Improve support for roles and responsibilities

This product suggestion is unlike any I’ve seen in this Forum.   It is difficult to describe in a few short words, but I believe its ability to reduce the amount of work required of Agency, Program, and Site Managers (or just MANAGERS for short) makes it worthy of consideration. 


CONNECT is excellent at making simple things simple.  Our organization has used the product heavily this past year and have experienced firsthand how easy it is to manage a number of tasks.  The problem, however, occurs when things are not simple.  In these cases, CONNECT goes from being simple to extremely tedious and repetitive.   The area where this is most prevalent for us is with the definition of a NEED or OPPORTUNITY (for simplicity, the term NEED will be used for the remainder of this suggestion).


What is a “simple NEED”?    It is a NEED that has a number of people who volunteer for a day, or multiple days, at the appointed time and place in support of the cause of an organization.   CONNECT makes this type of NEED easy to create and easy to manage.


A more difficult NEED, by comparison, is one where a number of people are needed as volunteers, but due to the tasks involved, it is required that the volunteers be organized by roles and responsibilities.    This type of structure necessitates creating multiple NEEDs, one for each role and responsibility.   Each one is nothing more than a “simple NEED”, but when combined to make a team for the work at hand, managing them as a group becomes exceedingly tedious and repetitive.   And tedious and repetitive work inevitably leads to mistakes and burnout.    There must be an easier way.


Here’s a suggestion:


Take the current model for defining a NEED and rearrange the concepts on the form in a way that it is possible to define all the roles and responsibilities as part of that one definition. 


It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Hopefully, the same is true of this example.  Below is a table to start things off.  It consists of five rows, each one corresponding to a role or responsibility.   The columns should look familiar - they were taken directly from the current definition of a NEED.  The data within the table is fictitious.    Because there are five rows (or roles and responsibilities) in this example, the MANAGER will have to create five NEEDs in order to establish the right combination of volunteers.    Fortunately, the cloning feature of CONNECT reduces some of the work, but even with this, the work can become tedious because not everything in the definition of a NEED is cloned.   The MANAGER now must go through the definition and reset the common settings.  But that’s not the end of it.    Everything else from this point forward related to managing this group of volunteers becomes five times more tedious for the MANAGERs.     For instance:  1) getting the list of names of everyone who responded for a given day (that requires visiting all five NEEDs), or 2) rescheduling a work day due to bad weather (that requires editing the dates of all five NEEDs, or 3) managing the WAITLIST for the day (that also requires the editing of all five NEEDs).    Side comment:  One of our PROGRAMS (AGENCIES) today requires 14 roles and responsibilities, which means 14 NEEDs are required for every shift!


  

 

Title *

Privacy *

Group(s)

Capacity

Allow Team Registration

Qualifications

Minimum Age

Maximum Age

General

Public

 

15

Yes

Waiver

16

120

Leader

Private

Leaders

1

No

Waiver

16

120

Captains

Private

Captains

3

No

Waiver

16

120

Registration

Private

Registrars

1

No

Waiver

16

120

Lunch

Private

Food Providers

2

No

Waiver

16

120

 

Back to the suggestion.  Imagine the table above embedded within the definition of a NEED.   When the MANAGER completes the table, as well as all the other fields within the definition (such as Description, Duration, Family Friendly, Outdoors, Address, etc.), CONNECT would generate one NEED card for every row of the table.  Think of this as a SUPER NEED.  Volunteers would respond to the NEED by selecting the card related to their role or responsibility, just as they do now.   And from the MANAGER’s perspective, if all the cards remain linked to this SUPER NEED, it would then be possible to manage the ongoing definition of the NEED with much less work - there would be one definition to manage instead of many.   This makes viewing the list of volunteers for the day simple, as does rescheduling a shift and managing the WAITLIST.    These tasks, and many more, would be no more complicated than what is required today to manage a ‘simple NEED’.


In short, this suggestion turns the definition of a NEED around such that one NEED can be used to manage multiple roles and responsibilities required for a day or shift, instead of requiring multiple NEEDS, each of which would represent one role or responsibility.


This suggestion undoubtedly has implications in areas of CONNECT beyond the discussion here, but I’m confident that with further thought the issues can be addressed and the benefits of such a change would have a major impact on both the ease-of-use and time saved for MANAGERs.


One final comment.  Our organization used a different commercially available Volunteer Management system prior to CONNECT.  Our MANAGERs estimate the task of managing NEEDs within CONNECT to be at least 10 (ten) times more time consuming than the previous system.    CONNECT has many advantages over the other system, we certainly don't want to go back, but in this one area, we know there is a much easier way to manage NEEDS.


Hey John,


I can see how for your use case with home builds that either shift descriptions or the “Super Needs” would be useful especially since you are already using initiatives to group a lot of your needs. I understand that it would make posting needs easier for your agencies to be able to have an additional way to further organize your shifts.


There have been other enhancement suggestions brought up revolving around the addition of custom fields to be able to add a description to each shift within a need. I feel like this is very similar to part of the idea presented here, would you agree with that observation? Here is an example of what I am referring to. Would a similar enhancement to this resolve some of the issues you’re currently running into with shift needs?


Thank you,

Shonie

Customer Experience Specialist

She / Her

Hi Shonie,


Thank you for sending the feedback.  I'm familiar with all the open product suggestions related to NEEDS / OPPORTUNITIES and none of them address the requirements as described in this suggestion.  The suggestion you mentioned relates to placing a description on each shift within a CUSTOM DURATION.  It is an interesting idea, but not related to what I'm suggesting.   My suggestion is to create a more powerful type of Opportunity (or "Super Need") that works across all existing DURATION types.   


I realize this suggestion is different conceptually from the way most people think about Needs and Opportunities, but at times the only way to make advances is to go outside the box.  Please let me know if there is any part of this topic that is not clear.  I'm happy to provide more details and examples.


John

Hey John,


I totally understand what you are going for here. I referenced the forum post about labeling shift-based needs in hopes that that type of enhancement would help your use case, if only partially, since your idea would require more than an enhancement to bring into fruition.


All that said, I’m still going to add this to our enhancements board so our development team can reference your suggestion for a future build. Is the following description efficient for your suggestion?


“The ability to manage multiple roles and/or responsibilities required for a day or shift within a single need.”


Thanks,

Shonie

Customer Experience Specialist

She / Her

Hi Shonie,


Your description is very good - concise and accurate.  The only change I would suggest is to change "manage" to "establish and manage".


"The ability to establish and manage multiple roles and/or responsibilities required for a day or shift within an single need"


While on the topic, I should have added to the suggestion the expectation that simple needs would remain simple to create and manage, and with this proposal the more difficult needs (or "Super Needs") would become equally simple.


Thanks again for your support!


John

Hey John,


I've logged the enhancement request for you as stated above. We appreciate you voicing your ideas in our forums!


Best,

Shonie

Customer Experience Specialist

She/ Her

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