eTapestry Best Practices: Learn how to manage and track volunteer information in eTapestry. In order to start tracking volunteers, you will need specific fields. There is an easy way to have the database create these fields for you along with some queries and reports that you may find useful.
You can import what eTapestry calls defined fields sets. We have different defined field sets available depending on what kind of organization you are and what best practices you set up. For more information on how to add the Volunteer defined field set, see Add Defined Field Sets.
There is one value you will need to set up if you do not already have it. You will need to create a Contact Method for tracking each time someone volunteers.
Now, let’s look at the different fields in that set, where they are located in the database, and why they are located there.
There are a few locations in eTapestry where your volunteer information will be stored: the Defined Fields page and the Journal page in the form of contact journal entries.
The Defined Fields Page
This page is the best place to keep track of facts about your constituents, like their interests and availability. These fields apply to the constituent because they are not likely to change, and they describe the account as a whole.
The Journal Page
Contact journal entries are the best place to keep track of each time a person volunteers, so that you can keep an historical record of their activity. The fields apply to the contact journal entry so that each event they volunteer at will have a unique entry that describes it.
Now that you have all of those fields set up to track your volunteers, you can start gathering your potential volunteer’s information online.
Note: If this is your first DIY form, please review our Do-It Yourself Forms guide.
A Volunteer Signup Page is a special type of DIY form that will allow you to gather volunteer contact information, availability, interests, skills, and any other information that you want to know about them.
The Settings page for a Volunteer page will look different from a regular donation DIY form. You will notice that there is a Journal Contact Subject field and no information for Fund, Campaign, or Approach listed. That is because when someone submits on this form, it will create a contact in their journal. They will not be required to submit any kind of donation or payment in order to sign up to be a volunteer.
You can add all of the fields you use in eTapestry onto your DIY form so that you can track the information the same way. Use the fields to ask your potential volunteers their Availability, Skill Sets, and Emergency Contact information. You should have all of these fields set up prior to building your DIY form. If you have not already, see more information on how to add the Volunteer defined field set.
Watch a video on how to add volunteer information fields to a DIY form
Now that you have all of that information in your database, you can query and report to find who is available certain days and times or how many hours someone volunteered in a time frame.
Let’s say you have an event for which you need volunteers. The event takes place on the weekend, so you want to find people that have that kind of availability on their account. After we find these volunteers, we want to send them a mass email letting them know about the event.
Note: Because the Volunteer Availability – Days of the Week field has more than one possible value, you will need to search for at least one value listed.
Next, you will want to review the list before you send them communication about the event. You can add columns to the query preview to include the Volunteer User Defined Fields.
After you preview your query, you will want to send your constituents a mass email from Communications to invite them to volunteer at your event.
At the end of the year, you might want to recognize the volunteers that gave their time and energy to help you accomplish your mission. Each time someone volunteers, you will want to enter a contact journal entry that contains information about their volunteering activity.
Then, you can run your query through a report to show all of the information about those contact entries. You can re-use this report year after year, so the name can be generic (for example, "Volunteer Activity") to describe the type of information it will be displaying.