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Using the DRM: Before Disaster Strikes

Developed in collaboration with coastal United Way offices and a state-level commission tasked with disaster-relief support, the Disaster Response Module (DRM) is available as an add-on to the Get Connected volunteer platform.

The DRM's purpose is to facilitate volunteer management in time of a disaster by providing an on-demand “digital command center” within your Get Connected platform.

This article covers the actions you can take to prepare the DRM for service should a disaster strike in the future.

Making the Module Available

If your Get Connected platform includes the DRM, you can make the module available to your volunteers at any time. Having the DRM be available has several benefits. For one thing, volunteers can be aware that the module is there and can learn about it. For another, volunteers can create their profiles, which will come into play in the event of a disaster.

To make the module available to the public, you will need to create a link to the DRM on the Get Connected Dashboard via spotlights or the image rotator.

Note: The default link to your DRM is [YourDomain]/drm.

When a user clicks your DRM link, they will be taken to an informational page that includes the option to register their DRM profiles. The text of that page is controlled in your DRM settings, described in the following section.

DRM Informational Page

The DRM informational, or "info," page is displayed when (1) a user clicks goes to your site's DRM link, and (2) the DRM has not been activated. By default, this page offers the following:

  • An invitation for the user to fill out their disaster response profile
  • Brief, general information about your organization's role in responding to a disaster, along with a definition of spontaneous unaffiliated volunteer (SUV).

Here is part of the default info page:

As a Site Manager, you have the option of changing the text that appears above and below the Register Now button on this page. 

To change the info page text:

  1. From your manager panel, click Modules > Disaster Response.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Scroll down to the Info Page Content area.
  4. Enter new text in the Top Content and Bottom Content fields as desired. The Top Content is for the area above the Register Now button, while the Bottom Section is for the area below it.

    Note: To use the default text, leave the box(es) blank.

  5. Click Update Settings.

Note: You can use the text editor to upload images, provide links, and use various types of formatting in the text you provide here.

Other DRM Settings

There are other DRM settings to consider as you prepare the module for public use:

All of these settings are found in the Site Manager Panel by clicking Modules > Disaster Response and then clicking Settings.

The various settings available here are described below. After making any changes to your DRM settings, remember to click Update Settings in order to save your work.

Auto-Approval of New Needs

Once the DRM is activated, VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and other agencies on your site will be able to post new volunteer needs related to the disaster. If you want those needs to be published on the site immediately upon posting, select Yes, Auto Approve New Needs.

If you click No, New Needs Require Approval, then you will be notified of any new DRM needs and will be able to approve them before they appear on the site.

Display DRM Link in Agency Manager

If your Get Connected platform includes the DRM, then agency managers will have a Disaster Response tab in their agency manager view, as shown here.

If the DRM is not activated, clicking this tab will take the agency manager to the DRM info page. If it is activated, the agency will be manager will be taken to an area where they can begin posting needs.

Click Yes, Show Link or No, Do Not Show Link to indicate whether you want this tab available to your agency managers.

Need Response Thank You Page

After responding to a DRM need, a volunteer will be shown a thank-you message. The text of this message is controlled in your DRM settings. Note that you can add images, links, and formatting to your message.

Supplemental Volunteer Questions

When an individual volunteers for a DRM need, you have the option of asking them questions regarding any lodging or special accommodations they may need. Specifically, you can ask them up to three supplemental questions:

  • Will you require lodging in order to serve as a disaster volunteer? 
  • If lodging is provided by the host agency, will you require any special accommodations? 
  • Do you require any other special accommodations to volunteer?

Toggle the box to On for any of these questions that you want included in the volunteer response form.

Volunteer Liability Waivers

Use this area of your DRM settings to upload any waivers, terms and conditions, etc., that you want your volunteers to acknowledge before completing their need response.

To upload a waiver:

  1. Click Choose File.
  2. Browse to and select the desired file to upload it.

Once you have uploaded the file, it appears below the waiver field, as shown here:

At this point, you may upload additional waivers if needed.

Public Display of DRM Needs

Once the DRM is active, the public will be able to view and respond to all DRM needs posted. If you do not want the public to have access to DRM needs but would prefer for them to view a message instead (for example, one that explains how to contact your office), select No, Show Message Instead under the Publicly Show Needs? heading in your DRM settings.

If you do select No, Show Message Instead, you will be shown a Needs Area Message field where you can type the message. When the DRM is activated and someone clicks the DRM link on their Dashboard, they will be shown this message.

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