GivePulse 2019: The Year in Review

GivePulse has had an incredibly exciting 2019! Between the product enhancements and business operation improvements, we’ve been investing further to ensure our platform performs as efficiently and effectively as possible to empower social good. We are so grateful to all of our clients and to all of the amazing volunteers and organizations whose work is making an impact in their communities! Read on to learn more about what we have accomplished this year. 

Product Updates

GivePulse continues to grow and improve constantly. Our fantastic team of engineers, in addition to working around the clock to ensure that any bugs are quickly fixed, have heard suggestions from clients, and have used these, along with their own ideas, to make GivePulse more intuitive and efficient. Early in the year, we combined the Sign-In app with the GivePulse app to make our mobile functions more extensive. We then made additional mobile app improvements on our administrative kiosk mode to collect additional custom fields, and added the abilities to verify impacts on the go and the usage of a QR Code for clock-in/out. If you haven’t yet, download the GivePulse app on iOS or Android so you can record and verify hours in addition to our mobile web responsive experience! In the spring and summer, we improved our SMS capabilities and calendar functionalities, particularly with the addition of a deeper integration with popular calendar applications like Google Calendar (email support@givepulse.com to learn more or to activate these additional functionalities!). Later in the year, we made significant improvement to our internships functionality to help scale placements for institutions. Beyond these, we have continued to make all aspects of our site more customizable (for example, we have added the ability to add images and tables to email templates, the ability to customize confirmation emails for each specific event, and an increase to the amount of recurrences allowed in a recurring event), among the many, many other changes we have had the chance to make. These are just the tip of the iceberg — for more updates, check out the Recent Updates section of our support portal, attend our product meetings, join our listserv by creating an account, or schedule a time to chat with us!

Conference Updates

This year saw us attending over 20 different  conferences, including IARSCLE, Gulf South Summit, The Impact Conference, Campus Labs Connect, and much much more. Some key takeaways from our time at these conferences includes the importance of hyperlocal engagement, the need for deep institutional commitment in order to sustain change, and the need to assess and tell stories about the work being done. We use what we learn at these conferences to aim enhancements and changes to GivePulse toward making the most effective and sustainable change, so we are always excited to learn from these fantastic opportunities! 

Content Updates

We were thrilled to get the chance to highlight the work of many of our incredible partners this year on our blog. This year, our spotlights focused on how GivePulse could be used at universities large and small, on how GivePulse is used to help engage communities to fight food waste and education inequity, and on amazing volunteers engaging with GivePulse. We also looked back on our team’s adventures and offered ideas for how to recruit volunteers and celebrate important holidays in community-oriented and engaging ways. We are excited to continue to spotlight our fantastic partners next year — we already have some great pieces in the works for you!

Team Updates

This year, we welcomed new engineers and business teammates to our Austin office, and have benefited from their insight and enthusiasm already. We can’t wait to see what is in store for this team next year! We certainly anticipate more eating and more bonding — and perhaps we will welcome some more folks to join us in these adventures next year. Stay tuned! 

With 2020 coming up, GivePulse is entering a new decade for the first time since its founding in 2012. Between 2012 and now, we have grown extraordinarily, and that is entirely due to the amazing efforts of folks who use our platform for the greater good. Let us know what you would like to see from 2020, and we can’t wait to connect with you in the new year! 

GivePulse Holiday Retreat — Reflecting, Relaxing, and Rallying for the New Year

With the end of the year (and the decade!) fast approaching, our team took a few days to rest, look back at our growth this year, and bond as a team. We gathered in beautiful Marble Falls, Texas, just over an hour outside of our home base of Austin. 


Although the week leading up to the retreat was chilly and grey, our holiday retreat was filled with sunshine and warmth, both from the people and the weather. Here’s a glance at our weekend, and some takeaways for companies hoping to encourage a productive and tight-knit team:

Rest Up

Clear air, rocking chairs, hammocks and rivers — between all of these elements, we were able to enjoy a truly restful few days. Our team took time to sit and talk on the comfortable porches, to watch beautiful sunsets, to play a game or two of soccer (as well as of Mafia), and to sing songs by a bonfire. All of these moments, while seemingly the most simple, were among the most important for our team. They drew us closer together, encouraging comfort and vulnerability that our team can call upon in the office whenever we have any questions, need help, or are excited to share good news.

Takeaway: It’s the quietest moments that can make all the difference in a busy office environment. Giving your team unstructured time helps them to forge the connections that will bring your company together in times of both stress and joy.

Eat Up

Whenever we gather together, we enjoy preparing and eating big meals (see, for example, our recent Worksgiving)! When we arrived at Marble Falls on Friday afternoon, we immediately set about preparing dinner — and snacking in the meantime. Every day, our team worked together to prepare, cook, and clean, always looking for ways that we could help, checking in with one another to plan an efficient and delicious process. And at night, we sat down for family dinners together, laughing over wine and food, sharing stories and hopes in our cozy cabin. Cooking highlight: five hours spent making delicious mutton and chicken karahi! All agreed that the end result was well worth the time. 


Takeaway:Food brings us together, and cooking as a group teaches us to delegate tasks and consider ways to nurture one another. These are skills that are vitally important both in and out of the office, and will help your team to work together efficiently while never losing track of the people that your work nurtures at the end of the day.

Team Up

On Saturday, we spent the day at Candelight Ranch, a nonprofit offering outdoor opportunities to special needs and at-risk children. Here, the wonderful volunteers guided us through team building exercises that solidified our belief that there’s nothing the GivePulse team can’t do. Some highlights from this day include resourcefulness on the island-hopping activity, where a lost wooden plank couldn’t dampen the good mood as we hopped from platform to platform; support as we helped one another over a sheer wooden wall, helping our team to learn that we were capable of more than we even believed; and facing fears through ziplining and the Canyon Crawl, a tightrope walk across the canyon! We also, of course, enjoyed befriending some four-legged friends through horse groundwork.

Takeaway: Our team worked closely together in a setting that pushed us all outside of our comfort zone — and in doing so, we learned the power of positivity, listening, problem-solving together, and pushing ourselves past our perceived limits. These are all critical skills to a productive, vibrant, and efficient work environment!

Gear Up

This retreat gave us the opportunity to gear up for next year. We did so by looking back at some of the highlights from this year (learning and sharing more about our rockstar volunteers, nonprofits, universities, and corporations; improving both our mobile and web presences, particularly through advances to our app, our corporate matching platforms, and our internship capabilities; growing our team of incredible engineers and success managers), and used this period of reflection to think about what comes next. We are excited to continue growing our team of incredible, community-motivated individuals, and to continue working toward our mission of transforming everyone into engaged citizens. 

Takeaway: At the end of the year, make sure to reflect over the many advances you have made, and to share your appreciation for the growth your team has enabled. Sharing this love and gratitude will give everyone the boost they need to engage whole-heartedly in the New Year, helping you to meet your 2020 goals. 

With a team like this, we know we can’t go wrong. For any office, time spent relaxing together is crucial to maintaining individual mental health and to strengthening the company. In the end, this time spent resting together is indicative of what is most important to GivePulse — people. 

We hope that you have the chance to rest this holiday season and to spend time with the people you love most. Keep an eye out for an upcoming product summary of GivePulse in 2019, and we look forward to sharing more stories in the New Year!

iPhone & Android: GivePulse Mobile App 2.0!

We are excited to introduce you all to our new mobile downloadable iOS and Android app. The GivePulse Mobile App 2.0 comes packed with additional capabilities to allow a seamless search and discovery process for events and groups, an easier tracking experience for community engagement, and a consolidated inboxing system to organize all communication on the go!

Screens: These are some screenshots of the mobile app.

These screenshots of our mobile app include: the list/map view, details view, and dashboard view.

We designed and developed this GivePulse iOS/Android app for Volunteers, Members and Administrators (who can use its inboxing feature to communicate with their volunteers).  The mobile app is supported to work on iOS and Android devices (phones and tablets). On this post, we will focus our energy sharing key areas we think is important for all users!

Fun Fact: We currently have 2 downloadable apps in both the iTunes and Google Play store. One is for individuals (volunteers or members of organizations to browse and track their engagement, and we recommend admins to use it for communication). This is the focus of the blog post. The other one, called GivePulse Sign-In (is meant specifically for admins, checkin attendants, or site leads to sign-in individuals on the go or in kiosk-mode so volunteers can walk up to sign-in or even clock in/out).

Login

When using the new GivePulse Mobile App 2.0, users will have a few options to login or authenticate as shown below:

Login: We have multiple types of authentication methods to streamline login

Register if you don’t have an account or use existing authentication methods.

Over the course of the past year, this is by-far the biggest improvement to our mobile downloadable app. As shown on the left, we now include multiple authentication options (namely Single Sign On) to support the diverse set of users GivePulse supports. With these abilities, we are able to ensure our enterprise clients can encourage their communities to log in with existing credentials. This will protect them from duplication of data, accounts and a number of different security factors. We believe having these options will provide a single access point for all users to login seamlessly.

Fun Fact: You can login to any of the options available (Email, Facebook, Google and SSO). If there are multiple accounts created, these accounts can be merged together so all authentication methods end up on the same account/profile. In the case you want to register without using the existing authentication methods, you can press the “Register” option at the top. This workflow will drop you into a few steps to complete.

Navigation

When logged in successfully, you will be able to see the following at the bottom navigation (these options appear at the top for android):

Navigation: Shows the primary options for mobile navigation

As shown above, these are what we believe are the most important menu options to help navigate in the app. You can tap on any of the following –

  1. Search: Allows the end user to browse and search for regional events and groups to register or become a member of
  2. Dashboard: Pulls together a list of groups you are a member of, upcoming events registered to, previously attended events, etc., This can be used as a quick way to track and confirm your engagement
  3. Add Impact: Allows individuals to track their engagement. If their administrator decides to ask additional questions or specific details of the activity, these will be populated too
  4. Inbox: Allows individuals to communicate back and forth within the app. People who receive messages will get push notifications every single time there is a new message
  5. Profile: Pulls together a list of details to summarize the individual’s engagement in the community

Search & Browse

On the “search” experience, you will immediately access a map/list view of local events and groups in your region.

Fun Fact: If you decide you want to search a larger radius, you can “pinch” the screen so that it will zoom in or out. Pinching will also increase the search radius too! Note, we haven’t launched in all the cities yet, but we do anticipate to do so with your help!

View: Displays map pin that you can select to see more details.

You can zoom in and out on the map and click on the pins to see more details of the events or groups.

List/Map View: Shows items you can interact with and see more details.

You can drag and drop the list view which is overlaid on the map and interact with both views together.

The map and list views are interactive, meaning users can drag up and down the list view and see a whole map view in the background. Users can also choose to browse through the normal list view without the map. Whenever there is a specific event or group of interest, the user can tap more to see the details. A modal will be displayed to show some details of the event.

Dashboard

Dashboard: View Groups you are member of

Screenshot of how it looks viewing groups from the dasbboard.

In the case, the user has existing memberships or groups they are a interested in, they can navigate to the “dashboard” shown on the right.

The dashboard helps aggregate together the groups and events the individual is associated with. This will  make it easier for the user to quickly access these on the go.

In many instances, an individual primarily will use the app to register to an event, join a group or discover new experiences. Beyond this, the secondary actions include tracking one’s engagement and interacting with those on the platform to organize the logistics of the events.

Add Impact

As shown below, you are able to search and select organizations to track your engagement (be it service hours or other outputs):

Add Impact: Track your engagement

Shows a list of potentially required areas sections, like Group, Event, Date and the outputs that help tell the story.

This workflow will continue to evolve as we learn more about its usage. With this in mind, we anticipate adding new enhancements in upcoming versions to streamline the tracking process.

Now moving forward, individuals can leverage the mobile app to track their engagement on the go. Since we encourage accurate data tracking, there is a workflow established which requires users to fill in the basic information: e.g., the group has to exist, an event is optionally associated (and dependent on the group admin’s setting), and the date and outputs must be inputted to go to the next screen.

Fun Fact: There are potentially additional questions the admin can add into the workflow, like adding qualitative custom fields. For example, when administrators want to add reflection questions or a scale to determine user feelings or sentiment, custom fields  can be applied to the workflow too.

Inbox

Inbox: Shows a list of conversations you might have

Inbox: Pulls all the communication you are having within the app so simplify messaging on the go.

We conclude this post by introducing you to the Inbox! The mobile downloadable app now has an inbox that can organize all your conversations on the go.

For example, if you were a volunteer who reached out to the organizer and wanted more details on the event, you can now do this within the app. Or, if you were an admin, responding back to volunteer questions, or doing message blasts with all your constituents, you can now do so again on the mobile app!

The inbox benefits individual volunteers and the administrators. With this in mind, we recommend all GivePulse users to download the app to manage conversations to improve response rates.

Fun Fact: If you receive a message, you will be notified by a Push Notification…way better than an email and it is free from SMS charges!

We believe the inbox will be a great foundation to let all users respond back in a efficient manner.

Splash screen for the mobile app

Generic splash screen which we will change from time to time

And there you go, that’s a skinny! From the search experience to the inbox experience, we have rewritten our existing app with a 2.0 release. There is still waaaaayyy more to come and we are excited to give you a glimpse of version 2.0. Hopefully we have also given you a few hints towards what may be coming soon on our roadmap! For those who want to be a part of the roadmap, please contact our product team at product@givepulse.com 

Remember, there are 2 apps we support: 1) predominantly for volunteers, which this blog describes, and 2) another focused on allowing admins and event managers to track who signed in or as a way to expose a kiosk mode to allow people to “clock in and out”.

We continue our goals to innovate in this space. We believe with these new additions, we are one step closer to help our partners understand their impact in the community!

And… if the above was too long to read…

TL;DR

Below are a few of the benefits to using the iOS or Android downloadable app.
Volunteer, Member, Participant, Registrant
  • Login (Gmail, Facebook, email or even Single Sign On – your institution or business’s internal authentication/sign in method)
  • Discover, browser and search events and groups to join
  • Register or cancel registration of events
  • Answer custom fields or questions requested by admins
  • Review profile and manage your Dashboard of events and memberships
  • Manage events you are registered to (Dashboard)
  • Oversee your memberships (Dashboard)
  • Communicate and message people (Inbox)
  • Contact the organizer, planner or admin
  • Add impact (service hours & reflection) to any group or event

To download the iOS app for volunteers: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/givepulse/id633874815

To download the Android app for volunteers: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.givepulse.givepulse

Note (we now advise admins to download the primary app which includes both admin and end user capabilities).

Admin & Event Manager
  • Sign in folks on the go
  • Put the app into Kiosk Mode and Clockin/out folks
  • Verify one’s hours/activity

GivePulse Collaborates with Campus Labs to provide Community Engagement Capabilities for Member Campuses

Austin, TX, March 4, 2018 – We are excited to announce a new collaboration with Campus Labs®, a leader in helping students connect with and manage co-curricular engagement opportunities, through an enriching integration with the community engagement functionality in GivePulse®.

Established in 2001, Campus Labs delivers an integrated platform that provides an end-to-end solution for setting strategic goals, collecting evidence, and reporting actionable insights. Today, 17 years after its founding, over 1,300 higher education institutions utilize the Campus Labs platform to manage their mission-critical information. Their Campus Labs Engage solution allows campus administrators to connect students to meaningful and guided opportunities, manage and track their involvement, and showcase the institution’s impact on the student experience.

Ryan O’Connell, Campus Labs Senior Product Manager for Student Engagement, stated  “the team at GivePulse is very talented” and that “our Engage Member Campuses are going to love their expertise in service-learning and their fresh take on community service management.”

This new GivePulse integration will enable Campus Labs Engage Member Campuses to take advantage of the thoughtful and vast community service promotion, management, and tracking tools within the GivePulse technology; while serving as a valuable resource for student engagement exploration and documentation in Engage. The amazing Campus Labs team will collaborate with GivePulse to bridge together and strengthen a more connected student engagement experience.

“GivePulse is excited to collaborate with Campus Labs to streamline community engagement for students,” said George Luc, GivePulse’s Chief Civic Evangelist and Cofounder. “Together we will enable community organizations to partner with higher-ed institutions on curricular and co-curricular service activities, research, and projects advancing social good!”

To learn more or attend the April 17th webinar, you can go here: https://www.campuslabs.com/resources/upcoming-webinars/enriching-service-management-a-preview-of-our-integration-with-givepulse/

Making the Announcement of Campus Labs Collaboration