Recommendations for Special Events¶
Using Volgistics for Special Events Overview
Using Volgistics for Special Events Scheduling
Many Volgistics customers intend to use the system on an ongoing basis, for Assignments that occur daily, weekly, monthly or with another recurring frequency. Still other customers choose to use Volgistics to aid in volunteer recruitment, tracking and coordination for special events. This help topic provides guidance for special event volunteer managers to help them consider in advance how Volgistics will work best for their event.
If you're planning to use Volgistics on an ongoing basis, we recommend proceeding to Basic Account Setup and skipping this help topic. This will have more information on how to set up Volgistics for maximum benefit if you will have an ongoing account.
To begin, there are a couple of important things to remember when planning your special event with Volgistics:
- Start early
Volgistics can be used to its greatest potential when you devote sufficient time to organizing and planning the system's role in your event before actually implementing the system. You might even choose to do a trial run of a test event with Volgistics before you plan to use the system for an actual event.
- Use only what you need
While Volgistics contains an abundance of features, it is unlikely that you will need to use every single one, particularly when running special events. Do not feel as though you must utilize every field or feature as you prepare for your event.
How to Get Started With Volgistics for a Special Event¶
When getting started with Volgistics for a one-time event, there are several steps you should take:
- Create Assignments
- Create schedule openings
- Add volunteer records
- Assign volunteers to Assignments
- Schedule volunteers
The first thing to consider is what you will need volunteers to do, and where they will need to do it. At this point, knowing exactly which dates, times, or number of volunteers you will need in each job is not necessary. In Volgistics, the tasks or jobs that volunteers will perform are tracked using Assignments, and these will be used to organize the schedule for your event and track volunteer service. You should prepare a list of the tasks volunteers will complete for your event, organize this information into the Site/Place/Assignment schema of Volgistics, and then add the Assignments to your database.
Create Schedule Openings¶
Once you have created the Assignments volunteers will serve in, think about when service in those Assignments will be performed. If you can come up with the shifts (called schedule openings in Volgistics) when your Assignments will require volunteer service, it is best to do so as early as possible. Follow the procedure to create a schedule opening for each shift you will need in each of your Assignments over the period of your event.
Add Volunteer Records¶
Now that you know which volunteer Assignments your special event will include and when volunteers are needed to serve in those Assignments, it is time to add volunteer records to the system. Volunteer records can get into Volgistics by manual data entry, through online volunteer application forms submitted by prospective volunteers, or by data conversion from another database.
If you will be recruiting new volunteers, adding new volunteer records manually is not difficult, but online application forms can make the process of bringing in new volunteer records even easier for Volgistics system operators. Main Setup Page Settings provides detailed instructions on how to setup an online application form in Volgistics.
For special event volunteers in particular, it is a good idea to include schedule fields on application forms so that applicants can indicate their schedule preferences. Using schedule preferences expedites the process of getting new volunteers onto your special event schedule by allowing applicants to choose the specific shifts they would like to serve in at the same time they apply. Collecting schedule preferences on the application form will not cause applicants to automatically be scheduled for their preferred shifts; the system operators can view schedule preferences and retain control of actually scheduling the volunteers.
Note that if you have not yet created schedule openings, there will not be any openings for volunteers to fill, so they will not be able to indicate schedule preferences on the application. In this case applicants can indicate Assignment preferences if you have customized a preference field for this purpose.
With the schedule preference and Assignment preference approaches there is not a way for an applicant to later come back to your website and make changes to their preferences. If they need to make a change later they would have to contact you with their change, and you would make the adjustment from within Volgistics. To involve volunteers with scheduling after their application has been received, you would use VicNet, as explained later in this help topic. When volunteers are allowed to self-schedule with VicNet, their selections are added directly to the actual schedule without requiring system operator approval.
Assign Volunteers to Assignments¶
The next step is to assign volunteers to the Assignment(s) in which they will serve. You will need to add a volunteer's Assignment and role to their record. In addition to adding Assignments to individual volunteer records, you can use the Tags feature to add an Assignment to multiple records at once.
If you have used the schedule preferences feature described in step 3 above, scheduling volunteers is easy. Simply locate the raised hand icon(s) indicating schedule preferences and click the Add to schedule link, as described here.
If you are not using schedule preferences but you are ready to fill a schedule opening with a particular volunteer, you can do so like this:
- Choose Assignments from the menu.
- Click on the name of the Assignment in which you want to schedule a volunteer.
- Select the Assignment's Schedule tab.
- Open the Daily view of the schedule you'd like to schedule the volunteer on. This can be done by selecting that date from the Calendar view of the schedule, or using the date dropdown options and Go button on the Daily view of the schedule.
- Openings are listed at the top of the page. Click the orange Fill link next to the opening you'd like to schedule the volunteer in.
- In the Fill an opening box, select the volunteer's name from the dropdown list and click Save.
The volunteer is now scheduled to serve in that Assignment during the time specified by the opening.
If you want volunteers to schedule themselves, the optional VicNet module permits them to do so. In order for volunteers to log into VicNet, they will need a login name and password. Their email address becomes their VicNet login name.
If you're using an online application form, you can add the password field to the application form and ask the applicant to create their own password. This saves you from having to send out password links by email, and the applicant is more likely to remember their password because they selected it themselves.
Alternatively, you can send volunteers a link they can use to establish their permanent password. These can be sent to multiple volunteers at once using tags. If you decide to use VicNet for your special event, there are several ways to introduce volunteers to VicNet.
You can optionally open the schedule for volunteers in waves. For example, you may want volunteers who have volunteered at your event for over 5 years to have first crack at the most sought after spots for a week, then volunteers who have volunteered for over 4 years, then the 3 year volunteers, etc.
- Make Account Dormant
- Open Self-Scheduling In Waves
- Assignments, Sites, and Places Overview
- Application Form Overview
- Receive Applications From Mailbox
- Add Schedule Openings
- Scheduling Volunteers