Volunteer activities are the activities that volunteers can commit to. After you enter some information about the activity, you must set up time slots for the activity. Time slots are explained below in full in the section titled "Set up Activity Time Slots." But it is important to know that what determines when and for how long a volunteer can sign up for an activity is the time slot. When you create an activity, you have the option of requesting that volunteers complete the activity on (i) specific dates and times or (ii) at their leisure whenever they have time. Some activities will require the former (e.g., meeting up on Saturday morning to setup a room for an event that night), some will be more flexible and allow the latter (e.g., coming in to do data entry when someone has free time).
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT EVENT ACTIVITIES: As you work on creating you volunteer activities keep the following general rule-of-thumb in mind: for any activities that (A) are offered annually or semi-annually AND (B) require users to sign up for specific dates and times, you should create a NEW instance of the activity annually or semi-annually respectively. This is especially true (and necessary) if you are creating a activities for a specific event (e.g., a festival that occurs annually in the Fall). To understand why this is important for activities that meet conditions (A) and (B)—or "Event Activity" for short—it may be helpful to think about how the activity will appear to the user when they are signing up for it. This is an example of the interface users will see for an Event Activity:
Notice, all available times are displayed and volunteers can sign up for any of them, even the ones in the past. Past signups cannot be deactivated because often a volunteer may not sign up for an activity beforehand and will instead wait to retroactively enter their volunteer hours at a later date. If past dates and times were removed, the volunteer would be unable to retroactively enter in any hours after an event has ended. The reason you should create new instances of Event Activities is because users often make mistakes and end up signing up for a time slot from last year in error. If you create distinct Event Activities each year and limit their time slots to dates and times within that year, then users are less likely to make these errors. It is also recommended that you include some marker of time in the title of the Event Activity itself such as "Cleanup Crew for Fall 2017 Harvest Festival."
NOTE: this is only important/required for "Event Activities" (i.e., activities that are (A) offered annually or semi-annually AND (B) require users to sign up for specific dates and times), which are usually activities designed to be offered for specific events (though not always). For all other types of activities (e.g., activities that may be completed at one's leisure rather than on a specific date, activities that are not attached to a specific event, one-off activities etc.) you do not have to create a new instance of the activity each time (e.g., annually/semi-annually) you want to offer it but you are certainly welcome to do so if you like.
Go to Volunteers > Activities
Click the “New” button. Here you have two choices of what to do next:
Choice #1: If you click “New” again, you will start with a blank form and can create a new activity from scratch.
Choice #2: If you click “New from Activity Template,” you may use a saved activity template to prefill some of fields such as title, description, etc. and save you time from completing many of the steps below. If you have not saved any activity templates and would like help on setting them up, see the section above titled “Set up Activity Templates.”
Give your activity a title such as "Mail Campaign Assistance," "Labor Day Phone Bank," or "Dance Chaperone."
If you are creating an Event Activity (see "Important Note About Event Activities" above) then add a marker of time to the title such as "Spring 2018 Dance Chaperone."
Select an activity category for the activity.
Enter a description and instructions. This is optional but highly recommended because these will help volunteers know what is needed of them when they sign up. Descriptions and instructions appear in the volunteer portal.
(Optional) select a person who will supervise this activity.
Enter a default length of time in minutes for each block of time for this activity. A block is the minimum amount of time that each volunteer must commit to the activity. Volunteers can sign up for multiple blocks if they want to volunteer more time. Don't worry if you don't know the precise length of time for the blocks yet, you can always edit this value later.
Note: Some activities will not even use blocks. This field only affects activities that volunteers can complete at any time (e.g., an activity like "Update our website"). If you need volunteers for a specified date and time (e.g., activities like "Greeter for Open House on March 4"), you will not use blocks. For a further explanation of the difference between block and date-specific time slots, see "Set up Activity Time Slots" below.
Hit “Save” (or “Save and Continue” to continue working on the activity).