Troubleshooting HandsOn Connect - (The 7 commandments of HandsOn Connect)

Is your calendar not showing up on the public site?  Are searches taking you to error pages saying :You must be logged in to view this page?".  Are you getting cryptic error messages about "missing rows"?  Most errors that occur in HandsOn Connect stem from violating a few simple rules that 'break' the product.

If you follow these "11 commandments of HandsOn Connect," you will prevent problems before they happen and have a solid and stable system.

If you ARE having problems, check to make sure none of these things have been violated and use this guide to correct simple things that create big headaches :-)

1. Do not delete any record that has any related objects associated with it

Volunteer Opportunities and Occurrences have fields that are required in order for them to be published,  If you delete a primary contact, or a location, or an organization that is used as a managing organization or organization from the system, you will have published an occurrence that is now missing required information.  It will certainly foul up future reporting, or worse yet, crash the public site search or opportunity calendar. This is the common cause of search or the calendar returning errors or log-in messages on the public site such as "Insufficient privileges" and "Authorization required"

See this post for explanation of what happens when deleting data.

Do you have Corrupted Data?

The data that can create the most systemic problems if required records are deleting are Volunteer Opportunities and Occurrences.  There are two reports available that will show you if you have any corrupted data due to deleted Volunteer Opportunities, Locations, or Organizations.  They are both both in the folder HOC Support:

  • Missing Information - Occ
  • Missing Information - VO

Check both these reports to see if you have any corrupted occurrences and/or Volunteer Opportunities and clean up this data and/or delete any of these records IF they do not have child records themselves.  (For example, you don't want to delete a corrupted occurrence if it has any connections associated to it - because then you'll corrupt the connections as well!)

If you find records that are missing needed fields, you will need to repopulate these fields or remove these occurrences/opportunities from ACTIVE status to restore the public site.

Even past corrupted occurrences and opportunities should be cleaned up - because their presence will keep certain nightly bulk operations from completing.

Check you recycling bin to see if anyone in your org is deleting data.  

We have limited delete privileges to system admins who should know better.. but deleted data is the number one cause of public site errors,

Best Practices when deleting data:

Do not delete a record if it has child or lookup relationships to it.  If you want to delete a 'parent' object, first delete any records below it on the dependency food chain.  Only delete records that have no related records showing in the related lists.

Here are the dependencies you should be aware of when considering deleting a record:

  1. Accounts - Do not delete an account record if it has related Contacts, Volunteer Opportunities, Locations, or Registration Answers
  2. Contacts - Do not delete a Contact record if it has related Connections or Volunteer Team Members.  Do not delete a contact that is serving as Opportunity Coordinator for any Volunteer Opportunity or Occurrence record.
  3. Volunteer Opportunities - Do not delete a Volunteer Opportunity record if it has related Occurrences, Recurrences, Grouped Occurrences, Connections, Prerequisites, or Skill Ratings.
  4. Occurrences:  Do not delete an occurrence if it has related connections.

2. Do not delete, edit or rename the organization named "Individual" in the system

2. Do not delete, edit or rename the organization named "Individual" in the system

This record must remain as is in the system.  Do not change the organization record type or rename the organization.  Do not create any other organizations with record type "Individual"

If changed, volunteers may not be unable to register on the public site.  Even if you are using the Household Account Model - the one Individual Account is required by HandsOn Connect.  Just leave it alone :-)

3. YOUR organization record must remain designated as type HOC Customer

3. YOUR organization record must remain designated as type HOC Customer

Do not change it to non-profit  (even though you may be a non-profit organization)

There MUST be one, and only one organizational record designated as type HandsOn Connect Customer in the system for HandsOn Connect to function properly.  This is YOUR affiliate's record.

4. Do not edit picklists or fields that are used by system functionality or national integration.

4. Do not edit picklists or fields that are used by system functionality or national integration.

Always consult the HandsOn Connect master field list before editing or changing an existing field, to see if it is permissible to change its values.

If the field is marked DO NOT EDIT -- then create a new field allowing you to track values you need for local reporting and tracking.

See this post on the HandsOn Connect Field List.

Click here to see the complete field list.

Check row J in the spreadsheet to see whether or not editing is allowed for this field.   When in doubt - open a support ticket and ask if you can make changes to a picklist that is marked DO NOT EDIT.

5. If working directly with connections (instead of the connection grid in the occurrence record) - be sure to always fill out fields correctly

5. If working directly with connections (instead of the connection grid in the occurrence record) - be sure to always fill out fields correctly

1) Attendance Status should never be null... either report attendance or place in "please verify" attendance status.

2) Make sure all connections have at least the role "Volunteer" --    (this field should never be null)

3) If attendance status = "Attended (and hours verified" be sure that hours served >0.  This will be automatically calculated for you when you save the record.  But do not remove the hours served filled contents when editing in the future. Make sure there is a value > 0 and it is never blank.

4) If attendance status = "Not attended" be sure that hours served = 0.  It should not be left 'null' or errors will occur for teams.

6. Do not designate your staff or partner staff as Volunteer Leaders.

Staff members can be Opportunity Coordinators, but they are not Volunteer Leaders and their hours do not qualify as volunteer hours. Hence, they should not have connection records in the system.

ONLY grant Volunteer Leader role to contacts that have the Volunteer Profile.   (Inability to update multiple records in the connections grid is an error that occurs if an improper volunteer leader designation is made).

NOTE: If members of your staff DO lead volunteer opportunities that are NOT part of their job responsibilities, then they should create a separate contact record for that purpose, using a personal email address instead of their work address.

7. Be careful when using the data loader to bulk load locations, occurrences, and volunteer opportunities

If you are using the data loader to bulk load Volunteer Opportunities, Occurrences and Locations -- and find that the opportunities do not appear in search,  double check that you are filling all required fields and getting information into the CORRECT fields.

As we learn of problems folks have had -- we'll note them here to save you from making similar data errors:

1) When bulk uploading locations.  Make sure that zip codes are mapped to the "Zip/ Postal Code"(lookup field), and not the Zip code (text field).




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