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Private Initiatives and Private Needs

As a Connect site manager, you can make needs and even entire initiatives privately available to certain volunteers. This capability is particularly useful for corporate volunteering, as you can give companies and other organizations exclusive access to respond to a limited set of needs.

This article contains the following sections on needs and initiatives:

Click on a link above to learn more.


As a site manager, you have the option of marking a need as private. While public needs can be viewed by anyone, a private need can only be accessed in the following ways:

  • Via a unique link to the need, created when a site manager submits the need as private
  • If the need is part of a private initiative, it can be viewed by members of the user group(s) assigned to that initiative.

Note: Needs are public by default. If you do not want a need to be published when posted, set your approval settings so that needs are not auto-approved.

Marking a Need as Private

To submit a need as private:

  1. From your manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Needs.
  2. Click to create a new need or add an existing one, and complete all applicable fields.
  3. Scroll down to the Privacy field and select Private.
  4. Click Create Need or Update Need as applicable.

Now that the need is private, you'll see a "lock" icon in the needs listing on your site manager panel:


The agency manager will see a similar "lock" icon in their agency manager view of need:


Note:  Agency managers cannot mark a need as private; only site managers can do this.

The Volunteer View of Private Needs

A private need be seen by up to two groups, potentially:

  • If the need belongs to a private initiative, then it will be available members of any user groups that are assigned to the initiative.
  • This need can be seen by anyone who has access to the need's unique link.

In the volunteer view, private needs are indicated by a "lock" icon:


Neither the need nor the icon is visible to volunteers who do not have access to the need. If a volunteer does not have access, they will not be able to search for view, or respond to the need. A user with access to the private need, however, can search for, view, and respond to it. 

Note: If you are logged in as a site manager, you will be able to see all private needs, including those that are in private initiatives. Even if you do not belong to the initiative's user group, you will still be able to see the private needs.

Sharing Private Needs as a Site Manager

Once you have submitted the need with the privacy designation, a private Need Link appears at the top of the page.


You can now share this link with any volunteer.

Note: Once a volunteer has this link, they can share it with anyone.

Sharing Private Needs as a Volunteer

Volunteers have the option to share public needs on social media by clicking a "share" icon for the need. This option is not available for private needs. In addition, when a volunteer responds to a public need, they are typically given the option to share the news of their response via social media. This option is also not available for private needs.

However, a volunteer can access the private need link from their browser's address bar and forward it as desired. If the need does not belong to a private initiative, anyone with the link can view it.


An initiative is, put simply, a grouping of needs on your Connect platform under a common "umbrella." Initiatives can be set up for needs associated with a specific event (such as a Day of Caring), a specific time of year (such as the holidays), or a specific group of people (such as a corporation). Initiatives can be made public on your site, or they can be privately visible only to selected groups of volunteers known as user groups.

Note: Unlike individual needs, an initiative must be assigned to at least one user group in order to be private.

Note: Only a site manager can make an initiative private; this is not something an agency manager can do.

Public Initiatives and Private Initiatives

If an initiative is public, everyone who visits your site can:

  • Search for the initiative using the search/filter tool
  • See the initiative banner and description when viewing the initiative page or when viewing any single need associated with the initiative
  • View all public needs associated with the initiative
  • See clearly that those needs are associated with the initiative

If the initiative contains private needs, the general public will be able to see the initiatives and its public needs, but not its private needs.

If an initiative is private (in other words, assigned to one or more user groups):

  • Only members of the assigned user group(s) can search for it.
  • Only members of the assigned user group can see the initiative banner and description.
  • Only members of the assigned user group can see that the initiative's needs are associated with the initiative.

If the private initiative contains public needs, all users will be able to see the public needs, but not the fact that those needs are associated with the private initiative.

If the private initiative contains private needs, members of the assigned user groups will automatically be able to see the private needs. If one of those members sends a private need link to a volunteer who does not belong to the user group, that volunteer will be able to see and respond to the need, but they won't see the initiative banner. In other words, because they aren't assigned to the initiative, they won't be able to see that the need is associated with it.

Making an Initiative Private

To make an initiative privately available to one or more user groups:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Needs.
  2. Click on the Initiatives heading.
  3. If creating a new initiative, click Add New Initiative. If editing an existing initiative, click on an intitiative title in the table displayed.
  4. For Privacy, select Show Only to User Groups.
  5. From the User Groups dropdown that is displayed, select a user group.

    Note: You can assign multiple user groups to an initiative, but you must select one at a time from the dropdown.

  6. Complete any other fields as needed.
  7. Click to update or create the initiative as applicable.

Members of the selected user group(s) can now view the initiative banner with any active, current needs associated with the initiative. They will also be able to filter needs by this initiatives using the Search by Initiative dropdown in the volunteer view (see following section for more information).

Note: A volunteer must be logged in to see an initiative that has been assigned to their user group. If you are logged in as a site manager, you will be able to see all private needs within initiatives, even if you do not belong to the assigned user group.

The Volunteer View of Private Initiatives

If a volunteer is logged in and belongs to a user group with private access to an initiative, they will have the following capabilities:

  • They can view the initiative in the Search by Initiative dropdown on the Needs page.
    Note: Volunteers who do not have private access to any initiatives will only see the public initiatives listed here.
  • They can see the initiative banner with any need or need listing associated with the initiative. In this example, the "Earth Day" initiative banner is being shown on the information page for the "Be a Trailblazer!" need.

Note: If there are no current, active needs associated with the initiative, it will not be available in the volunteer view.

Important Note about Private Initiatives Containing Public Needs

Private initiatives are only visible to the user groups to which they are assigned. If the private initiative contains public needs, however, those needs will be visible to everyone--not just to the user-group members. This is because the need is still public. While everyone can see the public needs, only the initiative's assigned user-group members will be able to (1) see the initiative banner and (2) search needs by that initiative. In other words, everyone can view and respond to a public need, but only the initiative's assigned user-group members can see that the need belongs to the private initiative.

If you want both the initiative and the needs within it to be private, you must mark both as private:

  • In Volunteerism > Needs, select Private for the need.
  • In Volunteerism > Needs > Initiatives, select Show Only to User Groups for the initiative.

Sharing Private Initiatives

By selecting a user group for an initiative, you make it automatically available to the members of that user group, as explained previously. You can also send a link to the user group members. This link is available in the top right-hand corner of the Update Initiative or Create Initiative page.


Note: If a user-group member shares this link with someone outside of the user group, they person outside of the user group will get a "You do not have access to that initiative" message when they click the link.

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