Managing connections to a Virtual Volunteer Opportunity
The beauty of Express Interest Only opportunities is that volunteers simply express interest, and what you choose to do after that is entirely up to you. You now have a list of interested volunteers with connections that can remain in pending status. If you've given complete instructions on how to do the virtual project - that may be sufficient for your purposes.
You can use the email capabilities of HandsOn Connect to send emails to one (or all) of the people who've expressed interest, and keep in touch with them, provide them with further instructions, or thank them for their service. Just keep the connection as pending, and use email to manage the volunteers.
But what if you want to keep track of which volunteers actually completed the project? What's involved in confirming Express Interest Only connections and marking attendance?
To confirm? Or not confirm?
In order to confirm a pending connection for an Express Interest Only opportunity, you must first update the connection and give it a start date and time and end date and time. When you do this, the volunteer will be notified that they've been confirmed, and given the time their connection takes place. But if the time is open ended, you may just want to leave it in pending status, and communicate with the volunteer via email. If and when they complete the project, then you can confirm their connection, creating the start and end date based on the date the project was completed, and marking attendance and awarding hours of service as appropriate.
On the other hand, it's perfectly OK to leave the connections in pending status, if you don't want to track completion or delivery dates of the opportunity, and award hours of service.
What if I do want to confirm the volunteer and set a date for the project to start or finish?
You can communicate with the volunteer by email or phone and come to an agreement on the delivery date for the finished project. Then you can confirm the connection and set that delivery date as the 'start date and time' for the project, so the volunteer will see it in their volunteer overview as an upcoming opportunity. After the project has been completed, you can mark attendance and award service hours as appropriate.
In the example of our blanket knitting. We might estimate that it'll take 20 hours of work to complete the project. So if we communicate by mail with the volunteer, and agree that they will send us the blanket on March 30th. Then you can confirm the connection and set the start date and time to March 30, 6:00 pm, and the end date and time to March 31, 2:00 pm. Once the blanket is delivered, you can then mark the connection as 'attended' and credit the volunteer with 20 hours!
See this next article for ideas on how you can use the Advanced Registration System (ARS) to provide additional information, and have the volunteer agree upon a delivery date for the project, at the same time they express interest.