Do Some Good makes volunteer scheduling a breeze. Spend less time on administrative tasks and more time focusing on what truly matters.
I’m sure you’ve experienced frustration with the mountains of files and administrative work associated with scheduling volunteers? We understand that this can be a challenging task. The use of spreadsheets to organize volunteers is not only inefficient, it’s likely costing your organization time and money through reduced productivity and communication issues.
Use these links to access the section you need:
- What are Shifts?
- Tips for Creating Shifts
- Helpful Examples / Scenarios
- After Creating Shifts / Shift Management
- Best Practices - Calendar Syncing
What are Shifts?
Shifts refer to time slots for a position. It simply provides details of how many people you need at a specific time. Whether a shift happens once over a few hours (e.g. event) or is repeating (once a week, once a month, quarterly, whatever your specific schedule is), we take the heavy lifting out of scheduling for you.
Tips for Creating Shifts
- "Max # of volunteers needed": Choose how many volunteers you need for your shift - this applies specifically to the application process. Let's pretend you need 5. If you have chosen that approval is required for the position, then you could have 20 applicants, but once you have approved 5, the applications ability will be disabled as it will be "Full". If you don't require approval, the first 5 to apply would fill the opportunity. You can always edit and change this number if you need more. Also, this does not impact your ability to add volunteers to the shift. You, as an admin, can add as many of your existing volunteers to a shift, regardless of what you set for the number.
- What is “Time of attendance is flexible within these hours?”: It may be that you need volunteer during the morning (between 9am-noon), but you don’t necessarily need them for that entire duration. This helps you schedule volunteers for the morning, but communicates expectations to the volunteer, suggesting a minimum amount of time that is needed during that time slot.
- Tell me more about “How often does this shift occur?”: This is where the true power comes in! You can have shifts that just happen once or you can choose if they repeat, whether that’s weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly - whatever you want! This is extremely powerful as volunteers can sync their calendars and always know when the next shift happens. The beauty is that you can make alterations to the schedule at any time (even after publishing) including adding, changing and removing days. So, if your event committee has been meeting once a month and you want to change the frequency to be once a week leading up to the event, no problem! We have included some common examples below to see the different ways you can use shifts and the repeating schedule to its full extent.
- IMPORTANT: What happens when I check or uncheck “Looking for regular volunteers (When checked, applicants will be asked to attend all occurrences if possible. The applicant can still set their own availability.)”?
- When checked: All volunteers will be automatically approved and expected for all future times. They will have the option to say if they are unable to make it on any specific occurrences. This choice is likely for a consistent board position or where you want the same people every time.
- When UN-checked: Volunteers will be presented with all future occurrences and they can choose the ones that they can make it to. This choice typically means you need volunteers (e.g. every 2 weeks), but it does not matter if it’s the same group of people or could be a different set of people each time.
Here are some common scenarios where using scheduling can be especially helpful. We’ve provided a few ideas with screenshots of how you would set this up. For each of these scenarios, you’ve already added the specific start and end time for the first shift. For the repeating schedules in the examples below, the start and end times (e.g. 4pm-5pm) would be duplicated.
- 1) Board members: You may want board members to meet once a quarter (frequency of every 3 months) and have the repeating schedule occur on a certain day (e.g. 15th of the month) or on a consistent day of the week (e.g. second Wednesday of that month).
- 2) Event committee: You may want your committee to meet once every 3 weeks on Thursday throughout the year. It’s likely things can change as you get closer to the event. For example, in the month prior to the event, you may want to change the frequency of your meetings to be once a week. See the section below for Shift Management and Making Changes to explore how this can be done once you’ve created your initial shifts and schedules.
- 3) Warehouse Workers: Maybe you need volunteers to sort donated food each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. If this could be different volunteers each time, simply keep the “Looking for regular volunteers” box unchecked and if this is continuous and ongoing throughout the year, simply don’t add an “until which date” and it will simply be ongoing.
- 4) Multiple Day Event: It may be that you need volunteers for the same time each day for 2-3 days in a row. Rather than making multiple shifts, you can make one that reoccurs daily and simply choose which date this will repeat until.
After Creating Shifts - Shift Management / Making Changes
For each volunteer position, you can always go back and add new shifts or “Manage” each shift. So what’s possible when managing a shift? Check out these key benefits:
- Need to make changes? Maybe you meant to choose that you want the same volunteers each time or you’ve decided you need more volunteers, simply edit the details at any time.
- Viewing your Schedule: Scroll between shift dates or use the calendar to easily access a specific shift to see who is attending and be able to make any changes or communicate to a specific group.
- Cancel Individual Dates: It might be that you need to cancel just one specific shift time. No problem! Any volunteers who are marked as attending will be automatically notified that the shift has been cancelled...we’ve got you covered!
- Change Schedule: Let’s pretend things have been going great for your weekly schedule, but you need to make changes to all future shifts. No problem! You don’t need to create a new shift or cancel this one, simply choose “Change schedule.'' You can edit the start/end times of one or more shift dates, or you can make a change to the repeating schedule that shift dates occur on.
- Insert Ad Hoc Date: It might be that you’re happy with volunteers coming weekly, but you’re getting behind or the demand has increased and you want to add just one day that doesn’t necessarily fit your regular schedule. If you need a one-off time & date where your volunteers show up, choose the date and time it starts and ends and then add it to your schedule.
- Approve / Remove and ADD Volunteers: This is one of our favourite features! You can now easily approve, remove or shift around volunteers between shifts. Maybe you know that existing volunteers are free and you have full power to add them into the shifts you need them for - no longer do you need them to apply or click a link! Simply add existing volunteers to the shifts where they’re needed and they’ll receive an email notification so they know when they’re needed. It’s that easy! Also, it may be that a volunteer applied for the position but not for a specific shift or that you added shifts afterwards. In that case, when you are managing the position - under the Volunteers list, you will see "Assign shift" and you can then choose a specific shift to assign them to.
'Shell Volunteers': We know that some people have no interest in signing up for another service or using technology in general. To make sure you can still manage and track all of the hours for them, we have created the concept of a 'Shell Volunteer'. Whenever you choose to add a volunteer to a shift or a position, you can choose to 'add a volunteer without an account'. This will create a placeholder to add to shifts and track hours. You will only need to do this once for each person as they will appear in your volunteer list from then on.
- Messaging: It’s always been easy to group message all volunteers, all people attending or volunteering for an event or specific position, but now you have the ability to group message just for a specific shift! It might be that you send a reminder prior to the shift, an important message to all of those helping during a shift or a follow-up to thank those specific volunteers. You now have the flexibility you need to communicate with those you need to.
- Log time: Once the shift is over, you can see who has logged hours for this shift and how many. If you need to log hours on behalf of one or many volunteers, simply choose “Log time” and enter how many hours they volunteered. This is extremely helpful to make sure your cumulative total is accurate. If a volunteer logged 2 hours, but you know they put in an extra 2 hours, you can also log the difference.
- Ending Volunteerism: Sometimes you may have an ongoing position that can last a long time with a flexible schedule or recurring shifts. When a volunteer can no longer contribute, you can end their volunteerism. Find the volunteer in your volunteer list (position or shift) and click the 'End Volunteerism' button. You can enter their last available date and the person will have 30 days after that date to log any remaining volunteer hours or, you can optionally log them on their behalf.
This article is packed with some great tips and best practices, but one that you might be especially excited for is the ability to keep an eye on things from your calendar! Check out our article on syncing your calendar to learn more about how to do so.