Methods to Add New Records¶
Your Volgistics database will include a record for each volunteer you want to track. These are known simply as volunteer records. You can add volunteer records to your database through any combination of:
- Data conversion from another database
- Online volunteer application forms submitted by prospective volunteers
- Manual data entry
Let's take a closer look at these three options
If you already have volunteer information in a computer database, there's a good chance that you can transfer some, or all, of it directly into Volgistics using one of the three data conversion tools described here. These tools can transfer the most common kinds of volunteer data; however, there may be some specialized data you won't be able to transfer automatically. In some cases, you might use one of these data conversion tools to transfer the bulk of your data, and then add the remaining pieces manually yourself.
If you're just getting started with Volgistics, and you have information you want to convert from another database, it's best to do this before you begin collecting online volunteer application forms or entering volunteer records manually. Completing a data conversion before you start adding records from other sources will make it possible for you to clear your Volgistics database and re-run a conversion again if you find you don't care for your first conversion attempt. If you've already started adding other volunteer records, you would lose them if you cleared your account and ran the conversion again. Note that you can clear your account of all volunteer data without losing setup options, System Operators, and other customizations you have already made.
The three conversion tools available are the Import Utility program, the Jump-Start service, and the VolunteerWorks Conversion Utility program.
Free Import Utility¶
Volgistics offers a free Import Utility program you (or someone in your organization) can use to convert data yourself. The program can read data from any tab or comma delimited text file. These are often called CSV files. If your records are currently in a program that stores data in a format other than CSV, you may be able to export it or save it as a CSV file, or a spread sheet file. Spread sheet files can usually be saved as CSV files.
There's more information about the free Import Utility (plus the link to download it), at https://www.volgistics.com/import-utility.htm.
You run the free Import Utility program at a computer that has Microsoft Windows.
If you would rather not run your own data conversion, Volgistics can perform your data conversion for you through the Jump-Start service. There is a service fee (usually $500 but this depends on several factors such as the number of different databases you want to convert). While conversions are often completed in a matter of days, you should allow up to three weeks for a conversion under this service.
To use the service, you send your current volunteer database files to Volgistics through a secure data upload page. Volgistics checks to make sure they can convert your data and lets you know what the conversion service fee will be. Once you've paid the service fee, Volgistics performs the conversion and places your converted information right into your Volgistics account.
There are some limitations to the kinds of information Volgistics can convert through this service, but it usually allows more detailed records to be transferred than the Import Utility program. You can learn more about the Jump-Start service at https://www.volgistics.com/jump-start-service.htm.
If you use the VolunteerWorks program, an integrated data conversion utility for moving your volunteer data into Volgistics is available in VolunteerWorks version 3. You can run this yourself from within VolunteerWorks and it transfers nearly every kind of information from VolunteerWorks directly into your Volgistics account. You must run the conversion from a computer that has an Internet connection. There is more information about how to do this at https://www.volgistics.com/volunteerworks-conversion.htm.
If you'd prefer not to perform the conversion yourself, Volgistics can complete the process for you. There is no charge for this conversion help, but we recommend reading through the FAQ About Converting From VolunteerWorks.
Online volunteer application forms¶
Another way to get new volunteer records into Volgistics is through online volunteer application forms. Creating an online volunteer application form with Volgistics is as easy as configuring a few setup options and then adding a simple HTML link on your web site.
Once you've elected to receive a new application, the information the applicant entered online goes directly into your database as a new volunteer record. Volunteer records you receive this way can have a Status of Applicant so they're easily distinguished from your other volunteer records.
While you don't have to use online application forms in your account, they are a great way of gathering information from prospective volunteers without having to enter it manually.
Manual data entry¶
The last way to get new volunteer records into Volgistics is simply to add them manually. Volgistics makes data entry quite easy. You can start by entering just basic information (such as name and address) and then add more information to the record as you collect it.
Use any combination of these methods¶
You can use all three of these methods (or any combination of them) for getting volunteer records into your database. For example, you might start by converting your existing volunteer records from another database. Then you could collect new volunteer records through a combination of the online volunteer application forms (for people who choose to apply online), and manual data entry (for people who apply in person or by way of a paper form).
No matter how a volunteer record gets into your database (through a data conversion, an online application form, or manual data entry) you can always add more information to the record (or edit the record) any time, through a variety of methods.