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Need Duration Types

When you're posting a volunteer opportunity in Get Connected, it's important to communicate clearly with your potential volunteers by giving a descriptive title, a detailed description, and clear instructions. It's also vital that volunteers know when, where, and what time they will be expected to show up. In Get Connected, you can let volunteers know if a need happens on or runs until a certain date, and you can give them them opportunity to sign up for specific shifts of a single need.

This article goes over the five need types, or "durations," available in Get Connected. It explains the purpose of each one and provides links to instructions on posting and editing each kind of need.

Click here to view a video on opportunity scheduling in Get Connected.

Types of Needs: An Overview

When you post a need in Get Connected, you are required to select one of five available need types, or durations.

  • Is Ongoing - For needs that do not have an expiration date, do not have pre-scheduled date, and do not occur in shifts.
  • Runs Until - For needs that are ongoing for a limited time and have a definite "end date."
  • Happens On - For volunteer opportunities that occur on a particular date.
  • Recurring Shifts - For needs that occur in shifts and occur at the same time daily, weekly, or monthly
  • Custom Shifts - For needs that occur in shifts that occur at different times within the same day, or at different times on different days.

Notes: Recurring and custom shifts available for standard needs only. They are not an option for advanced events, service learning, or disaster response needs.

The need type can be edited for Ongoing, Runs Until, and Happens On needs. (For example, if you want to change an Ongoing need to a Runs Until need, you can. The need type cannot, however, be edited for Recurring Shift and Custom Shift needs.

Ongoing Needs

An ongoing need is one that does not have an end date. With ongoing needs, an agency manager is always looking for volunteers to perform certain roles at dates and times to be decided. When you select Ongoing as a need duration, you will not have the option of specifying a date, a time, or the number of volunteers needed.

Note: When responding to an ongoing need, the volunteer has the option of specifying which day(s) they are available to volunteer. This option is only available for ongoing and "runs until" needs.

An ongoing need remains on your Get Connected site until you manually deactivate it. To prevent these needs from becoming outdated, Get Connected notifies the agency manager ninety days after an ongoing need is posted. At that time, you can update the need, remove it, or do nothing.

Note: Because agency managers often do forget that an ongoing need has been posted, we don't recommend selecting this duration type. A better option is to select Runs Until and provide an expiration date several months out. You can then revisit and update the need periodically throughout the year, keeping the need current and relevant.

"Runs Until" Needs

A "runs until" need is one that is ongoing for a limited time and has a definite "end date." Typical "runs until" needs include food drives, summer opportunities, and holiday-related volunteer needs.

Once you have selected Runs Until from the Duration dropdown, you will see additional fields, described below.

Field Description
Need Date Select the "end date" of the need.

Note: The program assumes that the need "starts" when it is posted; it is not possible to specify a start date as well as an end eate.

Registration Closed Date If you wish to close registration at any point, select the date to close.

Note: Closed needs are still visible in the need listing for volunteers, but they are designated as "closed," and no one else can sign up.

Capacity If applicable, enter the maximum number of volunteers that will be accepted.
Hours If using the Volunteer Check-in Feature, volunteers can have these hours automatically submitted to their volunteer résumés.
Hours Description If the need is to occur at a particular time each day, enter a description (range) of the hours here.

A "runs until" need is displayed in volunteers' view of the site until it expires (on the "end date") or until is reaches capacity, as applicable.

A week before a "runs until" need expires, Get Connected sends a notification to the agency manager(s), reminding them that the need is about to expire.

Note: When responding to a "runs until" need, the volunteer has the option of specifying which day(s) they are available to volunteer. This option is only available for ongoing and "runs until" needs.

"Happens On" Needs

The "Happens On" option is for needs that occur only once, on a particular day. When you select the Happens On duration, you'll see the same additional fields that are shown for "Runs Until" needs.

As with "Runs Until" needs, a "Happens On" need will be displayed in volunteers' view of the site until it expires (on the "happens on" date) or until is reaches capacity, as applicable.

Recurring Shifts

The "Recurring Shifts" option is for needs that have repeating shifts. Here are some examples:

  • An agency serves food seven days a week and needs volunteers to work dinner shifts, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • A thrift store needs volunteers to sort donated clothes on the third Saturday of every month.
  • A nonprofit needs volunteers to tutor students after school on Wednesdays

If you have different shifts of a need that occur at different times, whether within the same day or on different days, you should use custom shifts rather than recurring shifts.

Click here to learn how to create a need with recurring shifts.

Custom Shifts

Custom shifts are for needs that occur in shift but do not occur at the same time of day. Here are some examples of needs that would fit into the "Custom Shifts" category:

  • Multiple shifts within a single day, such as serving shifts at a soup kitchen
  • Shifts that occur at different times on different days

Click here to learn how to create a need with custom shifts. 

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