You can use initiatives to group needs that fall under a certain umbrella. Initiatives are a useful  tool in various situations, including:

  • When needs are associated with a specific event, such as Stuff the Bus and Day of Caring
  • When needs are associated with a particular time of year, such as summer or the holidays
  • When needs are associated with a particular group of volunteers, such as a youth volunteers, or employees of a company

Once needs have been grouped into an initiative, you can share a link to the initiative with your volunteers in a spotlight, through an email blast, via social media, etc.

This article for site managers explains how to create and manage initiatives. Topics are listed below:

For more information on customizing notifications related to an initiative, see this article.

Important: Beginning in January 2018, initiatives can no longer be designated public or private, and they can no longer be assigned to user groups. All initiatives are public by default, but they can contain private needs that can be assigned to user groups. For more information, see our FAQs on private needs, initiatives, and user groups. Click here to access the training that addresses this updated feature.

Accessing the Initiatives Management Area

Create and manage initiatives from the initiatives management area. To access it:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Needs.
  2. Click Initiatives.

From this page, you can view initiative information, add new initiatives, and edit (including deactivating) existing initiatives. The table of initiatives shows the following data of all initiatives on your site:

  • Initiative title, ID, and status (active or inactive)
  • Domain (useful for sites using a Galaxy Link)
  • Number of user groups assigned
  • Number of needs assigned
  • Date the initiative was created
  • Date the initiative was updated

To hide or add columns, use the Table Filter. To view more information about an initiative, click on the initiative title.

You can also view any needs that have been assigned to the initiative. To do so, scroll to the bottom of the page, where you'll find the Initiative Needs table. (Click image for larger view.)

Click on a need to edit it; click on an agency name to view the agency's profile.

Adding or Editing an Initiative

To add or edit an initiative:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Needs and click Initiatives to open the initiatives management area. You will see a table of all existing initiatives.
  2. Click Add New Initiative to create an initiative.
    To edit an existing initiative, click on the initiative title in the table of initiatives.
  3. Edit or complete all applicable fields, shown below.
    FieldDescription
    Status Select Active to activate the initiative.
    TitleType a title for the initiative. This title will show up in the initiative banner, as well as in the initiative search.
    ColorSpecify a color for the initiative banner. 
    Text ColorSpecify a text color for the initiative banner.
    IconSelect an icon to be shown on the initiative banner.
    DescriptionType the initiative description to be shown on the initiative banner.
    MessagesClick here to learn more about the initiative messages that can be dropped into the thank you, reminder, and response notifications.

  4. Click Create Initiative (or Update Initiative, as applicable).

The initiative is now displayed in the table of initiatives.

Note: Note that there is no way to enter a date range for an initiative. This is because initiatives are not associated with particular dates, and they do not have an assigned start or end date. The needs within an initiative, however, can be associated with dates. Once all of an initiative's needs expire, the initiative can no longer be viewed by volunteers.

Adding Custom Questions To an Initiative

You can add custom questions for each initiative on your site. Custom questions appear on the need response form for both individuals and teams, along with any custom response questions you've added. There is no limit to how many custom questions you can add per initiative.

Custom questions are added from the Initiative Questions portion of the initiatives-management page (Volunteerism > Needs, Initiatives). To learn more about creating custom questions, see the article Collecting Data with Custom Questions.

Volunteers' answers to custom initiative questions can be seen in the following places:

  • Response exports from the site manager panel (Volunteerism > Responses)
  • Response exports from the agency management area (under Needs)

Associating an Initiative with a Need

The task of associating initiatives with needs falls to the site manager unless your site settings allow agency managers to select initiatives for their posted needs.

You can associate an initiative with a single need, or you can associate an initiative with multiple needs in one step.

Adding a Single Need to an Initiative

To connect an initiative to an individual need:

  1. Go to Volunteerism > Needs and create a new need or select one to edit.
  2. On the form for posting or editing a need, select an initiative from the Initiative dropdown.
  3. Once you've entered or updated any other need information, click Update Need (or Create Need, as applicable).

Note: Click here for more detailed instructions on adding a need to an initiative.

If the agency manager has the option to select an initiative, they will have the same Initiative dropdown on their need-posting form.

Adding Multiple Needs to an Initiative

 To add multiple needs to an initiative:

  1. Go to Volunteerism > Needs to view the table of needs on your site.
  2. Select multiple needs by clicking the check box next to each need you want to add.
  3. From the Actions for Selected Needs dropdown, select Assign or Remove Initiative.
  4. Select the initiative from the dropdown that appears.
  5. Click Update Initiative.

Note: Click here for more detailed instructions for adding multiple needs to an initiative.

Sharing an Initiative

Once you have created an initiative, an initiative link appears in the top right-hand corner of the Create/Update Need page. (Click image for a larger view.)

Once you've copied that link to your clipboard, you can share the initiative however you like. Here are a few ideas:

  • By putting it into a spotlight
  • By sending it out in an email blast
  • By posting it to social media
  • By including it in a newsletter

Note: By default, the initiative link will display only the public needs associated with the initiative. If a volunteer belongs to a user group that has been assigned a private need, the initiative link will give them a view of both the public needs and the private needs that are assigned to their user group. See our FAQ on initiatives, private needs, and user groups for more information.

Shared Initiatives: Volunteer Perspective

If the initiative includes public, active, non-expired needs, then visitors to your site will be able to find the initiative in a search from the page listing your site's needs. (Click image for a larger view.)

When viewing needs for that initiative, the viewer can see the unique initiative banner, as shown in the example below. (Click image for a larger view.)

Note: If the initiative includes private needs, those needs will appear with a "lock" icon next to the title. The only users who can view private needs are (1) those with a direct link to the private need and (2) those who belong to a user group that has been assigned the private need. See the FAQs on private needs, initiatives, and user groups for more information.

The initiative banner is also visible above the need description for any need that has been assigned to it. (Click image for a larger view.)

Emailing Initiative Participants

You can use the email blast tool to email both agency managers and volunteers who are participating in an initiative.

To filter the email list by agency managers who have needs within an initiative, run a filter on Agency > Initiatives > has used initiative, and then select the initiative.

To filter the email blast tool by volunteers who have responded to a need within an initiative, run a filter on Volunteer > Initiative > has participated in, and then select the initiative.

For more information on using the email blast, click here.

Cloning an Initiative

When an initiative is cloned:

  • The banner settings, description, template messages, and initiative questions are cloned.
  • The title is cloned, with the word "copy" at the end in parentheses.
  • The associated needs are not cloned.

Note: The cloned initiative will have "(copy)" in the title. You'll need to edit titles accordingly.

To clone an initiative:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Needs and click Initiatives to open the initiatives management area. You will see a table of all existing initiatives.
  2. Click on the title of the initiative you wish to clone.
  3. Click the Clone Initiative button, which will be located near the bottom of the page, on the right-hand side.
     
  4. Click Yes to confirm that you want to clone the initiative. A Create Initiative page opens, with all of the fields completed. The title of the cloned initiative will include "(copy)".
  5. Make changes to the fields as applicable. For example, remove "(copy)" from the title and update the title as needed.
  6. Click Create Initiative to save your changes.

Note: The new, cloned initiative is not created in the database until you have clicked Create Initiative.

Deactivating an Initiative

You can deactivate an initiative at any time. When you deactivate an initiative, several things happen:

  • The initiative banner no longer appears in the volunteer view.
  • The initiative no longer appears in volunteer searches.

A deactivated initiative will still show up in reports that include responses and hours that were submitted for needs that were, at the time, associated with the initiative.

Note: It is not necessary to deactivate an initiative whose needs have expired. The initiative is no longer shown in the volunteer view once its needs are in the past.

To deactivate an initiative:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Needs and click Initiatives to open the initiatives management area. You will see a table of all existing initiatives.
  2. Click on the title of the initiative to deactivate.
  3. Once the initiative page opens, scroll to the bottom and click Delete Initiative.
  4. Click Yes to confirm. 

Initiative Reports

Initiatives are included in many of the reports featured in the Reports area of your site manager panel. In addition, you'll find two reports that focus solely on initiatives: the Need Responses by Initiative Report and the Initiative Summary Report.

Need Responses by Initiative

In this report, you can select an active initiative to view all responses to the needs within that initiative. This report only displays active responses to needs that were associated with the initiative when the responses were made. Is shows the following information for each need listed:

  • Agency
  • Need title
  • Need start date
  • Need end date
  • Volunteer's name
  • Volunteer's email address
  • Volunteer's phone number
  • Need ZIP code
  • Team

An export of this report includes the following additional information:

  • Agency ID
  • Need ID
  • User ID
  • Response ID
  • Team ID
  • Need address
  • Impact area
  • User group and the volunteer associated with their response
  • Date of need response
  • Team description
  • Team leader name
  • Team leader email

Initiative Summary Report 

The Initiative Summary displays basic data for your site's initiatives and can be used to compare initiatives at a glance. You can limit the data to the responses added and the hours that took place during a date range you specify. The report shows:

  • Initiative ID, title, and status (active or inactive)
  • The date the initiative was added
  • The number of active needs (including expired)
  • The number of active current needs (non-expired)
  • The total responses to needs within the initiative
  • The total number of users who responded to needs within the initiative (This number will differ from total responses if a single person had more than one response.)
  • The total of hours that were submitted, with hours separated into statuses (Entered, Pending, Approved, Denied)

    Note: Click here to learn more about hours statuses.

You can select a date range of the report (default is the past month). Click Go to view the results, and click the Export icon to export the report to a spreadsheet.