Tracking operations and offline activity
AbleOrganizer was designed to manage the operations of organizations. While it is configured in a way where it can act primarily as a front-facing website, you can use the platform as a system for managing specific areas of your operations.
The form builder tool that comes with AbleOrganizer provides you with a convenient way to manage data entry. You can use it to create forms for entering offline donations, event registrations, petition signatures, volunteer activities and more. The views and panels tools used to build reports can also be used to create unique interfaces for tracking information specific to your organization.
This article contains some simple, basic strategies you can use for automating the operations of your organization.
For most organizations, it's important to track assignments for specific people within the organization. This could be in response to a new case that has come in, a need to follow up with a donor, or other situations that are part of normal business operations. This is simply meant to reflect who is responsible for the item in question.
AbleOrganizer supports assignements through the built-in user features. Each user can have an account, and any entity - a contact, an activity, a piece of content, etc - can be assigned to a user.
To configure your system to manage assignments for activities, follow these instructions.
- Pick an activity type and create a new field. Call it assignment, select the entity reference field type, and select the autocomplete widget. Save the field.
- On the field settings screen, select a target type of user. This will allow you to select users to whom an activity can be assigned. Save the field settings.
- On the next screen, configure any presets for the field you would like to use and save the field.
- Select other activity types you would like to be able to assign. From the shared fields list, select the field labelled 'Enity Reference: Assignment.'
You will now be presented with an autocomplete field that allows you to select the user each activity is assigned to.
Dashboards and management screens
The default dashboard that ships with AbleOrganizer presents a dynamic list of activity information from across an organization. If you want to personalize the dashboard, perhaps to replace the content with information about assignments for a specific user, the platform offers a web-based administrative interface for doing so.
In general, creating a personalized dashboard is best handled through views. At a high level, the process for creating one looks like the following.
- Create a view of the information you want to visualize.
- Add a contextual filter for the information you want to visualize.
- Set the contextual filter to use the user id (or some other identifier for the user) by providing a default value.
- Set the default value to the User Id for the currently logged in user, or an appropriate identifier.
- Create a 'content pane' display for the view.
- Save the view and go to your dashboard.
- Replace the default view for activities with the new one you have created.
This same basic method can be used to create other screens for managing information. For instance, instead of a dashboard, if you wanted to create a list of contacts assigned to a user and simply display that as a page, you have all the tools to do that present in the platform.
Forms for offline data entry
Let's say your organization receives a lot of checks in mail, pages of signatures from canvassers, or calls from people who want to volunteer. You can create standalone forms in AbleOrganizer to capture this information using the same tools you use to create forms for use within your public website.
Heads up! This technique creates forms that directly enter information into your constituent relation management system. You will want to take steps to ensure they remain protected with the appropriate permissions, as described below.
When you create a form through the online form builder, on the settings page, you have the option to create a standalone page. You will typically want to use this in order to create forms for offline data entry, in order to ensure the forms themselves are not publicly available.
In the permissions section of the settings page, you will want to assign the form to a group that includes only trusted users. This will ensure those users, and only those users, will be able to see your forms.
Keep in mind, this is a pretty powerful tool for automating operations. It can be applied in a number of ways, and you can do some interesting things with it. For instance:
- You can create forms that allow you to record phone calls, messages and other forms of organizational activity.
- You can create forms that automatically associate information with the right contact when activity information is entered.
- You can create forms that allow you to process credit cards.
- You can create forms that allow you to handle bulk-entry of petition signatures.
- You can create forms that handle volunteer intake and other tasks.