When you're posting a volunteer opportunity, it's important to communicate clearly with your potential volunteers by giving a clear title and detailed description. It's also vital that volunteers know the duration of the volunteer work--both when it starts and when they can expect it to end.

This article goes over the six need types, or "durations," available for a need. It explains the purpose of each one and provides links to instructions on posting and editing each kind of need.

Click here to view a video on shift-scheduling.

Types of Needs: An Overview

When you post a need, you are required to select one of six available need types, or durations.

The table below defines each duration type and gives an example of a type of need that might use it.

Notes: These options are available for standard needs only. Advanced-event needs can only be Happens On.
The duration type can be edited for Ongoing, Runs Until, Happens On, and Multi-Date needs. (For example, if you want to change an Ongoing need to a Runs Until need, you can.) The duration type cannot be edited for Recurring Shift or Custom Shift needs. You can, however, clone a shift need and give the cloned need a new duration type. Click here to learn more about cloning needs.

Ongoing Needs

An Ongoing need is one that does not have an end date. With Ongoing needs, an agency or program manager is always looking for volunteers to perform certain roles at dates and times to be decided. When you select Ongoing, you will not have the option of specifying a date, a time, or the number of volunteers needed. You do, however, have to enter the number of hours so that those hours can be calculated for volunteers who use Volunteer Check-in.

The Self Check-in tool for volunteers is not available for Ongoing needs.

An Ongoing need remains on your site until you manually deactivate it. To prevent Ongoing needs from becoming outdated, your system will notify you ninety days after your Ongoing need is posted. At that time, you can update the need, remove it, or do nothing.

"Runs Until" Needs

A Runs Until need is one that is ongoing for a limited time and has a definite "end date." Typical Runs Until needs include food drives, summer opportunities, and holiday-related volunteer needs.

Once you have selected Runs Until from the Duration dropdown, you will see additional fields, described below.

Need Date
Select the "end date" of the need.

Note: The program assumes that the need "starts" when it is posted; it is not possible to specify a start date as well as an end date.

Registration Closed Date
If you wish to close registration at any point, select the date to close. Registration will close at 12:00 a.m. on the date entered.

Note: Closed needs are still visible in the need listing for volunteers, but they are designated as "closed," and no one else can sign up.

If applicable, enter the maximum number of volunteers that will be accepted.
Enter the number of hours of the need. If volunteers use your agency's Volunteer Check-in tool, volunteers can have these hours automatically submitted to their volunteer résumés.
Hours Description
If the need is to occur at a particular time each day, enter a description (range) of the hours here.

A Runs Until need is displayed in volunteers' view of the site until it expires (on the "end date") or until is reaches capacity, as applicable.

A week before your Runs Until need expires, you'll be notified by email that the need is about to expire.

"Happens On" Needs

The Happens On option is for needs that occur on a particular day. When you select the Happens On duration, you'll see the same fields that are shown for Runs Until needs.

As with Runs Until needs, a Happens On need will be displayed in volunteers' view of the site until it expires or until is reaches capacity, as applicable.

If volunteers use your agency's Volunteer Check-in tool, volunteers can have their Happens On hours automatically submitted to their volunteer résumés.

Multi-date Needs

The Multi-date option is for needs that occur over a period of more than one day. Examples of a multi-date need would include:

  • Mission trips that require a group to travel to a location
  • A construction project that will need the same volunteers over a period of time

Multi-date needs function the same as Happens On needs, with the additional step of choosing the date range for the need. 

As with other need durations, you will be asked to enter an estimated number of hours for the need. In the case of multi-date needs, that estimate means the average number of hours to be worked each of the days within the multi-date range.

Recurring Shifts

The Recurring Shifts option is for needs that have repeating shifts. Here are some examples:

  • An agency serves food seven days a week and needs volunteers to work dinner shifts, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • A thrift store needs volunteers to sort donated clothes on the third Saturday of every month.
  • A nonprofit needs volunteers to tutor students after school on Wednesdays

If you have different shifts of a need that occur at different times, whether within the same day or on different days, you should use custom shifts rather than recurring shifts.

Click here to learn how to create a need with recurring shifts.

Custom Shifts

Custom shifts are for needs that occur in shift but do not occur at the same time of day. Here are some examples of needs that would fit into the "Custom Shifts" category:

  • Multiple shifts within a single day
  • Shifts that occur at different times on different days

Click here to learn how to create a need with custom shifts.