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April 20, 2012

Version 3 Released

Version 3 has been officially released. Here is an overview of what is new in this version. Of course, if you want to play with it yourself you can go here: https://demo.yoursponsorship.com and log in with username: admin and password: demo.

Rock Solid

In this version we focused on 3 core areas: rock solid code, usability, and building for the future. For rock solid code we went through nearly every line of code in the application and completely re-wrote entire sections of the software. Additionally we have transitioned over to a new secure server so all data is encrypted. Most of the new features introduced in this release are intended to improve the user experience. These have come out of feedback from our clients as well as our own experience in using the software. Finally, we really wanted to be forward thinking with this release. We have nearly 40 features we plan to implement over the next year so we wanted to build a platform to make developing and releasing new features quick and easy. Now, on to what’s new:

Website Integration

We now use the same technology that Facebook uses for apps to integrate with client website. Simply copy and paste a piece of code on to a page of your existing website and your child sponsorship application appears to be native to your website.

Forgot Password

We added a “Forgot Password” link to the login screen. If an admin forgets their password they simply have to click the forgot password link and enter their email address. A new password will be emailed to them.

Required Fields

Honestly, required fields didn’t work very well in the previous releases. Now they are much more forceful and there is a required tag to indicate that a field must be filled out to create a new profile for a sponsor or child.

Manage Children/Sponsors

One of the biggest changes in on the Manage Children and Manage Sponsors pages. Now the column headings can be clicked to reorder the view. Also, the search has been rebuilt and now searches all fields in the child profiles. On the Manage Children page the sponsor names are listed and the names are linked to the sponsor profile. The opposite is true for Manage Sponsors where the sponsor child name is linked to their profile. You also now have the ability to adjust the number of children on the page.

Child Profiles

On the child profile page the sponsor name is now linked to the sponsor profile (you’ll notice we have tried to link everything together to make navigation a million times easier). The child’s profile picture also displays on the profile page. Below the picture are links to add more pictures or files.

Update Review

After you update a child profile you are brought to a review page. If the child is sponsored you can can choose to send an update email to the sponsor to let them know their child’s information has been updated. In the past these emails were automatically sent. Now you have the choice to send the email or not.

Profile Pictures

We have upgraded the technology we use for adding profile pictures. We have also made a change that may take some of our existing clients a little while to get used to. In the past you could upload large picture files and the software resized them. This was convenient but the result was that sometime the pictures were compressed too much and we received complaints that they didn’t look good. So we have taken out the automatic compression. This also relieves the server from working so hard. Now you can upload higher quality images; however, them must be 2mb or less. We recommend using a lower setting on your digital camera if you are using one that takes really high resolution images. You can also use many free tools to resize your images so they are below 2mb. If you need help with this we are happy to give you some pointers.

Sender Email Address

You can now use any email address you want as your Sender Address.

Standard Reports

We have added a brand new section called “Standard Reports.” Here we have 5 pre-built reports that can be viewed on screen or downloaded as a CSV and opened with any spreadsheet software. This replaces the “Download to CSV” that was previously on the Manage Children and Manage Sponsor pages.

Integration Code

At the bottom of the General Setup page is the integration code for placing the front-end of the child sponsorship application on your existing website. Simply copy and paste the code to a page on your website to integrate. We have also included instructions for adjusting the integration so it looks best on your site.

Dynamic Fields

Dynamic fields have been completely rebuilt. It is now much easier to use and we have added a number of “safety checks” to make sure the fields are entered correctly.

User Forums

We have also launched our user forums. This will be a great help in communicating with us and with other users of the software. Our hope is that through connecting with each other we can help each other run better sponsorship programs. Join the forums here: http://forum.helpyousponsor.com/