New season guide and checklist

When it's time to start a new season for your program, you have two options:

  • Copy the configuration of an existing season or
  • Create a completely new season, starting configuration from scratch.
Important: you should not start a new season without first completing all activities in the current season, such as entry submission or judging. 
Important: when copying a season, some configured content will not be copied over, for example, judging panels and rounds. Please refer to the checklist below for details regarding what is and isn’t copied.

Seasonal vs Non-seasonal

Important: when making updates to a new season, whether copied or brand new, it is very important to be aware of which configuration changes are seasonal, meaning the change will only be visible in the season being edited, and which changes are non-seasonal, meaning any changes made will be reflected in all seasons (both archived seasons and in the active season, even if you are working in draft mode).

An example of a non-seasonal element is the theme. If updates are made to the theme in the new season, such as changing the logo or the theme colours, those changes will also appear in all other seasons; any prior theme configuration will be overridden. Another example is content blocks. If the messaging in a content block is updated, those details will be reflected in that content block in all seasons, active and archived. Other areas that are non-seasonal include General settings.

Please see our guide, What is seasonal in Award Force, for a comprehensive list of which elements are seasonal and which are not.

Creating a new season: Copy or New

Copying season configuration

If your new season will be largely the same as the last season, copying the configuration of the last season will save you a lot of time. You can copy a season with a few clicks and then review and make any updates without having to redo your hard work.

To copy an existing season:

  1. Open the Manage workspace and go to Settings > General > Seasons
  2. Click Create season
  3. Provide a Season name
  4. Ensure Copy an existing season configuration is selected
    Copy existing season option
  5. Choose the season to be copied
  6. Choose the season status as Active or Draft
  7. Click Save

By copying an existing season, the configured content of all tabs, fields, categories and so on will be copied and you can make updates if needed.

New clean season

Creating a new season allows you to start with a blank slate. Previously configured content in sections such as tabs, fields, and categories will not be copied over, allowing you to start from scratch.

To create a new season:

  1. In the Manage workspace, navigate to Settings > General > Seasons
  2. Click Create season
  3. Ensure Start a new season is selected
    New season option
  4. Choose the season status as Active or Draft
  5. Click Save

Draft vs Active

Creating a new season in Draft mode allows you to prepare for the upcoming season, even while the current Active season is ongoing. Once the draft is complete and your current season has concluded, you can make the draft active by selecting the season under Settings > Seasons and changing the season status to Active.

Checklist for a new season

When commencing the configuration of a new season, whether copied or brand new, a careful review of all the elements to ensure everything is up-to-date is an excellent step. For an in-app version of this list, see the Guides and tours page in the Manage workspace of your account. 

Settings > General > Account
  • Check the program name, especially if it includes dates
Settings > General > Review flow
Settings > Content > Content blocks
  • Update content blocks with rules, links, correct dates and support information (pay special attention to the support information to make sure it is the latest). Be aware that content blocks are non-seasonal, meaning any changes made will be reflected across all seasons.
Settings > Communications > Social
  • Social sharing: correct/latest image and text
Settings > Entries > Chapters
  • Add/remove chapters if needed (if the limit has been reached, please contact *Please note that not all plans support chapters. If you would like to use this feature, please contact us for an upgrade quote.
Settings > Entries > Categories
  • Add/remove categories if needed
  • Update category descriptions/images if needed (pay special attention to eligibility period information)
Settings > Entries > Tabs
  • Add/remove/reorder tabs if needed
  • Tabs can be category-specific; make sure to check if they have been applied to the correct categories
  • Attachments tab: check for the new season’s correct number/size of attachments
Settings > Entries > Fields
  •  Add/remove/update fields as needed
  • Fields can be category-specific and/or conditional to values of other fields; make sure to check they are properly configured per the new season requirements
  • User fields can be made to persist across seasons or be specific to the active season only. Please change the settings as necessary. Read more on User fields and seasons
Settings > Entries > Rounds
  •  Check to make sure the entry round is open so you can perform your testing but more importantly, the end date should be set to the correct deadline.
Settings > Communications > Notifications
  • Create or update notifications. Ensure the following notifications are included:
    • User registered. Include {confirmation_url} in the email copy and {confirmation_code} if using mobile registration
    • Entry submitted. Include the entry name {entry_name}, category {category} and identifier {entry_slug} 
    • Add Payment pending if using the Invoice method. Include {invoice_url}
    • Add Payment success if using a credit card and/or PayPal. Include {invoice_url}
Important: if you do not add the User registered notification, your entrants will not be able to complete their registration or start an entry.
Settings > Payments
  • Ensure Test mode is set to Off
  • If a new gateway is being used, contact support for a pre-launch check so proper testing can be done before entries open.
  • Review entry price(s) and any pricing rules that may have been previously used
  • Update discount codes if applicable
Settings > Users > Registration
  •  Check registration is open
Settings > Users > Roles
  • Check if a new role was created last season and made default (Entrant role should be the default)
Settings > Judging > Score Sets
  • Update the score set(s) if necessary. Pay particular attention to categories.
Settings > Judging > Panels
  •  Panels are not copied over and will need to be configured with the new season judges
Settings > Judging > Scoring criteria
  •  Scoring criteria are copied. Check to ensure the criteria are accurate and edit as required.
Tip: existing users will not need to register again. It is helpful to include this information in the Login page content block that display on the homepage.
Note: only one season can be active in Award Force at a time. You always have access to the archived seasons: find out how here.

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