Posts categorized 'New Features & Updates'

Volunteer Swap & Replace is out of BETA!

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!


Introducing Volunteer Swap & Replace BETA

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.

  1. Requestor – the volunteer who would like to swap or be replaced
  2. 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.

Swap List

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.

Swap List 2

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.

Replace Email

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.

Canceling Requests

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.

Department Options

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!

BETA Period

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!

Other Updates

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 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 JavaScript embed code for calendars and forms to comply with browser support in the future
  • 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.

What’s Next?

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!


May 2017 Updates

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.

Occasion Messages

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!)

Other Updates

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.

What’s Next?

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!


Event Registration

We are excited to announce that Event Registration is now out of BETA! Over the last few months we have ironed out a bunch of bugs and it has been exciting seeing churches collect registrations with payments! Thank you all who have participated and provided the value feedback that has helped us refine our process!

We have a great post from the end of last year highlighting the features so make sure you check that out if you haven’t already.

Since BETA release, along with a bunch of bug fixes, tweaks and improvements, we have added the following improvements:

  • Invoices now display the chosen payment method
  • Invoices now display payment fees
  • Invoices now display payment references from Stripe or PayPal
  • Outstanding balance is now more prevalent on invoices

Some areas we are now working on:

  • Ability to cancel a registration
  • Ability to refund a payment made through Stripe or PayPal
  • Billing contact details can be viewed within Stripe and PayPal
  • Ability to export registrants and their details
  • Ability to better filter registrants when contacting them
  • Ability for registrants to make additional payments online if they have only made a part payment
  • Better summary of ticket counts
  • Ability to add registrations from the Admin Area
  • Ability to hide the discount codes text box if there are no discount codes available
  • More customization options for tickets and invoices
  • Ability to contact billing contacts
  • Ability to add custom fields to an event that can be collected per registration rather than using form fields

Keep sending through feedback as we will continue to improve and develop event registration!

More exciting updates to come!


February 2017 Updates

Hello, hello! I’m super excited to be writing our first blog post for 2017! We’ve been back on deck since early January and have been powering through plenty of features and bug fixes. What have we got for you this month? Read on…

Update on Event Registration

We are so close to releasing the final stable version of event registration! We’ve had a number of delays due to some issues revolving around tickets being saved correctly. We want to make sure these are ironed out beforehand. We are working with a few customers that have experienced issues to ensure these are resolved. We’d love to have this finalised early next week. Thanks for your patience! I’ll keep you posted.

Group Messages

We are excited to release our group messages feature in the web app! Group members can now communicate with each other in a private area.

Group messages can be enabled on a per group category basis when you show the group in the Member Area. You can tweak who can post and also whether you want a message board or chat style (the above screenshot is the chat style). Here’s a screenshot of editing a group category.

Messages can be pinned and deleted by leaders. Users posting messages have 10 minutes to edit their message if they made a typo or wanted to add something. Individual members can set their notification preferences to suit their preference.

Group Messaging can be accessed from the ‘Groups’ link within users profiles. Once you select the group, the messaging page will display.  Enjoy!

Service Song Search

We have totally overhauled adding songs to services. We’ve had a number of customers giving us feedback on how hard it was to find songs. Here are some features:

  • We’ve improved searching so you can now search lyrics.
  • You can also display when a song was last used and how many times it has been used. Change the ‘Last Used & Times Used’ drop down and you can narrow these statistics down to a specific service type or location.
  • We’ve also added nifty features like pagination and sorting.

Let us know what you think!

Roster Redesign

We’ve had a lot of feedback that our current roster design could at times become a bit heavy with information when you had a lot of services. At the end of the day your volunteers need to quickly see when they are scheduled and any information about the service they need.

We’ve now tweaked the roster page to be a little more user-friendly and less chunky.

We’ve also split out the ‘My Schedule’ and ‘Upcoming Schedule’ sections so you can limit what info you see.

What else?

  • Event registration forms now contain a logo, description, map and time above ticket selection
  • Roster calendar subscriptions now show other times as their own entry, including those on different dates
  • Added ‘Additional People Column’ options to the Check-in Room Attendance built-in report
  • Added ability to only show people who haven’t checked out to the Check-in Room Attendance built-in report
  • Added ability to hide the ‘Checked-in’ and ‘Checked-out’ detail columns in the Check-in Room Attendance built-in report
  • Improved the admin area menu on smaller resolution screens
  • A bunch of fixes as per usual ?

What’s next?

Now that our developer team has grown we’ll be working hard to continue to improve what already exists along with new features. Our goal this year is to provide better time estimates on our roadmap now that we have more team and can estimate tasks better.

This year we’ll be spending a lot of time improving what we already have in place. There will be a lot of behind the scenes changes you won’t even notice but these will enable us to create and maintain features faster, allow us to better test our code and make it faster to release features to our API and mobile app.

We are really excited for what’s ahead. Keep an eye on the roadmap and we’ll continue to update it.

Enjoy the new features and be sure to give us your feedback!