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Managing Qualifications

This article is for Connect platform managers whose needs require that volunteers meet certain criteria in order to volunteer. 

Do you have certain needs on your site that aren't appropriate for all volunteers, but instead apply to only a few? For example, maybe you have Senior Corps RSVP needs for volunteers 55 and over, or perhaps your food bank requires a permission slip for volunteers under 18. Or maybe your site exists for medical volunteerism only, and you require certain minimum medical training in order to respond to, or even view, the volunteer opportunities featured on your site.

With your Connect site's qualifications feature, you can enable volunteers to answer questions and upload documents to show that they are qualified to register for one or more needs on your site. You can set your Connect platform up to block all needs from volunteers who lack certain requirements, or you can simply block unqualified volunteers from responding to certain needs that require the qualifications.

This article goes over how a site manager can create and manage qualifications on their Connect site. Specifically, it covers these topics:

The Volunteer Perspective

If your Connect platform uses qualifications, volunteers may encounter them at signup, in their user profile, and when clicking on and responding to needs. If they are not qualified to respond to a need, they will not be able to respond until they have submitted the proper qualifications. To learn more about the volunteer's perspective of qualifications, see Qualifying for Volunteer Opportunities.

The Agency Manager Perspective

If agencies on your site want to use qualifications (in other words, if they want to be able to assign qualifications to the needs they post), you will first need to give them permission to do this. To learn more about the agency manager's perspective of qualifications, see Attaching Qualifications to Needs.

Activating the Qualifications Step in Registration

To activate the qualifications step for new users:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Settings > User Registration.
  2. Under Options to hide registration steps, switch the "Qualifications" Registration Step to ON.
  3. Click Save Options.

With this setting, all new users will see your platform's qualification questions as a final step in their registration.

Note: For more information on setting up registration steps, see Your Connect Site's User Registration Form.

Setting Up Qualifications

You can set up as many qualification questions as you wish. To set up qualification questions:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Qualifications.
    The Manage Qualifications page includes an option to add or manage custom qualification categories, buttons to add new or view inactive qualifications, and a table of the qualifications that are already on your site.
  2. Click Add New Qualification to open the Create Qualification form.
  3. Complete all applicable and required fields. Fields are listed below.
    Field Description
    Status Select Active to have the qualification appear in the user profile. Select Inactive to deactivate a qualification. Click here to learn how to reactivate a qualification.
    Title Enter a title for the qualification. This title appears on the need-description page (under a "Required Qualifications" section), in your qualifications table, in the user's profile, and in the agency manager's Qualifications dropdown (where they can select a qualification for a need); for more information on agency manager access to qualifications, click here.
    Category If you have set up qualification categories, select a category, if applicable. Click here to learn more about qualification categories.
    Question Type the qualification question as you want it to appear to the volunteer.
    Type Select a question type. Available types are small text field, large text field, dropdown, radio button, and file upload. For more information on question types, click here.

    If you want a qualification question to be required, turn this option ON.

    Note: Do not require a qualification if it will only be required for certain needs. Instead, you can use an "if" question for the qualification. For example: "Some needs require a Commercial Driver License (CDL). If you plan to volunteer for such needs, please upload a copy of your CDL here."

    Permissions Select the applicable permission. Click here for more information on qualification permissions.
    Duration Select the duration of the qualification. In other words, select the time when the qualification will expire or will need to be reviewed again. If you want to give the volunteer the option of entering an expiration date, select Expiration Date. For more information on qualification durations, click here.
  4. Click the Create Qualification or Update Qualification button as applicable.

Once a qualification has been updated, it will appear in the Manage Qualifications table, in the user profiles, and in the Qualifications dropdown for agency managers who have permission to use qualifications.

Click here to view a video on creating and editing qualifications. This video also goes over qualification permissions.

Allowing Agencies to Select Qualifications

Agencies cannot select qualifications for their needs by default. In order for an agency to have this option, you must add them to your system's list of allowed agencies. Once an agency has been given this option, they can view and select qualifications that have the Required to Respond to Selected Needs permission level.

To allow an agency to assign qualifications to needs:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Qualifications
  2. Under the Manage Qualifications heading, click Agencies. This opens the Manage Agencies area for qualifications.
  3. To add a single agency, select an agency from the Add an Agency dropdown and click Add. To add all agencies on your site, click the Add All Agencies button, and then click Yes to confirm.

All added agencies appear in the Manage Agencies table.

Click here to view a video on allowing agencies to use qualifications.

Approving Qualifications

This section shows how you can approve volunteers' qualification submissions. Because approving a qualification is essentially changing a qualification's status, much of this section applies to any change to a qualification's status--from "Pending" to "Not Qualified," for example, or from "Qualified" to "Expired."

By default, all qualifications that volunteers submit are pending until a site manager has approved them.

You can approve qualifications in one of two ways:

Once you have approved a qualification, the volunteer will be able to access and respond to needs accordingly allows until the qualification expires.

Click here to view a video on approving qualifications for a volunteer.

Note: If you are logged in as a site manager and submit a qualification, you will automatically be approved for that qualification.

From the Qualifications-Management Area

To approve qualifications from the qualifications-management area:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Qualifications.
  2. Under the Manage Qualifications heading, click Approval. In the table shown, all pending qualifications are listed.
  3. From each Status dropdown, select to indicate whether the volunteer is Qualified or Not Qualified, as applicable.
  4. Click Okay.

Once you have clicked Okay, the new status is saved. Qualified volunteers can now access needs that require their qualifications, while those with a Not Qualified status cannot.

Note: No notification is sent when an individual's status for a qualification changes. To reach out to volunteers regarding their qualification submissions, see Emailing Volunteers about Qualifications.

From the User Profile Area

You can approve (or change the status of) a qualification for a volunteer by going into their profile in your site manager panel:

  1. Go to Volunteerism > Users.
  2. Select a user to open their profile. You may need to find them first using the Search feature or the user filter.
  3. Click Qualifications beneath their name.
    A table showing the volunteer's qualifications and status is displayed, as shown in this example.
  4. Select the applicable status from the Status dropdown. In the above example, you would select "Not Qualified" for the "Fluency in Spanish" qualification, since the volunteer answered "No" for that question.
  5. Click Okay.

Once you have clicked Okay, the new status is saved. Qualified volunteers can now access needs that require their qualifications, while those with a Not Qualified status cannot.

Note: If a site manager clicks Edit Qualifications on this page and makes any changes to the volunteer's qualifications, the volunteer will be marked as "Qualified" once the changes are submitted.

Working with Inactive Qualifications

If you deactivate a qualification, it will no longer be included in the profiles of the users who had that qualification, and it will no longer be included with any needs to which it was added.

Deactivating a Qualification

To deactivate a qualification:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Qualifications.
  2. Under the Options column in the Manage Qualifications table, click the X for the qualification you wish to deactivate.
  3. Click Yes to confirm.

Note: You can also click on the qualification and manually change its status to Inactive, and then click to update the qualification.

The qualification is now inactive and will no longer show up in the default My Qualifications table.

Reactivating a Qualification

To reactivate an inactive qualification:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Qualifications.
  2. Click Show Inactive Qualifications, located on the right side of the page, above the Manage Qualifications table.
  3. Locate the inactive qualification and click on its title.
  4. From the Status dropdown, select Active.
  5. Click Update Qualification.

The qualification is now active. If a volunteer had this qualification before it was deactivated, it will be added back to the profile.

Emailing Volunteers about Qualifications

One of the biggest benefits to having volunteer qualifications in your database is that you can email volunteers with certain qualifications when relevant needs come up. For example, if you specifically need to mobilize Spanish-speaking volunteers in a disaster-response effort, you can do so quickly by reaching out to those volunteers via email.

Using the Email Blast

With the Email Blast, you can email all volunteers who have met certain qualifications. To do this, you'll need to set up a filter for the volunteers you wish to email.

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Communication > Email Blast.
  2. Click User Filter to open the user filter.
  3. Under the Add New Filter heading, select Volunteer > Qualification > has been approved for, and then select the qualification. In this example, the site manager has selected "Fluency in Spanish."
  4. Click Submit.
  5. Write and send the email. For more information on using the Email Blast, click here.

Note: You can use this same filter in the user-management area (Volunteerism > Users) to export a list of volunteers with the selected qualification.

Emailing Volunteers with Pending or Expired Qualifications

To email volunteers whose qualifications are pending or expired:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Volunteerism > Qualifications.
  2. Under the Manage Qualifications heading, click Approval.
  3. In the Approve Qualification Responses table, select to view all qualifications with Pending statuses (this is the default), or those with Expired statuses.
  4. Of the qualifications displayed, check the boxes of the volunteers you want to email, or check the top box to select all.
  5. Click the Email Users button above the table. This opens the Email Blast with those users selected.
  6. Write and send the email. For more information on using the Email Blast, click here.

Note: When a volunteer's qualification expires, they are sent an automated notification, letting them know that the qualification has expired. 

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