MOW Scheduler Tutorials :: Offers Inbox

Offers Inbox Overview

The "Offers Inbox" lists volunteer "offers" (aka shift signups) that were submitted by volunteers online through the public Help Wanted page, or through the Volunteer Portal. It provides tools for handling the submitted offers, including helping you find and verify the volunteer, automatic notifications of approval, and a tool for notifying redundant signups that the shift is already filled.

The Offers Inbox features are shown and described below.

Volunteer Shift Signup Process

A volunteer can sign up for an open shift using the simple three field form on the public Help Wanted page, or with a single click from the Volunteer Portal (if enabled in your system).

Once the signup ("offer") is submitted by the volunteer, the process differs depending on whether the volunteer offer is auto-approved or not. An offer will be auto-approved if the following conditions are met:

  • the volunteer portal is enabled in your system
  • the email address specified exactly matches the primary email address of an active volunteer in the database (this condition is not required if signed into the Volunteer Portal)
  • the volunteer is eligible for auto-approval (as specified in their contact profile )

Auto-Approved Signup

When a volunteer signs up online to fill an open shift and the offer is "auto-approved" according to the conditions listed above, the assignment is immediately added to the schedule, an email confirmation is sent to the volunteer, and a confirmation email is sent to the Volunteer Coordinator. No further action is required. The volunteer signup is recorded in the Offers Inbox with status "Auto Approved" (note that by default, only offers with status "Pending" are shown).

Non-Auto-Approved Signup

For offers that are not auto-approved, the Volunteer Coordinator must approve the offer via the following process:
  1. Volunteer Coordinator receives an email notification with a link to the Offers Inbox entry.
  2. Volunteer Coordinator goes to Offers Inbox. If the system "recognizes" the volunteer based on the email address submitted, the Inbox entry will include an "Approve Assignment" button. Otherwise it will include a "Find Matching Volunteer" button that pops up a tool to help the Coordinator find the volunteer in the Contact database, based on closest matches to the submitted form fields. Once a match is selected, the button changes to the Approve button.
  3. Coordinator hits the Approve Assignment button, and will have the option to "Assign" or "Assign w/ email" (which will automatically send a confirmation email to Volunteer). Note: if there are multiple "offers" from different volunteers for this shift, they'll all be listed here and the Coordinator should pick one.
  4. This shift is now assigned to Volunteer, and the Offers Inbox status is changed to Approved so it will no longer show up on the default "Pending" list. Approved Offers may be viewed by changing the filter at the top of the Inbox. The assignment is now visible on the Daily and Weekly schedule, and if the shift's minimum requirements are now met the shift will no longer be shown on the public Help Wanted page.
  5. If there were other Offers for the same shift, Coordinator should remove those unneeded entries from the "Pending" list, and should usually notify those volunteers that their services aren't needed for that specific shift. This may be done by selecting those offers (using the checkboxes on the left) and choosing "Dismiss Selected Entries" which will present option to dismiss with or without an email notification to the volunteers.

Benefits

This process is a big improvement over an email-based process for both the Volunteer and the Coordinator:
  • Spam prevention features in the Offers Inbox reduce or eliminate risk of "false alarm" signups.
  • Auto-approval for your trusted volunteers.
  • Easy manual approval -- in most cases, approval and automatic confirmation back to the Volunteer requires only one click.
  • Past offers (signups) are saved and searchable in the Scheduler application<./li>
  • Multiple volunteer offers for same shift are automatically identified, and easily handled.

Spam Prevention

The shift signup form on the public Help Wanted page includes the Googe "invisible ReCAPTCHA" spam prevention features. In most cases the form submission will go through without the user even being aware of the ReCPATCHA system. But in some cases the ReCAPTCHA system will be unsure whether the user is a real human, and ask them to solve a simple challenge.

Offers Inbox Features

The following screenshot demonstrates many of the features of the Offers Inbox:

Features:

  • The default view shows offers with status "Pending", meaning that they have not yet been approved or dismissed through the inbox. You may view past submissions by changing the filter setting in the form at the top.
  • The default view shows only offers for Jobs in your default Job Groups, as controlled through your My Account page, as on the Weekly schedule.
  • Entries are shown in the order submitted, newest first.
  • Shifts that are "short-handed" (lacking required minimum number of workers for the position) are displayed in pink in the Shift column, as on the Weekly and Help Wanted calendars. Note: If an entry in the Offers Inbox is displayed in gray, it is no longer "open", meaning something has changed since the offer was received.
  • Shifts that are "expired" (i.e. shift date is prior to today) are shown in purple.
  • Entries where the submitted email address matches a Volunteer in the database (and are not expired) have a blue Approve Assignment button.
  • An exclamation point next to the Volunteer's name indicates that the originally submitted data does not exactly match the Volunteer's contact record. You may view the original data by clicking the icon.
  • Entries where the submitted email address does NOT exactly match a record in the database have a red warning icon next to the volunteer name, and a white Find Matching Volunteer button. Clicking this button provides a search tool.
  • You may "dismiss" one or more entries that you don't intend to approve, by clicking the checkboxes on the left and then the Dismiss Selected Entries button. You'll be give a choice whether the send the volunteers an automatic notification that their help isn't needed on the specified shift. The exact text of this message may be viewed through the Admin/Notifications menu. Generally you will want to send the automatic notification, but you might elect not to send it if you've already talked to the volunteer on the phone, or by email.

Hints

To get the most out of the Offers Inbox, you should follow a few simple guidelines:
  • Keep it clean! Dismiss entries whenever no further action is required.
  • When you see the icon, that means the info submitted by the volunteer is different than what you have on file. Often this will be harmless, e.g. "Mike" vs "Michael", but sometimes this is a "quality control" opportunity to update the volunteer info in your database.