Quarterly report reminders

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ayoward
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Quarterly report reminders

Postby ayoward » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:21 am

Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere, I couldn't find anything that quite fit in my search of the forum.

As a newly called Stake Clerk, I would like to set reminders in the Calendar so that Clerks are reminded before the deadline of the 15th and actually on the 15th to submit the report. This isn't as straightforward as I had imagined, so if you could please check my logic first and then answer a couple of questions, I would appreciate it.

The only way I think that I can achieve this is to create a new calendar, for arguments sake we'll call it Clerks. I could then add a calendar item in this calendar on the 10th of the month the report is due and have it send a notification. Another calendar entry could then be added for the 15th as absolute drop dead day for submission of the report with relevant notification.

Questions:
1. Am I right in thinking that I am reliant upon the clerks subscribing to this calendar? I am not able to send the notifications to specific email addresses? This is the way I would achieve this if I were using Outlook. I would use a meeting request with an alert.

2. Am I able to restrict this calendar to Ward and Stake Clerks/Assistant Clerks?

3. A bit more lateral thinking here, but if the calendar was called Ward Leadership for example, could I allow the whole Ward Council in each unit to access the calendar and receive notifications (obviously, they would have to subscribe)? My thinking here is that each auxiliary leader, the Bishopric and PEC could then receive a notification which would serve two purposes. It will remind those in leadership positions to get their figures to the clerk (as in my experience it is usually the clerk doing the chasing) but it would also remind the Bishopric to chase the clerk to make sure the report is submitted on time.

If anyone could advise me on whether my thinking here is correct, or suggest a better way of doing it, I would greatly appreciate it.

Many Thanks,
Andrew
York England Stake Clerk

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aebrown
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Re: Quarterly report reminders

Postby aebrown » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:49 am

There are some challenges with the approach you are proposing, although it would be a great tool if you could pull it off.

First of all, any public stake calendar will most likely be subscribed to by most members of your stake, since the default setting is for members to auto-subscribe to new calendars. You could make this a public calendar and hope that the 90%+ of the members will choose to unsubscribe, but I'd bet that you'll get people frustrated with your reminders who may not even know how to unsubscribe. So a private calendar is probably a better choice.

The challenge with controlling access to a private stake calendar is that it can only be done by name or by stake calling. When you are specifying which callings can view a private stake calendar, you have no option for choosing "Ward Clerk" for example, since that is a ward-level calling. So you can only specify each of the current ward clerks by name, and then as they are released and replaced, update your list of calendar viewers.

The above limitations probably make a "Ward Leadership" calendar rather impractical, since you are now dealing with over a hundred people and maintaining the list of viewers would be a maintenance nightmare.

russellhltn
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Re: Quarterly report reminders

Postby russellhltn » Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:46 pm

ayoward wrote:1. Am I right in thinking that I am reliant upon the clerks subscribing to this calendar? I am not able to send the notifications to specific email addresses?

Correct. Not only that, but you're reliant on them enabling (or rather, not disabling) notifications.


ayoward wrote:2. Am I able to restrict this calendar to Ward and Stake Clerks/Assistant Clerks?

You could, but not "by calling". (There are no "Ward Clerk" listing for a stake-level calendar.) You'd have to do it manually "by name".


ayoward wrote:3. A bit more lateral thinking here, but if the calendar was called Ward Leadership for example, could I allow the whole Ward Council in each unit to access the calendar and receive notifications (obviously, they would have to subscribe)? My thinking here is that each auxiliary leader, the Bishopric and PEC could then receive a notification which would serve two purposes. It will remind those in leadership positions to get their figures to the clerk (as in my experience it is usually the clerk doing the chasing) but it would also remind the Bishopric to chase the clerk to make sure the report is submitted on time.

It could be done, but again, you'd be maintaining the access "by name". Which becomes less practical since not all of the Ward Council calls/releases are run though the stake. So you'd have a problem keeping the list up to date.


ayoward wrote:If anyone could advise me on whether my thinking here is correct, or suggest a better way of doing it, I would greatly appreciate it.

You might want to set up scheduled reminders using your own email client. The alternative is to create a public calendar and just trust that the members will unsubscribe as needed. (Those who just look at the web page probably don't care. The ones who get it via the sync URL or LDS Tools should be able to turn it off.)

I suppose another route is that you can ask each ward to create such a calendar and populate it. That way the access by calling will work automatically. You just need to have each ward do it and update it each year.
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sbradshaw
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Re: Quarterly report reminders

Postby sbradshaw » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:25 pm

We have reminder events for quarterly reports and audits on a stake leadership calendar (all-day events, just on the due date). In practice, it serves its purpose by reminding me to send out an email about it. :) Email notifications with the LDS.org calendar are often buggy.

It is a public calendar.

I would guess that most of our members who use the calendar get the calendar through LDS Tools, which makes it easy to subscribe and unsubscribe from calendars. Others get it from LDS.org, which has checkboxes on the side. Very few members sync the calendar to another program, and those who do are usually tech-minded enough to be able to unsubscribe from calendars they don't want.

One annoyance is that repeating events can only go a couple of years in the future. I wish those kinds of things were put on a church-wide leadership calendar, or that notifications could go out from Leader and Clerk Resources.
Samuel Bradshaw • Interested in church apps and sites, creative recordkeeping, clerk support, YSA wards and stakes, LDS music, Vineyard at BYU, and online service.

russellhltn
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Re: Quarterly report reminders

Postby russellhltn » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:38 pm

sbradshaw wrote:Very few members sync the calendar to another program,

Probably true. I use that myself since I intensely dislike having a personal calendar in multiple places (or programs). That was one of the lessons of the Franklin planner people eons ago. If you have more that one calendar, sooner or later you're going to schedule a conflict and only realize it a day or two before. If LDS Tools could push the event to the device calendar, that would take care of it.


sbradshaw wrote:and those who do are usually tech-minded enough to be able to unsubscribe from calendars they don't want.

We've seen a number of messages from people wondering why they get events when they've unchecked the box on the main page.
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kisaac
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Re: Quarterly report reminders

Postby kisaac » Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:36 am

aebrown wrote:There are some challenges with the approach you are proposing

The challenge with controlling access to a private stake calendar is that it can only be done by name or by stake calling. When you are specifying which callings can view a private stake calendar, you have no option for choosing "Ward Clerk" for example, since that is a ward-level calling. So you can only specify each of the current ward clerks by name, and then as they are released and replaced, update your list of calendar viewers.

The above limitations probably make a "Ward Leadership" calendar rather impractical, since you are now dealing with over a hundred people and maintaining the list of viewers would be a maintenance nightmare.

I agree that a calendar sending out quarterly report reminders should be simple, but is not for the very reasons aebrown suggests, quoted above. Not being able to specify ward postilions "by calling" on stake calendars is a big limitation for many other calendar uses...Been there, tried it. On the ward level, however, such a "private" leadership calendar actually could work in that way, to remind ward leaders of their meetings on a leadership calendar, if not for:
sbradshaw wrote:Email notifications with the LDS.org calendar are often buggy.

So buggy, in fact, they are currently not working to my knowledge.

sbradshaw wrote:We have reminder events for quarterly reports and audits on a stake leadership calendar (all-day events, just on the due date). In practice, it serves its purpose by reminding me to send out an email about it. :)

This would be my current suggestion...add a reminder to a stake leadership calendar, but don't have it email anyone. Then, send reminders another way. Remind yourself any way you wish (perhaps using google calendar, which can be set up to remind you via SMS TXT, email, etc.) to remind your clerks. I did three reminders, one before the month, one at months end, and one for those that were late (see the file below for my "cut and paste" reminders.) LCR messaging could work to send them, but it's not convenient, I just used email lists and Gmail. I always sent them to the bishop AND his ward clerk, since the quarterly report is a joint responsibility of theirs.

Added Later: Of course, my email "cut-and-paste responses" obviously were structured to deal with some recurring issues of high turn-over in bishop, clerk, membership clerk and secretary callings, leading to accuracy and timeliness issues with our quarterly reporting...your experience may differ.
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Quarterly-Report-emails.docx
Quarterly Report "cut and paste" email reminders 1: before the month starts, 2: at months end, and 3: if they are late
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