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Managing Your Volunteers' Registration Process

This article is for Connect site managers. If you are a volunteer who wishes to register for a Connect site, check our article titled Joining a Connect Site.

Your Connect site's registration process is set up to collect the following types of data from new volunteers:

This article explains how each of these items affects a volunteer's experience of your Connect site, and it also explains how you can adjust the registration process so that volunteers can skip one or more steps.

Note: Information entered during registration can be edited in the user's profile at any time.

The Registration Steps: An Overview

By default, a Connect site's registration consists of four main steps: providing basic information, selecting causes, selecting interests, and selecting agencies. As needed, you can add the step where volunteers indicate their qualifications. A final step follows, welcoming the volunteer to the site and stating that a "welcome" email has been sent to them. 

Basic Information

When a volunteer clicks to sign up for your site, they're taken to a page where they must enter, at minimum, their name and email address. This information provides you with a way to contact the volunteer if needed, and it's also provided to agency managers when the volunteer responds to one of their needs or RSVPs to an event. The email provided is used for all system notifications sent to the volunteer.

If you want to add other fields to this initial form, you can do so in the User Registration area of your site manager panel. All data entered in registration, including custom fields, becomes a part of the user's profile. They can change this information at any time by going to their Edit Profile area.

Causes

When an agency manager fills out their agency profile, they must select at least one cause that the agency supports. When a volunteer signs up for the site, they're also asked to identify causes—at least three—that they are interested in. Later in the registration process, your Connect site gives the new volunteer suggestions for agencies to fan, based on those causes. In addition, whenever the new volunteer goes to their volunteer dashboard, they'll see a "Recent Agencies" list that shows only those agencies with causes that match theirs. If your site features lots of agencies, this step is particularly useful to help volunteers navigate and find the agencies that share their volunteerism passions.

Interests

When posting a need, agency managers are required to indicate at least one interest. An interest is a needed skill, service, or type of work—such as physical labor, food-prep, or technology—that will be involved in meeting the need. When signing up for a Connect site, a new volunteer is asked to indicate three skills or interests. With that information, your Connect site can automatically recommend needs that the volunteer may want to check out. These recommendations show up in a couple of places:

  • On the volunteer dashboard, under "Suggested Needs."
  • In the weekly digest email, which goes out once a week and informs volunteers of newest-available opportunities that match their interests.

Like causes, interests are particularly helpful if you have an active site with many agencies posting many needs. Volunteers can avoid picking through the needs that don't interest them, and go straight to the ones for which they are qualified, and which are a better fit. 

Fanning Agencies

When a volunteer fans an agency, they'll get email updates whenever their fanned agencies post new needs or events. It's a great way for a volunteer to keep abreast of what their favorite nonprofits are doing in the community, and to be among the first to sign up for new opportunities that they care about. The agencies shown in this step are primarily those whose causes match the new volunteer's.

Qualifications

If certain needs on your site require qualifications (such as a driver's license, professional license, or work experience), you can ask your new volunteers to let you know, up-front, what qualifications they have. You can then use this information to recommend needs to select groups (for example, you can send an email blast to all of your accountant volunteers when it's time to recruit people for tax-preparation assistance), and you can create user groups based on qualifications.

Skipping Registration Steps

To ensure the volunteers are able to find what they need quickly when visiting your Connect site, we recommend that they you include all of the default steps in your user-registration process. If there are certain steps you do not want to include, or if you want to give volunteers the option of skipping all steps, you can do either or both of these things. Instructions are provided in the sections below. You can also check out our more detailed article titled Your Connect Site's User-Registration Form.

Hiding Certain Steps from the Registration Process

If you hide one or more steps from the registration process, then no new volunteer will see that step when registering. For example, if you've set up your site to skip the "Select Causes" step, the volunteer will go straight from entering basic information to the "Select Interests" step.

To hide a step from the registration process:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Settings > User Registration.
  2. Under User Registration Options, switch a step to OFF in order to hide it.
    Options_registration_steps.png
  3. Click Save Options.

If a volunteer wants to enter information later for the skipped steps, they can always go to their user profile later and update those fields.

Allowing Volunteers to Skip All Steps

If you want to include all steps but would like to let your volunteers skip this process at their own discretion, you can change your settings to allow this.

To turn on this setting:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Settings > User Registration.
  2. Under User Registration Options, mark the Users may skip steps during registration option.
    Options__skip_steps.png
  3. Click Save Options.

Once you've turned on this option, volunteers will see an option to skip steps when they sign up:

Message_click_to_complete_registration.png

If a volunteer skips the steps, they'll be taken to their volunteer dashboard. If they skip the steps while responding to a need, they'll be returned to the need-response form.

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