click of a button, a Requestee can accept the swap and instantly, both the Requestor’s and Requestee’s roster are updated. Along with that all reports to people for both the Requestor and Requestee are notified of the change. If there were any Requestees who had not responded, they will also be notified that their response is no longer required.
Requestees can also decline. Once all Requestees decline, only then will the Requestor be notified that the request was unsuccessful. The request will be canceled and it’s up to the Requestor to decide what to do. They can try another swap or replace request (they may have unchecked a few names or services in their original request) but Elvanto will not allow them to send the request to the same Requestees who have already declined in the other request.
Apart from all Requestees declining the request, a request can be canceled manually or automatically. The Requestor can cancel a request at any time from their roster and all Requestees who have not responded will be notified of the cancelation.
You can also in settings enable a feature where requests will be automatically canceled. You could, for instance, set requests to be canceled 2 days before a service starts. Once it’s 2 days before a service, the request will be canceled automatically and both the Requestor and Requestees (who haven’t responded yet) will be notified. This way requests don’t drag on until the day of the service. Nobody likes last minute cancelations.
Getting Set Up
The new settings can be found under Settings > Services > Roster.
Prevent Swap & Replace
This setting controls the timeframe before a service starts that Requestors can send out a new swap or replace request.
Cancel Pending Requests
Once a service comes within the timeframe set here, any pending swap or replace requests will be canceled automatically.
For each department in your account, you can set if you would like to allow swap and/or replace requests. Some departments may want both, some only one type and others want it disabled altogether. This allows your different teams, to have better control over how they want to handle this feature.
Mobile App Updates
We are working hard to update our mobile app to include swap and replace. We are not satisfied with the rate of feature releases in the mobile app so we are currently spending time reworking the mobile app to make it much faster to develop. It’s slowed us down a little but it means we can add a bunch more features to the mobile app in a short period. We are almost there and we appreciate your patience!
Although it’s ready to go, we’ll run the BETA for 4 weeks to ensure we’ve ironed out all the little bugs. We’ve been testing thoroughly but there will most likely be certain configurations or scenarios that we’ve missed.
Please send through any glitches, bugs or annoyances through to our support team if you’re keen to get your hands dirty during the BETA period!
We’ve also been working on a few other improvements.
- Added the ability for volunteers to submit repeating unavailability
- Added an ‘Export Billing Contacts’ button in the invoices & tickets tab of events
- Exported form submissions now display approval status, and if the submission is archived in separate columns
- Added new date formatting options to settings. dd.mm.yyyy, dd-mm-yyyy and yyyy-mm-dd
- Added the ability to choose to hide the tax or pledge overview when generating giving statements
- Added new access permission options to split up the edit permission for events. Users can now have access to specific tabs only
- Refreshed user interface for ‘Roster’, ‘My Profile’ & ‘Settings’ with clearer headings and page tabs
- Improved on the layout of the service reporting mass add individuals window based on feedback after release
- In song arrangements, ‘Default Arrangement has been renamed as ‘Standard Arrangement’ for all new arrangements created
- Improved alphabetical sorting of names in the mass add individuals to services so A-Z and a-z are considered the same and sorted the same
- Improved the activity tab in people’s profiles to load faster
Along with that plenty of bug fixes and improvements. Check out the releases page for the full list.
We’ve been working on custom fields in groups (which we’ll be using for the group finder that’s coming), event registration improvements, check-in version 2, updated mobile app, API version 2 plus many more goodies! Watch this space!
Have a great week!
Hello and welcome to another edition of the Elvanto blog! We have been working on quite a few new updates so here are all the details!
New Member Directory
We have redesigned and also added support for families to the Member Directory!
Now when viewing the Member Directory, we’ve removed the table view and switched it out for our new ‘Card View’ which gives a quick snapshot of individuals and families. We felt this new view was a much more enjoyable visual experience for your members.
We have kept the old ‘List View’ which can be toggled to by clicking the ‘Switch to List’ button. This displays more information about individuals as the card view is limited to the first 3 fields you choose to display.
When you click on a family it now loads an additional page allowing you to choose a family member.
To turn on family view, simply head to Settings -> Member Directory. Here you’ll see some new settings to do with whether to show families or individuals and you can also now tweak sorting and name display. We’ve also moved the layout and display columns into a new tab called ‘Layout’.
Support for families has also been added to our Mobile App. The updated version of the app will be out in the next 24 hours on Androids and the next few days on iOS (Apple are slow…) so make sure you grab that when it’s out.
Improved Service Reporting
We’ve completely overhauled mass add individuals within the ‘Reporting’ tab of services. Our aim was to make recording attendance much simpler for you and your team.
Here’s a rundown of what you can now do:
- Search families or individuals
- Filters are saved if you close and reopen the modal window
- Group people by families or display as individuals
- Add a whole family in one click
- Click to add individuals as attendance (you do not need to close the modal window and no more pesky checkboxes)
- Sort by names
- Choose how many records to display per page
- Add all records in view with a single click
When adding individual attendance, we now display people who are already recorded in attendance by having grayed them out so that you can quickly identify if a person has been added and/or in the database.
A few weeks ago we added into Elvanto the ability to automatically send emails or SMS messages on birthdays and anniversaries.
If you head to Settings -> Communication -> Occasions, here you can configure it for your account. There are a few options to filter who is sent messages and in what way. We’ve added a nitfy little feature where it will only send an SMS if no email address is present (your finance people will love those savings!)
And of course plenty of other updates.
- Invoice details are sent to PayPal and Stripe when paying for event registration
- Added ability to cancel individual invoices and tickets for event registration
- Improved layout of invoices to display fees better and custom payment methods
- Added a summary of sold tickets to event sidebars
- Changed the timeout for event registration forms to be based off user activity (e.g: moving their mouse, typing)
- Improved wording for invoices with custom methods included without fees
- Improved layout for invoices that are paid in full
- Contacts now appear within a group without access to viewing contacts under the people area
- Added a warning that deleting a flow step will delete nested flow steps underneath it
- Added some extra tooltips when editing emails and letters
- Updated how we handle end date for group meeting details so we aren’t confusing users
- The person input now autofocuses when adding in multiple transactions, after the initial date has been inputted
- Increased file storage to 10GB for all paid accounts
- Rebuilt the contact modal to better support mass emails to thousands of recipients
- Added ‘Source’ and ‘Blockquote’ options to the giving statement template editor window
- Added the ability to export Standard Reports by adding &export[format]=csv or &export[format]=xls to the report URL. NOTE – This does not work for Comprehensive or Built-in Reports
- Added the ability to group transactions in the batches report by method, or only show the total for each method
Make sure you check out our Releases website for all the details.
We are making the finishing touches to our new Volunteer Swap & Replace feature. Cannot wait to have this out in the next couple of weeks. This will allow you to put the power in the hands of your volunteers to swap and replace themselves when scheduled on services.
We are also working on adding custom fields to groups to allow better filtering and sorting along with the ability to find and join groups from the member area. And of course, Check-in Version 2 is on its way.
And of course there’s plenty more tweaks, improvements and fixes to other areas of Elvanto so watch this space!
Have a great week!