TeamKinetic

Build better volunteer communities

Category: Technical Updates (Page 1 of 2)

Why TeamKinetic has gone mobile

As TeamKinetic makes it iOS application available to its customers and existing volunteers, we discuss the evidence that has driven this change and our hopes of making volunteering even more accessible.

The march of technology is relentless, and the pressure on organisations in sport and the 3rd sector to offer multi-channel and multi-platform solutions to better engage with their stakeholders continues to grow as they compete for attention against a sea of other content. These trends mean that making TeamKinetic available on mobile was essential.

mobile usage by country – Comscore

The data shows that the time spent on mobile has surpassed that spent on other web-enabled devices, and this trend is consistent in developed and developing economies. It is not a case of “if mobile is important?”, but to acknowledge its predominance in the decision-making process for future development.

Dominance of multi-platform applications

The evidence is clear; consumers now expect a multi-platform product that allows them to switch between the different versions of the platform, undertaking some tasks on their desktop and others on their phone or tablet. With other data suggesting these browsing choices are time of day dependent.

on-line device usage by time of day

When looking at how to engage with your audience, in our case volunteers. We have to accept these trends and offer a product that can cater to the desires and expectations of the user.

Using the mobile platform, both in its native application format and via the mobile browser, not only have we been able to increase the potential reach and time available to browse, we can also access additional functionality.

The use of GPS and geo-location services, open-auth protocols to make signing in and staying signed in easier and using the camera or address book are all examples of technologies that work particularly well on a phone to improve customer experience. Our founding belief at TeamKinetic is to always keep the volunteer and their experience central to our design philosophy, so the decision to create the app was easy to make.

This is our first step of many as a truly multi-platform company, no doubt we have plenty to learn if we want to recreate our desktop experience on a much smaller device, but working with our customers, that’s our ambition. The rewards for success for our customers, the Sports Clubs, charities and communities are potential too great to ignore.

We must constantly challenge ourselves to look at our organisations and consider how well we provide services and how accessible they are. We must push to deliver to stakeholders the experience they have come to expect.

TeamKinetic products will provide that level of service at a fraction of the cost of in-house development.  Please get in touch to see a demo of our system and how it might improve your stakeholder engagement, build your community and change your world.

VolunteerKinetic V6 – New Events and Provider Layout

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes we have built in to version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

We often get asked how providers can tell volunteers a little about themselves and promote their organisation to the volunteers. Previously the provider profile has been limited to a few words and a logo.

In version 6 we have improved the look and feel of the provider profile immensely. Providers can now add a large background header image, overlayed with their logo and organisation name. There is also a WYSIWYG* text editor where they can complete their profile text, choosing their own colour scheme and font sizes.

You take a look at First Choice Sports‘ profile on our demo site.

We have also added a similar layout for the events pages which advertise and promote an event and the opportunities and roles available within that event. In addition the events home page lets you add documents for the volunteers to download.

We think these changes will greatly enhance the visual experience for the volunteer and hopefully lead to more volunteer signups for events.

*What you see is what you get – A text editor that allows you to see exactly how your text will appear to the end user.

VolunteerKinetic V6 – Fairer Rating System

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes we have built in to version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

From version 2 we have included a feedback system for both volunteers and providers, where they can leave a star rating out of 5 and some comments of their experiences.

Version 5 saw the arrival of an admin approval system where, if they choose to, the administrator would approve each feedback before either the provider or volunteer could see it.

Volunteers could see their average feedback rating, how they were doing compared to the rest of the volunteers and the individual comments that providers had left.

We never wanted to demotivate the volunteers but our and other’s research showed us that by ranking the volunteers we risked just that. The star rating also skewed the data as providers when faced with very many volunteers to rate and comment on would often just leave the rating at the default value.

feedback

Version 6 introduces a whole new rating system based on thumbs up or thumbs down. This binary system is much simpler and clearer to both the volunteers and providers. Volunteers will only ever see their thumbs up comments, the very rare thumbs down comments will be directed to the administrator so they can try to resolve any issues and action accordingly.

We have also removed the over all ranking from the volunteers homepage, just giving them their total thumbs ups so far. We think this will help to keep the volunteer motivated and their overall feedback will not be susceptible to skewing by a rogue single star rating that was usually a mistake or by lots of default 3 star ratings.

VolunteerKinetic V6 – More Email Customisation

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes built into version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

It’s always important the Volunteers get the right information at the right time. Whilst version 5 enabled administrators to customise some emails, such as the new registration emails, version 6 extends this ability to more email types and improves the structure of the emails allowing key information to always be merged into the emails whilst still allowing the administrators to customise the main portion of the email.

email

We achieve this by splitting the email into fixed prefix and suffix areas with a customisable content section.

For instance, the session signup email that is sent to a volunteer when they initially join an opportunity will contain helpful information regarding the opportunity they have signed up for in the prefix and the session list they are currently signed up for in the suffix, which obviously changes every time the email is sent.

You can see in the image above the areas that are replaced when the email is sent, they are all enclosed between *| |* tags like *|PROVIDER|* or *|OPPNAME|*.

The main content section is then editable by the admin via a WYSIWYG* text editor and can contain any combination of font sizes and colours they wish.

We believe you will find this is a big improvement over the previous system where if you choose to customise the email you would lose the specific tags that were replaced when the email was actually created.

 

*what you see is what you get – This means how you lay out the text on the screen is how it will look to the end user.

VolunteerKinetic V6 – Age Restricted Registration

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes we have built in to version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

age

Although we have always provided the ability to block access to opportunities based on age, there was never any restriction on registering; a new volunteer could be any age.

We wanted to maintain easy access to the opportunities for younger volunteers but also give the administrators some control over what happens to younger volunteers and how they are registered.

In version 6 administrators can set the age at which registrations must be verified. If a volunteer registers who is equal to or younger than this age then they will be taken to the age verification screen. Here they are asked to provide the email address of their parent or guardian.

The parent or guardian will receive an email asking them to follow a link to confirm that they give permission for the young person to join the site and access all suitable opportunities.

Until the volunteer has been verified they will not be able to join any opportunities, though they will still be able to search and browse the current opportunities and hopefully be enthused enough to ensure their parent or guardian verifies them as soon as possible!

If you have questions or issues around age verification please feel free to get in touch at info@smarterindesign.com

VolunteerKinetic V6 – Applying for Opportunties

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes we have built in to version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

As the size of the events that VolunteerKinetic is being used for have increased so have the complexities involved in making sure their are enough volunteers for all roles and they are suitably qualified.

We have introduced a number of new features to aid administrators and providers in choosing their volunteers, such as:

  1. a new experience field for each opportunity
  2. the recording of a volunteers movements in and out of sessions on an opportunity.

we have also introduced and entirely new sort of opportunity.

Previously it was always assumed that when a volunteer joined a session they were accepted on that session unless they were told otherwise. For large events this led to an over subscription to certain sessions as volunteers could not indicate which sessions they were able to do but were joining the sessions they wanted to do. Now administrators have the ability to set an opportunity to be an application opportunity.

When a volunteer looks at an opportunity that is set to in “application” mode they are informed that they should indicate all the sessions they are able to do. Once the administrator has organised volunteers into each session they can mark that opportunity as confirmed.

At this point all the volunteers are informed which sessions they have been allocated to. If a volunteer is unable to attend a session the administrator has the history of that session available and can quickly select a volunteer that indicated they could do that session but was not allocated to that session in the first draft.

This is a major new feature that will aid immensely in improving communication between the administrators and the volunteers and reducing the time it takes even out the available volunteers across an entire event or opportunity.

VolunteerKinetic – Opening the lid on Version 6 as it enters testing phase

open-boxVolunteerKinetic version 6 has entered its testing phase and will be ready for release shortly. We’re very excited about this release and are thinking of naming it something other than a simple number increment as its a huge release and represents something of a milestone for VolunteerKinetic. We’ve now got an ever growing user base and engaged volunteers and the number of opportunities available have expanded rapidly. The software has also been used in more varied situations and types of organisations and we have got some fantastic feedback and ideas that has sparked quite a few innovations in the new VolunteerKinetic. I’ll be writing a series of posts talking about specific new features but here are a few quick facts about version 6.

  • We’ve committed 175 changes and bug fixes, ranging from tiny typos to entirely new features and workflows.
  • The CSS and styling has been rewritten to be more responsive and to accommodate the larger screens that are the norm.
  • A brand new media management page for looking after images and files that you can attach to emails.
  • New inline editable system emails for things like volunteer registrations and joining opportunities.
  • Approximately 5500 lines of code have been changed or added.
  • Simple binary thumbs up or down feedback
  • Integration with the Mandrill email service to help increase the success rate for email delivery and open rates.
  • New Google analytics service developed in house to track web views and visitors.
  • Custom URLs for your events

There are lots more features to tell you about but you can always take a sneaky peek at beta.volunteerkinetic.com. Any ideas what the latest version should be called..? Rolf

Quickly remove volunteers from individual sessions

Previously you had to click a button to remove a volunteer, wait for the page to refresh and then find that slot again if you wanted to remove a second volunteer.

Now with our new Events type opportunities volunteers are much more likely to be moved around sessions and opportunities as space allows so we needed a much quicker way to remove volunteers.

We did think about doing it via checkboxes and a button but in the end plumped for an AJAX implementation that removed the volunteer when you click the button then removes the volunteers panel once it has been successful, leaving you on the same page and location on that page to carry on.

Work smarter, use VolunteerKinetic.

Revamped Training & Courses Function

We’ve rebuilt the training and courses module from the ground up in VolunteerKinetic up to allow for a lot more flexibility when creating training events and courses.

You can now create a course with multiple, individually administrated sessions, so a course could run say for every Monday for a month. Previously you could only define how many days a course ran for, not which days and not over non consecutive days.

In addition you can now upload an application form for your users to download when viewing and there is more room for adding prerequisites and describing the training or course more fully.

All this extra session information is of course displayed to the user who can now see exactly what times and what days the course is running over and can also search for courses or training in specific areas.

Cheers, and keep volunteering!

New Ways To Find Volunteers

Hi all,

VolunteerKinetic has a couple of new additions to the volunteer search tools which we have implemented in the version 4 release.

Across the top of the volunteer search page you will now find links for each letter of the alphabet that will return all the volunteers whose name starts with that letter. It’s a great way to quickly find a volunteer whose name you know.

You can also search for some quick groups such as the top 25 rated volunteers or those with the most hours logged.

Quick Search for Volunteers

Quick Search for Volunteers

Give it a try at the demo site for VolunteerKinetic.

Cheers

Rolf

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