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 Post subject: Re: Communications
Post #21 Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:24 pm 
Gosei
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I just want to stress that the only way a system like this will take off is if the individuals using it see the benefit and actually use it. With that in mind, we should probably get a list of current volunteers and ask them what would make their life easier before we go too far with this...

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 Post subject: Re: Communications
Post #22 Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:49 pm 
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Agreed. Please post what you find out. It might make sense to also ask those that might have been delinquent in responding, if possible. If you need help in asking, let us know what we can do.

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 Post subject: Re: Communications
Post #23 Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:20 pm 
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Whoever pointed out the real issue is PEOPLE was totally correct!!! I read and respond to 4 or 5 different e-mail addresses for the AGA and AGF, and I delegate e-mails to another 7 or 8 addresses for people to respond to. Protocols, systems, software, all are totally meaningless. The only criteria is volunteers who will read and respond to messages, and believe me, they are very hard to come by! I ask everyone who volunteers to meet one simple criteria - tell me if you are no longer able to answer your e-mails, either temporarily, or permanently, and I will assign your job to someone else. I do have a lot of great volunteers, and I am proud of our response time at the AGF. It has not been anywhere near as good at the AGA. The simple truth is that many volunteers burn out, and stop responding. We try to deal with this by having multiple addresses on a filter, in the hopes that one of the people on it will respond. The truth is that without a single individual taking personal responsibility for answering things, many messages go unanswered. If you care seriously about any of these issue, volunteer to be responsible for a given job, and then stick with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Communications
Post #24 Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:21 am 
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So what do you do to find those people? What do you do until then? What do you do when those people leave?

Sure, you can claim it's people. I agree that that is one solution that works. Please give us a process to install that solution. And how do you sustain it?

I totally agree that the best volunteers say "no" rather than silently don't follow through. Most people have periods of time where they can't contribute. And some jobs will not have volunteers available for some time. The goal is a system that covers those holes without burdening everyone with a new/different system.

Until we know how to get there, the suggestion is similar to "the best way to have a lot of money is to have a high income."

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 Post subject: Re: Communications
Post #25 Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:21 am 
Gosei
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shimari wrote:
Whoever pointed out the real issue is PEOPLE was totally correct!!! I read and respond to 4 or 5 different e-mail addresses for the AGA and AGF, and I delegate e-mails to another 7 or 8 addresses for people to respond to. Protocols, systems, software, all are totally meaningless. The only criteria is volunteers who will read and respond to messages, and believe me, they are very hard to come by! I ask everyone who volunteers to meet one simple criteria - tell me if you are no longer able to answer your e-mails, either temporarily, or permanently, and I will assign your job to someone else. I do have a lot of great volunteers, and I am proud of our response time at the AGF. It has not been anywhere near as good at the AGA. The simple truth is that many volunteers burn out, and stop responding. We try to deal with this by having multiple addresses on a filter, in the hopes that one of the people on it will respond. The truth is that without a single individual taking personal responsibility for answering things, many messages go unanswered. If you care seriously about any of these issue, volunteer to be responsible for a given job, and then stick with it.


Hm, do I know you IRL?

Sending mail to multiple addresses is a good first step, but then you fall prey to the bystander effect (everybody assumes someone else will take care of it). My ideal system would automatically assign incoming mail to an individual, so there's no question about who should be responding. But it would also be viewable in the system by anyone else volunteering in that capacity, and it would know to reassign to someone else if a response isn't sent within a day or whatever. If it's anything like the bug tracking software I use at my day job, a volunteer could assign a response to a more appropriate volunteer (if the message was sent to the wrong person, for example).

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 Post subject: Finding a solution
Post #26 Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:23 am 
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I think Yertle mentioned Drupal (which is based on PHP). I've also found Hesk help desk software which is also based on PHP and MySQL and is very reasonably priced: free if you don't mind "provided by" links and messages, $40 one-time fee for a single installation. They have hosting plans for $20 per month. Most help desk software seems to cost about that per month per agent.

There also are a variety of help desk modules for drupal itself. I think the needs will be modest just to sumbit and keep up with "tickets", so I'm hopeful we can find something that will work, be maintainable, and not require too much additional infrastructure or knowledge.

Just an update on my research...

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 Post subject: Re: Communications
Post #27 Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:55 am 
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One differentiating factor in many ticket systems appears to be "anonymous tickets". This is the ability for an email to a specific address to be turned into a ticket without the need to log on. In the AGA implementation for ease of use, I think this will be an important feature. I'll be looking for anonymous tickets as well as incoming email gateway. Here is a list of current systems I'll be weeding through. This is based largely on looking through the drupal site and seeing recommendations and links from there. Some of these are not specifically drupal based.

Drupal-based project management/ticket tracking
http://groups.drupal.org/node/17948

Support
Storm

Suggestions from discussion thread

CiviCRM - non-profit multipurpose tool - seems great.
Modules include:
Case management for clients and constituents. -- this is what we'd start with.
Online fundraising and donor management.
Online event registration and participant tracking.
Online signup and membership management.
Personalized email blasts and newsletters.
Report generation and template management.
Commons
Kanban
FengOffice (formerly OpenGoo)
Drupal STORM

Anonymous tickets:
Zendesk
Ubercart / Uberticket - http://drupal.org/project/uc_ticket
This module is integrated with Contact and Ubercart, but also offers Mail-to-Ticket incoming gateway.
Also, it is easy to configure (no dependencies).

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Go Tin - very portable go

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 Post subject: Re: Communications
Post #28 Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:28 pm 
Tengen

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What's the status of this?

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 Post subject: Re: Communications
Post #29 Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:44 am 
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Still reviewing options, post specific or general offers of help if you're interested.

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