New Feature: Customizable Submission Receipt

Submission received!As soon as our system receives a submission, it immediately emails a receipt to the person who submitted the proposal and, if different, the person who created the proposal. Previously, the contents of that email weren’t editable.

Now, with our new Custom Receipt Module, you can customize the receipt by editing the Subject line and adding text to the body of the message. The message will continue to contain boilerplate text that can’t be edited, like the call name, proposal title, and link to the ProposalSpace Dashboard, but you can add as much text as you like to supplement it.

The new module also allows you to edit both the formatted (HTML) and plain-text versions of the receipt. (Most email clients display HTML-formatted email, but we also include a plain-text version for those that don’t.)

And to help with branding, we’ve added the call logo to the design of the formatted version!

You can find the new module under Settings -> Submission -> Submission Receipt. If you have any questions or feedback, be sure to let us know!

Layout Improvements for Reviewers

We’re improving the layout of the review page to make it easier than ever to review proposals in ProposalSpace!

Starting Wednesday, July 11, reviewers will no longer see each proposal’s contents displayed in tandem with the review form. Instead, the two will be side-by-side. In case you’re wondering what that looks like, here’s a comparison of the old and new layouts. (Click on a layout for a larger view.)

Old Layout: New Layout:
Old Review Form New Review Form

And here’s a larger view of the new layout with details about specific improvements:

New Review Form1234567

  1. The panels are independently scrollable, so you can navigate to specific areas of the proposal or the review form without one affecting the other.
  2. The panels are resizable. Just slide the divider between them to the left or right.
  3. We’ve removed the “No answer” option for scoring questions. Now, clicking a score once selects it and clicking it again de-selects it.
  4. If the review form has more than one scoring question, each question’s score is displayed to the right and the total score is displayed at the end of the scoring section. (Not shown in this screenshot.)
  5. The Save Review button becomes active only after you’ve made a change to the review form. (If you try to leave the page without saving your review, the system will prompt you to save your work.)
  6. Navigation buttons at the bottom of the page allow you to move to the previous or next proposal in your list of assignments, or to return to your list of assignments.
  7. An indicator across the top of the control bar helps you keep track of your overall progress.

We hope the new layout and functionality will make it even easier for reviewers to complete their work. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please don’t hesitate to contact us or leave a comment below!

Proposal-Form Improvements

We are really excited to announce a major redesign of the proposal form!

  • All proposal components (instructions, contents, persons, and terms) are now on a single page, with a navigation bar for jumping between sections.
  • Answers are now saved individually. (No more scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking the Save Changes button.) For text fields, changes are saved as soon as the user exits the field or clicks the field’s save button. For all other field types (radio buttons, checkboxes, etc.), changes are saved immediately.
  • The proposal header is now “sticky” and displays the last date and time changes were made to the proposal. It also displays how complete the proposal is.
  • Incomplete / missing answers can now be easily identified with a handy new tool that highlights exactly which answers need attention.
  • Authors can now rearrange persons in the proposal (e.g. speakers, authors) and save them in the desired order.

We know change can be disorienting, so to make the transition to the new features as painless as possible, we’ve created a tour that walks users through the new design. A link to the tour will be at the top of every proposal for the next three months. There is also a permanent link to the tour in the Menu drop-down in the top, right-hand corner of the page.

Customer Connect: Ginger Phillips

Ginger PhillipsThis time of year we are especially thankful for our users. In an effort to get to know them better, we recently caught up with one of our most loyal call admins, Dr. Ginger Phillips (right). Ginger is President of association-management company Arden Solutions in Belleair Bluffs, Florida.

PS: Tell us a little about yourself and how you first discovered ProposalSpace.

GP: The short answer is I help professional associations get organized. One of the many services I offer is helping an association manage its annual conference, including selecting session speakers. After searching for a quality, secure, and affordable abstract management system, I found ProposalSpace when I used it to submit my own proposal to an association to which I belonged, and have been using the site ever since with my clients. As a matter of fact, I like it so much I spent some time in the ProposalSpace booth at an ASAE conference a few years ago telling people what a great product it is. I’m a big fan.

PS: How long have you been using ProposalSpace?

GP: I’ve used ProposalSpace for over six years. In that time I’ve managed about 25 calls for six different associations. I keep coming back because Dan keeps making the site better, which in turn makes my job easier. I love being able to pull forward calls from previous years, easily make changes, and quickly publish without getting a headache.

PS: Is there any specific feature you like?

GP: There are so many! I like the copy feature because, while every conference is slightly different from year to year, a majority of the details remain the same. It’s convenient to just click a button and have all of the settings copied over so I don’t have to enter them again. I also like how easy it is to use the Advanced Scheduling Module. I just drag and drop sessions and it automatically checks for conflicts to keep me from scheduling someone in two places at the same time. The Publishing Module is great because it allows the entire program to be displayed on a client’s website without having to download and upload files every time there’s a change. It also lets speakers upload session materials, which are then immediately available for download. No more collecting and distributing handouts! More generally, I like that I can manage multiple calls from one place and have complete control over everything. If I need to make a change, I just pull up the call and it’s done. There’s no need to go back and forth with someone and then wait for the change to work its way through their system.

PS: You mentioned that you work with several associations. Tell us a little more about your business.

GP: Arden Solutions provides a number of organizations with integrated expertise in association management, professional development, and the business of meetings. Some of our clients include the Academy of Financial Services, the American Council on Consumer Interests, and the University of South Florida Office of Research. Our team has formal education combined with over 60 years of experience in association management, continuing professional education and professional meeting planning. We help with the numerous needs an association might have, from hiring paid staff for the first time to selecting proven vendors, like ProposalSpace.

PS: Anything else you’d like to share?

GP: ProposalSpace is a great find for anyone who manages a call for abstracts or proposals. In my opinion, it’s the best option out there. Trust me, I’ve looked!


Special thanks to Dr. Ginger Phillips for taking time out of her busy schedule to chat with us. For more about Ginger and Arden Solutions, check out the Arden Solutions website at www.ardensolutions.com.

New Feature: Review-Chair Submission Approvals

We’ve got another exciting new feature for call admins! Now, you can allow review chairs to approve submissions for review.

ScreenshotPreviously, only call admins could approve submissions. Now, if you would like to delegate that responsibility, just pull up the settings for the review chair (in the appropriate review group) and check the "Allow?" box for the "Approve submissions" setting. (See the screenshot to the right.)

One important thing to keep in mind: Submission fees are paid when proposals are approved for review, so anyone who has permission to approve submissions will be able to charge the submission fees (but nothing else) to the credit card on file.

New Feature: Returned Submissions for Review Chairs

We’ve added a new feature to the Tracker: Now, review chairs can see submissions that have been returned for edits.

Previously, only call admins could see returned submissions. We heard from a call admin, however, that she didn’t want to promote her review chairs to admins just so they could track returned submissions. We thought it was a great idea, so we built it in!

Once again, this shows that the best ideas come from our users. If you’ve got an improvement you would like to see, feel free to pass it along. We’d love to hear it!

New Feature: Copy Options for Calls

We’ve got another new feature to announce! Call admins can now fine-tune the settings that are included when copying a call.

Copy-Options ScreenshotPreviously, all of a call’s settings were copied except the administrators and review groups, which had to be added back to the copy. Now, you can tell the system to include those settings in the copy (see the screenshot to the right) or to make a copy without those settings (in case you want a different set of administrators, for example).

Also, if your call has a custom review form, there’s now an option to include the custom form with the copy or to use the default form.

Check it all out and let us know what you think!

New Feature: Add Yourself

We’ve been adding a lot of new features to the site recently, but haven’t been updating the blog to let everyone know about them. (Sorry!)

add yourself optionOne feature we’ve just added, though, is definitely worth mentioning: An “add yourself” option when adding users to a proposal.

Previously, if you wanted to add yourself to a proposal, you first had to search for your account in ProposalSpace, like you would when adding anyone else. It wasn’t much of an inconvenience (just one step), but why not streamline it? Now, when you want to add someone to a proposal, you’re given an option to add yourself or add someone else. If you want to add someone else, the process stays the same. If, however, you want to add yourself, just click that option and you’re done!

New Feature: Reviewer Messages

new reviewer messages optionCall admins can now email reviewers using the Messaging Module!

Just go into the Messaging Module and click the New Message button, like you always have. At the top of the form, you’ll see a new field labeled “For” (right). To send messages to reviewers, just select “Reviewers” from the drop-down box, then select which review group(s) and roles (review chairs and/or reviewers) to send the message to.

As with all messages sent using the Messaging Module, the system archives the message and provides delivery receipts.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Facebook Algorithm Change Can Benefit Associations

This week, Facebook changed their algorithm for users’ News Feeds, making it more difficult for “fake news” and click-bait links to gain traction on the social-media platform. According to an article on TechCrunch, Facebook will now detect and downrank links and headlines that include any of the following:

  • Exaggerative & sensational headlines
  • Headlines that withhold information
  • Misleading content

One key element of the change is that Facebook will no longer rely on the source of the offending content, instead evaluating each post individually. The update will be available to identify “fake news” in the top 10 languages that Facebook accounts use.

So what does this mean for your association? When writing headlines, especially for content that might be shared on Facebook, make sure they are clear and honest. By doing so you may drastically increase your page’s organic reach.

This change may also be a great advantage for associations advertising on Facebook to boost their own posts, links, or page. One of the primary reasons why the social media giant is making this change is to re-establish consumer trust in their News Feeds, which is prime real estate for paid ads. By withholding click bait or fake content from users, Facebook will build trust with its base and advertisers can count on more ad clicks and legitimate referral traffic.