Creating an opportunity is an important step and the quality of the information you provide will have a huge effect on how many volunteers will join the opportunity.
The basic steps are given below followed by a more in depth discussion of some of the aspects of the opportunity creation form.
Note: A more detailed description of some of the steps are given below this list
- Go to MANAGE OPPORTUNITIES > CREATE OPPORTUNITY
- Choose the TYPE of opportunity (Recurring, Non Recurring or flexible)
- Change the DBS and Induction settings accordingly
- Select whether you want to share the opporunity with your WIDER GROUP
- Select whether the opportunity is part of an event.
- Choose JOINING or APPLYING
- Choose the CATEGORY and the ACTIVITIES
- Restrict to Global Volunteer Group if required (these are volunteer groups setup by the administrator)
- Restrict to YOUR VOLUNTEER GROUP if required (these are volunteer groups setup by yourself within the MANAGE VOLUNTEERS > YOUR VOLUNTEERS page)
- Main Age Group at opportunity (this is the age group that the volunteer will be dealing with and NOT the age of the volunteers themselves).
- Enter the opportunity title, description, perks and location where you want the volunteers should meet you.
- Select the dates and times the sessions will take place.
- Ask for Experience when joining (if you select YES, when the volunteer joins the opportunity they will be asked to enter a couple of lines to describe why they are suitable for the opportunity)
- Does opportunity have a closing date (this is the date when the opportunity will no longer be visible to volunteers when they search for opportunities).
- Minimum and Maximum Age of volunteers (volunteers outside this age range will not be able to apply)
- Gender (only the selected gender will be able to apply)
- Maximum volunteers per session (this is not the maximum volunteers allowed on the whole opportunity, it is per session)
- Click on the ADD NEW OPPORTUNITY button.
RECURRING, NON-RECURRING or FLEXIBLE
After you click on create opportunity you are required to define whether the opportunity is RECURRING, NON-RECURRING or FLEXIBLE, there is a description of these types on each button.
RECURRING opportunity takes place the same time every week/month etc. usually something like a netball assistant to help out every Tuesday night at the same time.
NON_RECURRING opportunity is a one off, usually an event.
FLEXIBLE opportunity could be a work placement or an opportunity where the times when the volunteer will attend will only be known during the opportunity and not before.
This setting will have a big effect on the number of volunteers that can access an opportunity. If an opportunity will require the volunteer to have unmonitored access to children (as defined by DBS regulations) then the opportunity should be set to require a DBS. Some organisations leave the DBS management to be between the providers and the volunteers directly (leaving responsibility with the providers), but this must be clearly communicated to providers prior to activating them on the system, and it should also be in your terms and conditions.
If you are managing the DBS for your providers then this function ensures that only suitable volunteers can join an opportunity, be aware that this may exclude a large proportion of your registered volunteers and so should be used only when necessary, and if in doubt then check the UK governments DBS website.
Volunteers who do not have a DBS can still see the opportunity but they will not be able to join it, they will be asked to contact the administrator if they are interested in getting a DBS.
SHARE OPPORTUNITY WITH A WIDER GROUP
Some organisations are linked together, this allows them to share their opportunity with volunteers from other systems. You will only see basic information on these external volunteers, but you will still be able to communicate and collect their logged hours. If you are interested in linking with other organisations then please raise a support ticket and we will let you know who may be interested in linking with you.
OPPORTUNITY PART OF LARGER EVENT
You can group opportunities into an EVENT. The advantage of this is that events have additional promotional tools including their own customisable public facing webpage (see events section of the help guide). Events also appear at the top of the search results so they are more evident to the volunteers.
JOINING or APPLYING
If an opportunity is ‘first come first serve’ then it should be set to JOINING, this means that as soon as the volunteer joins the opportunity they are shown a congratulations message saying “turn up unless told otherwise” (in so many words).
If you are going to short list volunteers on the opportunity then it should be set to APPLYING. When volunteers apply for the opportunity they will be told “thank you for applying, you will be informed at a later date if you are succesful”. Before the opportunity takes place you will be required to short list the volunteers by removing the volunteers you dont want, then click on the CONFIRM OPPORTUNITY button, this will send out an email to all remaining volunteers telling them that they are succesful and to turn up for their relevant sessions.
You must select a main category for the opportunity in order to proceed. Categories are defined when the system is first setup through the OPPORTUNITIES & PROVIDERS > OPPORTUNITY CATEGORIES screen. They have two purposes; to act as another way for volunteers to filter search results AND you can also generate reports based on your categories.
Activities are a way of describing what the volunteer will actually be doing on the day (eg.coaching, Driving etc.) Once you start tying an activity name, you will see an SUGGEST box appear below if a similar activity has already been selected, you can either click on a suggestion below, or continue typing and add a new activity.
Example: The opportunity title may be Assistant Football Coach, but the activities may be Coaching, Assisting, Setting Up Equipment, Refereeing etc.
This is the most important option, and will have a huge effect on how many volunteers join the opportunity. Remember that the volunteer is giving up their free time and you want to attract the most suitable volunteers. Give the opportunity a clear and exciting title, this will appear as a short description to the volunteer when the full description will not fit. If you are getting the wrong type of volunteers applying for an opportunity then you should consider changing the wording of the opportunity title or description.
Next is the main description where you can really add value to the opportunity and should include all key aspects, including the duties and tasks that will be involved and any extra information that will help a volunteer to decide to commit to this opportunity.
Describing the perks to the volunteer will definitely help attract more volunteers. These could be things like getting to watch an event, meet key people in the industry, access professional coaches, an event t-shirt and so on. Although volunteers do not expect to get paid or to receive perks a little encouragement never hurts.
Finally in this section you will need to enter the postcode where the main aspects of the opportunity will be carried out. It is vital that this is correct as it uses the calculated latitude and longitude of the postcode you provide to work out how far away an opportunity is from the volunteer, and to show where the opportunity is on the map. Only enter one postcode, do not enter multiple postcodes separated by spaces or commas. Once you have entered the postcode and moved to the next field on the form, the system will check the postcode to make sure it is valid and exists. If successful a tick and the word ‘checked’ will be visible next to the postcode box. If a cross appears please provide a valid postcode.
RESTRICT TO GLOBAL VOLUNTEER GROUP
You can restrict an opportunity to specific volunteer groups which have been created by the administrator using this option. Only volunteers within that group will be able to join the opportunity (but all volunteers will be able to see it in the search results).
RESTRICT TO YOUR VOLUNTEER GROUP
You can restrict an opportunity to specific volunteer groups which have been defined by yourself. Only volunteers within that group will be able to join the opportunity (but all volunteers will be able to see it in the search results).
MAIN AGE GROUP AT OPPORTUNITY
This is the age of the people who the volunteer will be interacting with (not the age of the actual volunteers)
SESSION DATES AND TIMES
The volunteer will need to know what day, time and for how long the opportunity is for. Different options will appear depending on whether the opportunity is non-recurring, recurring or flexible.
As the admin you can change the session times at any point, but this can be time consuming if you have many sessions, so try and get them right at the start. If you do change a session time then the system will automatically email all effected volunteers informing them of the new session time, and the volunteers will remain on the sessions.
You may need some time before the opportunity to finalise the volunteers roles, communicate final details to the volunteers or create a short list of volunteers (remove some volunteers). In this case we advise that you create a closing date, this will prevent volunteers joining the opportunity after the designated date, giving you chance to organise and prepare.
MINIMUM and MAXIMUM AGE
This defines what age the volunteer must be to join the opportunity. This is enforced so volunteers who are not old enough will not be able to join the opportunity.
You can select a gender which is also enforced by the system. Usually it is left as EITHER but in some rare circumstances (example: Muslim Womens Aqua Aerobics teacher) the option is relevant.
MAXIMUM VOLUNTEERS PER SESSION
You may want to limit the number of volunteers allowed on each session, if so this is the option you will use. Remember that this is the number of volunteers per sessions and not per opportunity.
For example; you opportunity may contain 2 sessions (one on Saturday and one on Sunday). If the Maximum Volunteers Per Session is set to 10 then you could effectively have 20 different volunteers (10 per session). In reality you will probably have less than 20 different volunteers as many of the volunteers may join both sessions.