Canceling or Rescheduling date and time specific Occurrences

It's not unusual in the day to day business of managing volunteer opportunities to need to cancel or reschedule an occurrence for a date and time specific opportunity.   (Note: one never 'cancels' an individually scheduled opportunityas they only have one occurrence that is tracking multiple dates, past and future.  See below for info on how to manage Individually Scheduled Opportunities.)

Canceling a date and time specific occurrence requires thinking through two separate processes:

1) Canceling the original occurrence itself so that no one else signs up for it, and it is no longer available for signup on the public site.

2) Deciding what to do about any volunteers who are already signed up:  "existing connections"

NOTE: Keep in mind the following:

  • Making a volunteer opportunity inactive will result in ALL occurrences being no longer visible on the public web site.  Sign-ups will no longer be possible.
  • Making a single occurrence cancelled (or inactive) will result in that occurrence being no longer visible on the public web site.  Sign-ups will no longer be possible. But canceling is preferable to making a date and time specific occurrence inactive - as it will notify any volunteers who may have already signed up!

Canceling an Existing Date & Time Specific Occurrence

Canceling an Existing Date & Time Specific Occurrence

To 'cancel' an occurrence -- just change its status to "Canceled".  That will result in the occurrence being removed from search and the public calendar. No additional volunteers will be able to sign up. Volunteers signed up for this occurrence will receive an email notifying them that the occurrence has been cancelled, and the occurrence will be removed from the 'upcoming opportunities' in their account.

How to handle Rescheduling of an occurrence (i.e. moving the occurrence to a different date or time)

Often, rather than outright canceling an occurrence -- what if you change an occurrence to a different day or time?  ("We are moving this scheduled occurrence to next Saturday" -- hope you can join us.

Here is where business practice gets involved.   What do you typically do?  Do you:

  1. Remove the volunteers from the 'old date' and send them a link to the new occurrence date so they can sign up for the new date if they wish?, or do you
  2. Assume everyone WANTS to be signed up for the new date and time and just move the sign-ups to a date that the volunteer didn't originally agree upon?

Here's suggestions for handling both variations:

Variation 1: Change the date and notify volunteers of the opportunity to sign up for the newly rescheduled occurrence

1. Create a NEW occurrence on the new date and time -- make it active.   No one is connected to this new occurrence, yet.

2. Update the original occurrence as status = cancelled. This will remove them from their old connections and cancel email alerts, and update their member account.

3. Email the volunteers and notify them the original date/time has been changed, and you've removed their original sign-up.   Give them the URL of the new occurrence so they can 'connect' to it if they want to volunteer on the new date and time

We personally prefer this approach - as it preserves a record of the PRIOR cancelled connections - as well as a record of the new occurrence and its connections. It also doesn't fill slots by people who may not attend at the new date.

Variation 2 :  Change the date and assume that the existing volunteers will want to stay connected on the new date

In the occurrence record change the start date and time and the end date and time.   Click Save.

When you do this, the system will automatically send an email to all connected volunteers letting them know their has been a change to the date and time of the occurrence and to log into their account for updated info about this volunteer opportunity, it will also update their connections and reset when reminder notifications and thank you notifications are sent out!

For Individually Scheduled Occurrences you don't "cancel" the occurrence.  Doing this would cancel all the connections associated with it and you'd lose the hours already logged for those volunteers in the past.

If you wish to have an Individually Scheduled Opportunity no longer visible on the calendar -- don't cancel it or make it inactive.  Simply edit its one occurrence, and change the end date of the occurrence to yesterday!  This will remove it from search and no one will be able to sign up for any additional connections.


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