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.
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.
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. 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.
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, Custom Shifts, and Recurring Shifts. For needs associated with a particular date, users can search by date, and also by "soonest first."
Note: For all duration types, you must include the number of hours the volunteer is expected to work. This number is used by the Volunteer Check-in tool to calculate hours of volunteers who forget to check out. For all duration types except Ongoing, you can enter a need capacity (i.e., the number of volunteers needed) and time(s) and indicating a date after which people can no longer respond. Click here to learn more.
Note: Volunteers can check in to and out of any need, as long the number of hours for the need is provided. Self Check-in is currently available for shift needs only. Click here for more information.
Capacity If applicable, enter the number of volunteer slots available for this need. Require Background Check? Follow the instructions on your screen if you want to require background checks through this need using Verified Volunteers. 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. Qualifications (Not available on all sites.) Select any qualifications that volunteers must meet in order to respond to this need.
Note: Volunteers must meet all selected qualifications. Click here to learn more about 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 Select the applicable impact area.
Note: If your site does not use impact areas, then your need-posting form will not include this field. If this field is included, it is required.
Interests & Abilities Select interests 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 clusters that apply.
Note: This option will be available only if your site uses clusters. This field, if present, is not required.
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. Additional notification recipients will also be notified when volunteers unregister from the need. 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 File to select the waiver to upload. Acceptable file formats are .doc, .docx, and .pdf.
Note: 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.
- Click Create Need.
Note: All needs, including privacy status and initiative selections, can be overridden by a site manager.
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."
Note: For detailed instructions on posting shifts for a need (custom shifts or recurring shifts), click here.
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.
Note: This notification is not sent for changes to fields other than the ones listed in Step 4 above.
- Click Update Need.
Notes: 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.
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.
Note: To view an inactive need, click the Show Inactive button (shown in the image above).
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.
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.
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 or Runs Until), 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!