When getting started, it is important to familiarize yourself with the terms and functionality of the VolunteerMatters system. Here you can a listing of terms used within VolunteerMatters and their associated definition and function in the system.
The volunteer portal is the central website for all things related to your volunteering. The volunteer portal serves the needs of all different types of users including prospective volunteers, registered volunteers, organizers and administrators.
When visiting the volunteer portal you may have a broader or narrower set of tools available to you depending on your role. Public users (users who don’t have a username or password to login) can only browse the Project Catalog (list of volunteer needs) or register to become a volunteer. Volunteers can login to sign-up for volunteer projects, manage their profile, manage their schedule, and receive volunteer announcements. Organizers can do everything a volunteer can do as well as manage any volunteer projects they are assigned to (manage schedules, attendance, run project reports, etc.) Administrators can manage any volunteer project, the contact/volunteer database, approve/manage credentials, and run aggregate reports across projects.
A project is any event, program or initiative around which you would like to organize volunteers. You must be an ‘administrator’ in order to create projects. Projects have a description (name, image, summary, goals, contacts, address, etc.), they have categories (areas of focus, intended beneficiaries, impact areas, etc.), they have rules for publishing the project in the Project Catalog, and they have Needs (the things people are actually signing up for – shifts, tasks, items, positions). 'Organizers' can edit, manage assignments to, and report on projects. However, an administrator must assign them to the project first.
Each project in VolunteerMatters includes a "Project Dashboard" to provide a high level view of project analytics and data for administrators and organizers. The available summary information panels are:
- Project Details
- Project Impact
- Project Staffing (Next 30 Days)
- Needs With Invalid Credentials
- Recent Assignments (Past 7 Days).
- Email Notification
There are four types of needs you can add to a project. You should add needs of at least one type but you may have multiple types of needs. Needs can be shifts, tasks, items, or positions.
Needs 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.
Needs where you are asking volunteers to donate or lend item(s) to your cause (food, tools, clothing, etc.). You may define the total number of a particular item you need and the volunteer can specify how many they will bring. Items have a due date as to when you expect them to be delivered.
Needs where you are asking a volunteer to "do" something but the work can be done according to the volunteer's schedule. You are only asking the task be completed by a specified date.
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.
The project catalog is the central resource for volunteers to search, browse and sign-up for your volunteer project needs. When you advertise for prospective or registered volunteers to sign-up to help, you are typically asking them to visit the Project Catalog in order to find a need they would like to fulfill. The project catalog shows all projects that have current or future needs, whose publish start date is on or before today, whose publish end date is on or after today, and that is not hidden. When creating a project you can specify the publish dates as well as a publish mode that determines which types of users should see the project in the catalog (public, volunteers, administrators, or hidden).
Once someone signs-up for a need or they are appointed by an administrator they are “assigned” to that need. When we manage assignments this means we are managing those who are or will be assigned to a specific need on a project.
A credential is something a volunteer must attain in order to perform certain actions within the volunteer portal or kiosk. Some credentials are required of all volunteers (signing a waiver, agreeing to a code of conduct, attending a training) and other credentials must only be attained to sign up for a specific project need. For example, you may require a background check for volunteer work that requires interaction with children. There are three different types of credentials – agreements, certifications, and background checks. Credentials can also be automatically approved upon application (e.g., electronically signing an agreement) or have an approval process (an administrator must review documentation before granting approval.
The system includes a "Credential Dashboard" for administrators to provide a high level view of the credentials in their system. The available summary information panels are:
- Credential Status Counts
- Credential Status Change Counts (Past 30 Days)
- Expiring Credentials (Next 30 Days)
- Assignments With Invalid Credentials (Next 30 Days)
- Needs With Invalid Credentials (also includes link to the overall "Credential Conflicts" list)
Agreement credentials provide the ability to post an electronic statement to which a volunteer may “sign”. Depending on the credential setup, the signature can be achieved by checking a box (“I agree”), by entering their initials, or by typing their full name.
Certification credentials prompt the volunteer to submit the name of the certifying organization (e.g., American Red Cross), the issue date of the certification, and (if so configured) allows the volunteer to submit file uploads to support the certification claim.
Manual Background Check Credentials
Background check credentials are either manual or integrated. Manual background checks are checks that are performed outside of our system. They provide the ability to post an electronic statement (i.e., background check consent and disclosure statement) to which a volunteer may “sign”. It also allows an administrator to define the issuing organization, issue and expiration dates.
Integrated Background Check Credentials
Background check credentials are either manual or integrated. Integrated background checks are checks that are performed through our system with the aid of a 3rd party partner. So for example, when a volunteer applies for the background check, they (or their information) is temporarily passed to 3rd party provider to complete their submission, then the 3rd party automatically notifies our system of the check’s progress. If the check comes back blank (without any hits), the system automatically approves the background check credential. If there is anything on the background check, the system will set it’s status to “review” so that an administrator may review the report and approve or decline the application based on their findings.
Manual Learning Credentials
Learning credentials are either manual or integrated. Manual learning credentials are Learning Management System (LMS) courses that are performed outside of our system. They provide the ability to post an electronic statement (i.e., volunteer instructions and agree-to-statement) to which a volunteer may “sign”. It also allows an administrator to define the issuing organization, issue and expiration dates.
Integrated Learning Credentials
Learning credentials are either manual or integrated. Integrated learning credentials are Learning Management System (LMS) courses that are performed through our system with the aid of a 3rd party partner. So for example, when a volunteer applies for the learning credential, they are temporarily passed to 3rd party LMS to complete their course, then the LMS automatically notifies our system of the course's progress. If the volunteer meets the minimum scoring or passes the course, the system automatically approves the learning credential. If the volunteer does not meet the minimum score or fails the course, the system will automatically set the learning credential to "Denied". An administrator can change the status of a denied credential to "Expired" if desired.
A contact is any individual with whom your organization has a relationship. This may be a volunteer, staff person, donor, sponsor, or community partner. This system provides the ability to maintain a database of contact records.
Site User Record
System access for a volunteer. When a contact registers via the registration form an associated Site User Record is created in addition to the contact record. The site user record is the username and password and any additional user roles (administrators and organizer). By default every site user record has the "Volunteer" role.
The system includes a "Contact Dashboard" for administrators to provide a high level view of the contacts in their system. The available summary information panels are:
- Contact Status Counts
- Contacts Created Since
- Site Users Created Since
- Contacts by Desired Site/Branch/Location
- Site User Role Counts
Any contact record may be assigned a status (Active, hold, felony hold, exit, banned). This remains their current status until a status change has explicitly been made. A contact can only have one current status. When adding a Contact Status filter you can choose to include those contacts currently assigned to a certain status or those contacts currently NOT assigned to a certain status. An administrator with proper privileges can make status changes individually or in bulk. Typically those in the Felony Hold status are from the felony registration form question being answered positively.
Contact List Views
The Contact database may return a predefined set of contact records in a list. Administrators may create a specific List View by defining a filter on the database, which fields should appear in the list, and the field sort order. You may define any number of Contact List Views. For each contact list view you can specify whether that view is private (views created by you just for you) and public (views created by an administrator who set the view to share with all contact administrators). After creating a Contact List View, you may edit, clone, or delete the view.
List View Export
Administrators may export the returned result of a list view into a spreadsheet format. The export will include all records returned in the list, along with the field data displayed in the list view.