This article is for agency managers who are working with students in a service-learning context on a site that uses Galaxy Digital's Service Learning Module (SLM). Agency managers have many other resources in this Help Center, but this article focuses specifically on their capabilities (adding needs, assigning needs to SLM user groups, and reviewing volunteer hours) when working with SLM user groups (courses). It also shows where agency managers can view user-group data related to their agency.
Role of the Agency Manager in SLM
As an agency manager, you can assign your agency's needs to specific SLM user groups (courses). You can make those needs publicly available on the Connect platform, or you can make them privately available to one or more user groups.
You can also work closely with course instructors to post opportunities that fit the needs of their courses. In fact, if you're comfortable letting a course instructor post needs on your agency's behalf, your site manager can set this up. In addition, while you have the ability to approve volunteer hours posted for your service-learning needs, the course instructor has that option as well.
A Word about Language Overrides
This article uses the word need to refer to a volunteer opportunity and SLM user group to refer to courses. It's possible that your site manager has overridden these default terms; for example, your site may use opportunity rather than need. If that is the case, be aware that the images and words on your site may not match those used in this article.
Posting SLM Needs on a Connect Site
SLM needs are posted from the same Needs area that standard needs are posted. They are no different from standard needs, beyond the fact that you can assign the need to an SLM user group.
To post a need on a Connect site:
- Log in and click My Agency.
- Click Needs to access your needs-management area. If your agency has posted needs in the past, they will be listed in a table. (Click for a larger view.)
Note: Expired needs appear in faded text.
- Click Add New Need to create a need.
- Complete the fields provided, as applicable. Fields are described below.
Field Description Title Enter a need title.
Tip: Avoid generic titles such as "Volunteers Needed"; try to be specific with your titles.
Description Enter a need description. If training or a background check is required, you can include that information here. Privacy If a need is marked Public anyone who visits the site can view the need. If it is marked Private it will only be visible to the user groups (courses) to which it is assigned. Initiative Select the initiative, if applicable, with which to associate the need.
Note: This may not be an option on your site if initiatives are not used, or if your site's settings have hidden this field.
Duration Select a duration. Options are Ongoing, Runs Until, Happens On, Custom Shifts, and Recurring Shifts. For needs associated with a particular date, students can search by date, and also by "soonest first."
Note: For all duration types, you must also enter the number hours for the need. This information is particularly important if Volunteer Check-in is being used, as it tells the system how many hours should be attributed to each volunteer.
Note: For all duration types except Ongoing, you also have the option of entering a need capacity (i.e., the number of volunteers needed) and time(s) and indicating a date after which students can no longer respond. Click here to learn more.
Allow Team Registration? Indicate whether or not you want to allow team registrations. When searching needs, users can filter needs by which opportunities accept (or don't accept) team registrations. Minimum Age Select the minimum volunteer age accepted for this need. Once you've entered an age range (starting with this field), volunteers can search for the needs best suited to their age group. Maximum Age Select the maximum volunteer age accepted for this need. Once you've entered an age range (starting with the previous field), volunteers can search for the needs best suited to their age group. Family Friendly? Indicate whether the need environment is family-friendly. Volunteers can search specifically for family-friendly needs. Outdoors? If you select Yes to indicate an outdoor need, you will have the opportunity to provide inclement weather plans. Volunteers viewing this need will see this information in the Details area at the bottom of the need-information page. They will also be able to search all needs on your site by which ones are (or are not) outdoors. Wheelchair Accessible Indicate whether the need will be wheelchair-accessible. Volunteers viewing this need will see this information in the Details area at the bottom of the need-information page. They will also be able to search all needs on your site by which ones are (or are not) wheelchair-accessible. Attributes If you want additional details to stand out from the description above, include them here. Each detail (attribute) must be 200 characters or fewer. Attributes appear in the Details section at the bottom of the need-information page. Address Enter the address of the opportunity. Zip Code (required) Enter the zip code associated with the opportunity. Users can search needs by ZIP codes. Interests & Abilities Select interests related to the need. Your selections will help the site to match up this need with potential volunteers. Students can also search needs by interest. Additional Notification Recipients If you wish to have certain people copied on all responses to this need, toggle this option On and type each email address on a separate line. Waiver If a waiver is added, a student must indicate that they agree to it before they can complete their need response. Click Choose File to select the waiver to upload. Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx, and .pdf.
- Click Create Need.
Now that the need has been saved, you can assign it to an SLM user group (course).
Assigning a Need to an SLM User Group
When you assign a need to an SLM user group, you enable the SLM Leader to manage their students' responses and submitted hours for that need, including the ability to approve or deny hours.
To assign a need to an SLM user group:
- Go to My Agency and click Needs to access your needs-management area.
- Click on a need title to open the Update Need page.
- Scroll down to the User Groups area at the bottom of the page. If the need already has user groups assigned, you'll see them listed here. (Click image for a larger view.)
- From the User Groups dropdown, select a user group.
Note: Only SLM user groups will appear in the dropdown. Standard user groups (companies, clubs, etc.) cannot be assigned needs.
- Click Add User Group.
Once added, the SLM user group appears in the table. To delete a user group, click the applicable X in the Options column, and then click Yes to confirm.
Reviewing Student Volunteer Hours
If your site requires that volunteer hours be approved, then you will be notified via email whenever a volunteer submits hours pending approval. As with regular (non-SLM) hours, you can approve SLM hours from the Time Tracking section of your agency management area.
To review volunteer hours:
- Go to My Agency and click Time Tracking to access your hours-review area. All pending hours will be listed in the table, showing a status of "Pending." (Click image for a larger view.)
Note: If the volunteer is part of a user group, you'll see that information in the User Group column. If the table does not display a User Group column, click Table Filter (above the table on the right-hand side of the page) to add it.
- You have two options for approving or denying hours: Change the status in the Status dropdown for an individual, or select multiple volunteers (by clicking the check box on the left side of the table) and then clicking either the Approve or Deny button located above the table.
Once you have approved or denied the hours, they will disappear from this table but can be found in the Stats section of your agency management area. Click here to learn more about viewing your agency's statistics.
Note: If you are notified that hours are pending review but your Time Tracking area shows no pending hours, this may be because the SLM Leader (instructor) or manager for your agency has already approved them.
You can view reports of SLM activity in several places within your agency management area:
Your Stats area shows all past need responses and approved volunteer hours for a selected date range. (Default is for the past month.) (Click image for larger view.)
If you click the Export button for either of these tables, you'll be able to see the user group associated with each need response or hour entry in the exported spreadsheet.
If your agency has been assigned to a course, the course instructor will be able to post needs on your agency's behalf. When viewing your needs table, you'll be able to see which needs were posted by your agency, and which were posted by a course instructor. To see this information:
- From your agency management area, click Needs to access the Manage Needs page.
- Click Table Filter, located just above the needs table, on the right-hand side of the page.
- In the list of optional table columns, mark the Source checkbox.
A new Source column will immediately be added to the table of needs, and you'll be able to see which needs were posted by user group leaders. (Click image for larger view.)
Note: The user group leader's Connect ID number is included in the Source column. Contact your site manager if you need to know more about who posted a volunteer opportunity for your agency.