Schedule Reminder Message Overview¶
Volgistics schedule reminders are a great way to increase compliance. These automated messages remind volunteers about the date, time, and Assignment where they are scheduled to serve. The reminders can also go to Coordinators to let them know which volunteers are scheduled in the Assignments they oversee.
You can choose to have reminders sent automatically a certain number of days before the volunteer is scheduled, on a certain date each month, or both. System Operators can also send out reminders on-demand for a date range they select. If your account uses the VicNet portal or the VicTouch time clocks, volunteers can also ask to have their monthly schedule sent on their own.
Account holders select which Assignments will have reminders sent automatically. For example, an animal shelter may want reminders sent for a Dog Walker Assignment, but not for a monthly Board Meeting Assignment. Volunteers and Coordinators receive the reminders by email, or they can choose to receive a text reminder if they opt-in for text messages.
Here's an example of what an on-demand schedule reminder email message might look like:
Select the Assignments Where Reminders Will Be Sent¶
The first thing you will need to do is choose which of your Assignments will have schedule reminders sent. You can do this by:
- Choose Assignments from the menu.
- Click an Assignment where you want reminders sent.
Check the Schedule reminders box on the Assignment tab.
Click the Save button.
Repeat these steps for each of the other Assignments where reminders should be sent.
Enable Reminders and Customize Messages¶
The next step is to enable the reminder messages and customize the message content. There are separate pages so you can choose which reminders suit your population the best. You may decide all of the reminders will work best, or you may choose for volunteers to get daily reminders while Coordinators get monthly reminders.
Follow these steps to enable and customize the reminders you want:
See the Message Content box below for some tips on customizing your messages. The following help topics have details on the settings for each type:
- Set Up Schedule Reminders for VicNet and VicTouch
- Monthly & On-Demand Volunteer Reminders Setup Page
- Monthly & On-Demand Coordinator Reminders Setup Page
- Daily Volunteer Reminders Setup Page
- Daily Coordinator Reminders Setup Page
While there isn't a way to have your schedule reminders show a different message for different Assignments, you can customize your messages in many different ways so they include information for the specific Assignment.
When you set up the messages you can choose what schedule related information the system adds to the message. The system will automatically put in the information specific to the Assignment the volunteer is scheduled in. The schedule related information can include notes about the schedule. These can be notes specific to the volunteer, or overall notes about the opening the volunteer is filling. If the volunteer is scheduled as a substitute, the reminder can include the name of the volunteer the scheduled volunteer is filling in for. Additionally, you can make the Assignment's name a link to the Assignment's specific page in your Opportunity Directory. Following the link will bring the recipient to pages showing job descriptions, contact information, special directions, or even a map to the Assignment's address!
When you customize the message content, you can also do things such as add the Placeholder
[[FirstName]] to have the system insert the volunteer or Coordinator's first name. If you use the VicTouch sign-in stations, this could be used to include the
[[number]] placeholder to remind volunteers what their PIN is set to. The codes personalize the message for each recipient.
You could also add information to the message about who to contact if they have questions, or what to do if the volunteer can't make the scheduled shift. You can use the rich text editor to add formatting and text mark up to help communicate your message.
Please remember the custom message will only be used when the volunteers or Coordinators receive the reminder by email. Because text messages can only contain a limited number of characters, the system sends standard reminders if the volunteer or Coordinator chooses to receive schedule reminders by text.
Set Message Preference Defaults¶
Volgistics uses message preferences to allow volunteers and Coordinators to control what types of messages they receive. The message preferences help prevent ISPs and cell phone providers from blacklisting Volgistics as a spam sender. There is a unique message type for Schedule reminders preferences built-in.
You can encourage volunteers and Coordinators to opt-in to the Schedule reminders message type, and choose your preferred delivery method, by setting the defaults for the message type. Volunteers and Coordinators may change your settings, but the defaults will show your suggestions and will be used if the person overlooks the settings. Here is how to select the default settings:
- Choose Setup from the menu.
- Expand Messages.
- Select Message Types.
- Scroll down to the Schedule reminders section of the Types of automatic messages box at the bottom.
If you want volunteers and Coordinators set to receive reminders by default when new records are added, select email from the Default (for new volunteers and coordinators) dropdown list.
If you'd rather have records set not to receive reminders by default, select none. This is not recommended because if the setting is overlooked volunteers will not receive reminders.
If your account has text messaging enabled, you will see a second dropdown under the first. Select your preferred delivery method from this dropdown. For example, if you want volunteers to receive the your customized message, select email. Or if you'd rather volunteers receive the reminders on their cell phone, select text. The screenshot below shows how the dropdown will look when text is selected as the default:
We recommend avoiding the none setting because volunteers will not receive reminders if the setting is overlooked.
Click the Save button at the bottom of the page.
You can also put in descriptions for each message type to encourage volunteers and Coordinators to remain opted-in for the reminders. Here is how to update the descriptions:
- Choose Setup from the menu.
- Expand Messages.
Select Volunteer message preferences to update the descriptions volunteers will see, or Coordinator message preferences to update the descriptions Coordinators will see. If you need help with the additional settings on the page, see the associated help topic:
Remember to click the Save button after you update the descriptions.
Use the On-Demand Option¶
In addition to having the system send reminders automatically, System Operators can send out reminders at any time for a specific date or date range. The on-demand reminders use the template for the monthly volunteer or Coordinator messages so you can update the message if you want to change the information sent with the email version of the reminders. This can be changed back after the on-demand reminders are sent if needed.
The on-demand reminder messages can be sent to all volunteers who have opted-in to Schedule reminders, or the operator can limit the reminders to a certain group of volunteers (such as those scheduled in a certain Assignment or on a certain date) by using the Tags feature.
This section of the help topic explains some common reasons why a volunteer or Coordinator may not be receiving schedule reminder messages.
Invalid Email Address or Text Message Number¶
The most common reason volunteers or Coordinators don't receive schedule reminder messages is because their email address, or phone number for text messaging, is not valid. For volunteers, Volgistics tracks email address as well as text number validity so you can quickly see if this is the case. Volgistics does not track this information for Coordinators so you'd need to do testing to determine if the Coordinator's email address or text number is valid.
Email Not Delivered¶
When schedule reminders are sent by email, occasionally an email provider will not deliver the message. One way you can check if this happened with a volunteer is to review the volunteer's message history. As long as the volunteer's email provider sent a message to Volgistics about why the message was rejected, the message delivery indicator by the message will show as red.
There are a variety of things that can be done to help improve the likelihood that your email messages will be delivered successfully. Recommended Email Settings reviews what these are and has information on how to make the recommended changes.
Recipient Opted-Out of Schedule Reminder Messages¶
The volunteer or Coordinator may have opted-out of the Schedule Reminder Message Preference, or all messages altogether. You can see if this is the case by looking at the Message Preferences box on the Profile tab of the volunteer record, or at the bottom of the main tab of the Coordinator record.
If the volunteer or Coordinator has not opted-in to text messaging, and you're sure they wish to receive the schedule reminder messages, you can check the box by Schedule reminders to opt them back in. If the volunteer or Coordinator has opted-in to text messaging, there is not a way for System Operators to change the message preferences. The person will need to login to the VicNet portal and update their message preferences on the Account tab.
No Schedule Entries¶
Schedule reminders are not sent if the volunteer is not scheduled on the date, or during the time period, the reminder covers. Similarly, if no volunteers are on the schedule for the Assignments the Coordinator oversees, and the Include openings box is not checked on the pages to enable Coordinators to receive reminders, then the system will not send a reminder.
Please keep in mind that when the volunteer is put on the schedule can impact if they get a reminder also. For example, if the daily reminders are sent out 7 days before the volunteer is scheduled, a volunteer who is placed on the schedule after the reminders are sent will not get a reminder.
Assignment Is Not Set to Send Reminders¶
The schedule reminder messages are only sent to volunteers if the Assignment they are scheduled in has the Schedule reminders box checked. Similarly, Coordinators will not receive the reminders if the Assignments listed on their Assignments tab do not have the Schedule reminders box checked. The Select the Assignments Where Reminders Will Be Sent section above has more information how to have reminders sent for an Assignment.
Volunteers and Coordinators who opt-in to text messaging can select the time of day they receive schedule reminders as long as they choose to receive the reminders by text. When reminders are sent by email, the messages are sent during Volgistics' overnight maintenance cycle that takes place at about 3:30 am Eastern. If volunteers have their cell phone set to receive email messages, they should set their Do Not Disturb settings so the email alert will not wake them up.
- Add Coordinator Message Descriptions
- Add Volunteer Message Descriptions
- Coordinator Overview
- Schedule Substitute Volunteers
- Schedule Overview
- Schedule Notes
- Text Messaging Overview
- Track Message History
- Assignments, Sites, and Places Overview
- Message Preference Overview
- Add Schedule Openings
- Update Email Reply-To Fields
- Send On-Demand Schedule Reminders
- Schedule Reminder Message Preference
- Scheduling Volunteers
- Monthly and On-Demand Volunteer Reminder Settings
- Monthly and On-Demand Coordinator Reminder Settings
- Daily Volunteer Reminder Settings
- Daily Coordinator Reminder Settings
- Get Started With the Opportunity Directory
- Set Up Schedule Reminders for VicNet and VicTouch
- Send a Link to a Specific Webpage