Automated Notifications are designed to make communicating with your agencies and volunteers simpler and more efficient. Let's learn how to best set-up and use this feature for United Way: 

Why and Where?

Automated Notifications are prebuilt, templated messages that get sent to your United Way volunteers. These messages are triggered when someone takes a specific action on your site, such as responding to a need. While the messages are automated, you can edit the existing notification template so that it reads like a message personalized to your people.

Several notifications are targeted to volunteers, like the welcome message that goes to new volunteers when they join your site.

The notifications can also go to agency managers, such as one that lets them know when a volunteer responds to one of their needs.

And we haven’t forgotten about you. Notifications will come to you as a Site Manager when you need to be notified of something, like when an item is pending your approval.

To get to the notification templates, click Communication in your site manager panel, select Notifications, and choose the notification you want to edit.

Search and Sort

Once you are on the Notifications page, you’ll see lots of templates to choose from. 

  1. You can search by template name, description, or recipient. In this image, we have searched for templates related to need responses.

  2. You can sort the list by clicking the arrows by any of the columns.

  3. The “thumbs up” is where you click to download the latest version of a template. Be careful: clicking this icon overrides anything you’ve done to customize the template.

Customizing Your Automated Notifications

You can edit the content of a template to bring some of your own flair - or to emphasize the unique perspective of your United Way. For example, you could:

  • include stats from a successful large-scale event

  • announce new board members

  • celebrate new agencies joining your site

  • remind volunteers or agencies of the mission of your local United Way

  • (In the next tab we talk about the most common notifications. You might think of ways to incorporate your United Way ideas in those notifications.)

 Editing a notification only requires a few steps:

  1. In order for the template to send, the status must be active. You can make any template inactive to prevent it from being sent out.

  2. Use your unique voice to grab the attention of your users in the email subject line.

  3. You can completely customize the body of the message. You'll find some default language already there, but adding a personal touch makes these templates more engaging and readable for your users. Utilize the text editor to add photos, links, and play around with bold, italics, or even text color to emphasize your point.

  4. Template keys allow you to pull in some information about the recipient of the email.

  5. Remember to click Submit to save your hard work.

The Most Important Notification Templates

Here are five of the most commonly used notification templates:

New User Welcome Message

This notification helps you make a good first impression. Welcome your new volunteers with your United Way’s unique voice, and help them feel connected right away. You might want to add some messaging around what your United Way is doing in your community.

Need Response Thank You

When a volunteer responds to a need, it's important to send them details and express sincere gratitude. Do both in this template by keeping basic content and adding your own notes.

Need Response Follow-Up

The need response follow-up is sent out to those who have volunteered for a need that occurred on a specific date. Ask about the volunteers' experience, give them one last hearty thank you, and celebrate their volunteerism. This email goes out one day after the date of the need or shift. (It is not sent for needs with a duration of Runs Until or Ongoing, because those duration types aren't date-specific.) 

Volunteer Weekly Digest

Volunteers want to know what needs and agencies fit their passions. This weekly email is sent to users to inform them of recently added postings that they might be interested in, if they have fanned an organization. You can add additional details or tips that give this a United Way feel. Make it something that volunteers look forward to receiving every week.

Upcoming Need Reminder

This reminder notification goes out to a respondent one week and one day before they are scheduled to volunteer. This template is sure to make a volunteer feel welcome and also provides a helpful reminder about the great work they will be doing. (As you might expect, this reminder only works for needs that happen on a specific date.)

Links to Articles

Great! You've finished this course. Return to the main United Way Curriculum folder to begin your next course.