Volunteer Get Connected: App Features and Functionality for Site Managers
Introducing Volunteer Get Connected! We’ve created a mobile device app that makes it easy for your volunteers to keep track of their volunteer schedules, check-in to opportunities, and add hours. The app works with your existing Connect software, so it’s a seamless addition to your volunteer experience. In this article, we discuss the primary functions and break down the need-to-know features:
Who is the app for
Volunteer Get Connected is exclusively for volunteers. Don’t worry, site managers and agency managers will benefit, too! It’s now easier than ever for volunteers to keep track of their scheduled opportunities and log hours. Our goal in creating the app is to decrease the time site managers spend on logging hours for their volunteers, increase volunteer attendance, and improve data accuracy.
What are the essential functions of the app?
The app serves three main functions:
- Volunteers can check in to and out of opportunity shifts.
- Volunteers can view their shift schedules.
- Volunteers can add and view their volunteer hours (if they did not utilize check-in).
Let’s discuss these functions further:
- Volunteers can check in:
- Volunteers can check in and out of scheduled opportunities through the Volunteer Get Connected app. (Note that volunteers will have previously signed up for these opportunities through your Connect site). When they check into an opportunity, their hours are logged in your Connect system.
- Volunteers can view their schedule shifts:
- Volunteers with existing accounts can view opportunities they registered for using their Connect log-in email and password.
Note: Volunteers must respond to opportunities through the Connect platform. Volunteers cannot perform this action through the app.
- New users can create an account with an existing Connect site through the app.
- Volunteers can add their hours.
- Volunteer hours are added to your Connect system when the volunteer checks in and out of an opportunity using the app.
- Volunteers can add hours and assign to an opportunity manually using the “Add Hours” option.
How will app users find my site?
The app can locate any existing Connect site. Volunteers can sign into multiple Connect sites within the app. App users will access your site in the left-hand drawer menu, where they can select the user’s image, which leads to the Manage Sites menu. To add a new Connect site, users select Add Account. From here, users can choose to:
- Log in to an existing account by selecting Log In
- Create a new account by selecting Sign Up
If users select the Sign Up option, the app will display two options:
- Show sites near me: The app employs the user’s mobile device location settings to display volunteer sites near the user’s location. Users can then select the appropriate site
- Search for sites by name: Users enter the name of the site. The app will provide matches based on entered text. Users can then select the appropriate site.
If the user chooses to sign up to a new Connect site, they will be prompted to create an account. Users will enter the information your site requires on step one of the new registration process:
When should volunteers use the app?
The app is an easy-to-use tool for volunteers to view their personal volunteering schedule and check in and out of an opportunity shift. But there are many instances where volunteers will still need to use your Connect site to carry out certain actions. The table below illustrates actions that can be performed (by volunteers) using the app, and actions that can only be performed through your Connect site:
Check in to and check out of a volunteer shift
Add hours (associated with need and individual)
Receive location-based notifications on mobile device
Add a site to view schedule
Register as a new user
View opportunity schedule
Share an opportunity
Search for new opportunities
Respond to new opportunities
When should site managers use their Connect site?
It’s important to note that the app is for your volunteers. The app does not have a manager view and site setting capabilities. You will use your Connect site as you would normally.
How do volunteers check in using the app
There are two ways users can check in:
- Via the Schedule screen
- Via the location-based notification
To check in via the Schedule screen:
The user’s list of opportunities will appear on the Schedule screen. From here:
- Users select Check In for the desired shift.
Note: The Check In option will appear on any future, or ongoing opportunity.
- Users enter a check-in date and time.
To check in via the location-based notification:
- If volunteers are within 100 meters of the site location (within 2 hours of the shift start), volunteers will receive a notification on their mobile device. Users will be prompted to check-in.
- Volunteers select the notification, and are taken to the check in form. From here, they will select Check In.
Volunteers can receive notifications to check in for a shift when they are: (1) detected near the volunteer location and (2) within 2 hours of the shift start time.
They will also receive a notification prompting them to check out with they leave the volunteer location.
These notifications appear on the user’s mobile device. When clicked, users are taken to the Volunteer Get Connected app, where a Check In form will appear.
Important: App users must turn on notifications and location for the Connect app in phone settings in order to engage this function.
How can volunteers add hours through the app?
Hours are added one of two ways:
- When a volunteer checks in to and out of an opportunity, volunteer hours are now associated with this user and the opportunity.
- Users can add hours through the app using the “Add Hours” menu.
- Volunteers can choose to add hours associated with an opportunity available on the site in which users are logged into.
- Volunteers can add individual hours not associated with a scheduled opportunity.
Where do volunteer hours go once added?
When a volunteer logs hours through the app, their hours will appear on your Connect site located in the Manager view. These hours will appear in the same list as those added through your Connect site. To find these hours on your Connect site:
- Select the Manager view.
- Select Volunteerism in the left-hand drawer menu.
- Select Hours. You can now view and approve all volunteer hours, located under the Opportunity Hours tab.
How do site managers approve hours logged through the app?
You can approve app hours the same way you would approve hours logged through your Connect site. Site managers approve hours logged through the app in the Manager view of your Connect site. Simply follow the steps above to locate the Opportunity Hours page.
Note: Hours logged through the app are given the default status as determined by your site settings. If “auto-approve” is turned on in your Connect site settings, then hours logged through the app and your Connect site are approved automatically. If auto-approve is turned off, hours are given “pending” status until approved by the site manager. For more about the hours status and approval, check out this article.
Users can choose to view the Dashboard, located in the left-hand drawer menu. The Dashboard displays the following items:
- “Volunteer hours this month”
- “Total lifetime hours”
- “Lifetime impact value”
- “Top jobs”
Note: The volunteer dashboard will update whether hours are logged through the Connect site or the Volunteer Get Connected app.
The volunteer schedule is populated by the opportunities that the volunteer responded to through your Connect site.
Opportunities are organized by date. Users can scroll through the schedule to view past and future opportunities. Opportunities labeled “Ongoing” or “Runs Until” appear together and are located under the heading “Ongoing and Runs Until” within the schedule list. (When a site or agency manager creates a new opportunity through your Connect site, they assign a “Need Duration Type.” For more information, check out this article.)
Important: Volunteers cannot respond to opportunities through the app.
Note: To view opportunities associated with other Connect sites, users must switch sites using the left-hand drawer menu.
Just like when a new volunteer registers on your Connect site, the same custom questions appear when a new user registers on your app. Custom hours questions appear when a volunteer checks out of an opportunity. Finally, reflection questions will appear when: (1) a volunteer chooses the “add hours” option (located in the left-hand drawer menu) or (2) when a volunteer checks out of an opportunity where hours are associated with a user group. Note that the reflection questions will only appear when the site manager adds questions to a user group in the Connect site settings.
If your site employs Service Learning Module, the app will also prompt users to answer reflection questions after logging hours. Check out this article for more on reflection questions.
Important: Custom questions must be set-up by the site manager in Connect site settings.
An App for All!
While the app is all about your volunteers, site managers benefit, too! The app improves your ability to track volunteer hours and expedite the check-in process. Volunteer Get Connected is easy to use and engaging, so that you can provide an even better experience for your volunteers!