A Primer on editing the AOLCP profile on the
Online Searchable Database of NOFA AOLCPs
Instructions for Business-Level NOFA AOLCPs
AOLCPs should view the database as something a little like an online networking site, it is a place where you can enter data about your professional self and the business you are associated with that you want the public to see. This database is separate from the NOFA OLC program’s internal database, and the OLC program does not use it to store contact information about AOLCPs. NOFA might use it to retrieve information to be published in the printed OLC Guide.
Bear in mind that since the NOFA OLC program accredits individuals, and not businesses, we have organized this database to be geared towards the individual AOLCP. All the entries apply to the individual, and only in the Business info section is contact information about the business with which the AOLCP is associated, either as owner, employee or volunteer.
Note that the zip code search featured here isn’t standard. In this program, when the public enters a zip code, the results are “All AOLCPs who serve that zip code”, not all AOLCPs whose address is in or near that zip code.
Click on AOLCP Search
Login: Enter your contact e-mail address and password
Enter the data you want to share with the public
Optional but recommended actions:
- Change your password
- To get some photos onto the site, open a Flickr account, tag your pictures with AOLCP. Give the pictures titles to make them more interesting for the viewer.
Here is a detailed description of the two functional areas, the public area and the members-only area.
The public area allows the public to search for AOLCPs by entering Service categories, keyword, or zip code of service location. It is important to note that when the public enters a zip code, the search functions returns all AOLCPs who serve that zip code, not all AOLCPs whose address is in or near that zip code. The results can be sorted by town, last name or business. For more information on a particular AOLCP, click on their name. This brings up a printable window. This type of window is called a “lightbox” and to close it just click on the X or anywhere outside it. Holding the mouse over a picture reveals the picture caption, and clicking on a picture takes you to the AOLCPs Flickr page. The keyword search searches all public data. The public area also allows a user to search business by name, address or AOLCP who works there.
The members-only area is for AOLCPs and offers an interface for entering, controlling, previewing and updating your contact information, services offered, biography, area served, and business information. The site is integrated with Flickr, so that members with a Yahoo! Flickr account (which is free) can display thumbnails and links to their Flickr gallery in the search results. You can edit or update your information at anytime. You can also select which information you want displayed, and which you want hidden, so you don’t have to delete entries to hide them.
Click on AOLCP Search
Login: Enter your contact e-mail address and password
When you login, you are taken to “My AOLCP Profile” page. You will already have a name, e-mail address and the password, but nothing else. You can change your e-mail address, but bear in mind that this new e-mail address will now become your login e-mail.
Contact Info vs. Business Info: Since the NOFA OLC program accredits individuals, and not businesses, we have organized this database to be geared towards the individual AOLCP. All the entries apply to the individual, and the Business info is the business with which the AOLCP is associated, either as owner or employee. Therefore, we have provided places to enter Contact info as well as Business info. Your Contact info can be the same as your Business info (except your e-mail address, see below), or they can be different. When someone searches for a professional, what is returned is your Contact info and the business name you are associated with (if any). For a user to view the Business information itself, they need to use the “search businesses” feature.
Preview, Cancel, Submit: These buttons are at the bottom of the page. You can preview or submit the data you have inputted at anytime, even if you are not done. Preview lets you see what it will look like when the user clicks on your name. Submit sends your current edits into the database. Cancel takes you out of the update profile page and brings you back to the public user interface. Submitting is like saving your file and we recommend you do it early and often. You can always change any entry later. When creating your Service Description and Bio, you might even want to type it into your word processing program first, so you can get the text just right before cutting and pasting it into the input form.
- Change password using the button in the upper right. We recommend you change your password to something else.
- Public/Private: This enables you to hide from public view (Private) or show to public view (Public) all your information at once. You can use this if you want to temporarily suspend public access to your information without deleting all your entries, for instance if you have temporarily stopped taking in any more clients.
- *Starred Fields: These fields are required.
- Name: You can change the way your name is entered here if you don’t like the one we used to set up the account, for example you might want your nickname here.
- Title, Address, Town, State, Zip: Use the ones you want the public to contact you through. If you decide you don’t want them to see a particular piece of information, you can uncheck the box next to it and it will be hidden from public view and unsearchable. (When selecting state, you can get to MA by typing the letter M three times, and to CT by typing the letter C three times.)
- E-mail: You can change this, but bear in mind that it is your user name also. Each unique e-mail addresses can only be used by a single AOLCP, so if you work for a business with multiple AOLCPs, and you want to use the business e-mail address for your contact info, you need to have the business create one specifically for you, or uncheck the box in order to hide your personal e-mail address from public view and search functions. This is the only entry that needs to be unique. For all other fields (e.g. website, phone, address), you can use the same business contact info as other AOLCPs if you want.
- Website URL. We provide a clickable link, so use this if you want the public to easily find your website. If you don’t enter the http://, the program will add it automatically if it needs to.
- Phone, Cell, Fax: Enter the numbers you want the public to reach you at. These can be business numbers shared by other AOLCPs.
- Business Information: When you first enter Business information, the program needs to check to see whether or not this business is already listed. If it is listed, then you can simply select it and the Business information fields will be already populated. If it is not already listed, then you can create the listing and then you will become the “owner” of this listing, and the only one who can change it. You can switch business affiliations at any time and go through the same process as above. One you have selected a name and state for your business, and submitted the data, you cannot change these, even if you are the owner, because these uniquely identify the business and they may be being used by other AOLCPs. If you are pretty sure the business already exists, you can type in all or part of the name and the “Check Availability” function will find all the businesses that have that text in their names. So if you can’t remember if the business is called “ABC Lawn”or “ABC Lawns”, you can type in “ABC” and it will return any business with “ABC” in its name. If you are creating a new business, and you want it to have the same information as your Contact info, you can simply click on the “Copy from Contact Info Above” button.
- Type of Establishment: When first entering in your business information the business “owner” can identify your businesses’ type of establishment. Type of establishment is an optional category, it would be:
[or make up your own]
- Services Provided: Please use the Glossary of Services to guide you in selecting the services you provide. To add services to your list, click on the class of services and the category of services and move them over to the right using the double arrow keys. You can select multiple items at a time. These should be services that you or an employee under your direct supervision can provide that are consistent with the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care. If you do only one of the either/or categories, then do select the item and add it to your list. You can add items not listed into the “other” category. These will be searched when anyone does a keyword search. Don’t go crazy entering things here, though, the next item allows more room for you to describe your services in your own words.
- Description of Services: This area will be shown when a user wants more information about an AOLCP, and it is also searched when anyone does a keyword search. This is a good place to mention specialized work for example push reel mowing, hand raking, and specialty gardens. Also a good place to mention what topic you speak on, if you selected “Speaking” in services provided. Any restrictions in your work, e.g. municipal only, or only properties above 10 acres, would be useful here. Bear in mind that it is also used for key word search, so it would be better to write “only municipal” rather than “we don’t do residential.” If you want to talk about the business you work for, this is a good place to do that, but please only mention services that are conducted consistent with the NOFA Standards. You are allowed a maximum of 1500 characters. For reference, this paragraph is 900 characters.
- Bio: This is where you enter biographical information. It is a good place to mention professional affiliations and licenses, showcase work you have accomplished, mention your land care philosophy and even tell a little bit about yourself. You are allowed 1500 characters.
- Area Served: Here you enter the area that you serve, which is where you are willing to travel to conduct your AOLCP work. You can enter your service area in one of THREE ways. 1) Enter a zip code at the center of your service area, and then enter a radius out from that zip code where you are willing to travel. OR 2) Select one or more states where you service the whole state, OR 3) Select one or more states, and then within those states, select any combination of towns and/or counties where you serve. Once you select a town or county within a state, your service area includes only those towns or counties you selected within that given state. For example, if you selected for states, MA and CT, and then you selected CT- Hartford, your service area would be all of Massachusetts, and Hartford, CT. If you include speaking in your services, you should probably note how far you are willing to travel to speak separately in the Description of Service area if it is very different from how far you are willing to travel to, say, install a meadow. Service area is translated into a set of zip codes that you serve, and when a user enters a zip code in the search, your name is returned if it matches a zip code in your service area. You can hide the area you serve from public view, but it is always used in the search function, regardless of whether or not it is hidden.
- Preview, Cancel, Submit: You can preview or submit the data you have inputted at anytime, even if you are not done.
- Preview lets you see what the data you have just entered will look like when the user clicks on your name. You can preview data before or after submitting it.
- Cancel takes you immediately out of the update profile page and brings you back to the public user interface without saving any of the data you have input since you last clicked on submit.
- Submit sends your current edits into the database. Submitting is like saving your file and we recommend you do it early and often. You can always change an entry later. (The only caveat to this is when entering a new business. Once you have picked a name and state and submitted it, you cannot change these. You can switch businesses and reenter the correct name and/or state, and then tell the NOFA OLC office and we can go in and delete the spurious business). When creating your Service Description and Bio, you might even want to type it into your word processing program first, so you can get the text just right before cutting and pasting it into the input form
Good luck, have fun, and if you have any questions, please contact us.