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About User Groups: Volunteer FAQs

As a volunteer, you may belong to one or more user groups. If you are part of a user group, you may have exclusive access to certain initiatives (and certain needs within those initiatives) on your community's Connect site. This article is an FAQ on user groups for volunteers. 

What is a user group?

What is the purpose of a user group?

How is a user group different from a team?

How do I know if I belong to a user group?

How do I join a user group?

Can I leave a user group?

How do I know if I'm viewing a need or initiative that's only available to my user groups?

Who else is in my user group?

How private is my user-group membership?

Do I have to associate my volunteer work with a user group?

I know I belong to a user group, but I'm not seeing the option to select it when I respond to a need. Why not?

How awesome is my user group? 

What is a user group?

A user group is a way to group qualifying volunteers under a single "umbrella" so that volunteers and organizations can (1) measure engagement for multiple people who are volunteering on behalf of their larger group, and (2) engage community initiatives as a group. A user group may be a company, club, church, or other organization whose members volunteer as agents of their larger group. It can also be a group of selected volunteers who have needed expertise or training in an area (for example, volunteers who are veterinarians or are qualified to prepare tax returns). See "What is the purpose of a user group?" below for further details.

What is the purpose of a user group?

User groups have at least two purposes:

  • They are a way for volunteers to track their combined efforts, and for established groups (clubs, companies, and other organizations) to see what their members (or employees) are doing in the community.
  • They are a tool for giving private access to select needs and initiatives on a Connect site.

Tracking Combined Efforts

By selecting a user group when they respond to a need, volunteers ensure that their responses and hours are included in overall reporting for the larger group. For example, let's say you work for Galaxy Digital, and Galaxy Digital is set up as a user group on your a company. When you respond to a need, you can select Galaxy Digital as your user group—if your response is part of a corporate volunteer effort. If you're volunteering on your own, and not as part of your company, you do not have to select that user group. You can then see, when viewing your past volunteer efforts, how much of your work was with your company, and how much was not.

User group reports are available to all user group members. Companies (and other groups) can access those reports to track and share the volunteer efforts their members have achieved.

Assigning Private Needs and Initiatives

Your site manager can make an initiative private and offer it exclusively to certain user groups. Only the members of an assigned user group will be able to see the initiative's banner and information. If the needs are marked private, then only those user group members will be able to see the need at all.

How is a user group different from a team?

A team is created in response to a need; the team's existence is tied to that particular need response. A user group, on the other hand, exists outside of needs and need responses; a person can belong to a user group and respond to any need individually, as a team, or not at all. When responding to a need, a volunteer can opt to associate their need response a user group—or not. (The volunteer must first belong to a user group in order to associate a need response with it.)

A volunteer can belong to both a user group and a team, and their need response can be associated with both. For example, a volunteer may belong to their company's user group, but they might create a team that consists of their co-workers in one particular department. Each team member's responses can be associated with the company's user group. This way, the responses, hours and impact value can be tracked, both by the team on a team level and by the company on a user-group level.

How do I know if I belong to a user group?

Once you are logged into your Connect site, click your profile dropdown, located in the top right-hand corner of your screen. If you belong to a user group, you will see a My User Groups option in the dropdown list.

dropdown_profile.png

You can select My User Groups to view the details of your user groups.

Note: Your site manager has the option to override the term "user group" with a term of their choice (such as group, club, company, etc.). If the term has been overridden on your community's Connect site, the change will be reflected in your profile dropdown.

How do I join a user group?

There are three ways to belong to a user group:

  • A site manager can manually add you to a user group.
  • You can click a link to join a user group. This link must be provided to you by a site manager, or by someone who received the link from a site manager.
  • If you have a certain email domain when you register, you will be added automatically to a user group. (For example, if there is a Galaxy Digital user group and you work for Galaxy Digital and have @galaxydigital.com in your email address as you register, you will be added to the Galaxy Digital user group.)

If you feel that you should belong to a certain user group, contact your site manager to see about being added to it.

Can I start my own user group?

Volunteers cannot start their own user groups. User groups are created in the system by your site manager. If you would like to start a user group, contact your site manager.

Who is my user group's contact person?

Your user group does not have a main contact or leader. If a site manager opts to email your user group, all members of your group will get an email.

Can I leave a user group?

While you can't manually join a user group, you can opt to leave a user group at any time. To do so:

  1. Log into your Connect site and select My User Groups from the profile dropdown.
    dropdown_profile.png
  2. In the table of user groups that is displayed, in the Options columns, click the X in the row of the group you want to leave.
    table_user_groups.png
  3. Click Yes to confirm that you want to leave the group.

Note: If you wish to rejoin a user group you've left, contact your site manager.

How do I know if I'm viewing a need or initiative that's only available to my user groups?

If an initiative is available only to your user group, it will show up for you in the search, and you will be able to see any associated needs, as well as the initiative banner. You will not be able to see, however, whether your user group has exclusive access to the initiative.

If you have exclusive access to an initiative and it has private needs, you will see a "lock" icon with the need to indicate that not all volunteers can view it.

need_card_lock_icon.png

In fact, anytime you have access to a private need, whether or not it is part of an initiative, you will see the "lock" icon on the need.

Can I see who else is in my user group?

User group membership is private; you cannot see who else is in your user group. Only your site manager (or managers) have access to that information.

There is one exception: If you are responding to a need as a team and are adding a team member, you may be able to select a user group for that team member. However, you can only select a user group for them if (1) they belong to a user group, and (2) you belong to the same user group. You will not be able to see any of their user groups if you are not also a member.

How private is my user-group membership?

Another volunteer can see your user groups only if (1) they are adding you as a team member as part of a team signup in response to a need; and (2) they belong to the same user group(s) as you do. Outside of that, no volunteer can see what user group(s) you belong to.

Your site manager can see all user groups and user-group members, and they can email user-group members as needed.

Do I have to associate my volunteer work with a user group?

No. When you respond to a need, you'll have the option of selecting a user group with which to associate your need response. This field is not required.

Note: If you don't belong to any user groups, you won't get this option.

I know I belong to a user group, but I'm not seeing the option to select it when I respond to a need. Why not?

User group selection is available for all standard needs on your Connect site. If you are responding to a need within the Advanced Events Module (AEM), Service Learning Module (SLM), or Disaster Response Module (DRM), you will not have the option to select a user group.

To know if the need you're responding to is part of a different module, look at the "breadcrumbs" above the need title on either the need-information page or the need-response page.

breadcrumbs.png

In this example, you can see that the need titled "Collect recyclables for art project" is part of the "Earth Week" event, which is using the Advanced Events Module.

How awesome is my user group?

Want to see all the great things your user group has done? Check out your group's report, which shows total volunteer hours, impact value, number of members, and number of responses for the past six months. Included are charts showing hours by month, responses by month, responses by primary interest; and table showing the needs your group members have responded to, and the agencies that posted those needs.

To access your user-group report:

  1. Log in to your Connect site and and select My User Groups from the profile dropdown.
    dropdown_profile.png
  2. Click the Copy icon in the Reporting Link column. This action copies the report's URL to your clipboard.
    copy_report.png
  3. Open a new tab and paste the URL into the address bar.
  4. Press Enter.

Once you are viewing the report, you can select an initiative from the Initiative dropdown.

dropdown_initiatives.png

Once you have selected an initiative, click Go  to see your groups accomplishments for a that initiative.

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