MOW Scheduler Tutorials :: Volunteer Application Form

Volunteer Application Form The Volunteer Application Form can be used help integrate your volunteer recruiting efforts with your MOW Scheduler system. Once the optional application form is enabled, you can link to it from your public website. The process then looks like this:
  1. Applicant visits your site and follows the link the Application Form, reads your customized welcome message and instructions
  2. Applicant submits the Volunteer Application form
  3. The system automatically creates a new Contact record with contact type "Volunteer Applicant", populated with the relevant info from the application form. The complete contents of the application form are attached to the Contact record for future reference.
  4. The system sends an email notification to one or more people on your staff about the new application.
  5. Volunteer Applicants can be found through the Contacts search, or if you know their names you can find them via the Quick Search box on any page.
  6. Applicant gets a "Thank You" message that tells them you will get back to them soon.
  7. You follow up with Applicant, and when you've approved them as a Volunteer you change their Contact record to type Volunteer.

Setup

The Volunteer Application Form is not enabled by default, so you won't receive applications if you don't want them or already have a different process for volunteer recruiting. To enable the form, go to the System Admin menu in your MOW Scheduler and navigate to the Volunteer Application Form page. Then
  • toggle the switch in the upper left box to "On" (green)
  • click the View Form link. The form will open in a new tab. Note that content in the box on the left side. You can customize that text, we'll show you how next.
  • Go back to the System Admin > Volunteer Application Form setup page, and click the "Manage custom message" link. This will open up an editor window for that content box we discussed in the previous step. Update it,save, and then refresh the tab that has the form to see your changes. You can do some fancy stuff to format that content using the Markdown language but it's not required. See the Markdown Help link for more info.
  • Note the URL, you'll want to link to that from your website, or send it to potential applicants by email.
  • (Optionally) enable reCaptcha on the form. This adds the familiar Google reCaptcha "I'm not a robot" checkbox to your form. Enable this for some extra spam resistance. The form is fairly spam-resistant even with the reCaptcha disabled, so you might want to start without it and turn it on only if you're receiving spammy volunteer applications.
  • Go to the System Admin > Admin Notification Subscriptions page and find the entry for Volunteer Application Submission. Click the icon and choose one or more staff members to receive email notifications when Volunteer Applications are submitted. If you don't specify any recipients, The main volunteer coordinator email listed at the top of the page will receive the notifications.
That's it! If you're not using an Advanced Integration method (see below), you can safely ignore the API Key box on the setup screen. We'd recommend that you test the form yourself so you know what to expect. You can easily delete the created test Contact record afterwards.

Application Form Fields vs Contact Record

The name, contact info, employer, and birth date fields are used to populate the equivalent fields in the new Contact record created when the form is submitted.

The other fields on the form -- currently the Volunteer Profile and Other Comments fields -- do not populate any Contact fields. However, the information submitted in these fields is visible in the Volunteer Application Detail attachment in the Notes tab of the new Contact profile.


Advanced Integration Alternatives

Linking to the Volunteer Application form we host for you, as described above, is the easiest way to collect application data. But there are reasons why you might want to use your own application form on your own public website:
  • Your form will share the design and navigation with your main public website
  • More Contact fields. Our simple form only includes the basic fields that almost everyone wants, but you can collect more data that will populate fields in the Scheduler Contact records, including things like driver's license number and expiration, insurance details, etc. There's a reference to all the available Contact fields in the Advanced Integration documentation
  • Custom fields: You can make up custom fields to collect extra information important to your operation, and while these won't populate fields in the Contact record, they'll become part of the Contact's permanent record in the Volunteer Application Detail attachment as described above
  • You control the Thank You page the applicant sees after submitting the form.
There are 2 basic approaches to integrating your site's application form with your MOW Scheduler site:
  1. POST the form directly to MOW Scheduler. You'll need to tweak your html a little to match our field names and plug in the POST url.
  2. POST the form to your own site (the same way it probably works now), and get your server to relay the content to MOW Scheduler behind the scenes, via a "web hook". If your site runs on Wordpress or other content management system there may be a webhooks plugin available to facilitate this.

Your webmaster can help decide which of these options makes sense for your site. Feel free to ask us any questions.

Read more about Volunteer Application Form Advanced Integration alternatives.