Tip of the Week February 1, 2016

Print blank application forms to create paper applications

While online volunteer application forms provide a way to collect new volunteer information online, you also have the option of printing blank versions of these forms for venues where it will be necessary or more practical to have paper copies for applicants to take home and fill out.

Having paper copies of your application may allow you to hand these out to prospective volunteers in the field, or to those who may not have computer or Internet access. This method will necessitate manual entry once the paper applications are returned, but can be a way to reach additional prospects.

Blank forms can be generated from the Setup menu in PDF format. Help topic 2554 explains more.

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Volunteer & Assignment Matching

Volunteer and assignment matching provides a simpler way for you to evaluate volunteers to see if they might be a good fit for other assignments. This feature can also be a great way to help you place new volunteers based on their preferences and abilities, rather than only using a list of assignment names. Volunteer & assignment matching can also encourage volunteers to try assignments they are qualified for but may not have considered in the past.

For example, suppose Joe serves at an information desk. He has all the needed skills to work in the gift shop but might not realize there's a need there because he doesn't have a Role in the assignment. With matching, you can see that Joe meets the requirements for the gift shop without having to manually evaluate his profile. In addition, if you choose, Joe could see schedule openings for the gift shop when he logs in at VicNet to check is schedule.

Or suppose Steve is a new volunteer. Steve is eager to help, but not really sure what assignments he wants to serve in. You could hand him a list of all your assignments with their requirements and ask him to pick a couple. Or you could have him fill out an online application and have the system present you (or him) with a shorter list of assignments that he's qualified for.

Volgistics has included volunteer and assignment matching features for a long time, but the old implementation was not very useful for many of our customers. To make this feature work more effectively, we started from scratch and completely re-worked matching. The new implementation is quicker and easier to understand. Since it was just released last weekend, we wanted to let you know how it works.

First, we've done away with the three different levels of matching (good, fair, and marginal). Now, volunteers either match an assignment or they don't. There is also no longer a way to weight the different criteria (availability, characteristics, and preference). Instead, when you set the matching criteria for an assignment, you're basically setting the minimum requirements. Any volunteer who meets that minimum criteria will be a match.

To try this out, you can turn on matching from inside your account by going to Setup; Assignment tracking; Ground rules. Then, you can configure matching separately for each of your assignments. These settings appear on the Profile tab within the assignment record.

You can learn more about these settings and how they interact with matching in help topic 2249 "Volunteer & assignment matching".

After you've turned on matching for an assignment and set the criteria, head over to the Volunteers tab. Here you'll be able to search for matched volunteers. This is a good tool to help you reach out to volunteers who may not have considered serving in a particular assignment, but who are qualified to do so.

Likewise, on the Rules tab, you can allow volunteers who are "matched" to schedule themselves whether or not they have a Role. Again, this is a good way to engage volunteers who might not have thought about serving in this Assignment. It lets them see what the needs are in assignments they're not already working in but are qualified for. It's true that the other settings on the Rules tab give you this ability based on Type and Flag, but the matching feature lets you set a wider variety of criteria on the Profile tab.

You should know that the volunteer's preferences are also considered when matching. So if a volunteer has set their Assignment Preferences (or other preference types), they'll only be matched to those assignments.

If you were already using this feature, your settings were converted as close as possible into the revised feature. But it's still a good idea to take a look to make sure it's set up the way that works best for your organization. Whether you've used matching in the past or haven't considered using it before, we encourage you to take a fresh look at it. In any case, let us know what you think! We're eager to hear your feedback.

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Tip of the Week January 18, 2016

Name Sets by function to make them easy to find

As your Volgistics account grows, you may find that you have a lengthy list when you select Sets from the menu. The list of Sets is alphabetized by the name that you give to the Set, but it may be difficult to find the Set you need from a long list.

One thing that can help is to start your Set names with the function the Set performs. For example, instead of naming Sets "January Birthdays," "February Birthdays," "March Birthdays," etc.; name them "Birthdays in January," "Birthdays in February," "Birthdays in March," etc.

This will cause all the birthday Sets to be grouped together under "B" on the list instead of under "J" for January, "F" for February, "M" for March, etc. This bit of extra organization can help you locate the Sets you need more efficiently.

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Tip of the Week January 11, 2016

Find Volgistics W-9 form online

Many organizations are required to have an up-to-date W-9 form from companies that they do business with. For convenience, we update our W-9 form regularly and you can access it online. This allows you to save the W-9 form as a PDF document, or print a copy of the form without downloading it.

Please go to the following URL address if you need a copy of our current W-9 form:

https://www.volgistics.com/assets/volgisticsW9.pdf

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Tip of the Week January 4, 2016

Review VicNet and VicTouch use.

If your account's service level includes the VicNet or VicTouch modules, you may want to review usage at times. This allows you to make informed decisions about whether the module is being underutilized and more training is needed, or if you want to remove the module from your service level altogether.

If you have access to your account's Setup page, you can do this by:

  1. Select Setup from the Menu.

  2. Expand the "Account management" link.

  3. Select "Account status."

The Vic Activity section shows usage and the date the counts were reset last. If you want to start a fresh count at zero, click the Reset button beside the module you want to reset.

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Tip of the Week December 28, 2015

System Operators can check their own system access rights and find their account's Administrator

Volgistics allows each account's Administrator(s) to set user levels and other rights for each System Operator for their account. If you're a System Operator and you don't see a menu item, tab, field, or button, you can check if your System Operator rights allow access and find who is listed as the Administrator(s) for your account. Here is how to do this:

  1. Select help from the menu.

  2. Click the Operator information link at the bottom of the page.

A profile page will appear that lists your operator access level, menu pages you can see, tasks you can complete, and the Administrator(s) for your account.

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Tip of the Week December 21, 2015

Disable VicNet access for specific volunteer records

If your organization uses the VicNet module, there may be times when you want to disable access for some volunteers. You control who can access VicNet overall by using the Status, and the Type and Flag settings on the VicNet Ground Rules page.

However, there may be times when you want to prevent specific volunteers from accessing VicNet. For example, if you find that a volunteer has been misusing his or her access, or you want to prevent Group records from accessing VicNet. In these cases, you can prevent access to the module by checking the Disabled checkbox on the Vic tab of the volunteer record. When your setting is saved, this volunteer record will no longer be able to sign-in to the VicNet module for your account.

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Tip of the Week December 14, 2015

See how many submissions an application has received in a year

Many organizations that use the online application forms want to know how many applications they have received in a year, or another time period. This can be useful for internal information, or for completing reports for grants and other external agencies. While you can create Sets to identify the number of volunteers who have a Status such as Applicant during a certain time period, Volgistics also tracks the number of submissions each application form you use receives. If you want to track this for a year, it may be useful to reset the counter when 2016 arrives so you can note the number at the end of 2016. Here is how you can do this:

  1. Select Setup from the Menu.

  2. Expand the "Online forms" link.

  3. Select "Volunteer application forms."

  4. Select the name of the form you want to reset the count for.

  5. Scroll down to the Submissions heading and click the Reset this count button. Be sure to note the number of submissions and record this somewhere outside of Volgistics before you do this. After you reset the count it will no longer be available in Volgistics.

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Tip of the Week December 7, 2015

Archive old help inquires to "clean-up" your mailbox

The "Help E-mail" tab of the Volgistics Mailbox is designed to provide an additional reference for System Operators. All System Operators in the account can review past questions and responses in case they may find the information helpful. However, there may be past help inquiries that are simply thank-you responses, or that may not be helpful to any operators except the Administrator.

To "clean-up" these inquires and responses, the Administrator can archive the unwanted items. When this is done, the responses will only be available to the Administrator(s). To see them, the Administrator will need to check the "Include archived inquires" checkbox on the "Help E-mail" tab. To archive inquires and responses, click on the Subject of an inquiry to view it and then click the Archive button.

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