HandsOn Connect DocumentationAnnouncements and Release NotesRelease NotesRelease Notes 2020New Feature - Prevent volunteer from signing up for overlapping volunteer opportunities (HOC3-10672)

New Feature - Prevent volunteer from signing up for overlapping volunteer opportunities (HOC3-10672)

A long standing feature request for HandsOn Connect has been the ability for the system to prevent volunteers from signing up for two different opportunities that take place at the same time or overlap.

Mostly, volunteers keep track of their commitments and don't do this - but occasionally someone signs up to be at two different opportunities at the same time.  Now, by default, HandsOn Connect will warn volunteers when they have a conflicting connection, and prevent them from signing up for a different volunteer opportunity that takes place during the same time period.

This feature will be activated for all HOC customers on April 2nd, 2020.   If for any reason your business needs are such that you DO want volunteers do be able to continue to sign up for two different opportunities that overlap, please let us know at [email protected] and we can deactivate this feature for you.  

How conflicts between overlapping opportunities will now be handled

In this example, Valerie Volunteer has signed up for the opportunity "Arts and Crafts with Kids" for  March 16 from 1 - 3 pm.  Then, perhaps on another day, she comes back and wants to sign up for "Help with Pets" which takes place March 16 from 2- 4 pm.    When she clicks on 'sign up' she gets the following message:


Now Valerie, is aware she has a conflict, and doesn't accidentally sign up for Help with Pets.   If she'd prefer to however, to sign up for Help with Pets, she can click on the 'your account' link, remove herself from Arts and Crafts with Kids, and then return to Help with Pets and successfully sign up once the conflict is removed.

What about overlapping shifts of the same volunteer opportunity?

It's a fairly common practice for volunteer opportunities with multiple shifts on the same day to intentionally have a small overlap between one shift and the next.  

For example:  Event Registration shift 1 is March 15, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm,   Registration shift 2 is March 15 11:30 am - 1:30 pm.   Registration Shift 3 is March 15, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm.

The reason for overlapping these shifts is to ensure that the registration table is never without volunteers, and so that the shift 1 volunteers can cross-train the shift 2 volunteers.  

So, does this mean that a volunteer can't sign up for overlapping shifts of the same volunteer opportunity?  No!  A volunteer who wishes to work all three shifts (occurrences) of the same volunteer opportunity, will not be prevented from signing up for overlapping shifts.   That way Valerie can sign up for all three shifts of the same volunteer opportunity, even when they are scheduled with overlaps.   Now Valerie is able to work registration from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm.

Simply put:  You are not permitted to sign up for different volunteer opportunities that overlap,  but the system does allow a volunteer to sign up for overlapping shifts (if they exist) for the same volunteer opportunity, if the opportunity coordinator has chosen to have overlapping occurrences the same day!

What about individually scheduled opportunities?

The overlapping warning will be displayed if you have conflicting connections for ISO opportunities as well.   For example, Valerie Volunteer has expressed interest in "Clerical Help (ISO - with schedule)" for March 23 from 1:00 - 3:00.  The connection is still in pending approval status, but she's indicated she'd like to volunteer at that time.

She now realizes she'd like to volunteer for Arts and Crafts with Kids from 1:00 - 3:00 on March 23rd.   She is alerted that she has an existing connection in pending approval status, for Clerical Help (ISO - with Schedule), and can't sign up for Arts and Crafts with Kids unless she removes her expression of intent to volunteer for Clerical Help first.

How does this affect administratively creating connections in the sharing portal?

Sharing Portal users are able to administratively create connections on behalf of volunteers.   However, because they do not have access to information about connections made by volunteers who are volunteering with other organizations, they had been able to accidentally administratively schedule a connection for a volunteer that conflicts with a commitment they've made with another organization.

With this feature, partners will be alerted when a conflict exists, so that they don't accidentally double-schedule a volunteer.

In this example, Troutco goes to administratively schedule Valerie for Arts and Crafts with Kids, unaware that she has already signed up for Clerical Help Needed (ISO - with schedule) with another partner organization.  They receive this alert preventing them from creating the overlapping connection:


If the conflict is with an opportunity the partner is managing - they can administratively remove valerie from the conflicting opportunity if they choose to.   However, if the conflict is with another organization's opportunity, then they will have to email Valerie and ask her to remove herself from the conflicting opportunity.

What happens in Salesforce?

In Salesforce,  users have access to view and manage all of Valerie's connections.  So, if they choose to administratively create a connection for Valerie, they can look at her upcoming connections and see if a conflict exists.  As a Salesforce user, they have the ability to create overlapping connections if they choose to do so.  So in Salesforce, a user is not prevented from creating an overlapping connection if they decide to do so.

If a volunteer or a partner wants (for whatever reason) to allow a volunteer to sign up to be at two different opportunities that overlap -- a Salesforce user can create an overlapping connection on behalf of a volunteer or a partner.  Generally this isn't a good idea, but there may be circumstances in which you do want to allow a volunteer to be signed up for overlapping volunteer opportunities.

What if we prefer to allow signing up for overlapping occurrences?

This much requested feature will be be activated for all HOC customers on April 2nd.  However, if your business practices are such where you DO want to allow volunteers to create connections for one or more volunteer opportunities that overlap time wise, then open a support ticket and we can disable this feature for your organization.


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