A project is any event, program or initiative around which you would like to organize volunteers. You must be have an 'administrator' role in order to create projects. Once a project is created it can be assigned to an 'organizer' who then can manage the project completely (without copy/delete privileges and the ability to add additional organizers).
Once logged into the volunteer portal with the appropriate role, you may 1) click ‘Projects’ (Briefcase Icon) from the main menu, then 2) click New Project.
There are two major steps to setting up your new project
- Define the project
This describes the project and how it should behave in the volunteer portal
- Create the different types of needs you have for the project
These are the things volunteers will actually sign-up for
1) Define the Project
The system allows you to identify information that describes your project (to potential volunteers), categorizes it, and defines its behavior.
There are several fields that help to organize the important aspects of a project you may want to label for the benefit of your potential volunteers.
Branch/Site/Location – Identify the primary branch/site/location this project should be associated with. If the project is not affiliated with a specific site, it is recommended to select the corporate/main or association site.
Unique Name – Provide a unique name for this project.
Description - The project description is intended to provide a summary of the initiative to existing and potential volunteers. There are several other fields designed to help provide a well-round description of the project. These include an image, address, community partners, goals, contacts, safety information, and the cancellation policy. We suggest a minimum of 100 words and a maximum of 500.
Project Image URL – Designate an image that reinforces the branding or goals, or intended beneficiaries of the project. An image URL is an internet address that points directly to a specific image, rather than an entire index, webpage or website. Image URLs typically include the image filename and almost always ends with JPG, GIF, PNG or BMP. An example: http://volunteermatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/credentials-tablet-300x230.png
Publish Mode – the mode defines which types of users should be able to see this project in the catalog. If set to public, for example, any type of person may view the project. The different mode settings are as follows:
- Public – Any user, whether they are logged in may see the project.
- Volunteers – Only users who are logged in may see the project.
- Administrators – Only users who are logged in and have administrative rights may see the project.
- Hidden – The project does not appear in the project catalog for any user and is accessible only via its Project Page URL. It has similar accessibility to the "Public" mode where if you have the URL you can access with or without being logged in.
Publish Start Date – The date the project should start appearing in the project catalog.
Publish End Date – The date the project should stop appearing in the project catalog.
There are several fields that help to build on the Identification section to organize the important aspects of a project.
Project Address – Enter the full address/location for the event.
Community Partners – Enter any community partners with which your organization is working for this project.
Project Goals - Describe the goals that this volunteer project hopes to achieve. If there are actual metrics (e.g., number of meals served, event participants, books read, or trees planted) then by all means describe them here. This should serve to inspire the volunteer to help in achieving that goal. We suggest a minimum of 50 words and a maximum of 500.
Contact Details - Please list the names and contact information for any volunteer liaisons. These may be from your organization or a partner.
Safety Information - List anything the volunteer must know to be safe when working this project. Examples might include the proper attire, policies, or other instructions.
Cancellation Policy - Describe the policy for event cancellation including methods of notification.
When you are creating or editing a volunteer project, you may identify any number of "tags" to classify your projects. Tagging helps with several aspects of the VolunteerMatters systems and tools. Create and select one or more tags that best represent the project in each of your defined groups.
For more information on creating groups and tags click here.
Here you can define advanced options on the project needs.
Shift Attendance Mode - Allows volunteers to self-sign-in from their personal mobile device. Click here for more information on the different modes available.
Enable Personal Kiosk Geolocation – System will check volunteer’s physical location to make sure they are within a specific range of the project address before allowing them to sign-in from their personal device
Kiosk Geolocation Range – Distance (in meters) the volunteer can be within the project address to consider them to be on-site.
Enable Group Sign-Up for Shifts – If you have a project that allows group participation, you just need to configure the project settings to allow group signup. Click here for more information.
Group Sign-Up Mode – If you have a project where you have enabled group sign-up (above), this setting determines the method of attributing credited hours for this project. The options are "Individual Credited" and "Leader Credited". The leader is the volunteer who signed up the group. With "Individual Credited", the leader only gets credited for the hours they themselves worked. So if the leader signed up 5 people (including themselves) for a 5 hour shift they would just get 5 hours. With "Leader Credited", the leader gets credited for the total hours the group worked. So if the leader signed up 5 people (including themselves) for a 5 hour shift they would get 25 hours (5 hour shift times 5 volunteers). Click here for more information.
Enable Volunteer Self-Report Hours – Each project position has a default number of credited hours. Many times the volunteer will go over this default number of hours. An administrator can manually update those credited hours but a volunteer can also submit their own additional hours if this setting is enabled. If disabled, the ability to submit hours will not appear as an option to the volunteer. Click here for more information. Note: Self-reported hours will always appear to the administrator/organizer on the back end when managing the assignment.
Allow Volunteers Comments – This feature allows the volunteer to add a comment to their assignment. This can be done during sign-up or returning to their assignment. Comments are visible to all logged in volunteers. An administrator can manually update or remove any comments deemed inappropriate. These are only shown if the "Show Current Assignees" are enabled. If that configuration is disabled volunteers will still be able to submit comments but will only be visible to the volunteer and administrators/organizers on the project. If this setting is disabled, the ability to submit comments will not appear as an option. Click here for more information.
Show Current Assignees – This feature displays the list of current volunteers signed up for the assignment when a volunteer goes to the need detail from the project page as well as their assignment page. It will display the volunteers first name and last initial as well as their profile photo if one exists. If this setting is disabled, the current volunteers on the assignment will not be displayed. Click here for more information.
Show Current Assignee Contact Detail – This feature is used in conjunction with the "Show Current Assignees" setting above where the volunteer will see a list of volunteers already assigned to the project need. When this setting is enabled they will not only see the volunteer's first name and last initial but their email and mobile number. If this setting is disabled, the current volunteers on the assignment will not have their contact information displayed. Click here for more information.
Gratitude and Feedback
Send automated Thank You messages – Thanking your volunteers is a critical ingredient to an extraordinary volunteer program. With this setting, which is enabled by default, the system will automatically send thank you messages 2 days after a completed assignment. However, sometimes we may prefer to thank them in ways other than an automated email and this setting allows the administrator or organizer to not send those emails on assignments for this project. For more information on automated emails within VolunteerMatters click here.
Enable Volunteer Feedback – With this setting enabled, which it is by default, Volunteer Feedback will be requested for the completed assignments on this project. The volunteer will receive prompts on their Volunteer Dashboard and My Profile page to provide ratings and feedback via a short 3 question survey. In addition, this feature can be used in conjunction with the "Send automated Thank You messages" setting above where the volunteer will receive a Thank You email after their assignment concludes. That Thank You email, if enabled, will include information on the Volunteer Feedback and link the volunteer back to their Volunteer Dashboard to fill it out if both settings are enabled. Feedback is not required for Thank You emails and vice versa. However if Feedback is enabled, it will be included in enabled Thank You emails unless the email template is updated by support to specifically not request it. Click here for more information on Volunteer Feedback.
2) Create Needs
Congratulations! If you have completed the previous step, your project has been created, now you will be ask to define the specific needs you have - in other words, what those things the volunteer can sign-up for.
A shift is a project need where a volunteer is expected to work a specific role (job) during a predetermined time slot (specific date and time). A project may have many different roles (e.g., greeter, helper, worker, cleaner) or you may have one role to which all people may be assigned.
A task is something you are asking a volunteer to do on their own time. In other words, they are not required to fulfill the task during a window of time you specify (that would be a shift). You can specify a due date so the volunteer knows by what date to complete the task. As with all needs, you may specify a minimum age (in years) to work this task. Volunteers under the specified age will not be allow to sign up for this task. Additionally, you may specify one or more credentials that may be required to sign-up for this task. For example, one task may require a special background check, a drivers license, or a medical certification. If the volunteer does not yet have one or more of the credentials, the system will give the volunteer the opportunity to apply for it/them.
An item is something you are asking a volunteer to lend, donate or bring to help your project. You can specify a due date so the volunteer knows by what date to deliver the item(s). You may specify a minimum and maximum quantity required. When the volunteer signs-up for the item they may also specify the quantity they are pledging. As with all needs, you may specify a minimum age (in years) to sign-up for this item. Volunteers under the specified age will not be allow to sign up for the item. Additionally, you may specify one or more credentials that may be required to sign-up. If the volunteer does not yet have one or more of the credentials, the system will give the volunteer the opportunity to apply for it/them.
A position is a long-term commitment to take on a more staff-like role for the project or organization. An example might include a volunteer manager, project chair, or committee member. Volunteers would be committing to this position for a period that spans days, weeks, months, or even years. This is quite different from a "role" which describes a particular job relating to shift work. Many times, the work related to a position is unscheduled and therefore done on a volunteer's own time. Other times, a volunteer that holds a position may separately sign-up to perform shift work, tasks, or bring items.