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 covers the Disaster-Response initiative, introduced to Connect sites with the Disaster Response Module (DRM) in fall 2017. Specifically, it goes over:

About the Disaster-Response Initiative

If your site has purchased the Disaster Response Module (DRM), Connect version 2.11 offers you a new, simpler, more streamlined way to post disaster-response needs. You can now use a special "Disaster Response" initiative type to classify needs as being for disaster-response. This means that you can manage disaster-response needs in the ordinary need system, which includes the following benefits:

  • Ability to use shift needs, ongoing needs, and "runs until" needs. (The DRM only allows "happens on" needs, where needs must be scheduled for a certain day.)
  • Ability to make certain disaster-responses needs, or even the entire disaster-response initiative, privately visible to selected volunteers
  • Team sign-ups
  • "Interests & Abilities" designation so that volunteers can search for disaster needs based on their skills
  • Waivers for individual needs
  • Ability to assign qualifications to needs so that only those volunteers with the required qualifications can view and respond to them

In addition, if a disaster-response initiative contains active needs, you'll see the red "Click here to respond to disaster needs" banner used by the DRM. A further benefit is that you can create multiple disaster-response initiatives if needed. In that case, clicking the red banner will take the volunteer to a page listening the initiatives. From there, they can choose an initiative to view its needs.

Important: The Disaster Response initiative is not intended as a supplement to the old DRM. It is a separate tool and should be used instead of the old DRM.

Using the Disaster-Response Initiative Type

A disaster-response initiative looks like any other initiative in your site manager panel, with one exception: it must have a Disaster Response initiative type.

To assign a Disaster Response type to an initiative:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Needs and select Initiatives.
  2. Open an existing initiative, or click Add New Initiative to create a new one.
  3. Complete the form as you would for any initiative, but selecting Disaster Response from the Type dropdown near the top of the form.
    Once the form has been completed, click Update Initiative.

Once you or an agency manager has added active needs to the initiative, a red banner will appear on the front end of the site for volunteers.

Managing Disaster Needs

Disaster-initiative needs are managed just like any other initiative need. All initiative needs are managed from Volunteerism > Needs area of your site manager panel. To access initiative, click Initiatives above the need table. In the initiatives table that appears, you can open the table filter to add a Type column, which shows which of your initiatives are standard initiatives, and which are Disaster Response.

You can sort the Initiative column to view the disaster-response needs at a glance, or you can export needs to a spreadsheet and sort them there.

For more information on managing initiatives, adding custom questions, customizing disaster-response notifications, and more, click here. See our article on qualifications to learn how to prevent unqualified volunteers from responding to certain disaster-response needs.

Selecting the Disaster-Response Initiative for a Need: Agency Manager View

If your agency managers have the option to select an initiative for a need they post, they will have all available disaster-response initiatives listed in the selections, as well as any other initiatives.

If an agency manager does not have the option to select an initiative for a need, the Initiative field shown above will not be displayed on the form. This permission is given in Site Settings.

Viewing and Responding to Disaster-Response Initiative Needs

If needs within a disaster-response initiative are active, volunteers will see a red banner at the top of your Connect site: 

Clicking the banner will take them to one of two places:

  • If only one disaster initiative is active, they'll be taken to that initiative page.
  • If more than one disaster initiative is active, they'll be taken to a page listing the initiatives. They can then select the initiative they want.

Volunteer can respond to disaster-response initiative need as they would for any other regular need. Unlike with the DRM, volunteers do not need to have a disaster profile in order to view needs within a disaster-response initiative.

The Disaster-Response Initiative and the Galaxy Link

If your site is in a data-sharing relationship with another site using the Galaxy Link (also know as a "hub-portal" or "hub-to-hub" relationship), know that the disaster-response initiative follows the same rules as other initiatives, as described below.

Note: The following sections use the term "hub" to refer to the site that is sharing data, and "portal" for the site that is receiving data.

Availability of Data

Because initiatives are available across domains, volunteers on a portal will be able to see initiatives, as long as the initiatives aren't private and as long as both sites agree that the initiative can be seen on the portal. (In other words, as long as no one has manually excluded the initiative from the volunteer view.) Here are some details:

"Click here to respond to disaster needs" banner - If a hub has an active disaster-response initiative, the hub and any of its portals will automatically display the red "Click here to respond to disaster needs" banner on their site landing pages. Any volunteer who clicks the banner will be able to see and respond to the needs, unless the needs are private or qualification requirements prevent some volunteers from viewing or responding to the need.

Note: If a hub need has qualifications attached to it, it will not be displayed on the portal.

Initiative banner - A portal user viewing a hub need within a hub initiative will be able to see the disaster-response initiative's banner and description, just as they appear on the hub.

Initiative questions - If the hub site manager has added custom questions to a disaster-response initiative, the portal user responding to an initiative need will be able to respond to those question on the need-response form.

Searching/Filtering - A portal user will be able to see all hub initiatives(s) in their search/filter dropdown on the needs page.

Initiative data - When a portal volunteer responds to a hub need with a hub initiative, the initiative data is recorded. This means that, when an admin views need responses, the initiative will be specified as applicable in that data.

Ability to Edit Data

The portal site manager has limited ability to edit data related to a disaster initiative.

  • Hub managers cannot edit portal initiatives (beyond blocking them from being displayed on the hub site), and portal managers cannot edit hub initiatives.
  • A portal manager cannot add a hub initiative to any need, regardless of whether the need originated on the hub or the portal; they can only add portal initiatives to needs.
  • A portal initiative can be added to a hub need; however, the hub manager must be the one to assign the initiative, since the need "lives" on the hub. If a portal manager wants a portal initiative added to a hub need, they must contact the hub manager, who can then make that change.

Because the portal manager cannot edit any other aspect of a hub need, they do not have the ability to make the need private.