Using the public Help Wanted page
Allow your volunteers to view and sign themselves up for short-handed shifts
Sending a mass email out to all my volunteers
Learn how to gather all my volunteers emails and send them a message from my email client.
Ways volunteers can help you with scheduling
Fill an opening through the "Public Help Wanted Page" or cancel their shift through a cancellation link in reminders
Managing scheduled reminders
Send scheduled reminders by email or text to a group of volunteers to remind them of their upcoming job assignments!
Managing contact subscriptions
Easily View and manage who is subscribed to a scheduled reminders.
Using SMS reminders
Learn how to send and manage SMS reminders
Using contact tags for volunteers
Learn how to use tags to group or categorize your contacts. Tag them as a subsitute or a college student.
Volunteer Application Form
Integrate your volunteer recruiting efforts with your MOW Scheduler install.
Q: What can volunteers do in the Volunteer Portal?
Volunteers who have a portal account can:
- See their own scheduled assignments
- Sign themselves up to fill short-handed shifts
- Cancel an upcoming commitment (if allowed by site configuration)
- Update personal account (phone, email, address, reminder subscriptions ..)
Q: How will my volunteers find out about the Volunteer Portal?
When a volunteer try to sign up for a job on the "Help Wanted" page, they will see an option to “Sign in to Volunteer Portal”. Those who don’t already have an account on the portal are invited to set up a new account right then. Volunteers may also learn about the portal from you or other volunteers. For those interested in setting up an account on the volunteer portal, you can help them one of two ways:
- Show them how to get a new account themselves: go to https://yoursite.mowscheduler.com , click on "Register for Volunteer Portal" and follow instructions.
- Open a new account for them - go to the person's contact page and click on the "+" sign next to "User Account". Their “User Type” is already set as “Worker”. Don’t change that unless the person is more than a volunteer. See Question 4 below.
View a tutorial here on adding new portal user account.
Note: Volunteers that don’t have a valid email in the system (email on file is incorrect, or don't have one in their Contact profile) will not be able complete either of the options above. They’ll need you to enter a valid email in the system for them first.
Q: How are forgotten passwords handled in the Volunteer Portal?
- The user can click on "forgotten password" at the log-in page http://<yoursite>.mowscheduler.com/ and follow instructions to reset their password. The process is automatic.
- You can reset it for them. To reset password for a volunteer, go to the volunteer's contact page, click on the contact's user name and then on the “User Account" page click "send forgot password email".
Q: Can I "screen" job opening signups from certain volunteers?
Yes. Just go to the volunteer's contact profile and uncheck the box for "Auto-Approve Eligible" in edit mode. Any signup request by that volunteer will then be placed in the "Offer Inbox" for your manual approval.
View the Offers Inbox Tutorial
Q: Is the Auto-Approve feature only for Volunteer Portal users?
No. The auto-approve feature can be utilized for all volunteers. When a volunteer signs up for a shift from your Help Wanted page -- even if they're not logged in or don't have a Volunteer Portal account -- they will be auto-approved if all the following conditions are met:
- the auto-approve feature is enabled (it's automatically enabled if the Volunteer Portal feature is enabled)
- the signup contains a valid email address that is associated with a user in the Scheduler system
- the "Auto-Approve Eligible" flag is enabled in the matching volunteer's contact profile
See the tutorial on auto-approving shift signups
Q: How can I see which shifts are filled by trainees?
Define a “Trainee” tag under the Admin/Lists/Tags section and give it a “display color” (let's say purple). Add the “Trainee” tag to the applicable volunteers' Contact profiles. Now you'll see the purple tag next to that person's name any time they appear on the schedule. When the training is complete, remove the tag from the Contact profile.
Q: Can I export a list of volunteers, with mailing addresses?
From the Contacts menu choose View Volunteers to create a list of volunteers. Use the "export to spreadsheet" link on the upper right hand side to create and download a .xls file. The spreadsheet contains many more fields than are shown in the web interface. The Address (string) field is probably what you want, but there are also separate street/city/state/zip columns.
Q: How can I add an emergency contact for a volunteer?
This is easiest to show with an example. Let's say I want to add Mary Doe as an emergency contact for volunteer John Doe...
- Go to John Doe's volunteer profile. Hint: use "quick search" at top of any page
- Open the "Relationships" tab (bottom left side of profile page).
- Choose Mary Doe if she's already in the system. Or, add her as a new contact with contact type "other" (or leave it blank), and don't forget to add her email and/or phone number!
- Back in John's relationships tab, choose Relationship "Emergency Contact".
- Choose John Doe as the 2nd contact. Hint: Since we're on John's profile page, he'll be listed first on the contact pick list.
Now you'll see this relationship on the list: Mary Doe is the Emergency Contact of John Doe.
Q: How do I know when a volunteer started working with us?
We have a field for that, “Service Date”, in the volunteer's profile. You can search for volunteers by service date under the Contacts→View Volunteers page; Click on the More Filters button and choose Date Options "Service Date" and specify "Date from" (since) and/or "Date to" (until).
Q: Where can I add extra information about a volunteer? examples: gender, student, retired, etc.
If you want this info to be searchable, add the attributes of interest as "contact tags". First create the new tags under Admin→List/Tags. Click on the contact tags link. Add new tags, e.g. "male", "female", "student", "retired". Now under any volunteer's profile, you will see the heading "Tags", click on the edit icon on the right to add/remove tags.
Use the Tags filter on the Contacts→View Volunteers page to find matching volunteers.
Q: A volunteer is going to be out of town for several weeks, what's the best way to cancel all their shifts?
Use the “time off” feature. It's under the Job Schedule section on the right side of the Contact detail page.
Q: I want to send out an email to all volunteers, how do I get their emails easily?
You can get all the emails from the Contacts→View Volunteers page. Use the filters to narrow down the volunteers you want to email, and then on the right-hand side click on the "Copy emails to clipboard" link. "Select All", then right-click "Copy" (or ctrl-C) to copy the list to your clipboard, then paste it into your favorite email program. A good way to respect your volunteers' privacy is to specify only your own address on the To: line, and paste the recipient list into the Bcc: line so that the recipients can not see the entire distribution list. You must specify at least one recipient on the To: line.
Read this tutorial for more help.
Q: How do I find all volunteers who joined our Meals on Wheels group in 2015?
Under Contacts→View Volunteers, click on the "More Filters" button. Choose "Service Date" from "Date Options" drop-down, and enter the range of dates.
Q: Some volunteers are not receiving shift reminders. Why not?
A volunteer (or staff member) will receive a shift reminder by email if ALL the following are true: a) one of the scheduled email shift reminders is enabled in the Admin/Notification area, b) the contact has an email address in their contact profile, and c) the contact is “subscribed” to email shift reminders in their contact profile.
Q: A volunteer reports that they are not getting their email reminders, even though they are "subscribed"
Below are some of the most common reasons your volunteer might not be receiving the notification:
- First, be patient; sometimes it takes a few minutes for the email to arrive to the volunteer.
- Have them check their junk/spam email box; the notification might have been filtered as junk/spam.
- Check with your volunteer that the email address in your system is spelled correctly. It might be an old email address, or they may have multiple emails and they are checking the wrong one.
Q: How should I let my volunteers know about the public Help Wanted page?
There are a couple different ways our customers are handling that right now:
- Post the link below to your website, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Send an email containing the link to volunteers. View tutorial here on sending a mass email out to all my volunteers.
The link is https://<yoursite>.mowscheduler.com/helpwanted
Q: I have volunteers who drive every other week. Where/how do I put them in the system?
The "Custom" scheduling option you see in the the Ongoing Assignment form is designed exactly for that. Insert the volunteer, choose "every 2 weeks", pick a start date, and save. It's that simple. The same Custom scheduling feature can also be used when several individuals or groups rotate on an every 3, 4 or 5-weeks schedule.
Q: What should I expect to see in the Contact History tab?
The history tab includes a record of important events related to the Contact record in the system, including:
- contact record created
- contact status change: active or inactive
- user account setup
- ongoing job assignments added or removed
- changes to contact's job group or company associations
- updates to selected fields including: contact name, email, mobile phone, background check date, license and insurance expiration dates
Each History record includes a timestamp and indicates which user made the change, and how (when relevant), e.g. via an import, or through the web interface.
Note: some of the events listed above were recently added to the list, so older Contact records may not have many (or any?) entries in the History.
Q: Can MOW Scheduler help me track new volunteer applications?
You can add new applicants as Volunteer Contacts with contact type "Volunteer Applicant" in your Scheduler install. Now you have a Contact record, and you can add notes, collect more info, etc. When the applicant is fully vetted and approved as a Volunteer, change their contact type to Volunteer and they're ready for assignments.
The best way to get new applicants in the system is to let them sign themselves up! You can link to the Volunteer Application form from your public website or your community outreach emails. If you already have a volunteer recruiting form on your website, you can integrate it with your Scheduler database using one of our Advanced Integration options.
keywords: recruit recruiting
Q: What's the difference between the "Display on Schedules" and "Volunteer Group" switches for Organizations?
The "Display on Schedules" flag causes the organization name to be shown in parentheses next to a volunteer name (when the volunteer is associated with that org) on schedules. The "Volunteer Group" switch enables some additional features, including special "Group Placeholder" contacts and the ability for designated Group Leaders to reassign jobs within the Group. See Volunteer Groups tutorial for more info.
Note that if you enable the Volunteer Group switch for an organization, you should probably also enable the Display on Schedules switch, but it's not required.
Q: Is the Volunteer Groups feature useful if we're not using the Volunteer Portal?
Yes, the Volunteer Groups switch for an Organization creates and enables the special "Group Placeholder" contact for the organization with the special icon that distinguishes assignments to the organization (rather than to an individual) on the Daily and Weekly schedules.
However, without the Volunteer Portal you will not be able to delegate the ability to reassign shifts within the group to the Group Leader volunteers, since the Portal is their only interface for performing these tasks.
Q: Why would I want to use Volunteer Groups?
The Volunteer Groups features allow you to delegate responsibility for certain job shifts to another organization (such as a church group). The most common scenario is that you assign the job to the Group as ongoing assignment, and they take over the weekly task of finding someone to fill the shift (from among the roster of volunteers who are "members" of their group). A Volunteer Group has some additional features and benefits that allow the group members to collaborate (for example find their own substitutes when going on vacation). see the Volunteer Groups tutorial for more info.
Q: Can I prevent volunteers from canceling online at the last minute?
Yes. You can configure the Volunteer Self-Cancel feature to allow the volunteer to cancel online via the link in confirmation or reminder emails, or from the volunteer portal, up to a specified "cutoff time". If they try to cancel after the cutoff, they will be instructed to call the Volunteer Coordinator. Set this "early only" option and specify a cutoff time from the System Admin > Configuration and Setup > Optional Site Features page.
Q: What's the difference between "early" and "late" cancellations?
Late or "last minute" cancellations are a challenge for many organizations. The exact cutoff time between "early" and "late" is now configurable from the Optional Site Features page (previously the cutoff was roughly described as a day before the shift). The cutoff time and early/late distinction is used 2 ways:
- the Volunteer Self-Cancel feature can be configured to prevent online late cancels. If the volunteer tries to cancel online after the cutoff they'll be asked to call the Volunteer Coordinator.
- all cancellations are recorded as "early" or "late", whether recorded by the volunteer themselves or by a staff member. These designations are used for reporting, as shown in the Shift history and reports such as the Volunteer Shift Activity report, and can be useful in assessing operational efficiency and volunteer training effectiveness.