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FAQ: Initiatives, Private Needs, and User Groups

Note: This article applies to features introduced with Connect version 2.8 (initiatives, user groups, etc.). They apply for regular needs only; they do not apply to needs within the Advanced Events Module (AEM), Service Learning Module (SLM) (Campus Connect), or Disaster Response Module (DRM). For information on offering private needs via the AEM, click here.

Below are the most frequently asked questions we've received regarding need privacy and initiative privacy. This article will be updated as additional questions come in from our beta release group. 

What does it mean for an initiative to be public or private?

An initiative cannot be private. It can contain private needs that may or may not be assigned to user groups, but the initiative itself cannot be marked as private.

If the initiative does not contain public needs, it will appear in the initiatives filter on the needs page, but the needs will not be visible to volunteers unless they belong to a user group to which the private need has been assigned.

What does it mean for a need to be public or private?

All volunteers visiting your site can see and respond to public needs. If a need is private, a volunteer can view it only if:

  • They have a link to the need-information page, or
  • The private need belongs to a private initiative, and the volunteer belongs to a user group assigned to that initiative.

Someone with access to a private need will see a "lock" icon to the right of the need title, indicating that it's not available to everyone.

need_lock_icon.png

How do I make something public or private?

Initiatives cannot be made private. You can make needs private individually or in bulk. Learn more about making needs private in this article on private needs.

How do I share an initiative?

You can share any initiative by making the initiative link available to your volunteers. The initiative link is located in the top right-hand corner of the Create/Edit Initiative page. (To access this page, go to Volunteerism > Needs, click Initiatives, and then click on an initiative. For a new initiative, the link does not appear until the initiative has been created.)

Does a need have to be associated with an initiative in order to be private?

No. Any need can be private, regardless of whether or not it is associated with an initiative. Click here to learn how to make a need private.

Does a need have to be associated with a user group in order to be private?

No. A need can be private without being associated with a user group. If it is not associated with a user group, then a volunteer must have access to the private need link. If it is associated with a user group, then the user group's members will be able to access it using the need filter or by going to their My User Groups area.

If a need is assigned to a user group, does that make the need private by default?

No. To assign a need privately to a user group, you must (1) make the need private and (2) assign it to the user group. You can, however, opt to accomplish both of these steps at the same time using the instructions provided in this article.

What kind of initiative would use public needs?

An organization would typically use public initiatives with public needs for volunteer events such as Stuff the Bus and MLK Day that are open to everyone.

What kind of event might use an initiative with private needs?

If an organization wishes to make certain needs privately available to groups within a large-scale event (such as MLK Day), they would make some needs private and assign them to a user group. Everyone who visits the site would be able to access the public needs within the initiative, but only the members of the assigned user groups would be able to access the private ones.

If I have an initiative that only contains private needs, how will that look in the volunteer view?

If a public initiative only contains private needs, the average volunteer might stumble across the initiative banner (by searching for needs by initiative), but they will not be able to see the needs within the initiative unless they are signed in as a member of a user group to which the initiative has been assigned. 

When posting a need, can an agency manager opt to make it private?

Yes. Agency managers have the option of marking their own needs as private. In some cases, an agency manager can assign a need to a user group, and if your site allows it, they can add a need to an initiative, as explained below.

Can an agency manager select an initiative for a need? What if the initiative is private?

An agency manager cannot select initiatives by default, but you can change your site settings to allow it. If agency managers do have that option, they will be able to choose any initiative for the need.

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