Be cautious if cloning records in HandsOn Connect

In addition to creating new records and editing records - Salesforce makes it possible to delete records (which we do not recommend) and also to "clone" records.

The Salesforce practice of cloning records seems like a great time-saver.  Clicking on the 'clone' button on a record, creates an exact duplicate of the record, which you can then edit to make it a unique record.  (i.e.  clone a contact and then just change the name).

However cloning in HandsOn Connect can create problems because there are hidden fields in many HandsOn Connect custom objects - that are updated when you first create a NEW record using the established procedures.   Unless you know the intricacies of HOC custom objects - cloning may create corrupted records that don't work as you expect on the public site.

There is a strong temptation to clone volunteer opportunities to create similar ones, or to make changes to volunteer opportunity fields that cannot be changed after an opportunity has been created (like Project / Activity, Scheduling type of the volunteer opportunity, etc.).   But cloning can actually create more problems than it solves, and we don't recommend cloning certain objects in HandsOn Connect.

Particularly - you should not clone Volunteer Opportunity records for a number of reasons:

Cloned Volunteer Opportunities do not have all the same characteristics as those created by the Volunteer Opportunity Wizard.

When you use the Volunteer Opportunity wizard to create a volunteer opportunity - it does several things that cloning will NOT do:

  • Cloning will not automatically create an occurrence record for you.  You'll need to do this as an additional step.
  • There are hidden fields in the volunteer opportunity record which are populated when you create an opportunity in the VO wizard.  These fields may not have the correct values if you clone an existing volunteer opportunity.

Cloning a record may not trigger the normal workflows and triggers associated with that record type.

There are automations that take place when a new record is created - and in some cases, cloning an existing record may not properly trigger the expected workflows.  Be sure to test and make sure a cloned record does function as you expect it to before making a regular practice of cloning certain objects.

Cloning a contact will not clone its profile and portal access

If you have a contact that has customer portal access.  The new record will not automatically have the same access.

Is it ever OK to clone?

There are some situations where cloning may make sense -- but it does require a thorough understanding of how the system works to know whether or not it is safe to clone. It is probably safe to clone in the following situations:

  • The record will only be used on the admin side of the system, and not shared with partners or volunteer leaders.
  • The record type does not trigger any workflows that send emails.
  • You have a clear understanding of the required fields for normal HandsOn Connect operation, for the record type you are cloning. And whether they need to be unique -- or should be blank initially and automatically filled in when the record is saved.
  • Completely test any cloned records you create - to ensure they operate as you expect in the system.  (Do not assume a cloned record will work in the same way as one created from scratch in the system)

The page layouts for Occurrences and Connections in HandsOn Connect are very fast and easy to create from scratch. Only a few fields need to be filled in.  So cloning is not really a great time saver for those objects.

Volunteer Opportunities should almost always be created using the Volunteer Opportunity wizard.

We strongly urge System Administrators to limit the permission to clone to themselves, and internal staff who have been fully trained on when cloning is appropriate.

2 Comments

Lauren Dunford

Will you give examples of what records do and do not fit the criteria below?

1) Have lookups to other objects
2) Are normally created by the public site or via the connection grid in the occurrence object.

Larry Deckel

The circumstances under which cloning is and isn't possible varies greatly depending on circumstances. For example, you CAN clone a connection record, but if you do so you need to be careful that there wasn't a team member associated with it, (or be sure to edit and change the team member ID).

There isn't a simple formula for this -- so our general recommendation remains -- don't clone (unless you are willing to carefully check on the repercussions). Also -- since workflows and triggers change in the product over time, what might work today, might not work tomorrow.

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