May 2016 Release Notes

This May Release brings long-awaited solutions to improve email deliverability, and further improvements and refinements to the new "Individually Scheduled Opportunity" type release in beta last month.  (A small administrator action is necessary to enable the new feature).

There are also additional small improvements and bug fixes.  Please be aware that administrative action is required to address the email deliverability problem.   (Will take admins 15 minutes max and will solve the many requests related to emails coming from 'Affiliate Address". )  

The May release will be rolled out to customers between May 3 - 9.   Join us for a webinar on these new features and a walk-through of the administrator actions needed on Thursday, May 5 at 3:30 pm eastern. Click here to register for the webinar.

1. Fixes for Email Deliverability Issues **(Administrative action required)**

Its been a long-known issue that emails sent from volunteers, volunteer leaders, and team captains who use or email addresses to communicate through HandsOn Connect were not being delivered.  In June, this same restriction against sending email from certain addresses through third-party servers (such as Salesforce) is being extended to email addresses.

This has required us to take significant steps so that the FROM address in HandsOn Connect processed emails do not come from those domains.  To this end we are converting many of the triggers that send email addresses to use an organization-wide email address instead of the user's email address as the "From" in these emails.

Previously, this organization-wide email address has been called "Affiliate Address" -- an issue that many people have reported as confusing.  So here's the system-wide improvements that will correct this problem:

1.1. Ability to rename "Affiliate Address"  (HOCAVV-363)

If you don't want your system emails to come 'from' Affiliate Address.  You can now rename the sender name to something friendlier and more recognizable, i.e. From:  HandsOn Atlanta.  This requires a quick update by your system administrator.  Here's how:

Go to Setup and type "Organization-Wide in the search box"  click on the link for "Organize-Wide Addresses"

Click on edit next to the organization-wide email address with the display name "Affiliate Address"

Ability to rename "Affiliate Address"  (HOCAVV-363)

1.2. Change the Display Name to your preferred sender name

Here's where we'll edit the Display Name from "Affiliate Address" to HandsOn Connect Demo.

Retain the option to "Allow all Profiles to Use this From Address"

Click Save to save the edited Organization Wide-Email Address.  Take note of the exact name and spelling of the Display Name you've chosen.  You'll need that for the next step.

(Note: If you do not have a display name for 'Affiliate Address" - you can create a new organization-wide email address using these settings and the email address you want to use as your general default email address).

Change the Display Name to your preferred sender name

1.3. Go to Control Panel and enter the Display name in the System Defaults section

You need to enter this display name in the control panel, so the system knows which organization-wide email to use for trigger-generated emails.

Go to Control Panel and enter the Display name in the System Defaults section

1.4. Edit all workflow-based email alerts that use "Current User" as the "From Email Address"

Now you need to adjust the email alerts that are workflow actions, so that these emails come from the new default email address, instead of from the current user.  (Since emails sent 'from' or will be blocked and not received.

Go to Setup / Build / Create / Workflow & Approvals / Email Alerts.

The following email alerts should be edited to change the "From Email Address" from 'Current User' to your default "Organization Wide Email Address" you defined in steps 1.2 and 1.3 above.

  • Connection Cancellation Notice
  • Connection Notice of Occurrence reschedule
  • New Organization Registered
  • New Self-Reporting Connection to Existing Organization
  • New Self -Reporting Connection to Outside Organization
  • Opportunity Sign-Up Confirmation - Affiliate Managed - Date and Time Specific - Expess Interest
  • Opportunity Sign-up Confirmation - Affiliate Managed - To Be Scheduled - Express Interest
  • Registration Confirmation
  • Request Hours
  • Teams - Invitation to join Team
  • Teams - Notify member they have been removed
  • Teams - This team has been disbanded
  • This email is sent to a volunteer when a connection for an individually scheduled opportunity is administratively set to declined
  • Volunteer Interest Notification
  • Volunteer Status has been confirmed
  • Volunteer Status has been declined

The following email alerts should optionally be edited if you have any partners who are using @yahoo, @aol, or email addresses to log into the partner portal.  (They do not need to be edited IF the partner portal users all use their own domain names in their email addresses)

  • Occurrence Approval Requested
  • Organization Profile updated Notification
  • Recurrence Approval Requested
  • Volunteer Opportunity Information Edited

Click on EDIT next to each email alert listed above.   We'll show this for the first 'Connection Cancellation Notice"

Note:  If any of your internal users (system admin, staff) is using a,, or email address for their Salesforce login), you need to update EVERY email alert that uses 'current user' as the from address - as your internal emails will not be sent either. We assume however that most SF users are using their organizations domain name for their Salesforce login.)

Edit all workflow-based email alerts that use "Current User" as the "From Email Address"

1.5. Look at the 'From Email Address" field

Unless someone has changed it, the 'from' listed on each of the email alerts above will be "Current User's Email Address".  

Look at the 'From Email Address" field

1.6. Change the 'from' to your  newly named default organization wide-email address

Change the "from email address" from Current User's email address to the new default organization-wide email address you defined in steps 1.2 and 1.3 above and click Save.

Now repeat this for all the email alerts listed in step 1.4.

Your emails will now all go through and not be blocked.  (We've updated all the trigger-managed emails that are sent out to use the new default email address you set in the control panel).

Change the 'from' to your  newly named default organization wide-email address

2. Added reply-to fields for trigger managed emails (HOC-68) (HOC-387)

Because hitting 'reply' on many HandsOn Connect emails will now go back to the default email address rather than the volunteer who initiated the email being sent, a 'reply to' field has been added to all the trigger-managed emails sent by HandsOn Connect.  This should allow Partners and Volunteer Leaders to more easily reply directly to volunteer in response to emails such as Notification of Volunteer signup, removal, etc.  

This reply to improvement was added to the emails that are sent from a team captain to their team members, as well as other trigger-based email alerts.

Please be aware however, that in some cases where previously you could hit 'reply' and reply directly back to the volunteer or volunteer leader, users may now have to directly send to the email address listed in the content of the email  Reply to fields are only available via Salesforce triggers and can't be used in conjunction with the emails sent via workflow and email alert.  We recommend you monitor your default organization-wide email address - and see if replies intended for volunteers are being sent there. If so - you may want to update the messaging in the email templates to more strongly warn people not to hit reply to these emails, and to address emails directly to the volunteer or volunteer leader indicated within the email content itself.

3. Improvements to new Connections Grid and One Step Attendance Reporting

In the Spring 2016 release we introduced a new, easier to use Connections Grid that subdivided confirmed connections into those that were upcoming (scheduled), past (attendance due), and past with attendance already reported (Attendance Reported).

There were however a few oversights in the transition to the new connections grid, which are corrected with this months release!

3.1. Self Reported Connections now appear in the connections grid and One-Step Volunteer Attendance Reporting (HOC-433

Self-Reported Connections will now appear in the connection grid for the occurrences of Self-Reported Volunteer Hours.  Because self-reported connections are always for past dates - look for them in the "Attendance Due" tab.  (After you verify them as attended or not attended - they will appear in the :Attendance Reported" tab.

We've also updated the new "One Step Volunteer Attendance Reporting" page so that it includes all Self-Reported Connections that have not yet had attendance reported (HOC-447),  

Self Reported Connections now appear in the connections grid and One-Step Volunteer Attendance Reporting (HOC-433

Note:  partners only see their own self-reported opportunities.  Staff and Administrators will see unreported attendance for ALL occurrences across all partners.  You'll need to know which occurrence ID is associated with your organization's self-reported volunteer hours and the one for all non-partner organizations if you wish to report only your affiliate's self-reported volunteer hours from the one-step volunteer attendance reporting grid.

3.2. Waitlisted Volunteers tab added to all 'Express Interest" occurrences (HOC-421)

By popular demand - the waitlist tab is back for Date and Time Specific Express Interest occurrences and To Be Scheduled Opportunities.   (Last month, the waitlisted volunteers tab only appeared for full sign-up opportunities.)  

Waitlisted Volunteers tab added to all 'Express Interest" occurrences (HOC-421)

3.3. New "Other" Tab added to connections grid (HOC-422)

Several HandsOn Connect customers expressed concerns that 'some of our connections are not appearing in the new connection grid".  Well - while we thought we had built tabs for everything, we hadn't considered a tab for connections with bad data :-(         Here's an example that was reported.  One affiliate had a lot of TBS connections that were saved without a start date and time or an end date and time.  With these fields missing, these connections have no way of showing up as scheduled, attendance due or attendance reported.  They had no relation to time at all.  

We recommend that you and your partners should always enter a start date and time for connections, but for connections with awkward, bad data in them, we've added the "Other" Tab, so that you can edit the connections from within the connections grid, save the changes, and then have the connection moved to the correct tab based on whether its a future connection or a past one.   Can't find a connection?  Look in the "Other" tab :-)

In the screen shot below we see what happens if someone confirms Valerie Volunteer for a TBS opportunity but removed the Start Date, Start Time and End Time.  If you want to resurrect this connection, enter a start date, start time and end time, and click 'Save changes".  The connection will then be moved to the appropriate tab (scheduled, or Attendance Due".  In the attendance due tab you'll be able to mark the connection as attended or not attended.  (Note: It's not possible to verify attendance for a connection that doesn't have a start date and time and end time.)

If you see a lot of connections showing up in the "Other Volunteers" tab -- you may want to talk to your partners about how to correctly confirm and schedule a TBS connection.  (Better yet -- switch to the new Individually Scheduled Opportunity type - where the date, start time and end time are already filled out for you by the volunteer who expresses interest! )

New "Other" Tab added to connections grid (HOC-422)

3.4. Fixed odd tab appearance in basic portal (HOC-391)

In the basic portal - some of the tabs in the connection grid rendered a bit oddly.  This has been fixed and now the tabs appear more legibly.

Improvements to Individually Scheduled Opportunities

Last month we introduced the new Individually Scheduled Opportunities (ISOs) as a beta feature. This month is the final month for the beta (before rolling it out for all customers next month). We urge HOC users to encourage staff and partners to create new ongoing opportunities as "Individually Scheduled" instead of "To Be Scheduled".  The new scheduling type is easier to confirm, and allows partners to easily manage volunteers on an ongoing basis for a flexible schedule. To opt into the ISO Beta, have your system administrator make a request in the HandsOn Connect AddOn Store

Here are additional elements introduced this month to make transitioning to using this improved opportunity schedule type easier for your staff and partners:

4. Admins and Partners can now create recurring connections for ISOs administratively!

As introduced last month, with Individually scheduled opportunities volunteers can create multiple connections on the public site. As a reminder, See this video demonstrating how a volunteer expresses interest in specific dates and times to volunteer on a flexible schedule. or read about it here.

Now, with the May 2016 release - Admins and Partners can also administratively create multiple connections to an Individually Scheduled Opportunity for a volunteer (without logging in as the user and using the public site interface).  This new administrative tool makes it fast and easy for administrators to quickly create multiple connections so they can manage and track attendance for each of their ongoing volunteers. Here's how the administrative version of Individually Scheduling ("Creating Multiple Connections") works:

NOTE:  Administrators will need to take an administrative action to enable this functionality -- see item 5 below.

Click on the "Create Multiple Connections" link on the opportunity or occurrence overview

4.2. This opens the "Create Multiple Connections" page for that To Be Scheduled Volunteer Opportunity

This opens the "Create Multiple Connections" page for that To Be Scheduled Volunteer Opportunity

You can create multiple connections for a volunteer by doing the following:

1. This section tells you the details of the volunteer opportunity you've selected, including its schedule and start and end date.

2.  Use the lookup icon and choose the volunteer you wish to schedule

3.  Pick a Day of the week, Start Time and End Time for the connections you wish to create.  

4.  Click the "Add Day & Time" button to add that day of the week to the schedule you are creating which appears below (5).   You can add additional days and times to the schedule by picking additional days and times, and clicking on "Add Day & Time" each time until you have the full weekly schedule for the volunteer.  

Note: Even though the published scheduled here is for Mondays and Friday only, you can administratively create connections for any day of the week, giving you the flexibility to schedule volunteers outside of the published weekly schedule.

6.  Indicate the start date and end date of the recurring connections defined in 5.  

Note: You can create connections that occur in the past or in the future or both at once.  But you cannot choose dates that fall outside the start date and end date of the volunteer opportunity / occurrence as shown in the summary in section 1.  If you wish to schedule outside those dates, you'll need to go to the occurrence record and adjust the start date and/or end date of the opportunity/occurrence.

7.  Click "Create Connections" and the connections will be created for you and appear in the connections grid.  All connections created will be in 'confirmed' status.  Those for future dates will appear in the "Scheduled Attendance" tab, or any past connections will appear in the "Attendance Due" tab where you can then mark the volunteer as attended.

Note: You cannot create more than 50 connections at one time.  If you need to schedule a volunteer for more than 50 connections at once, create 50 and then create 50 more separately.  

5. Quick Start videos and documentation are now available in the Partner Portal for creating and managing ISOs.

We've added Quickstart videos to the partner portal that show partners how to create and manage the new Individually Scheduled Opportunity type.  Click here to access the quick-start videos and check out new video 1B.  We've also updated video 2 to show how to confirm pending volunteers with the new connections grid, and video 3 on verifying volunteer attendance has been updated to include info on the new One-Step Volunteer Attendance Reporting.

Once you opt into the beta - just point your partners to the quick-start video page and they'll be up and running with the new opportunity type in no time!  The written documentation in the partner portal has also been updated to include information about the new Individually Scheduled Opportunities, using the new connections grid, administratively scheduling volunteers, and one-step attendance reporting.  All these new tools should make a much improved experience for your partners.

6. Opportunity Calendar:  Fixed issues with 'see more' button and hover display not working for future months.

Several affiliates reported strange issues that were occurring for future months on their calendar:

  • Hovers with opportunity detail were not appearing
  • The "More" link did not appear on calendar dates when there were, in fact, more opportunities than fit in the space.

The culprit turned out to be connected to using the arrow buttons on either side of the month name on the calendar to advance to the next month.  (These problems did not occur when you switched months using the "Jump to" picklist at the bottom of the calendar.

The calendar has been updated so that using the arrow buttons will take you to the next month without any functionality being missing.


Opportunity Calendar:  Fixed issues with 'see more' button and hover display not working for future months.

7. (Admin Action Required)  Resolved browser issues and security warnings when accessing partner help in partner portal (HOC-395)

The Partner Portal is a secure site, however our help documentation lives on a non-secured site that doesn't require a log-in. This was causing many browsers to block access to the Partner Help pages in the partner portal unless users manually allowed their browsers to access the 'insecure content".  

We've updated the URLs and security for our help site so that portal users will no longer encounter mixed content warnings and can easily get to partner help pages.  

You DO however need to take a small administrative action to use the new URL. See this post for the steps to take.  (5 minute update!)

8. Fixed:  Self-Reporting breaks when organization name is changed (HOC-343)

You can now change the name of an organization without it breaking self-reporting functionality for that organization!  

Fixed:  Self-Reporting breaks when organization name is changed (HOC-343)

9. Small bug fixes and updates:

  • Resolved profile permissions issues related to Individually Scheduled Opportunities (HOC-441)
  • Removed "Log in with facebook' button from Organization Registration Page. (HOC-319).  
  • Corrected grammatical error in text of Volunteer Skills Page  (HOC-334)
  • Removed "Add to Calendar" link from opportunity detail page for Individually Scheduled Opportunities (HOC-470)
  • Fixed Search results display for Individually Scheduled Opportunities so that date appears as "open" (HOC-469)  
  • Improvements to pagination and column width issues in basic portal (HOC-321)


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