Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Best Practices, Tips, and Training from AngelPoints

Training Opportunities for AngelPoints Clients
AngelPoints now offers three training session to ensure that your team is using your volunteer management site to maximum benefit. Each session is limited to 25 participants, so sign up today if you haven't already taken advantage of this great opportunity.

AngelPoints Overview for New Managers
This training is recommended for new Event, Group, or System Managers, or anyone who needs a refresher. It covers the basics of using the system, including creating and managing events, using the calendar and File Manager, and validating hours.

To sign up for the next session on September 1, click here.

AngelPoints Group Manager Training
This session provides more in-depth training for Group Managers, including advanced tips for creating and managing events, adding and editing content, and getting the most out of AngelPoints reports.

Click to sign up for the next session on August 19 click here, or for next month's session on September 23 click here.

System Manager Training
AngelPoints training for System Managers is now offered once per quarter. This session covers managing users, understanding access levels, managing site content, tips for designing your site, and best practices for editing content and promoting special events.

To sign up for System Manager Training on September 30, click here.

Save the Date for the State of the Product Call

Join Vice President of Product Stephane Giraudie and the AngelPoints team for the next State of the Product Call on Tuesday, September 15 at 10:00 A.M. Pacific time. During this call, Stephane will share product development news, our plans for the remainder of the year, and give an update from the Ideas Bank. This is also your chance to share feedback about new features and ideas with AngelPoints. Keep your eyes open for your invitation next week!

Tip: Adding "About Page" Content to the Login Page

Did you know you can now link About page content from the Login page? Adding links from the Login page is an easy way to share information about your program with employees who may not have logged in or created a password yet. Please contact your Account Manager if you would like to link About page content from your Login page.

Best Practices and More Tips for Using AngelPoints
AngelPoints Customer Support regularly publishes best practices to both the AngelPoints blog and archives them on the AngelPoints help site. To view the archive, click Help on your AngelPoints site, and navigate to Extras and Examples > Tips and Tricks. Here you'll find:
  • How to make your external links open in a new browser
  • Guidelines for posting images to your site
  • How to hide a published event
  • How to use a custom search result link on your home page
  • Best practices for launching your AngelPoints site

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Using a custom search result link on your home page

What do you do if you have a specific series or day of events that you want your users to be able to find easily without having to search through an entire list of upcoming events? It’s as simple as using the Advanced Search feature to find and create a link that will take your users to a “Results” page that will then list all of your specific events. This is a great feature if you have a group of events that are for a specific department, organization, cause, etc.

The most important thing is to use a unique “Keyword(s)” within your event title, but adding causes and/or skills is helpful too. Let’s say you had several Earth Day specific events, but that the company also has many other non Earth Day events scheduled on that same day. Place the words “Earth Day” in the title of each event. Select an appropriate cause and/or skill and create your events. Now go to the Advanced search page (from the home page), enter Earth Day into the “Keywords” box and set the date (or date range) to the date of your event. Select the causes and/or Skills that you chose when creating the events. Unless all of the events are in the same city and/or state, leave those fields blank. Now run the search. The result should be a listing of just your events. Copy the URL in your browsers address bar and save it in notepad (or any editor).

If you have System Manager access you can do this next part yourself, otherwise you will need to enlist the help of the System Manager to post the link. Edit your home page content to add a comment that makes it clear that this is where to click to find the events they are looking for, such as “Do you want to volunteer for one of our Earth Day events? If so, Click Here.” From within the content editor select the word “Here” then click on the add hyperlink button and paste in the URL you copied earlier. Hit update and you’re done. Now when your users are greeted with the welcome page, there will be a link right there in front of them to take them to the listing of your specified events.

Note: using the causes and skills is not necessary but it is a great way to insure that your search results will continually contain only your events, since the odds of someone else creating an event with the exact same parameters are very slim.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What Every Volunteer Manager Wants to See: Your Event is Full!

We're always excited to announce features that make your AngelPoints site more user-friendly, especially when the ideas come from our most knowledgeable users -- our clients. One such idea is a simple designation to let users know that an event is full without having to click through to the event's detail page. Thanks to your feedback, we've now added "event full" information to event listings to improve your volunteers' experience.

Site Configurable? No, this feature is now enabled for all AngelPoints clients.

Motivating Employee Volunteerism During Tough Economic Times
AngelPoints is pleased to spread the word about a very timely research project by LBG Associates and the LBG Research Institute, and invites your company to participate. This study is designed to help companies make crucial decisions to bring their volunteer programs more in line with today’s economic realities -- and employees’ needs and desires -- by answering the following questions:
  • Are employees more driven to volunteer during this recession, or are they so depressed that they are in a state of inertia?
  • Are employees not using workday-based programs, such as skills-based, pro bono, or paid time off, for fear of losing their jobs?
  • How are companies successfully motivating employees to volunteer during these tough times?

How can you help? Click here for details on how to participate in the study. Participation involves answering a short online survey and providing access to employees for their input.

See You at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service
To all of you who are attending the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco this week, welcome to our neighborhood. We look forward to an fantastic week of presentations and opportunities to meet with you, including our client gathering on Tuesday evening. We'd also like to wish good luck to all of our clients who will be presenting at the conference, and provide a special thank you to Anna Hennes of Cerner, who will be presenting about AngelPoints in the Technology for Managing Corporate Volunteer Programs panel on Tuesday morning.

Follow Us on Twitter
Do you like your news in small doses? AngelPoints is now on Twitter. Follow us for quick updates, resource links, and all the rest at http://twitter.com/angelpoints.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Client Awards and Congratulations!

AngelPoints would like to congratulate two of our clients, PG&E and Deloitte, who each have won a 2009 Bay Area Volunteer Award for service and dedication to their community, hosted by The Volunteer Center of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.

PG&E has won the coveted Corporate Community Involvement Award for an outstanding community involvement program, as well as service, and Mark Edmunds of Deloitte has won the prized Corporate Community Champion Award, which recognizes the achievments and dedicated leadership of a single corporate officer.

Congratulations to both, as they continue to achieve great success using AngelPoints!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Motivating Employee Volunteerism During Tough Economic Times

We at AngelPoints are pleased to help spread the word about a very timely research project by LBG Associates and the LBG Research Institute and invite your company to participate:


In these tighter times, many companies are viewing employee volunteerism as a cost-effective way to continue to make an impact in their communities.

But how motivated are employees to volunteer right now?

There’s an urgent need to help companies make crucial decisions about ways to bring their volunteer programs more in line with today’s economic realities -- and employees’ needs and desires. A new research study from LBG Associates and LBG Research Institute is designed to provide that help, by answering the following questions:

  • Are employees more driven to volunteer during this recession, or are they so depressed that they are in a state of inertia?
  • Are employees not using workday-based programs, such as skills-based, pro bono, or paid time off, for fear of losing their jobs?
  • How are companies successfully motivating employees to volunteer during these tough times?

LBG’s new survey is unique in that it will include both the voice of the employee volunteer manager and the employee. By comparing research from both groups, this study will provide a much needed and robust view of today’s volunteering landscape.

How can you help? Participate and/or sponsor!

Participation involves answering a short online survey and providing access to employees for their input.

And LBG is offering highly affordable sponsorship levels! For more information, please call Linda Gornitsky at 203-325-3154.


Sign up to participate and sponsor and receive the full study: https://app.e2ma.net/app2/survey/33143/7955/034825fd3b/1976341442/1807819/67170791/

Sign up to participate and receive the executive summary of the report: https://app.e2ma.net/app2/survey/33143/7953/02140d3192/1976341442/1807819/67170792/

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Scheduled Maintenance and Other AngelPoints Updates

AngelPoints has a scheduled maintenance this Friday, June 5. AngelPoints client sites will be unavailable from 10:00 P.M. PDT - 2:00 A.M PDT for a database upgrade.

AngelPoints Training
We'd like to thank all of our clients who have joined us for live AngelPoints training webinars over the past couple of months. As a reminder, we offer beginning and advanced training sessions via GoToMeeting each month, and you can sign up for either session on the AngelPoints website:

There are two sessions coming up. The next advanced session is Wednesday, June 17 and the next beginner session is July 7.

We are also working on recording the different topics covered in these sessions and will add them to the Help site. Stay tuned for an announcement of availability.

User Data Imports
To create a more transparent data upload process and give you easier access to your data upload information and results, we have added a report for System Managers that shows:
  • The status of all your imports (In Progress, Pending, Completed)
  • File information including the date received, the file name and size, the number of users in the file, and the date the upload was completed
  • Details about the upload, including errors, users added to the system, users modified, and users removed

To see this information, select Users > User Imports from the Manage tab.

Design Updates
If you have recently logged into AngelPoints, you will have noticed a few new design changes including new tab placement and a change to the design of call out boxes. There are a number of reasons we make changes to the user interface; chief among them are to accommodate client feedback, to make the site as usable and engaging as possible, and to incorporate new features. When such updates are associated with changes to existing features or workflow, we make every effort to alert you in tandem with -- or ahead of -- the launch.

State of the Product Call
Due to the timing of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service and other client initiatives that are taking place over the next couple of months, we are delaying the next State of the Product call until early August. We have many exciting updates to share with you and also look forward to introducing our new Vice President of Product, Stephane Giraudie. Please be on the lookout for your invitation in the coming weeks.

AngelPoints Ideas Bank
Your feedback and suggestions are extremely valuable in shaping the AngelPoints product direction. If you haven't visited the Ideas Bank in a while, please stop by, vote or comment on current ideas, and add your top wants and needs for the product to the list. The AngelPoints team is actively involved on the site and uses this forum to ask for more information and to give you the status on different ideas.

If you do not have a log on, contact Professional Services Manager Kate Derrick at kate AT angelpoints DOT com.

Monday, June 1, 2009

How to keep an event “Invisible”

You have an event coming up and you want it to be exclusive (at least initially) to one specific group. You want to be able to promote it to them, possibly add some of them to the roster yourself but do not want the general volunteer pool to be able to sign up for the event. In order to have access to both the promote and roster features you will have to publish the event.

Here is how to keep your event “Invisible” to all.

When creating the event, under Event Location, give it a zip code of 00000 before you publish it. Since the system bases what opportunities to display on the Home Page and Event Calendar by way of the end users zip code, the event will not appear for anyone (it will still appear within the Manage pages to any managers with access to the group it is assigned to).

By using the Promote feature you can then target your specific group and it will send an email to them with a direct link to the event so they will be able to see it and sign up for it. You can also click on the “View as a volunteer” link from within the event description after you have published, copy the URL from the browser and send that directly to users you want to have sign up.

Once the group you are focused on having sign up has done so, or you choose to open the event up for all to see, simply go back and edit the event description and put in the valid zip code.

Note: The “Driving Directions” link in the event will not function properly until you enter a valid zip code.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How to make your external links open in a new browser window

Follow these simple steps if you would like to make the hyperlinks you create in your events and/or site content open in a new browser window.

Note: This is easiest done if you create the hyperlinks before creating the majority of the body of your event/content, as it will be simpler to locate your link in the code.
  1. Once you have entered your text and created the hyperlink, click on in the Design/HTMLview button in the lower left corner of the editor window.

  2. Now looking at the HTML code, locate your hyperlink url.

  3. Place your cursor between the last quotation mark at the end of your URL, and the> symbol, hit the space bar once and then enter target=new

  4. You can now click the Aa on the Design/HTML view button and finish creating your content.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

June Training Sessions for AngelPoints Clients

Are you just getting started with AngelPoints, or could you use some tips for advanced users?

AngelPoints Customer Support is offering free scheduled online training sessions twice per month to clients. The first session each month is intended for those just starting out with AngelPoints (or who need a refresher), and the second will offer a more advanced look at the functionality as well as a training on new features. Trainings will be an hour in length, including time for questions.

AngelPoints Training: Session 1

Date/Time: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. PDT

Description: In this session, you will receive an overview of the AngelPoints site, including features and functions on the Home page, My Page, and the About page. In addition, the purpose and use of each AngelPoints report will be discussed. Finally, you will learn about the different event types supported by AngelPoints, and how to:

Create events and flexible opportunitiesManage eventsUse the monthly calendarUse the File ManagerValidate hours
To sign up for Session 1, visit: http://www.angelpoints.com/index.php?page=angelpoints-training-session-1

AngelPoints Training: Session 2

Date/Time: Wednesday,June 17, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. PDT

Description: Topics covered in this session include:

Advanced training on creating and managing eventsBest practices for adding and editing contentAdvanced training on AngelPoints reports, including running each report, how to interpret results, and tips for using filtersTraining on new features

Friday, May 22, 2009

The power of video and music

I recently saw a commercial that reminded me why we do what we do at AngelPoints. It was a series of clips depicting people in the act of helping others set to the Jackson Five song, "I'll be there." My wife and I got choked up watching it.

We at AngelPoints work tirelessly to build the best technology platform we can so that our clients can more easily engage their employees and customers in good deeds -- activities that strengthen communities, build a better corporate culture and improve lives. Unfortunately, sometimes we lose sight of the magic -- the emotion and power that results when people give of themselves to others. The AngelPoints platform enables and keeps track of hundreds of thousands of selfless acts around the globe every day. And yet those of us who work here and, quite frankly, those who control budgets for employee community engagement, too often only see these acts as so many data points, a handful of charts and graphs devoid of human emotion.

What we need, perhaps, is a healthy dose of Hollywood, a roaming film crew that travels from town to town capturing employees in the act, producing short films like the State Farm commercial. How great it would be to see the looks on peoples' faces, to be reminded before we go home at the end of the day of the powerful emotions and pride community engagement creates. We could even send these videos to CEOs and EVPs of HR, who would never again cut volunteer programs from their budgets for risk of extinguishing the very heart and soul of their company.

So, here's an open invitation to all aspiring photographers and film makers out there to send us your footage. We want to see and hear what you're doing. We may even launch a competition if people are interested...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

AngelPoints Simplifies Its Look

Sometimes, it's the subtle enhancements that make a difference. If you've logged into your AngelPoints site recently, you may have noticed a cleaner look around the site, including better placement of the Log Out and Help links in the upper right and changes to the design of the boxes on the right. We are always looking for ways to make our user interface simpler and more engaging and these are the just the latest improvements toward that goal.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monthly Training Sessions and Other Updates from AngelPoints

New Monthly Training Sessions

AngelPoints Customer Support will be offering free scheduled online training sessions twice per month to clients beginning in May. The first session each month is intended for those just starting out with AngelPoints (or who need a refresher), and the second will offer a more advanced look at the functionality as well as a training on new features. Trainings will be an hour in length, including time for questions.

AngelPoints Training: Session 1

Date/Time: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. PDT

Description: In this session, you will receive an overview of the AngelPoints site, including features and functions on the Home page, My Page, and the About page. In addition, the purpose and use of each AngelPoints report will be discussed. Finally, you will learn about the different event types supported by AngelPoints, and how to:

  • Create events and flexible opportunities
  • Manage events
  • Use the monthly calendar
  • Use the File Manager
  • Validate hours

To sign up for Session 1, visit: http://www.angelpoints.com/index.php?page=angelpoints-training-session-1

AngelPoints Training: Session 2

Date/Time: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. PDT

Description: Topics covered in this session include:

  • Advanced training on creating and managing events
  • Best practices for adding and editing content
  • Advanced training on AngelPoints reports, including running each report, how to interpret results, and tips for using filters
  • Training on new features

To sign up for Session 2, visit: http://www.angelpoints.com/index.php?page=angelpoints-training-session-2

Option to Email a New User When an Account is Created

When adding a new user to AngelPoints on the Add New User page, you can now opt whether to automatically email login information to the user.

Site Configurable? No, this feature is enabled for all clients.

My Upcoming Events List

Your upcoming events list, found on the My Page tab, now includes events you've signed up for that take place more than six months from the current date.

Site Configurable? No, this feature is enabled for all clients.

Ability to Hide Event Discussion

The Event Discussion feature is now site configurable. By default, Event Discussion is enabled for all clients. To turn off this feature on your site, contact your Account Manager.

Site Configurable? Yes, please contact your Account Manager if you would like to enable this feature.

Removing Yourself, Friends, and Family from the Event Roster

If you need to cancel your participation from an event, any friends and family that you signed up to attend with you will now automatically be removed from the roster.

Site Configurable? No, this feature is enabled for all clients.

Site Content Improvements

The content on the landing page for new users has been revised to provide clearer steps for getting started with the site. In addition, the headings on the Create Event and Post Flexible Opportunity pages have been revised to be shorter and more direct.

Site Configurable? No, these content changes have been made on all client sites.

Flexible Opportunities

It is no longer required to associate a group when you create a flexible opportunity.

Site Configurable? Yes, contact your Account Manager if you would like to make it optional to associate a group with a flexible opportunity.

Board Membership Report Available to Group Managers

Group Managers now have the ability to view and download the Board Membership report. This report will display membership information for all groups managed by the Group Manager.

Site Configurable? No, this feature is enabled for all clients.

Emailing Event Managers Through the Contact Roster Feature

An Ideas Portal request has been added to the Contact Roster feature. A checkbox is now available on the Contact Roster page to copy event managers on email sent using this feature. Thank you to the clients who suggested and voted for this!

Site Configurable? No, this feature is enabled for all clients.

Tips and Tricks Added to Blog, Help Site

Did you know that the AngelPoints blog and Help site now contain tips for using AngelPoints? Many of you have already benefited from Peter Clay's best practices on the phone; now he's providing his expert advice online. To make sure that you get the latest, add the AngelPoints blog to your RSS feed or regularly check the Tips and Tricks section in your Help site (in AngelPoints, click Help, then click Extras and Examples in the Contents list to get to Tips and Tricks).

You can also get the latest release notes on the Help site (with links to related topics). To do so, click AngelPoints Help in the Contents list, and then click Release Notes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

SF Bay Area Volunteer Awards

A few upcoming Awards in the San Francisco Bay Area to be presented May 6th, 2009 at "Hats Off! A Celebration of Community Volunteers" - get your nominations in now before it's too late!

2009 Nonprofit Board Leader Award

The Nonprofit Board Leader Award recognizes the achievements of outstanding nonprofit board members in the Bay Area.

2009 The Corporate Community Champion Award

The Corporate Community Champion Award, established in 2002, recognizes the outstanding volunteer leadership achievements of a Bay Area corporate leader.

2009 Corporate Community Involvement Award

The Corporate Community Involvement Award, established in 1992, is awarded to a Bay Area business that operates an outstanding employee involvement program.

Friday, April 10, 2009

New Enhancements and Upcoming Tab Changes

Two significant changes have been made to the tabs on the top of your AngelPoints user interface. These changes will take effect with the next release of AngelPoints early next week.

First, the name of the About tab will be configurable, allowing you to rename the tab to be more reflective of your program. If you would like to change the name of this tab on your site, please contact your Account Manager.

Second, because comprehensive Help is now available from the link on the upper right of your site, the Support tab has been renamed FAQs, and will now be available from the footer of your site rather than the tab area. You can still provide custom content to your FAQs page as before; however, you may also opt to remove this page entirely from your site if you find that you do not use FAQs or if you prefer to provide Q & A about your program on your About page. To remove the FAQs link and page from your site, contact your Account Manager.

Google Maps Now Used for Driving Directions

Driving Directions on the Event Details page now link to Google Maps rather than Yahoo Maps. In addition to driving directions, Google Maps also provide public transportation and walking directions where available.
Site Configurable? No, Google Maps are now used on all client sites.

Schools and Universities Added to the Organizations Database
All public schools and universities have been added to the Organizations database. This information comes from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, respectively.
Site Configurable? No, public school and university data has been added for all clients.

Coming Soon! Ideas Portal Implementation
We're excited to pre-announce our next Ideas Portal implementation. Later this month, we will be providing a checkbox to copy event managers on email sent using the Contact Roster feature. Thank you to the clients who suggested and voted for this helpful feature.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Guidelines for posting images to your site

It is best when posting images to your site either in an event or on any of the content pages that you use images no larger than 500 to 600 pixels wide and use the jpg or gif format. Keeping it below 600 pixels wide (preferable 500) will ensure that your image does not push around the rest of the page making it look awkward and using the jpg format will generally lend to a better (deeper color) image than the gif format.

If you do not have a program like PhotoShop you can use Microsoft Office Picture Manager or even Windows Paint to do your resizing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

See How You Can Take Your Employee Volunteer Program to the Next Level: AngelPoints White Paper Now Available

Are you able to reap the full benefits of your employee volunteer and CSR programs? Can you energize and excite your employees about community involvement and CSR at your company?

CSR and volunteer program managers commonly report several challenges:
  1. Insufficient resources for efficient and effective program management;
  2. Difficulty reaching and engaging employees; and
  3. Difficulty collecting the qualitative and quantitative data to articulate the impact of their programs to customers, employees, corporate stakeholders, and their communities.
AngelPoints' newest white paper discusses the benefits of employee engagement in community involvement and CSR initiatives and looks at technical solutions to the challenges listed above. 

To download your copy, visit:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

State of the Product Call Update

This morning we held our second, quarterly "State of the Product" Call to give our clients some insight into what we’ve been up to over the last quarter in terms of product development, and what our priorities will be for the next quarter.

Thanks to the 40 people who joined the call and asked questions. For those of you who couldn't make it, here are a few highlights of our accomplishments over the last quarter. If you want to hear what we have planned for next quarter there will be an audio recording available soon (for clients only):

Since the last State of the Product Call on November 11, the AngelPoints engineering team has completed:
  • 8 releases
  • 10 roadmap feature sets or large modules
  • 53 smaller enhancements
We spent significant time this quarter on 2 new modules:
  • Rewards: Manage volunteer incentive programs that drive employee participation.
  • Organization Management: Manage your company’s own list of approved non-profit organizations, add organizations, or edit organization information including mission statements and organization logos.
We also worked to improve the functionality of current feature sets & make things easier to use:
  • New Help Site: Replaces the support wiki and provides much clearer support and help documentation
  • Upload Participant List into Event Roster: Upload users to a roster from an excel spreadsheet (currently only available for SSO clients)
  • Improvements to Event Search: Added flexible opportunities to the event search and gave them more search capabilities
  • Validate Hours Page: Enhanced functionality for approving/denying volunteer hours
  • CRA: Improvements made for CRA module (used by banking clients)
Kate Derrick, our Professional Services Manager, also gave an update on the ideas bank where clients have been logging their ideas for what our product priorities should be.

Over the last quarter, we've implemented four feature requests that came from the ideas bank and we currently have four in development. Two more have been added to our upcoming roadmap.

The ideas bank has been incredibly helpful to me as I look to prioritize the product roadmap going forward so keep the great ideas coming.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Looking for Inspiration? Check out the BCCCC Film Festival

There's no question that video is a great medium for telling your company's CSR story. This year, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship has put together a film festival featuring short videos that demonstrate and promote corporate citizenship.

To watch the videos and cast your vote for the winner, visit:

Voting ends at 11:59 EDT on March 25. The winning video will be announced at the 2009 International Corporate Citizenship Conference on March 30 in San Francisco.

We're pleased to see entries from a number of AngelPoints clients, and wish all the contenders luck! Your creativity and efforts are an inspiration.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reminder: State of the Product Call Scheduled for Next Week

Just a quick reminder to AngelPoints clients: the quarterly State of the Product call is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 25 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific. If you haven't already registered, please add your RSVP at http://www.angelpoints.com/index.php?page=register-for-the-state-of-the-product-call.

This quarter, Director of Product Angie Schiavoni will give an update of the product roadmap, including a discussion about our new Rewards module. We'll also be sharing an update from the AngelPoints Ideas Portal.

We look forward to having you join us for the call.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Customization Options

The latest update to AngelPoints includes several new customization options:

Viewing Lifetime Hours
Motivate your top volunteers by showing them how much impact they've made. You can now opt to display lifetime volunteer hours on the dashboard.

Site Configurable? Yes, please contact your Account Manager to enable this feature.

Customizing Login Error Messages
You can now provide customized messages for user login errors. Error messages are displayed when users enter an incorrect user name or password, when they have one more attempt at logging in before they are locked out of the system, and when their account has been locked due to too many failed login attempts.

Site Configurable? Yes. If would like to change the default error messages provided by AngelPoints, please contact your Account Manager.

Customizing CRA Help Text
We have added rollover help to the Create Event page for clients using the CRA module. When you hover your mouse over the help icon next to the CRA Eligible checkbox, text is displayed to help your volunteer program managers better determine whether to use the CRA Survey as part of the event screening process. If you would like to customize this message to be more specific to your program, you can do so on the Manage > Setup > Content page.

Site Configurable? No. The help rollover on the Create Event page now defaults to on for clients using the CRA module and you can customize the text..

Conference Board 2009 Report Sees 45% Increase in Employee Volunteering

Thanks to Chris Jarvis at Realizing Your Worth for pointing this out...

The Conference Board just released a report, The 2009 Corporate Philanthropy Agenda: How the Economic Downturn is Affecting Corporate Giving, based on a February 2009 survey of 158 companies on planned changes in corporate giving programs.

Although the report noted that there was going to be a decrease in giving, it also stated that "Volunteerism will see the biggest increase, with 45 percent of the survey respondents reporting a resources increase."

Although many companies are experiencing layoffs and significant cutbacks in their budgets, they can still demonstrate their commitment to the community by allowing their employees to continue to make an impact.

AngelPoints State of the Product Call Scheduled for March 25

AngelPoints quarterly State of the Product call has been scheduled for March 25, 2009.

If you are a current AngelPoints client, please join us for an information-packed hour as Angie Schiavoni, Director of Product, gives an update of the product roadmap, including a discussion about our new Rewards module. We’ll also be sharing an update from the AngelPoints Ideas Portal.

The Details:

Who: Current AngelPoints clients

: March 25, 2009 at 10:00 AM PST - 11:00 AM PST

Where: Call in number and online meeting information will be sent
following your RSVP.

How: Primary company contacts can RSVP by clicking here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Paine's Stimulus

"I like the man that smiles in trouble, that gathers strength in distress, and grows brave by reflection. Tis the business of little minds to shrink."
- Thomas Paine

At a time when American independence was still undecided, Paine published his infamous 48-page pamphlet called Common Sense and with it moved thousands of everyday citizens closer to freedom from British rule. The pamphlet was one of the most influential of the revolutionary era. It spread beyond wildest expectations, doing something like the 18th-century equivalent of tweeting across the colonies. It was also an enormous financial success, selling 120,000 copies in the first three months, going through twenty-five editions and selling 500,000 copies in the first year alone. Paine was a master of the social media of his time, but because his ideas would have gotten him executed for treason, he wrote Common Sense anonymously. In its wake, had he wanted to he could have stolen away to his comfortable home in Greenwich Village to spend his royalties and enjoy life in anonymous splendor. But that was not his calling. Instead, he did something worthy of historical awe. He donated his royalties to George Washington’s Continental Army, reportedly saying: "As my wish was to serve an oppressed people, and assist in a just and good cause, I conceived that the honor of it would be promoted by my declining to make even the usual profits of an author."

Paine's influence was outdone only by his moral fortitude. One could argue that his contribution to the Continental Army was both a brilliant bit of cause marketing (promoting his honor through philanthropy) and one of the greatest investments of all time, yielding centuries of liberty, growth and prosperity for millions of people. For me, he serves as a model citizen, standing for what he believes, using his influence to move others to action and then forgoing short-term gain in order to ensure long-term upside. This model served man and country well in the case of Thomas Paine. His was surely not the business of little minds.

Fast forward to the year 2009. Today. Now.

Another great mind has emerged on the political landscape, a master of social media who sways thousands with his simple and bold message and his sermon-like style. Indeed, Barack Obama has inspired a generation of people with his clear and hopeful vision for our country and he has done so by communicating directly to the people. His micro-contribution campaign success and his ability to harness YouTube are, like Paine's pamphlet, case studies in social media, what some could call election 2.0. But the similarity does not end there. What many people find most compelling about Obama, including me, is his Paine-like insistence that we must stand up to our current challenges not grudgingly, but gladly, with courage. It is these moments that have given me goose bumps during his speeches, like during his inauguration when he summoned the "New Era of Responsibility" and said: "what is required now is a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task." We must seize our duties gladly. This is surely the stuff of Thomas Paine.

If we view the world through a Painsian lens, we can spot examples of those who stand up to challenges gladly and those who shrink from them. Ultimately and perhaps urgently, which way the scale tilts could determine the fate of this country and, perhaps, the world. This is why I watch with such interest the debate over the stimulus package. The investments we make today will ultimately reflect our willingness to face challenges with fortitude or to shrink from them. Billions will get lost in the gordian financial mess to cover credit swaps and narrow interests, or billions will stimulate education, innovations in health care and a green revolution. Fear will compel us to focus on short-term market losses and gains or courage will compel us to look to the future prosperity and health of our nation and the planet. We will invest the way Paine did or we will invest the way Thain did. To my mind, it's pretty much that simple.

Of course, if I had my way, it would be game over and we'd all grin and bear it as we forge ahead in the spirit of responsibility, like Shackleton's men on the glacier or the small band of Washington's men huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. We have built AngelPoints with this single purpose: to tilt the scale and play a part in the new era of responsibility that is required of us all. If Paine could move thousands with a short-stack of paper, then surely we can move millions with the use of the web and through the leadership of the world's best companies. To be sure, a growing majority of the population and an expanding fleet of companies are making tangible investments in the new era of responsibility. Our exceptional growth over the past eight years is a testament to that good news. But more than a handful are not yet on board and some are even reversing their stance at this very moment. On the same day that Bank of America executives jetted to New York to refute Cuomo's inquest into $3 billion in suspicious bonuses funded by you and me, the bank was eliminating the position of a good friend of mine, Bob Mandala, VP of Team Bank of America, the unassuming but passionate man behind their award-winning employee volunteer program, which has mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to serve their communities and put buckets of sweat behind the promise of being the so-called "bank of opportunity." Just last week, one of the largest producers of food in the world, operating in 67 countries, employing over 150,000 people, slashed and burned over three years of effort to take its employee community engagement program global. No longer will this company have the opportunity to leverage its enormous sphere of influence to spread organic agricultural practices to millions of farmers and students. Gone in an instant. Done.

Amidst the economic meltdown, when executives feel the heat of battle, it's not always obvious to redouble investments in programs that don't produce immediate profit. But I'm pretty sure it wasn't obvious to the average business owner in 1776 that they should put their money on a boy who chopped down a cherry tree and then defeated the British empire.

I recently read a story that John F. Kennedy liked to tell, about an early-20th-century French marshal named Hubert Lyautey. As the story goes, one day Lyautey says to his gardener, "Could you plant a tree?" The gardener says back, "Come on, it’s going to take 50 years before you see anything out of that tree." The marshal looks the guy in the eye and says, "It’s going to take 50 years? Really? Then plant it this morning."

The corollary to Paine's quote above is that it's the business of big minds to grow. We've seen dozens of companies that are growing amid the gloom, increasing their investments in responsibility at this critical time. Companies like Campbell's, Travelers, Wells Fargo, Deloitte, GE -- these are companies that are gathering strength in distress. While these companies are suffering bumps and bruises through tough times like everyone else, I have no doubt about their long-term success. And for individuals who are suffering set-backs, the question of how we invest our money at this critical time will surely tip the scale. I can only hope that there is a large number of modern-day Thomas Paines out there. The battle has just begun.

Monday, March 2, 2009

AngelPoints web demo 3.12.09

Are you tired of managing your volunteer program with Excel spreadsheets and Outlook emails? Is your in-house system outdated and ineffective? Are you ready to take your EVP to the next level?

Join us for an online demo and see the value AngelPoints can bring to your employee volunteer program:

* Increase Productivity. Manage your program more efficiently and with fewer resources using the comprehensive suite of AngelPoints volunteer management tools.

* Enhance Brand Reputation. Track, measure and report on your program's impact to demonstrate its value to your customers, your community and your management team.

* Leverage Talent Capital. Strong employees = strong companies. Engage employees and build a strong program that will help recruit and retain quality people while providing opportunities for skills-based learning, team-building, networking and fun.

Demo will take place Thursday, March 12, 2009 8:00-8:30am PST Sign up now!

Can't make it on March 12? We host live demos once a month. Check out the upcoming schedule here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Nominations Are Now Open for the Corporate Engagement Award for Excellence

The Points of Light Institute is now accepting nominations for outstanding workplace volunteer programs to be considered for the annual Corporate Engagement Award for Excellence (previously known as Awards for Excellence in the Workplace).

The Corporate Engagement Award for Excellence will be presented at the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco, California, June 22 - 24. 

To learn how to nominate your program, visit http://www.pointsoflight.org/awards/workplace/nominate.cfm. Nominations will be accepted through March 31, 2009. Best of luck to all of your fantastic volunteer programs!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Online Help Site, Event Icons, Search Enhancements from AngelPoints

AngelPoints Releases New Online Help and Website
We are pleased to announce a number of new resources to assist you in using AngelPoints to effectively manage your Employee Volunteer Program.

Chief among these resources is our new comprehensive online Help, which you can access by clicking Help in the upper right corner of your AngelPoints site.

This Help site will soon replace the AngelPoints Support wiki, so please update your bookmarks. AngelPoints Help provides explanatory and step-by-step information for all your common and not-so-common AngelPoints tasks. We are also working to build out a compendium of FAQs, Troubleshooting Tips, Best Practices and Examples, and other customer requests over the coming quarter, so stay tuned for more to come on the new Help site.

We've also launched a new website and this blog to keep you better informed about AngelPoints news and product updates as well as best practices in the CSR and volunteerism fields. You may also want to check out our Resources page, where you can find links for more information about
Your feedback about the new Help site, website, and blog is important to us, and suggestions are welcome by emailing marketing AT angelpoints DOT com.

First Wave of New Icons Released
A big thank you to all the users in our beta program who've helped us fine tune the icons used throughout AngelPoints. The first set has been released to better identify event types. Our next round will include icons for actions such as editing, finding an event, adding or removing oneself from the roster, checking weather, and checking driving directions. Following are the new icons that you will see on AngelPoints starting now:

Enhancements to the CRA Module

For AngelPoints clients using the CRA module, there are two new enhancements.
First, Flexible Opportunities and Recurring Events can now be marked as CRA eligible events. Second, the fields LMI, Employee Role, and Financial Activity are now all site configurable and can be removed from the CRA Details page. By default, these fields are all displayed; to remove them from your site, please contact your Account Manager.

More Intuitive Search for Flexible Opportunities
AngelPoints has released a number of improvements to make searching for Flexible Opportunities more intuitive. Because these are significant changes to the user experience, we'd like to prepare you for these enhancements.

First, the option to Search for Flexible Opportunities has been removed from the Home navigation bar. Users can now simply click Search for Events, and the Search for Events page will list both Scheduled Events and Flexible Opportunities on the same page, separated by tabs. In addition, the link to Flexible Opportunities in the Quick Links box has been updated to display the Search for Events page with the Flexible Opportunities tab foremost.

Users also now have the option to search for Flexible Opportunities by zip code, causes, and skill as well as by date.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Validating Hours Just Got Easier, Other Updates from AngelPoints

AngelPoints' redesigned Validate Activity Hours page now makes it easier for you to find and approve hours for your volunteers. Date search options have been moved to the top of the page, an option to search by groups has also been added, and new tabs make it easier and faster for you to manage Pending, Approved, and Denied hours.

Additional improvements indicate a reordering of the columns to be more intuitive and an indication of which hours were volunteered by Friends and Family. We also now display where the organization came from (whether it was from the IRS database, was a Write-In, or came from another source).

Site Configurable? No, this feature is now enabled for all AngelPoints clients.

Event Reminders and Follow-Up Emails - You're in Control
Managers now have the capability to specify whether they'd like to send event reminders and event follow-up emails for each event they manage.

Site Configurable? Yes, please contact your Account Manager if you are interested in turning on this feature.

Events Report Download Now Includes Event Manager Email Addresses
We'd like to thank one of our AngelPoints users for using the Ideas Portal to suggest that we add event manager email addresses to the downloadable Events Report. This idea has now been added!

Site Configurable? No, this feature is now enabled for all AngelPoints clients.

Note: The product changes described in this post apply only to AngelPoints Version 2. If a feature is listed as site configurable, please contact your account manager to enable it for your site.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Feature Announcements, and an Update from the Ideas Portal

Keeping Your Volunteer Team in the Loop
This blog (in conjunction with your AngelPointers client email newsletter) gives you the most relevant information about changes to AngelPoints products and services that increase your productivity and drive engagement. To ensure that AngelPoints users at your company are aware of new features, we suggest that you point your system, group, and event managers to this information. Some ways to share: post a link to this page or copy its content to one of your custom content areas, such as the News & Information area or an About page.

Share Your Stories
Do you have stories that showcase your company’s commitment to volunteering? Have you found better ways of using AngelPoints to increase your productivity? Has AngelPoints better enabled you to promote your company’s events and boost engagement? If so, we’d like to write up your story as a case study, impact spotlight, white paper example, or best practice suggestion.

To share your expertise, please contact Molly Hovorka, Product Marketing Director, by email at mhovorka AT angelpoints DOT com.

Feature Updates

Note: The product changes described below apply only to AngelPoints Version 2. If a feature is listed as site configurable, please contact your account manager to enable it for your site.

  1. Board Membership - Users can now specify whether they are representing your company when serving on organization boards. The Board Membership and Board Participation report downloads both show company representation.
    Site Configurable? No
  2. Canadian Charities Added to the Database - The organization database has been updated to include approximately 84,000 Canadian organizations.
    Site Configurable? No
  3. Submitting IVA Hours - Now when your users use the copy functionality to log additional Independent Volunteer Activities (IVAs), the date will default to today's date instead of the last date they logged.
    Site Configurable? No

    Also, when a user adds a new IVA, you can opt to make the Detail/Description field required. This is especially useful for clients who use the CRA module and need to track more detailed information about these activities.

    Site Configurable? Yes
  4. Validating Hours - It is now easier to see more information about a volunteer’s participation when validating hours. Previously, you could click his/her name to send an email for more information. Now when you click the user’s name, his/her participant report is displayed. If you still need more information, an email link is available on the participant report page. Watch for more improvements to the Validate Hours page coming up over the next few months.
    Site Configurable? No
  5. Updating Groups Via Data Feeds - If a data feed contains new group information for a user, the new group information replaces the existing information in the database. If the feed does not contain any group information for a user, the existing information remains as the current group.
    Site Configurable? No
  6. Standard Text Boxes - Standard plain text boxes have replaced the rich text editors on the Submit Hours and Notes to Manager pages for all event types, as well as CRA Notes. By making the notes process simpler, overall usability will be improved and the number of errors reduced .
    Site Configurable? No
Your Ideas = Our Action
By now, you've heard about the AngelPoints Ideas Portal. Thank you to everyone who has already logged in, voted on ideas, and commented on them. We're also in there responding to ideas and keeping statuses updated. If you haven't yet logged into the Ideas Portal, you're missing your chance to guide the AngelPoints product roadmap. You can vote on or "promote" any idea. We use the Ideas Portal to ensure that we give you what you need from our product. Some of the ideas that have received votes and comments so far:
  • A report to track which users haven't yet filled out their profiles
  • Mark events as "full" from the event list view pages
We're also happy to announce suggestions from the Ideas Portal that we've added to our Roadmap and are committed to delivering:
  • Additional options when searching for organizations
  • Improving the organization search
  • Making flexible opportunities CRA eligible
  • Event Manager email addresses on the downloaded Events Report
If you are still unable to log in to the Ideas Portal or if you have any questions about how it works, you contact Kate Derrick at kate@angelpoints.com.