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Basic Account Set Up

Volgistics includes a variety of setup and customization options you can use to adapt the system to best suit your own needs for tracking and coordinating volunteers.

This help topic includes a plan you can follow to initially setup the basic aspects of Volgistics for your organization. It lists each of the key setup tasks with links to other help topics that have instructions on how to complete each task. If you already have the basics of your account setup, you can move on to more advanced features.

1. Complete the Getting Started Interview

When you first start your Volgistics account, you complete a Getting Started interview online. Volgistics uses the answers to these questions to initially configure system setup options to best suit your organization's needs.

If you have already started your Volgistics account (or if someone else in your organization did), this step has already been completed and you can continue with the next step.

If you have not started a Volgistics account yet, you will have an opportunity to complete the Getting Started interview the first time you login to your account.

You can change any of the setup options initially configured in the Getting Started interview as you learn more about Volgistics, or as your needs change. They are not "set in stone" so you don't need to worry about not being able to change your choices later.

If you've already completed the Getting Started interview, there is usually no need to complete it again. However, if you want to run the Getting Started interview again, you can clear your account and select to clear your account setup. The first time you log in after you clear your account you'll be asked to complete the Getting Started interview again. Please remember if you choose to clear your account that any volunteer records or setup options you've already entered will be erased! So you should only clear your account if you want to erase all of your information and start from scratch.

If you choose to clear your account so you can complete the Getting Started interview again, be sure to uncheck these options on the Clear Account page:

  • Keep account setup
  • Keep reports


If you are converting volunteer data into Volgistics from another program using the Import Utility, VolunteerWorks, or the Jump-Start service, do not proceed beyond this point until your data conversion is complete.

The data conversion process may set some options to match your existing data. The data conversion may also insert Assignments, Checklist item names, and Award names from your old data. Therefore you should not setup your account until after the data conversion is finished.

You can learn more about data conversion options in Methods to Add New Records, or by visiting the Conversions page on our website.

2. Add System Operators

Volgistics System Operators are the people in your organization who you want to be able to use Volgistics. Volgistics is a multi-user system. This means different people in your organization can use the system at the same time as long as they have each been set up as a separate System Operator.

Every Volgistics account starts with space for two System Operators. You can create additional System Operators beyond two if your account's service level permits. You can learn how to change your service level in Change Account's Service Level

You create your first System Operator record during the sign-up process when you start a free trial account. When needed, you can add new System Operators through Setup.

You can always add more System Operators, or change your System Operator profiles later, if you want to complete the account set up before giving other people access.

3. Customize Fields

Volgistics allows you to customize many of the fields in your account. In most cases you can change the name of the field, hide it if it is not needed, or change the options for the field if it has a list that needs to be modified. In some cases you can also change the formatting required for the field. The exceptions are system fields. That type of field cannot be customized like other fields can be.

You can customize fields at any point so this does not need to be done now if you're unsure of what fields you'll need. Here's an example of how you could add new choices to the Gender dropdown field if you opted to create one during the Getting Started Interview.

  1. Select Setup from the menu.
  2. Expand the Field Options link.
  3. Select Profile Tab (for Volunteers).
  4. Select the spare dropdown field that shows with (Gender) behind the name.
  5. Make the changes you'd like. To add new choices, use the Add a new item field and click the Save button to the right.
  6. Click the Save button at the bottom of the page when you're finshied.

The same basic steps are used to update any field, but you'll need to select the tab where the field appears in step 3.

You can find a listing of all the fields available in Volgistics in the List of All Fields. In addition to the built-in fields for collecting information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., there are also spare fields that can be set up for your organization's needs. These fields are in the following locations:

Profile tab on volunteer records

6 Spare Dropdown

6 Spare Fields*

6 Spare Checkbox

There are also Characteristic and Preference fields that can be created.

Service tab on volunteer records

1 Spare Date

1 Spare Dropdown

1 Spare Checkbox

History tab on volunteer records

1 Spare Date

1 Spare Dropdown

1 Spare Checkbox

1 Spare Text

Contacts tab on volunteer records

1 Spare Date

1 Spare Text

Site tab on a Site record

6 Spare Dropdown

6 Spare Fields*

6 Spare Checkbox

Place tab on a Place record

6 Spare Dropdown

6 Spare Fields*

6 Spare Checkbox

Assignment tab on an Assignment record

6 Spare Dropdown

6 Spare Fields*

6 Spare Checkbox

Coordinator tab on a Coordinator record

1 Spare Dropdown

2 Spare Date

Assignments tab on a Coordinator record

1 Spare Dropdown

1 Spare Checkbox

1 Spare Date

*These fields can be given text, date, whole number, decimal (1 or 2 places), currency, or social security number format.

Important things to consider when customizing fields

1. If you used one of the conversion methods (Import Utility, VolunteerWorks, or Jump-Start) to move volunteer and other information into Volgistics, you may find that some of the spare fields have been created for you already. In this case, you can edit the fields if they do not appear as you'd like. If the field is a dropdown list, or look-up table, see Dropdown List Customization and Maintenance.

2. If the spare fields offered on the Profile tab of volunteer records are not sufficient, you may be able to use the Characteristic and/or Preference fields on this tab to collect additional information.

4. Add Types and Flags

Types and Flags offer ways to categorize volunteer records in Volgistics. You can use them to control how you view volunteer records, run reports, apply Checklist and awards, send email messages, and other things. You may have set up some Types and Flags in your account during the Getting Started interview.

If you want to delete, add, or make new Types or Flags now, see Type and Flag Field Settings.

5. Add Statuses

Volgistics tracks a volunteer's overall relationship with your organization by using the Status field. Each account can have up to eight different Status categories. By default, the categories are set up as Active, Applicant, Inactive and Prospect. All of these except the Active Status can be modified to be something else.

You can add, delete, modify, or set up a default Status for new records. See Track Status for information on how to do this.

6. Start and Stop Date Rules

By default, Volgistics records a volunteer's Start date as the first date they have an Active Status and their Stop date as the first date they have an Inactive Status. You can see examples in Start and Stop Dates.

You can modify the rules used to determine a volunteer's Start and Stop dates to be based on different and/or additional Statuses. Start and Stop Date Settings shows how to do this.

7. Add Volunteer Records

If you used one of the conversion methods discussed in the Getting Started section of this help topic, you may already have volunteer records in your account. If you didn't use a conversion method, or you need to add additional records, you can add new volunteers manually.

Please note, in some cases (such as special events), you may want to use application forms to enter volunteers. In this case, you can skip this step and add volunteer records later.

8. Add Assignments

The next step is to begin adding the names of your volunteer Assignments to the system. Assignments are what your volunteers do for your organization. Every organization that has volunteers has at least one volunteer Assignment (or else your volunteers would have nothing to do!).

Assignment information is a key part of your database. Your Assignment list makes it possible for you to keep track of which Assignments volunteers are qualified to perform, which they are interested in or scheduled for, and so forth. It will enable you to run volunteer service reports broken-out by assignment, and view lists of volunteers according to Assignment.

At this point all you need for each Assignment you want to track is an Assignment name. Below are some examples of volunteer Assignment names taken from a variety of different kinds of organizations. Of course these are only examples. You should use your own Assignment names, which may be whatever you'd like (up to 72 characters long).

Assignment names can be changed later so you don't need to worry if you're unsure of what to call an Assignment.

Assignment Examples

Docent Book cart Driver
Ticket taker Usher Records
Exhibit explainer Phone bank Public speaker
Donor recruiter Receptionist Tutor
Math tutor, 6-12 Trail maintenance Circulation desk
Reading room Client advocate Ambassador
Greeter Tour guide Gift shop cashier
Radiology Campaign phone bank EMT
Emergency response trainer Counselor Hot line counselor
Water station Front desk Curb greeter
Legal advocate Waiting room Office assistant

Additional Information

In addition to storing the name of each Assignment, Volgistics can also help you organize, publish, and track other kinds of Assignment information too. For example, you can also enter things such as a job description, age requirement, the location where the Assignment is performed, the supervisor's name and contact information, and more. You can enter this additional information now as you're getting started, or you can return to each Assignment record later to add additional Assignment information.

You can enter your volunteer Assignments under one or more Sites and Places. This gives you a way to organize your Assignments according to geographic, program, or department divisions your organization might have.

If you're not sure if you need to organize your Assignment list according to any kind of geographic, program, or departmental structure (or if you don't know what that structure is), you can simply add your new Assignments to the default Volunteer Services Place. If you choose to, you can easily reorganize your Assignment list according to Places (or Sites and Places) later.

If you converted data from another program, some (or all) of your Assignments may already be in Volgistics. You can find out if your database already has any Assignments entered by choosing Assignments from the menu.

It's okay if you don't enter all of your Assignments right now. You can always add more Assignments later as you go.

9. Add Roles

Volgistics uses Roles as a way to show a volunteer's relationship to an Assignment. The default Roles are Assigned, Former, Preference, Substitute and Trainee. One volunteer can have multiple Roles in an Assignment. For example, a volunteer may regularly serve in an Assignment, plus be available as a substitute. So this volunteer could have Roles of Assigned and Substitute in the same Assignment.

10. Add Roles to Volunteers

If you converted data from another program, some of your volunteer records may already have Roles recorded for Assignments. If not, and you know that some of your volunteers will serve in, or prefer, certain Assignments, you can give them a Role in these Assignments now. If you're unsure of which Assignments volunteers should have Roles in, these can always be assigned later.

You may also want to setup your account to automatically give volunteers a Role of Assigned in an Assignment if they are scheduled for, or have service hours recorded for, the Assignment. Assign Role Automatically shows how to set this up. Using automatic Assignment tracking can eliminate the need to assign volunteers a Role in Assignments now if you will schedule them later.

11. Build Schedules

In most organizations, volunteer schedules can be built in two different ways. There are Assignments such as Trail Maintenance or Kennel Cleaner where volunteers come in to complete a task that does not need to be performed at a specific time of day. Volgistics refers to these Assignments as "any time" Assignments. There are also Assignments such as Tour Guide or Circulation Desk where coverage is needed during specific shifts on specific days of the week. Volgistics refers to these Assignments as "openings only" Assignments. Your organization may have one, or both, of these types of Assignments.

For "any time" Assignments, you will schedule volunteers (or volunteers will schedule themselves) once your account set up is complete. So there is not much to do for these Assignments at this point. However, for "openings only" Assignments you may want to set up the shifts, or times, volunteers are needed now. Of course, if you're unsure of when your volunteers will be needed, you can always add (or modify) Assignment openings later.

Regardless of whether your Assignments are "any time" or "openings only" Assignments, you should also review the Schedule Overview help topic to get a big picture view of how the scheduling features work in Volgistics. You can also review the scheduling ground rules for your account.

12. Add Holidays

Your organization may have days when volunteers are not needed, or you operate with just a skeleton staff of volunteers. In this case, you can mark these days as holidays in your account. Doing this will remove any regularly scheduled volunteers, and recurring unfilled openings, from your schedule on these days. If you still need volunteers to come in, you can schedule them specifically for that date or create one day only openings on the date.

Depending on how much of the year has passed, you may want to set up the holidays in your account for the remainder of the present year and/or for the following year at this time. You can always mark your office calendar, or set a reminder, to update holidays for the future years during the time of year that works best for you.