Because the BlueBroward.org Calendar is most frequently used by Democratic Clubs who hold meetings on a regular schedule, I’ve always tried to make it as easy as possible for club officers to post events months in advance and update them as needed. The latest update to the events editor takes into account several things I’ve learned over the years about how to manage this process better. The general approach is the same, but the editing screens look a little different.
Note: you always have the freedom to add additional, stand-alone events, unrelated to a club template. Candidates can post their fundraisers and other events, for example. Or you may want to alert people to attend a candidate’s debate hosted by the city or county that is not your event per se. The Club Events Template function is specifically for club events that should be tracked together.
The Club Event Templates are also tied into my system for sending email reminders to club representatives reminding them to update their events on the website. If you post club events without associating them with a template, they will not be tracked properly.
The Club Event Templates screen (a sub-menu under Calendar, also linked to from the main Dashboard) shows all the clubs that have templates or profiles in the system. If you have editing rights to one of these templates, the name of the club will show as a link. If you don’t have editing rights and need to, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or ask whoever has handled it in the past to add you to the list of editors (see below).
If you are establishing a new club, or yours is not listed, you can also click on New Template at the top of the screen. To prevent duplication, please be sure that the club is not already listed before you create a new template for it.
Editing Club Event Templates
The editing screen for templates allows you to set an event schedule, such as First Thursday at 7:30 pm as opposed to a specific date. This should be the schedule you follow most of the time. If your group’s schedule is more variable, you can also leave it at Schedule Varies and still take advantage of some of the other features of the template function, such as the ability to share editing rights among several club officers.
Important: The template is meant to contain the details you want included with every event, or almost every event. I recommend always including the name and email/phone number of a contact people can call with questions. If you have a standard meeting location, also include that.
People sometimes get confused and include the name of a specific speaker in the template, resulting in the same speaker being listed for months in advance. The idea behind the template is to establish a placeholder event on your planned schedule, with boilerplate details, then update it with specifics as the time of the event grows closer.
You can specify additional editors with rights to modify the template and any events derived from the template. There are two ways to do this. If the person is already registered with BlueBroward, look for them on the drop-down list under Additional Editors. Alternatively, you can put in the person’s email address, and they’ll be sent a password to join if they are not already a member.
If you are one of the editors for the club, you will be able to access the Projected Dates screen that shows a projected series of dates for the schedule set in your template and also any previously posted dates that you might want to update. Club event editors will also see this information displayed on the main Dashboard that is displayed when you log in.
To add a single event, set the date (or accept the default) under Add One and click Add From Template.
Or, to add multiple dates at once, check them off under Projected Dates and click Add From Template. If the projected date is incorrect, or your schedule will vary in a particular month (for example, because of a holiday), you can always change it. If you post an event and your schedule later changes, you can always edit the event or delete it (go to the editing screen for that event and click Move to Trash).
Another thing that sometimes comes up is you may post a series of events and then find that your standard club meeting location or club contacts need to change. Changing these details in the template does not automatically alter the events you have posted previously. I wouldn’t want to automatically overwrite listings that you have already spent time customizing, so the software will only do that if you tell it to. You do that from the Projected Dates screen (or the Dashboard).
To update listings from the template, check the checkboxes next to the previously posted events and click Update Checked. This will overwrite the title and body of those event listings with the content of your updated template.
If your club is not meeting in a particular month, there is also an option to record that fact in the system so nobody shows up on a date when you are not meeting. The entry will be labeled “No Meeting: Your Club Name Here” and show up on the calendar on your regular meeting date. Optionally, you can add a note like “We will not be meeting because of the holiday.”
Web Developer’s Note
As a side effect of my work on BlueBroward.org, I’ve published a WordPress plugin for event scheduling, RSVPMaker, that’s now used on thousands of websites around the world. Part of what’s going on with this latest batch of updates to BlueBroward is that I’m making the Event Template functions developed for BlueBroward part of the standard plugin and reconciling the way I do things on BlueBroward with those updates, and improvements I’ve made along the way.