The Volunteer Opportunity Page Layout (other fields to consider before publishing a volunteer opportunity)
Using the Opportunity Creation Wizard gets the required information into the system, but to have the best data and best user experience, you should also add information that aids volunteers in search, and allows you to track important metrics. You can also add finer sign-up control to your opportunities by adding additional restrictions that govern the sign-up process. You can also add additional occurrences and recurrences. This post goes over other sections of the Volunteer Opportunity record that you should be familiar with - and explains how to use them.
Note: the layout of the volunteer opportunity page may vary from instance to instance as it can be customized by the system administrator. The decision as to which page layout to use (which can be different for different profiles) can be set by the system administrator who assigns page layouts to profiles.
But here are the primary fields and options to consider before publishing a volunteer opportunity:
The Volunteer Opportunity Information section
This gives you a summary of the characteristics of the volunteer opportunity.
Most of these fields are automatically set for you when you create the opportunity with the wizard. The only fields you might choose to update here are.
1) Registration Start Date - (if you wish to list the opportunity but not allow registration until a certain date)
2) Registration cutoff (hours) - by default this will be 1 hour. If you wish to cutoff signups early than that, you can increment the hours before start time to cutoff signups.
Is this Opportunity....
1. If the opportunity is part of a Volunteer Event (aka "Special Events" on many sites) then edit this field. Double click and use the lookup item to associate the opportunity to a previously created volunteer event.
2. Is the Opportunity private? If this is a private opportunity - edit this field and lookup the name of the organization it's private for (they must have an invitation code already established in the organization record). Once saved, the invitation code will automatically be pulled into this record for you. The opportunity will no longer be found in public search and will require an invitation code on either the search page or the company's 'business page".
Restrictions can be set to control who can and can't sign up for opportunities:
1. By default, restrictions are always enforced for Full Sign Up Opportunities. Some organizations do not apply restrictions for "Express Interest" opportunities, and some do. You can change whatever the default behavior is for your organizationby editing this field. (System admins can change the defaults site-wide if they chose to).
2. Age restrictions are populated here via the volunteer opportunity wizard and can be edited or changed here. You can optionally set a maximum age as well.
3. If you want to restrict this Volunteer Opportunity to contacts that have been flagged as completing orientation, check this box.
4. If you require background checks, and are using the "Verified Volunteer" add-on for HandsOn Connect, you set the Minimum Required Level of Verification here. If you are not using verified volunteers, this field will say "Background Check Required" and will not allow signup for any contact that is not flagged as "background check completed".
Search (Populate additional fields to improve search results)
The items in this section all impact the advanced search characteristics available on the public site. The primary impact area is set when creating the opportunity with the Volunteer Opportunity Wizard. By default, the required fields "Genders Served" and "Age Groups Served" are set as "All".
But populating additional search characteristics can make for more powerful search results for your volunteers.
1. A secondary impact area can be set if desired
2. You can adjust the picklist of Genders Served to specify if it serves only men or women (by default All Genders served is populated for you)
3. You can target the age groups served through the picklist (by default "All ages" is populated for you)
4. Populations Served is a multi-picklist of 'target populations'. You can choose from a variety of targeted populations including "Homeless", "Seniors" and others or your system admin can add additional values to this list.
5. Volunteer Activity Type is a multi-picklist of the tasks that this activity involves. It includes items like "Caring for animals", "Administrative Support / Clerical" etc. Useful for people looking for Volunteer Opportunities based on WHAT you do, rather than the impact it has. It's use and the items in the picklist is optional and can be customized.
6. Suitable for Groups. You can flag the opportunity as being "Suitable for Groups" (team captains will often search for opportunities that welcome a larger group of volunteers).
7. RSVP / Seniors. you can flag a volunteer opportunity as a good match for seniors or volunteers in RSVP programs.
8. Court Ordered Allowed. If you are running a court ordered program, checking the "Court Ordered Allowed" box will allow a contact that is flagged as a "Court Ordered Volunteer" to sign-up for this opportunity (otherwise a court-ordered volunteer will be restricted from signing up for this opportunity.)
National and Local Metrics. (classic)
In some page layouts this section has been simplified and renamed to "Impact and Programs (Keyword Searchable)
The items on the left side of this section are used to collect data for the Annual Affiliate Report for HandsOn Network. The items being tracked may change nationally from year to year. They can be ignored if you are not part of the HandsOn Network
The fields Impact Area (Local) and Program Area (local), are starter picklists that your administrator can edit to reflect local impact tracking you are doing. (Click here for instructions on editing picklists) Your administrator can aso add additional local metrics fields if desired. (click here for how to add additional custom fields)
The values in Impact Area (Local) and Program Area (Local) can be used in keyword searches. This provides you wish a way for designating and searching for opportunities that are "holiday opportunities" or "Mayor's Program" or other terms that you want to use to create custom local searches.
Filling out each of these fields for each Volunteer Opportunity will allow you to quantify the impact of what you are doing in reports. You can add additional fields to this section to track other local variables used for reporting.
Default Values for newly created Occurrences
These show the default values (entered in the Volunteer Opportunity Wizard) that will be used when you create future occurrences of this opportunity.
Opportunity, Occurrence and Recurrence Approval Manager
These are automatically filled in for you, and track who in your organization approves newly submitted opportunities, occurrences and recurrences. If you use Volunteer Leaders, the person in charge of making those assignments is noted here as well.
This section is automatically updated for you and gives you a summary of the data associated with this volunteer opportunity.
If skills are associated with this opportunity are they required to sign up?
If you want to restrict sign-up to only people who have a skills profile that matches skills you relate to this opportunity, set this value to YES. (Set to No, the skills you associate will still be associated with this opportunity in search, but volunteers can sign up for the opportunity whether or not they have matching skills.)
Note: This section and field are generally not on the page layout if your organization has not enabled skill profiles for volunteers.
Can you clarify what exactly "apply restrictions" applies to? Is it just the criteria that is under the "Restrictions" box (min age, orientation required)?
If that's true, why is that option in the Registration Information section? Does "apply restrictions" also apply to Cutoff Hours and Registration Start Date?
If the default for referrals is "do not apply" and the agency doesn't change it, then does that mean that even though they set the minimum age to 18, that a youth volunteer could sign up?
One of the options you can configure under what takes place when volunteer "Register" for an opportunity (sign up or express interest), is whether or not to apply the restrictions you've set for that opportunity. (The ones listed in the 'Restrictions" section of the Volunteer Opportunity.
For Date & Time Specific opportunities - Restrictions are always applied.
For Express Interest Opportunities - the default is "Restrictions do not apply" -- which previously was the only option. This stems from original affiliate input that if volunteers are expressing interest - the final decision as to whether to accept or reject volunteers who did not meet restrictions was in the hand of the approving organization.
So yes -- if it says you have to be 18, but its express interest, a 17 year old could still express interest - and it would be up to the managing organization to decide whether or not to confirm them.
We've now made it possible for you to choose to APPLY restrictions, for "Express Interest" opportunities. As this was a request by SOME affiliates who ALWAYS wanted restrictions to apply during signup.
The restrictions it refers to are the ones in the restrictions section.
As to why its on the layout in the "registration" section -- that was arbitrary (but its part of the definitions of "how registration is handled".
If you find this confusing, you can always customize the page layout and move the "Restrictions applied?" fields into the Restrictions section of the layout.