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In the case of tracking volunteers, you can use either the Category or Donor Source code to identify either a volunteer in general, or a specific type of volunteer. You will then be able to do Queries based on that code to gather all of the volunteers, or all of the volunteers of a specific type.

If you have no other need for the Category and Donor Source codes, you could use Category to indicate simply “Volunteer”, which would enable you to do a query of all volunteers, regardless of type. Then use the Donor Source code to indicate the type of volunteer they are (such as “Driver”, or “Receptionist”, or “Groundskeeping”, etc.), then you will be able to segment those volunteers by using a query that limits by both Category and Donor Source codes.

TIP: you can change the labels of “Category” and “Donor Source” to anything you like, in the Options menu. You could, in the above example, change Donor Source to “Vol Type”. Just go to the Options menu, to General Preferences, and you’ll see the currently selected captions for “Category 1” and “Category 2”, which, by default, are named “Category” and “Donor Source”.

FundRaiser Select/Professional:

FundRaiser Select and Professional both have a Volunteers Module. (In Select, the module is an add-on option; in Professional it is included as standard.

The Volunteer Module allows you to track nearly every detail one could imagine about your volunteers and the projects and tasks in which they are involved. There are a few things to remember as you prepare to use this module, and to modify its use to your organizational needs. One of the most important aspects to consider right from the beginning is “How much detail do I need?” The level of detail needed will directly affect your approach to setting up this module. Here are some of those considerations:

1. In order for any work history to be assigned, there must first be a “task” established; and all tasks are grouped into one or more “projects”. This is set up through the Windows > Volunteers menu choice. You may have as many projects as needed, with each project having as many tasks as needed. If your organizational need for volunteers is limited to volunteer staffing of a few tasks within your organization, then you may need only a single “project”, mainly the organization itself. But if you have many projects that are tracked separately (think of an organization that builds houses for the homeless, where each house is a project and each house-project has pretty much the same tasks as the others), then you may have any number of projects/tasks.

2. To help in reporting, there are three (3) main codes that can be assigned to each volunteer record: Volunteer Type, Special Category, and Source/Reason. Each of these can be used within reports to focus on particular volunteers. So you might want to think of the Type code as your “top tier” or broadest division of volunteers, for instance. If, either within or separate from those Types, you have other clear-cut divisions (those who can only work indoors, those that need wheelchair access, those who have other “special” circumstances), you may want to use the Special Category code to identify them. The Source/Reason code was designed to indicate “why” a person volunteered, but could certainly be used for other purposes, instead.

3. With the Volunteer Module, you can either pre-schedule tasks or you can record work on those tasks as work history after the tasks are completed. Pre-scheduling a recurring task for a single volunteer may not be time-effective, especially if it is a daily task done by the same volunteer. Rather than scheduling the task daily, or even entering the work history for that volunteer daily, it might be more effective to enter a single work-history for the week, or month, directly on the volunteer’s record, with any scheduling done. On the other hand, if you have a single task that will have many volunteers participating (like a monthly cleanup of the grounds, for instance), then it is probably better to schedule the task and the volunteers, so that, at time of completion, all you have to do is click the task “Completed” in the Scheduling section (in Windows > Volunteers). When you do that, FundRaiser will add the work history to each volunteer’s record. One nice feature of the Volunteer Module for those who have regular teams who work together (those who lay the foundation of a house, or a church group), you can schedule that team and FundRaiser will keep track of the work history for each individual team member.

These are just some of the things you’ll want to keep in mind as you prepare to setup and use the Volunteer module in FundRaiser Select or Professional.

Larry Weaver is an A+ certified computer technician, a Microsoft Certified Professional, as well as the training manager here at FundRaiser Software. He has worked with FundRaiser Basic software off and on since the mid-'90's.  When not operating computers, he enjoys operating motorcycles and musical instruments, and watching his grandchildren grow and prosper.