Send ParentPaperwork Broadcasts to Students

Earlier in 2o17, we launched Student Slips, allowing schools to send ParentPaperwork’s online forms to Students – the perfect and logical complement to our original Parent Slips system.

Student Slips is ideal for senior schools and colleges for tasks like sports registrations, subject electives selection, school council elections, student surveys and prefect voting

With Student Slips, you have the choice of the form being completed by either the parent or the student. You can also ask that a ‘read only’ copy be sent to the other party – such as sending a form to parents with a cc to students, or sending a form to students with a cc to parents. Everybody gets kept in the information loop – no unnecessary surprises!

The feedback on Student Slips has been excellent, and we have now extended this functionality to the Broadcasts module.

Previously, you could only send a Broadcast to Parents of selected Student Lists or individually nominated Students. Now you can send a Broadcast direct to Students, with an option to CC to their Parents or vice versa – send to Parents with a CC to their associated Students.

 

student-broadcast

Setting up a Broadcast to Students works the same as sending out a Slip. You choose to send the Broadcast to ‘Parents’ or ‘Students’ and, if you wish, you can CC in the other party.

It is important to note that Broadcasts to Students are only available if you have the email addresses for Students in ParentPaperwork – Broadcasts via SMS to Students are not available. However, we can import Student emails via your scheduled nightly import.

Additionally, please note that Broadcasts to Students are only available if your school has purchased the Student Slips module – please contact our sales team if you need more information.

 

Send Slip and Broadcast notifications to school staff members

Communication within a school is very important, to ensure activities and resources are coordinated to the best possible effect. ParentPaperwork already significantly improves the availability and sharing of information throughout a school, starting with providing an aggregated view of all the online forms and broadcasts moving between school and parents and students, plus via our approval workflows and notifications.

We’ve now added a much-requested feature – sending notifications about Slips and Broadcasts to any nominated staff member, or groups of staff.

When you set up a new Slip or Broadcast you can nominate individual staff members or groups of staff to receive a notification that the message has been sent, along with a link to view the Slip or Broadcast.

In the ‘Send copy to Users/User Groups’ field start typing the name of a User or a User Group, and select the correct one from the drop down search results.

You can choose any number of Users and/or User Groups.

Select Users or User Groups

When the Slip or Broadcast is sent out, an email notification will now also be sent to all of the Users you have selected.

Email Notifications

The link in email will open to a read only preview of the Slip or Broadcast.

preview of the Slip or Broadcast

Making parent live’s easier – quicker access to incomplete Parent Slips

Many parents will be sent multiple Slips to be completed at various times, so it’s likely at any given time a particular parent might be responsible for completing and submitting more than one Slip.

Email and SMS notifications will be sent to the parent for each individual Slip and Student and the Parent can click through to each Slip from each notification – but that means the parent has to switch back and forth between their email program and web browser. The issue is exacerbated for those with twins in the same class, or when the Slip has been sent to multiple Student Lists which include more than one child with the same contacts.

To help make the parent’s task easier, ParentPaperwork now displays a list of outstanding Slips in two places. We believe this offers a much smoother process when someone has more than one Slip needing to be completed, they can simply click through to the next one both from the online form page and the Thank You emails.

Parent Slip Page

When the Parent submits an online form, if they have any other outstanding Slips these are displayed at the top of the page (up to 4 Slips).

Parents see a list of incomplete Slips after submitting an online form

Parent Slip Thank You Email

When someone submits a Slip online form a ‘thank you’ email is sent to them, this also includes a list of up to four other outstanding Slips.

Parents see a list of incomplete Slips in their thank you email after submitting an online form

New ‘Weekly Update’ to help ParentPaperwork Administrators monitor usage

This week we sent out our first ‘Weekly Update’ to all the main Administration Contacts for ParentPaperwork schools.

The Weekly Update is summary of activity for the past seven days on your ParentPaperwork account, including the the number of Slips sent, response rates, Broadcasts and SMS messages. It includes a measure of whether these statistics have increased or declined from the previous seven day period.

Also highlighted are the number of ‘spammed’ emails – emails that the recipients, or their email system, have flagged as spam. This is important because ParentPaperwork will cease delivering email to those addresses to avoid a degradation of our email delivery reputation.

You can check which email addresses are affected by logging into ParentPaperwork, clicking your user name at the top right, and selecting the Email Bounce Log option.

The Update also contains a list of the most recent ten Parent Slips you have sent and a count of all SMS texts including those sent via Broadcasts and those used to notify parents about new Slips.

The Weekly Update is a great way to monitor your ParentPaperwork activity, and we’ll continue to look at ideas to augment and improve the information it contains.

weekly-update-1

ParentPaperwork email notifications can now be customised with your colours

Email is a key function in ParentPaperwork, and the primary way we communicate with parents to advise them of new online forms they need to complete, indeed our email notifications are critical if your school does not have our SMS text notifications enabled.

We know it is important to many schools that communications to parents reflect the branding and corporate style of the school. You can upload your logo which is shown on all web pages and emails seen by the parents.

You can now also set the colours in the email notifications sent to parents for:

  • Advising of a new Parent Slip
  • Thanking them for submitting a Parent Slip
  • Reminding them they have an outstanding Parent Slip

Click on your user name at the top right, click Settings from the menu, the from the Settings page select Customise Email Templates.

By default, if you do not select any colours, the top and bottom banners in the email will be in the ParentPaperwork corporate purple shades.

Select email colours

You can set the colours for the banners. Click on the corresponding field and select a colour from the picker. Or, if you know the hex code for the desired colour, simply enter this in the field.

As you change the colours the live preview will update to illustrate how your emails will look.

If you decide you don’t want the custom colours click the Reset button to return to the standard purple shades.

You can choose colours for your ParentPaperwork email notifications

Send newsletters and alerts to parents with ParentPaperwork

A great many schools have asked us if they can use ParentPaperwork to send newsletters and other information to parents, via email and SMS.

We are pleased to announce availability of the new Parent Broadcast feature, included as part of everyone’s ParentPaperwork annual subscription.

The Broadcast feature lets you send emails and/or SMS text messages to parents without needing a response back. You create the Broadcast in a similar fashion as sending an online form to parents, but there is no need for them to respond. Broadcast is great for distributing your school’s newsletter, or sending alerts or updates to groups of parents.

Many schools now distribute their newsletters via email, or perhaps a mobile app. Both methods have their drawbacks.

If you are using email, then you are probably copying and pasting dozens of addresses into your email program. Or maybe you are using MailChimp, or Constant Contact, or one of the other email newsletter systems – which means importing your parent list each time. And if you want to send an SMS you’ll have to use yet another system.

But what about the mobile apps some schools use? The big problem is you will never have every parent download, install and set up the app. Some parents won’t own smart phones. Others simply won’t want the bother of another app on their phone. So you will never be able to be confident your messages are reaching everyone.

The Broadcast system in ParentPaperwork is different. You can  send a message to the parents on one or more Student Lists, via either email or SMS or both. No fuss, quick and easy. You can immediately communicate with EVERY PARENT in the school, providing you have at least either an email address or mobile phone number on file.

If you wish to make use of SMS notifications you need to ask us to turn this feature on for you. Please email support@parentpaperwork.com and we’ll flick the switch.

You can check whether SMS notifications are enabled by clicking on your User Name at the top right (after logging into ParentPaperwork). Then click Settings, and Configuration.

 

New Feature: SMS Text Message Notifications for Parents Online Forms

We are pleased to announce the availability of SMS text notifications to parents for our online forms platform, following requests from a number of schools.

Up until now ParentPaperwork has sent emails to Parents letting them know there is a new online form waiting for them to complete and submit. Email continues to be a great way to communicate with parents, and the analysis of our data we’ve done shows this – 55% of parents respond to their online forms within 24 hours. The speed parents are responding is clear indication that they are receiving email notifications and taking action quickly.

This fantastically prompt response rate is understandable given the rise of smartphone usage over the past few years, everyone you pass on the street seems to be head down and glued to their phone reading their emails, Facebook and other communication channels.

However, we acknowledge that not every parent is fixated on their email, perhaps they do not have a smart phone, or they don’t work in a role where they are constantly in front of a computer. Instead maybe email messages are something they check every day or two.

This is why a key request from schools has been the option to also notify parents via SMS text message. SMS is a very immediate way to communicate with someone, irrespective of whether the recipient has a smart phone or perhaps an older generation model.

Enabling SMS Notifications for your School

If you wish to make use of SMS notifications you need to ask us to turn this feature on for you. Please email support@parentpaperwork.com and we’ll flick the switch.

You can check whether SMS notifications are enabled by clicking on your User Name at the top right (after logging into ParentPaperwork). Then click Settings, and Configuration.

Importing Parent Contacts

When importing Parent Contacts you now have the option to enable email and/or SMS notifications. Remember that if you wish to use SMS notifications the Parent Contacts will need a mobile phone number. Selecting an option will ‘turn on’ the notifications for all the Parents you are importing – email or SMS.

import-data-sms

Managing Parent Contacts

You will find Email and SMS options now within the Parent Contact records. You must have one or both of the options selected. By default Email will be selected, if SMS is not selected.

edit-contact

SMS Messages sent to Parents

If Parents have SMS notifications enabled, they will receive a text message notifying them of a new online form, in the same way they receive email notifications. The message includes the name of the Student, name of the School and a link to the form. This link will take them to the same online form page as if they had clicked the link in an email notification.

sms-phone

Parents updating communication preferences

When parents complete their online forms they now have the ability to update their communication preferences. They can select either Email or SMS or both. Depending on which options they select, the corresponding email and mobile phone fields will need values entered. For example, if they check the ‘Send SMS Notifications’ box, they will not be able to submit the form without entering a mobile phone number.

sms-parent-response

 

SMS Notification costs to Schools

We’ve carefully thought through the costs of providing the SMS notification service to schools, and spoken to a number of our existing customers to gauge the pricing model that will be most acceptable. We are offering two price schemes:

  • SMS costs invoiced monthly: .10c per SMS, incl GST
  • SMS costs pre-paid: .08c per SMS, incl GST

The choice becomes whether to simply pay-as-you-go, we will bill you at the beginning of each month .10c for each text you send in the preceeding month.

Or you can come up with an estimation of texts you will send over a period – say a term, a quarter or a year, and we’ll bill you .08c each.

We believe our pricing is competitive, the higher cost for the monthly bills reflects the internal costs we incur to report, generate and send invoices, record payments, chase payments and so forth.

These prices are in Australian dollars, please ask for pricing for other countries.

If you would like more information, or enable SMS notifications for your school, please email support@parentpaperwork.com.

 

ParentPaperwork gets more personal, plus tracking of problems with emails and non-delivery

Hello-my-name-is1

Sometimes the small things matter the most, and most people would agree they would always prefer to be addressed by name. We realised recently that the emails ParentPaperwork sends to parents were not actually personally addressed, so now they are!

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 1.06.02 PM

It can be frustrating not being completely sure a parent has received an email. ParentPaperwork already can tell you if a parent has opened an email, now there is also notification for:

  • No email address at all
  • A delivery error was recorded

When you view the list of parent responses for a Slip, there are two new icons.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.50.15 PM

The red triangle is a warning that the Parent contact does not have an email address, we’re also displaying this icon in other places where a parent is listed, so it’s clear you might have a problem.

The red envelope icon shows that there was an error recorded when we tried to deliver an email to the parent. You can click the icon to pop up a window containing the actual error message.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.54.08 PM

 

Updated email templates in ParentPaperwork

Months ago when we first conceived of ParentPaperwork and built the initial version of the system we created a set of email templates that somewhat put the emphasis on ‘Permission Slips’. That’s because this was the first real demand we had from the first group of schools we consulted with.

Of course over the last few months schools have found many more uses for ParentPaperwork, and the term ‘permission slip’ is now not very accurate.

We’ve now updated three key emails, both to clean them up visually and to replace the phrase ‘permission slip’ with the more appropriate ‘online form’. We have also strengthened the text at the bottom to make it clear to parents that the email is coming from the school.

New Slip Email

new-slip-email

Thanks for Response Email

thanks-for-response-email

Over Due Slip Email

slip-reminder-email

New Feature: Send reminders for Slips to Parents; Clone and Delete options moved

Today we have released a great new feature for ParentPaperwork, the ability to trigger additional reminders to parents for Slips they have not yet responded to. Up until now there has only been one automated reminder sent to parents, based on the Due Date for the Slip. If a parent does not respond by the Due Date they are sent an email reminder.

Whilst we are seeing fantastic response rates from parents (in general our analysis shows greater than 50% of parents respond within 24 hours, and many even sooner than that) we all know that some people can require a little ‘hurry up’.

The new feature allows you to schedule a reminder to be sent the next morning for any of your Slips.

After you log in to ParentPaperwork, click through to view your Slip. You will find a new Action drop down menu at the top. There are three options:

  1. Send Reminder
  2. Clone Slip
  3. Delete Slip

send-reminder

The Clone and Delete functions used to be buttons at the bottom of the page, but we decided to move them to this new menu for a couple of reasons: firstly they are not used regularly; secondly the row of buttons at the bottom was quite busy, so we left the buttons we see you using regularly, like Preview, and moved these two.

Clicking the Send Reminder button opens a popup window:

send-reminder-2

If you click the blue Send Reminder button, we will add a new reminder to be emailed to Parents the next morning (the reminders are sent around 7am).

You can only schedule a new reminder for each Slip each day – eg you cannot send more than one reminder for a Slip in a day.