Vacation Holds and Scheduled Actions

As a CSA farmer, you know that sometimes members will go on vacation in the summer and will want to alert you that they will not want their regular delivery. How farmers deal with such a request varies from farmer to farmer based upon business practices: You might give people a chance to get a double box on a later week or they could donate their box to a food kitchen or maybe you give them a credit in an e-commerce department. We hope the tool is flexible enough to save you time while allowing you to run things the way you want. We've also built in the ability for members to be shifted temporarily to a different pickup location. In the future, if there are other changes to a membership that are temporary and schedule-based, we will add them here.

One important thing to keep in mind: If you are planning on running your CSA with Vacation Holds and other Scheduled Actions, you will have to get in the habit of printing new Pickup Lists every week. If you try to print weeks in advance, you will still see a member in the list even if he or she is going to be "on vacation" in the future. The pickup lists will display upcoming scheduled actions but it won't hide a person until it is actually the time they are on vacation.

You can find all the tools at Member Assembler > Holds & Changes. Probably the first thing to do is to have a look at the Holds Settings link. This is where you will set your configuration. The settings are explained in detail right on the page but here are some key things to keep in mind:

  1. Your admin always has the Vacation Holds option available for you to use but it is up to you if you even want to deal with it. If you keep the setting such that members can not submit their own hold requests, you can safely ignore this whole area and keep doing things as you always have.

  2. Everything works off a concept of "weeks." When you or a member chooses a range of dates for vacation or a pickup change, they select a start week and an end week, rather than specific days. Also, the limit on vacation holds is for a number of weeks, not a number of days.

  3. All of your scheduled actions in a week take place on a specific day, which you can choose in the Settings. We recommend you choose a day a couple days before you print your weekly pickup lists.

  4. Seasons. Like Membership Updates, Status Emails, and Pickup Reminders, Vacation Holds can only work off of one season at a time. You can choose which one in the Settings and you'll have to change it when you start delivering each new season.

  5. What do "Double Boxes" and "Donated Share" mean? They can mean whatever you want to mean. If you offer these options, just use the description box to tell your members what happens if they use a vacation hold. The reason we keep track of shares being "donated" is strictly for your own records so you could say how many shares you donated to your local food kitchen, etc.

  6. Membership or e-commerce credits. If you want to somehow reimburse your members for weeks they forgo, there is not an automated way to do that. But you can go to their invoice and add a credit or, if you have an e-commerce store where people can order with credit, you can add credit at Sell > Balance.

How Does It Work?

How does the whole process work? Well, you will add vacation holds/pickup changes/double boxes with the Create Hold/Change link or members will have done so through your website. Anything upcoming will be viewable both in your View Members area under the Holds and Pickups tabs and in the View/Edit Holds link. If members are submitting their own holds and you want to approve or unapprove them, you can do it right from that screen. Additionally, if you edit an existing hold, it will become approved when you save it.

Every day (around 4 in the morning), we'll run an automated process that will check all the scheduled actions for all farms on the action day you've selected. At this point members due to go on hold will have their status changed so and members switching back and forth between pickup locations will have that changed. From that point until the point where the members go back to their old pickup, on-hold memberships will disappear from your pickup lists and switched members will appear at their temporary location. (Note that pickup location will change to the new location your member's dashboard, but will automatically change back to the original after the temporary change period is over.) If a member is due to have a double box that week or to donate a share, that is noted on each of the pickup lists at the bottom, as well as upcoming changes. On-hold members still receive a pickup reminder as many farmers also use that as their weekly communication about a variety of topics, however it will indicate to them that they are currently on-hold.

You can see how many people are on hold, getting double boxes, donated shares, etc each week in the Holds Stats link. It shows both past weeks of your season and upcoming weeks to help you plan.

A Note About Action Days and Pickup Lists It is important to note that if you are using the Vacation Holds and/or Pickup Change features, these features limit your ability to run pickup lists before the week of the pickups. Holds, double boxes and pickup changes for a specific week will not become active on the pickup lists until after the Action Day for the week has occurred. So, for example, if you choose Monday as your Action Day, you will not be able to run pickup lists for that week until Monday morning. If you try to run pickup lists on Sunday for that week, the holds, double boxes and changes for that week will not have been processed yet and will not appear on the list.

Also note that if you change your Action Day mid-season, any holds or changes already entered into the system will remain on the previous Action Day. Thus it is possible to have updates happening to your pickup lists on multiple days of a week. We recommend against changing the Action Day during the season for this reason.

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