The Disaster Response Module (DRM) is an add-on to our standard Connect product and is available for purchase to all Connect clients.

This article applies to Site Managers of Get Connected products that have purchased the Disaster Response Module. Contact us if you'd like more information on this module.

Developed in collaboration with coastal United Way offices and a state-level commission tasked with disaster-relief support, the Disaster Response Module (DRM) is available as an add-on to the Get Connected volunteer platform.

The DRM's purpose is to facilitate volunteer management in time of a disaster by providing an on-demand “digital command center” within your Get Connected platform.

This article covers the following topics:

Before Disaster Strikes

It's important to have the DRM ready long before a disaster is imminent. Please read the article Using The DRM: Before Disaster Strikes to learn about important settings and other tools.

Activating the Module

When a disaster is imminent, you'll want to go ahead and activated the DRM so that VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) can begin posting needs related to the disaster.

To activate the DRM:

  1. From your Manager Panel, go to Modules > Disaster Response.
    The DRM Needs page is displayed.
  2. Select Settings to open the DRM Settings page.
  3. Click the Activate Disaster Module button at the top of the page.

Once the DRM has been activated, several things will happen:

  • A "Module Activated" message appears briefly at the top of the page.
  • The Activate Disaster Module button, pictured above, is replaced by a red Deactivate Disaster Module button.
  • When a user goes to the DRM area of your site on your site, they will be taken to DRM needs or to a message you have crafted. (Click here for more information.)

    Note: The DRM area of your site is located at [yourdomain]/drm. Example: You should provide this link on your site's dashboard via the spotlights tool.

  • When an agency manager goes to their Agency Management Area, they may see a Disaster Response link, which will allow them to post disaster-related needs. Click here to learn how to make this link available (or how to hide it).

Volunteers and agencies are not notified automatically when the module is activated. See the following section to learn how to contact those who have expressed interested in disaster response.

Note: Once you've added a DRM need, volunteers will see a red banner that links to the DRM area of your site. Note that there must be a current, active need in the DRM in order for this banner to be displayed. Simply turning on the DRM will not trigger the banner. 

Contacting Agencies and Volunteers

Use the Email Blast to contact agencies and volunteers regarding disaster response on your site.

The Email Blast includes a Disaster Response filter (shown above) for emailing the following groups of users:

  • Any responses - Anyone who has either (1) previously responded to a DRM need or (2) never responded to a previous DRM need.

    Note: This filter does not include needs that have been deleted or deactivated.

  • Responses to a specific DRM need - All users who have responded to a particular DRM need. You'll have the option of selecting from all active and expired needs in your system that (1) were posted by currently active agencies and (2) have active (non-deleted) responses.
  • Volunteers profiles - Anyone who has a disaster profile, or just those users who do not have a disaster profile.ikj
  • Disaster notification - Users who have indicated in their user profiles that they wish to be notified in case of a disaster.
  • Willing to travel - Users who have indicated in their disaster profiles that they are willing to travel in order to respond to disaster needs.
  • Agencies with needs - Agency managers of all agencies that have posted DRM needs 
  • Agency registration - Agency manager of any agency that registered for your site as part of a disaster response effort.

 For more information on how to send emails using the Email Blast, click here.

During a Disaster: Agency and Volunteer Perspectives

Once you have alerted the community to the presence of a volunteer-manage tool for disaster response, agencies will be able to post needs and volunteers will be able to respond (if your settings allow).

  • To learn more about the agency perspective of the DRM during a disaster, click here. (Link to be provided soon.)
  • To learn more about the volunteer perspective of the DRM during a disaster, click here. (Link to be provided soon.) 

Managing Volunteer Profiles

To view volunteers, go to Modules > Disaster Response and click Volunteers. You will see a list of all volunteers who have completed a disaster response profile. The list will include the volunteer's Table Filter and select the columns to add.

Volunteer information can be edited, and it can also be searched using the DRM skills filter.

Editing a DRM Profile

To edit a volunteer's disaster profile:

  1. Go to Modules > Disaster Response and click Volunteers to view all volunteers who have disaster-response profiles.
  2. Click on the volunteer's name to view that volunteer's profile.
  3. Make any necessary changes to the profile.

    Note: Two of the fields shown here on the volunteer-profile page do not appear on volunteer's profile page on the public site: Had Interview and Attended Safety Briefing. These are internal-use-only fields that you can use as needed. Note in the image above that that the volunteer table shows whether these boxes are checked.

  4. Click Submit to save your changes.

Note: Scroll to the bottom of a profile to see a list of needs to which the volunteer has responded.

Searching DRM Profiles

Once your community disaster-response needs are known, you can search your volunteer database to find which volunteers may be most suited to specific needs.

To search your database of DRM profiles (in other words, users who have filled out a disaster-response profile):

  1. Go to Modules > Disaster Response and click Volunteers.
  2. Click the Toggle Skills Filter button to open the volunteer filter.
  3. Enter the conditions for the filter. You have various options, listed below.
    Willing to travelSelect Yes or No to view only those volunteers who are (or are not) willing to travel in response to a disaster.
    GenderIf searching for volunteers of a specific gender, select from the dropdown.
    AgeUse the two age fields to indicate an age or age group to search.
    Blood TypeSelect a blood type to view only those volunteers with the selected type.
    Skills and ServicesSelect one or more skills and services from the list provided to view only those volunteers who have indicated that they have those skills or can perform those services.

  4. Click the Apply Filter button at the bottom of the Skills and Services list.

Once you have applied the filter, results are shown at the bottom of the screen. Shown below are the results for a search on blood type A+.

You can export this list by clicking the Export Current List link above the table.

Managing Disaster-Related Needs

To view needs that have been posted in the DRM, go to Modules > Disaster Response. The Needs tab is shown by default.

From here, you can view, edit, or create needs. In addition, you can view need respondents, add new responses, and export information.

Adding and Editing DRM Needs

To add or edit a DRM need from the Manager Panel, go to Modules > Disaster Response.

  • Click Add New Need to create a brand-new need.
  • Click on a need title to edit an existing need.

Edit or complete the fields provided. Required fields are Need Title, Date Start, Date End, Volunteers Needed, Need Length (hours), Minimum Age, and Zip Code. Optional fields are Need Description and fields for contact person and location. In addition, you can select all applicable categories, which can help with matching volunteers up with specific needs.

Once you have made your changes, remember to click Submit to save your work.

Viewing Need Respondents

To view which volunteer have responded to a particular need:

  1. From your Manager Panel, go to Module > Disaster Response.
  2. Under the Needs tab, click on a need to open the need's information page.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of your screen to see a list of volunteers who have responded to this need. You will also see information about hours submitted, miles traveled, and any supplemental volunteer questions answered.

Note: To remove a response, click the in the row of the volunteer to remove. To add a new response, see the following section.

Adding Responses

Typically, volunteers will respond to needs from the public site. If needs are hidden from the public site, or if a volunteer contacts you directly, you can add responses from the Manager Panel.

To add a need response:

  1. From your Manager Panel, go to Modules > Disaster Response.
  2. Under the Needs tab, click on a need to open the need's information page.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the Add Response button on the right-hand side of your screen.
  4. Enter the volunteer's email address, and answer any supplemental questions that appear.

    Note: If the volunteer has not created a disaster profile on Get Connected, you will not be able to add their response.

  5. Click Add Response.

Exporting Information

To export data related to DRM needs, go to Module > Disaster Response. Under the Needs tab are the following options:

  • Export Needs
  • Export All Responses

Click on a link to generate a spreadsheet containing the data you wish to export.