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Managing Volunteer Waitlists

This article is geared toward site managers and explains how the waitlist feature works on Connect platforms. It covers the following topics:

Rather watch the movie? Click here to view our series of videos on waitlists.

Waitlists: The Volunteer Perspective

Click here to view a video on the volunteer perspective of waitlists.

If your site is set up to use waitlists, a volunteer will see the following button when viewing an information page of a need that is full (i.e., a need that has reached its capacity of volunteer sign-ups):


This button looks a little different for shift needs. Note that the waitlist option is not available for teams.


If a volunteer clicks this button, several things happen:

  • They are added to the waitlist for the need or shift. You can view waitlisted volunteers from your site manager panel.
  • A message is triggered to them, informing them that they have been added to the waitlist. This automated notification is sent via email and in-app messaging.
  • The Waitlist button changes to read Added to Waitlist. Once they have been added, the button changes to read Added to Waitlist. They can click this button again to remove themselves from the waitlist.

If a volunteer unregisters from the need or shift, everyone on the waitlist will get an automated notification letting them now that a spot has opened up.

Note: When a need opens up, volunteers can sign up on a first-come, first-served basis.

Setting Up Your Site To Use Waitlists

Rather watch the movie? Click here to see a video on setting up the waitlist feature on your site!

You can set up your site to provide a waitlist option for all full needs and shifts. Note that you cannot have a waitlist for some full needs or shifts, but not others.

To enable the waitlist option for full needs:

  1. From your site manager panel, go to Settings > Main Settings.
  2. Scroll down to the Needs area and select Yes, and enable a waitlist when full from the Show Full Needs dropdown.
  3. Click Update Settings.

Note: This option is only available for needs and shifts that have a set number of volunteer slots. Because needs with an "ongoing" duration do not have a "capacity" option, waitlists aren't available for ongoing needs.

To learn more about the available need duration types, click here.

Once this setting is in place, a Waitlist option will appear for volunteers when viewing full needs. Click here to learn more about the volunteer perspective.

Accessing the Waitlist for a Need

As a site manager, you can view a need's waitlist at any time. To access the waitlist for a need:

  1. From your site manager panel, Volunteerism > Needs.
  2. Click on the need to view.
  3. Scroll down to the Waitlist area to see who is on the waitlist.

Listed below are the elements that appear in the Waitlist table above.

Element Image/Example Description
User Name  table_element_user_name_torn.png Click on a user name to view the user's profile.
Email Address  table_element_user_email.png Click on a user's email address to open up an email form and send a custom message.
Date Added  table_element_date_added.png Date the user added themselves to the waitlist.
Shift  table_element_shift.png Shift the user has been waitlisted for; if a non-shift need does not have a specified start time, "12:00am" will show by default. 
Open Spots  table_element_open_spots.png Number of open volunteer spots for the need or shift 
 Add Response  waitlist_element_options_plus.png Click to convert a volunteer's waitlist status to a need response. The volunteer will receive a confirmation that they are no longer on the waitlist and have been signed up for the need or shift. (This feature is available only if the need or shift has an open spot.)
Remove from Waitlist  waitlist_element_options_x.png Remove the volunteer from the waitlist. The volunteer will no longer be notified if a volunteer spot opens up for the need or shift.


Notifying Waitlisted Volunteers of an Opening

Click here to view the video on this aspect of the waitlist feature.

If there are individuals on a waitlist, they will be notified when a volunteer slot opens for the need or shift they're waitlisted for. That notification is not sent immediately; it goes out five minutes after the slot opens. This lag time helps to ensure that a volunteer does not accidentally give up their slot if they inadvertently unregister from a need.

You can also send notifications manually.

  • To notify the waitlisted volunteers for an individual need, open the need in your site manager panel and click the Email Waitlist button above the Waitlist table.
  • To email the waitlisted volunteers for a shift within a need, open the need in your site manager panel, scroll down to the individual shift, and click the Email icon for that shift.

 Note: Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn how to send a custom email to waitlisted volunteers, see the following sections.

Using the User Filter to Find Waitlisted Volunteers

The user filter provides a handy way to find which volunteers are waitlisted for which needs. Within the email blast, you can use the user filter to send a custom email to waitlisted volunteers.

To filter users waitlisted for a need:

  1. Within either the user management area (Volunteerism > Users) or the email blast (Communication > Email Blast), run a filter on Volunteer > Need Response > on wait list for, and select the need.
  2. Click Submit.

From the user-management area, you can take several actions with the filtered list; learn more here. From the email blast, you can write and send an email to the filtered list; learn more here.

Waitlist Notifications

Notifications are sent out as soon as they are triggered, except for the Waitlist: Space Is Open message, which is sent out after a five-minute delay. (For example, if someone unregisters for a need that has a waitlist, the Waitlist: Space Is Open notification will not go out for five minutes. If the volunteer unregistered by mistake, this delay will give them time to re-register before waitlisted volunteers are notified.)

The following notifications are associated with the waitlist feature:

  • Waitlist: Volunteer Added - Sent to a volunteer when they add themselves to a waitlist, this message confirms that they are on the waitlist and provides a link for them to return to the need page.
  • Waitlist: Space Is Open - Sent to waitlisted volunteers when a space opens up for the need or shift they've been waitlisted for. This message informs them that a spot has opened and provides a link so that they can easily respond to the need.
  • Waitlist: Space No Longer Available - Sent to waitlisted volunteers when (1) they have received the Waitlist: Space Is Open message, and (2) someone else has signed up for the open spot. The message is triggered when the spot is taken by another volunteer.
  • Waitlist: Volunteer Removed - Sent to a volunteer when they have been removed from a waitlist, either by themselves or by a site manager. Informs them that they are no longer on the waitlist and provides a link in case they want to add themselves back.

For more information on automated notifications (including how to customize them for your site), click here.

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