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New Feature: The Custom Holiday Calendar

September 28, 2022
Introducing the Custom Holiday Calendar

Never miss a request deadline again!

NextRequest is excited to announce a new feature – the Custom Holiday Calendar! The Custom Holiday Calendar allows administrators to set custom holidays in their Portal Settings to ensure records requests are always fulfilled on time.

NextRequest’s built-in holiday calendar follows federal government holidays and factors those holidays into request due date calculations. But not all state and local agencies and school districts follow these exact holidays. Some may not take Presidents’ Day off but may close the day after Thanksgiving. Correct due dates help ensure compliance with records laws, so it’s important that the calendar be accurate. While users could always manually change all the due dates themselves, this feature eliminates that extra step.

Customers looking to update their calendars can follow the steps outlined in this guide.

Customers know best

Customers asked for more flexibility to suit their local holidays and observances, and we listened. Some states observe founders’ day celebrations, and school districts may take longer periods of leave around holidays. Setting a custom holiday calendar ensures that due dates are automatically correct, so they can always rely on the date set by the system and eliminate any manual correction. 

“Benton County closes for the day after Thanksgiving every year. Is there a way to incorporate that into the holiday schedule in NextRequest? Or do we just add a day to the Due Date for requests with a Nov 26th (day after Thanksgiving this year) due date?”
–NextRequest customer, Benton County Sheriff's office

NextRequest’s customer base has grown over the years, now serving more than 350 state and local governments and schools. Their needs for records request management are similar but not identical. For example, the specifics of the records laws governing their request processes are different depending on their location. As we grow as an organization, we’re thrilled to be able to provide increased customization and functionality to better meet the needs of our customers.

Records laws affect due dates

Records laws vary by state; all 50 states and the District of Columbia have records laws, but the specific requirements laid out in them are different. The federal government is subject to its own records law, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Some laws set fees for requests, some set limits on how records can be used, etc.

One of the requirements that varies most widely between US records laws is the number of business days government entities have to respond to records requests. California’s law gives 10 days to respond, while Iowa’s gives more wiggle room at 10 to 20 days. Other states, like Alabama, do not give a deadline for response. But even where the law does not specify a response time, public agencies and school districts likely have internal goals and deadlines. Because of this variability, NextRequest customers need the ability to customize the portal to fit their needs.

Calendar with correct request due dates

Not only does the custom holiday calendar feature make it easier for customers to ensure compliance with response deadlines, it also sets clearer expectations with requesters. Informing requesters of possible delays because of office closures reduces the chance of unnecessary friction. It creates a better civic experience for the requester.

You can choose if and how you’d like holiday closures to be communicated to requesters. There are three ways to do it. The methods aren’t mandatory or mutually exclusive, so you could choose to do none or all according to your preferences.

  1. You can add the dates to the sidebar of your Make Request page.
  2. You can add a template and set it as the initial contact response during the time you are closed.
  3. New: You can choose to notify requesters automatically in the new Customize Holiday Calendar menu.
NextRequest's Holiday Calendar menu

By checking the box to notify requesters automatically in the Customize Holiday Calendar menu, closure dates will be included in the acknowledgement email sent to requesters who are affected by the closures.

How-tos for each of these methods can be found in NextRequest’s Help Center. 

Focused on customers

NextRequest was designed to solve problems for public agencies and school districts, which helps them provide better experiences for their community members. And we want to keep improving and streamlining processes. The best way to do that is to listen to the feedback that customers give us – what’s great, what could be better, and what new features they’d like to see.

We’re lucky to have an engaged customer base, and they’re continually helping us raise the bar for records management software. Check out our reviews on G2 and Capterra to learn more about what customers love about NextRequest. Or contact the sales team here to schedule a demo.