A user group is a tool for grouping volunteers, their need responses, and their volunteer hours under a single "umbrella." User groups make it easy for organizations and other groups to track volunteer responses and hours submitted on their group's behalf.

A user group may be a company, club, church, or other organization whose members volunteer as agents of their larger group. It can also be a group of selected volunteers who have expertise or training in an area (for example, volunteers who are veterinarians or who are qualified to prepare tax returns).

As a site manager, you have several capabilities regarding user groups:

  • Access to data (such as need-response and hour information) attributable to a group.
  • Ability to assign needs privately to one or more selected user groups.
  • Ability to create, edit, and delete user groups.
  • Some degree of control over who can be admitted into a user group.

This article is a guide to working with user groups on your Connect site. It covers the following topics:

Preview: The Volunteer Perspective

Volunteers can access their user groups from their My User Groups link in their profile menu.

Once they've clicked to view needs for a specific user group, they'll be taken to a page that features their user group banner (which includes a user group icon, title, and description) and any needs that have been assigned to the group. Here's an example of a user group that has been set up for students taking a college art course:

Accessing the User-Group Management Area

To access the user-group management area, go to Volunteerism > User Groups in your site manager panel's left-hand menu.

The Manage User Groups page displays a table listing all existing user groups on your site. You can view the following information in the table:

Each user group is assigned an ID number when it is created.
Title of the user group.
Number of people that are in the user group. See Adding Members to a User Group to learn how someone can become a member of a user group.
Statuses are active, pending, and inactive. To view user groups by status, click the up/down arrows in the column header.

Allowed Domains
Email domains that allow a user automatic acceptance into a user group. You specify a domain when creating or editing the user group.
The site on which the user group originated. Unless your site uses a Galaxy Link to share data with another site, all user groups will display the same domain—yours.
Join Link
 Click the Copy icon in this column to copy the "join link" to your clipboard. When a user clicks on the "Join Link" for a user group, they are immediately added to that group.

Reporting Link
Click the Copy icon in this column to copy the "reporting link" to your clipboard. This link takes a user to the user-group report, which shows hours, responses, impact value, and other important data for the past six months.

The ID, Title, Members, and Status columns are shown by default. Use the Table Filter to show additional columns or hide columns from view.

Note: If your site has the Service Learning Module (SLM), the User Group table will include columns for type, block, goal, approval, end date, members, leaders, and agencies. See Setting Up an SLM Course to learn more.

Creating and Editing a User Group

To create or edit a user group:

  1. Access the user-group management area by going to Volunteerism > User Groups in your manager panel.
  2. To edit a user group, click on the user group title. To create a new user group, click the Add New User Group button.
  3. Complete or edit all applicable fields.
    StatusSelect Active to make the user group accessible to the volunteers who will be assigned to it
    TitleType the user group title. This should be the name of the company or other group represented.
    DescriptionThe user group description appears on the front end of the site in the user group banner.
    Allowed DomainsIf you enter a domain (such as @galaxydigital.com), then any new users who join your site will be automatically added to the user group.
    IconFor the user group banner (which is displayed in the volunteer view, on the page that lists all needs assigned to the group), select the icon that will appear with the course title.
    ColorSelect or enter the hex code (color) for the user group banner.
    Text ColorSelect whether to have white or black text for the user group banner.
  4. Click the button to Create or Update the user group as applicable.

You are now ready to add members to the user group.

Note: If your site has SLM, you will have additional options for user groups (courses). See Setting Up an SLM Course for more information.

Adding Members to a User Group

There are several ways for a volunteer to join a user group on your Connect site:

  • A site manager adds them manually, either individually or in bulk.
  • They click a "join link" that is provided to them by a site manager or (in SLM) a user group leader.
  • They log in or sign up using a user group's allowed domain.

Note: The user import tool can be used to assign new or existing users to a user group in bulk. For more information, contact Customer Care.

Adding an Individual Volunteer to a User Group

To add a user to a user group:

  1. From Volunteerism > User Groups, click on the title of an existing group to open it.
  2. Scroll to the User Group Members area at the bottom of the page. If the group has any existing members, they will be shown in a table here.
  3. In the Add New Member box on the right-hand side of the page, begin typing the first or last name of the volunteer you want to add to the user group. As shown in the example below, the volunteer's name should pop up.
  4. Select the volunteer from the name(s) provided so that their name appears in the field.
  5. Click Add New Member.

The volunteer's name will appear in the User Group Members table at the bottom of the page.

Note: To remove a member from a user group, click the applicable X under the Options column in the list of user-group members. Volunteers also have the option to remove themselves from a user group.

Note: You can also add or remove a user-group member by going to that volunteer's profile (from Volunteerism > Users) clicking User Groups, and adding or removing as needed.

Adding Multiple Volunteers to a User Group

Click here to view a video on adding volunteers to a user group in bulk.

You can use the user filter to add multiple volunteers to a user group in bulk. For this method to work, the volunteers must all have a profile element in common: the same email domain, the same company, the same interest, etc.

To add volunteers in bulk to a user group:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Users to open the user-management area.
  2. Run a filter to narrow the list of volunteers to those you wish to add to the user group. In this example, the site manager is running a filter for all volunteers whose email addresses end in "@galaxydigital.com."
  3. Click Submit.
  4. From the Select an Action dropdown, select Add/Remove User Group.
  5. From the dropdowns that appear, select Add to the following user group, and then select the user group. In this example, the site manager has selected Galaxy Digital.

    Note: If the user group does not appear in the dropdown, go to Volunteerism > User Groups to ensure that the group is active. If you have not created the user group yet, or if it is still pending or has been made inactive, it won't appear in this dropdown.

  6. Click Update User Groups.

The selected users are now members of the user group. No email is sent automatically to inform them of this change, so if you want to let them know, you can use the email blast with the filter User Data > User Group > belongs to.

Note: You can also use the process described above to bulk-remove volunteers from a user group.

Accessing and Sharing the "Join Link"

Once you've created and saved a user group, your Connect system automatically generates a "join link" that you can copy, paste, and share. There are two ways that you can access a user group's "join link"; both involve copying the "join link" to your clipboard.

  • From Volunteerism > User Groups, click on the title of an existing group to open it. Next, click the Copy Join Link button in the top right-hand corner of the page.
  • Go to Volunteerism > User Groups, and use the Table Filter as needed to ensure that the user-group table includes a Join Link column. Click Copy.

Once you have copied the "join link" to your clipboard, you can paste it into a message to any volunteer who should be in the user group. Once they click the link, they'll be automatically added to the user group.

Specifying an "Allowed Domain"

This feature is particularly useful if companies have been set up as user groups. If a volunteer signs up for your site using an allowed email domain (such as @galaxydigital.com) for a user group, they will automatically be added to that user group.

To specify an allowed domain:

  1. From Volunteerism > User Groups, click on the title of an existing group to open it.
  2. Scroll down to the Allowed Domains field and type the domain.

    Note: It is not necessary to include the "@" symbol in the domain; it will be added automatically. Separate multiple domains by a comma.

  3. Click Update User Groups.

Note: Allowed domains are not restrictive. Anyone can join a user group as long as they have a link, regardless of their email domain.

If a volunteer's email address already has the allowed domain but they were registered on your Connect site before you set up the allowed domain, they will not automatically be added. You either need to add them manually or send them the "join link." You can use the Email Blast tool to send an email with the join link to everyone on your site who has the same email domain.

Note: If multiple user groups have an "allowed domain" in common, a volunteer with that domain will be added to all applicable user groups.

Assigning a Need to a User Group

When creating or editing a need, you can select to make it visible only to certain user groups. If the need is private, no one but the user group(s) assigned will be able to view and respond to those needs.

Note: Once the need has been assigned to a user group, user group members can view it in the general list of needs or by going to their My User Groups area and clicking to view their group's assigned needs. 

You can assign a need to a user group from either the need-management area or the user group management area. You can also assign multiple needs to a user group at once.

From the Need-Management Area

If you are in the Volunteerism > Needs area:

  1. Select the need that you want to assign to a user group.
  2. Scroll down to the User Groups table.
  3. Select a user group from the User Groups dropdown and click Add User Group.

Note: If you want the need to be visible only to the user group(s) assigned, you'll need to mark the need as private when creating or editing it.

From the User Group-Management Area

If you are in the Volunteerism > User Groups area:

  1. Select the user group that you want to assign to a need.
  2. Scroll down to the User Group Needs table at the bottom of the page.
  3. Begin typing the name of the need into the field above the table, on the right side of your screen, and select the need when it appears.
  4. Click Add New Need.

Assigning Needs to a User Group in Bulk

If you want to assign multiple needs to a user group, you can do so in just a couple of steps:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Needs.
  2. Select the needs to assign to the user group by marking the applicable check boxes.
  3. From the Actions for Selected Needs dropdown, select Assign or Remove User Group.
  4. Select the applicable user group from the dropdown that appears.
  5. Click Update User Groups.

Note that you also have the following options:

  • Make Private and Assign to a User Group - Make multiple needs private and assign them to a user group in a single step.
  •  Remove a Need from a User Group - Once you have selected Assign or Remove User Group, you'll see the option to remove a need from a user group.

To learn more about bulk manipulation of needs, check out this article. You can also view this video on assigning needs to a user group in bulk.

Associating a Need Response with a User Group

As a site manager, you can add need responses on behalf of your site's volunteers. When adding a need response, you can also choose to associate the response with a user group so that the response, and any associated volunteer hours, is reflected in the user's records and in the user group resume.

Instructions for adding a need response are provided here. Note that, once you select the volunteer via the User Lookup tool, a user-group dropdown appears, and you can select the applicable user group at that time.

Note: When responding to a need, volunteers can associate their responses with a user group if they belong to one. See A Volunteer's Guide to User Groups for more information.

Applying a Benchmark to a User Group

You can reward members of a user group by creating a benchmark just for them. Volunteers who meet the benchmark criteria will have a user-group badge added to their volunteer profile and resume. In this example, the site manager has created a special "Galaxy Digital All-Star Volunteer" benchmark for Galaxy Digital employees who submit 500 volunteer hours in 2017.

Note that both the volunteer and the response must be associated with the user group in order to qualify for the user-group benchmark and badge. If the volunteer belongs to a user group but their need responses aren't associated with it, your Connect system will not count the related hours toward the benchmark.

For more information on creating and managing benchmarks, click here.

Deactivating a User Group

To delete a user group from your site:

  1. From Volunteerism > User Groups, click on the title of an existing group to open it.
  2. From the Status column at the top of the Update User Group page, select Inactive.
  3. Click Update User Group.

Once a user group is deactivated, it shows up in faded text in the table of user groups.

Importing a User Group

Galaxy Digital's import tool includes the ability to import the following user-group information:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Allowed domains

To import user groups or get more information, contact Customer Care. To learn more about Connect site imports, check our Imports FAQ and our Policy for Data Imports.

User Group Reporting

Hours by User Group Report

Accessed from the Users section of the Reports area, this report displays the following user-group data for a selected date range:

  • User's first and last name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Hours entered
  • Hours pending
  • Hours approved

User Group Report

The User Group Report is a front-end report that is available to all members of all user groups. It uses attractive, user-friendly graphics to convey the following information for the entire user group for the past six months:

  • Total number of volunteer hours submitted
  • Overall impact value
  • Number of members
  • Total number of needs to which the group responded
  • Number of volunteer hours by month
  • Number of need responses by month
  • Number of need responses by primary interest of the need

    Note: Primary interest is determined by the agency manager when they post the need.

  • List of needs to which the group responded
  • List of agencies with the need responses are associated

If the user group has been assigned one or more initiatives, the report includes an option to view all of the above data by initiative.

To access it:

  1. You must be logged in as a member of a user group,
  2. From the profile dropdown, select My User Groups.
  3. In the My User Groups area that is displayed, click the applicable Copy button in the Reporting Link column.
    This action saves the report URL to your clipboard.
  4. Open a new tab and copy the report URL into the address bar.
  5. Press Enter.

Once you're viewing the report, you can select an initiative from the Filter by Initiative dropdown in order to view stats by initiative.

Top 50 User Group Prospects

If your site has multiple volunteers who share a common email domain (such as walmart.com), those users may be good candidates for a user group based on that domain. This is particularly true if the domain is for a local company or other organization that may be interested in tracking their volunteerism. The Top 50 User Group Prospects report, located in the Users area of your Reports page, provides an easy way to see what the most common domains on your site are.

This report lists the most common email domains on your site and shows how many users have that domain. It does not include domains that are already associated with a user group.

The Volunteer Experience

The following articles focus on the volunteer experience of user groups:

  • User Groups for Volunteers - Covers the basics of belonging to a user group: viewing user groups, responding to a need as part of a user group, accessing the user group report, and leaving a user group.
  • About User Groups: Volunteer FAQs - Frequently asked questions and answers for volunteers participating in user groups.