This article covers how to post a need, how to edit an existing need, and how to deactivate a need. It also provides information about the notification you receive whenever someone responds to a need and provides some information about using volunteer check-in and volunteer waitlists for needs.
Important: Your site may use an alternative term for need, such as opportunity. This article uses the Connect site default term of need.
How to Post a Need
To post a need on a Connect site:
- Log in and go to your agency or program management area by clicking the My Agency (or My Program) button at the top of your screen. If you manage more than one agency, click My Agencies (or My Programs) and select from the list provided. By default, you will be taken to the Edit tab of your manager view.
- Click Needs.
- Click Add New Need to open the Create Need form.
- Complete the fields in the form. Fields are described below.
Field Description Title Enter a need title. Description Enter a need description. If training or a background check is required, you can include that information here. Initiative (not available on all sites) Select the initiative, if applicable, with which to associate the need. View a video on Initiative Need Questions. Privacy Select whether to make the need public (available to all site visitors) or private (available only to an assigned user group, or via a private link). Duration Select a duration. Options are Ongoing, Runs Until, Happens On, Multi-date, Custom Shifts, and Recurring Shifts. Capacity If applicable, enter the number of volunteer slots available for this need. Require Background Check? (not available on all sites) Follow the instructions on your screen if you want to require background checks through this need using Sterling Volunteers. Allow Team Registration? Indicate whether you do not want to allow team registrations, you do want to allow team registrations, or you want to allow only team registrations. When searching needs, users can filter needs by which opportunities accept (or don't accept) team registrations. Qualifications (Not available on all sites.) Select any qualifications that volunteers must meet in order to view or respond to this need.
Note: Volunteers must meet all selected qualifications.
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. Impact Area (not available on all sites) Select the applicable impact area. Interests/Skills & Abilities Select interests or skills related to the need. Your selections will help the site to match up this need with potential volunteers. Users can also search needs by interest. Clusters Select all tags or clusters that apply. (Not available on all sites; some sites may override the word "cluster" with a different term.) Additional Notification Recipients To have certain people copied on all responses to this need, turn this option On and type each recipient's email address on a separate line. Recipients will also be notified when volunteers unregister from the need. An additional notification recipient is not required to have a Connect account. Waiver If a waiver is added, a volunteer must indicate that he or she agrees to it before they can complete their need response. Click Choose Fileto select the waiver to upload. Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx, and .pdf.
Notes: (1) If a volunteer has not responded to the need and wishes to check in to the need using the Volunteer Check-in tool, the waiver (if one has been added) will be required for check-in. (2) Some sites may override the word "waiver" with a different term.
- Click Create Need.
A Note on Runs Until, Happens On, Multi-date, and Shift Needs
If you indicate that a need will be something other than Ongoing, you'll be shown fields for entering more information.
The additional fields (Capacity, Hours, and Registration Closed Date) are optional.
- If you are accepting a limited number of volunteers, enter the number of volunteers needed in the Capacity field. The number of available volunteers will be displayed on the public site; as each volunteer responds, the number of available volunteers displayed will decrease. In this example, there are 20 volunteer spots remaining.
- Once the capacity has been met, the need will be displayed as "full," and volunteers will no longer be able to see or respond to it. Those who have responded to the need will still be able to access it via their profile or a saved link.
- If the need is going to take place at a certain time of day, you can enter the time(s) in the Hours field. This information is shown on the need information page.
- If you want to indicate a cut-off date for registration (after which volunteers can no longer respond), indicate that date in the Registration Closed Date field. Users will still be able to access the need information, but they will not be able to respond after 12:00 a.m. on the date registration closes. The need itself will be displayed as "Closed."
How to Edit a Need
To edit an existing need:
- In your manager view, click Needs. All of your agency or program's existing needs are displayed in a table under Manage Needs.
Note: Expired needs are shown in faded text. To show or hide expired needs, click the applicable Expired Needs button above the table. To sort needs by ID, title, date, date type, date added, date updated, or status, click on a column heading. Click Table Filter to add or remove columns.
- Click on a need to edit it (or click the Edit link beneath the need title).
- Make any changes needed.
- Optional: If you changed the need description, date, time, or address/city/state/ZIP and wish to notify registered volunteers of the change, mark the Notify respondents of this update check box.
This notification is not sent for changes to fields other than the ones listed in Step 4 above.
- Click Update Need.
Click here to learn how to use the "Clone Need" feature to post different shifts of the same need. If you clicked to notify respondents of the update, everyone who has already responded to the need will be sent the "Need Update Notification" message. Click here to learn more about automated notification messages. To learn more about updating shift needs, see the article titled Opportunity Scheduling: Posting Needs with Shifts.
How to Deactivate a Need
When a need is deactivated, it is no longer displayed on your site, and volunteers can no longer respond to it.
To deactivate a need:
- In your manager view, click Needs. All of your agency or program's existing needs are displayed in a table under Manage Needs. (See image above)
- Check the box to the left of each need(s) you want to delete.
- Click on the "trash can" icon in the Actions row above the table.
- Click Yes to confirm that you are deactivating the need.
To view an inactive need, click the Show Inactive button (shown in the image above).
Notification of Need Response
When a volunteer responds to one of your needs, an automated notification goes out to your agency/program managers and to anyone listed as an additional notification recipient. This notification shows the need title, volunteer name and email address, and any details and additional notes that the volunteer provided on the need response form.
The volunteer also receives a notification confirming their need response.
Using Volunteer Check-in
With Volunteer Check-in, volunteers can check into and out of needs, and their hours are logged automatically based on their check-in and check-out times. Two different tools are available for check-in and check-out:
- Agency/Program Tool - Located in your management area; you can check the volunteer in, or volunteers can check themselves in. If hours have not been specified for the need, you'll be required to enter the number of hours before activating the check-in feature.
- Self Check-in - Accessible to volunteers via email or in the Need Responses area of their profile; available for shift needs only.
Click the links above to learn more about how each check-in tool is used.
Using Volunteer Waitlists
If your site has enabled the waitlist feature, you will be able to view which volunteers have been waitlisted for which needs.
Viewing the Volunteer Waitlist
To view the volunteer waitlist for a need:
- Go to the Needs area of your site manager panel.
- Click on the applicable Edit link for a need.
- When the posting page for that need opens, scroll down to the Waitlist table at the bottom of the page. The table displays a waitlisted volunteer's name and email address, the date the volunteer was added to the waitlist, the shift they're waitlisted for, and the number of open spots. Note that you can export the waitlist to a spreadsheet as needed.
Note: If the need is a non-shift need (i.e., it has a duration of Happens On, Runs Until, or Multi-Date), the shift time may not reflect the actual time of the shift.
Moving a Volunteer from "Waitlisted" to "Registered"
When a spot opens up for a need, the waitlisted volunteers will automatically be notified five minutes after the spot opens. The spot is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Note: A spot may open up if a volunteer unregisters from a need, or if an agency or program manager or site manager manually removes a response.
Once a spot is available, you have the option to convert someone's waitlist status to a registered response. In the image below, note that there is an open spot for the need displayed:
If a spot is available, the Options column includes a "plus" icon.
To convert the waitlisted item to a response, click the plus sign, and then click Yes to confirm. The volunteer will immediately be notified that they are now registered for the shift, and they will be expected to show up at the scheduled date and time.
Rather watch the movie? Check out this video on how to manage waitlists as an agency or program manager!