As the Site Manager, you can create volunteer needs yourself (especially for your internal programs), or you can allow Agency Managers to post their own needs (this is common for many United Way affiliates). Whichever method you choose, it's important for Site Managers to understand the ins and outs of creating and posting volunteer needs: 

It's All in the Details: Naming and Describing Your Needs

You’ll want to create a brief, yet informative need titles so volunteers can easily find the opportunity that’s right for them. Typically, you will create a need based on the role you want volunteers to fill, such as “Pet Therapy Dog Handler” or “Early Childhood Afterschool Tutor.” 

The description box is a great place to get prospects excited about volunteering. It’s also space to briefly communicate the purpose of the role, what they can expect, and a call-to-action to learn more about the program. Check out this example of a need title and its description:

The Need Duration: Which Shall I Choose?

When creating a need, you will be required to select the duration. This is the duration field:

And these are the options you will be given when you click the duration field: 

The duration indicates when the need begins and ends. Below, we have summarized the purpose of each duration type:

  • Ongoing: This need does not expire, and will remain available on your site until you deactivate manually. Ongoing is used for when there aren’t any dates associated with the volunteer work (such as the Linus Blanket Program where volunteers make blankets in their spare time for children in need).

  • Runs Until: This need as an expiry date. You need volunteers for this role until a certain date, like when a seasonal program ends. Let’s say you want your volunteer to commit to every Monday until October; Runs Until is the duration type for you!

  • Happens On: You need a volunteer for a specific day and time, like for an event.  

  • Multi-Date: You may require the same role over several days, such as a multi-day event or mission trip. For example, if you want to schedule your volunteers for 8 hours per day for 7 days, you’ll use this duration. 

  • Custom Shifts: Learn all about customizing your scheduling here

This article offers more details on need duration types and includes a handy table that will help you decide which need duration to choose. 

Organizing Your Needs

You’ll want to organize and/or group your agency’s needs as you create them. This will make your job easier in the long run, and will help volunteers find the needs they’re looking for. There are several ways to organize your needs. You’ll be able to choose from the following options within the “Add New Need” form:

Agency: You must select the agency that you are posting on behalf of in order to assign this need to the agency or program. Volunteers can search for needs by agency, and agencies can edit any needs you create for them. 

Initiative: Initiatives are a super-useful way to group your needs. A United Way like yours may create an initiative for your Week of Volunteering campaign, for example. As you create needs, you can choose to assign them to an initiative. The need will therefore appear when the volunteer chooses to filter needs by initiative. Don’t worry--you’ll learn more about initiatives in your training!

Interests and Abilities: Attach interests or abilities tags to each need. This is a great way to create a tailored volunteer experience. Volunteers can filter your needs by interest, and your platform will also recommend needs based on each volunteer’s interests. (Note: You can create a custom list of interests in site settings.)

Public and Private Needs: Decide if you want your need to be public or private. If you set a need to public, any user that visits your site can view and sign up to the need. However, you also have the option to make a need private, so that only users with the direct link have access to view and respond to the need. Learn more about private needs here

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