CiviVolunteer: is there a way to send mailings to smart groups targeting shifts for volunteers

CiviCRM Asked by Alice Aguilar on November 1, 2020

We have a group using CiviVolunteer v4.6-2.1.1 with Angular Profiles v4.6-1.0.1 on CiviCRM 4.6.17.

The scenario – which is basically what most groups need when doing volunteer management is to be able to send reminder emails to people, letting them know the shifts they’ve committed to. Now there can be multiple shifts during the day with the same role – for e.g. You have an upcoming fundraiser and you want to manage volunteers to do phone calling for a a few days, and you have a role called “Phone Caller” with four 2-hour shifts per day.

Currently, CiviVolunteer isn’t integrated into CiviMail, and you can email your volunteers INDIVIDUALLY through your email client of choice (you select the email application to use when you want to email an individual inside CiviVolunteer).

So I’m poking around Civi to see if we can create smart groups of the individuals who signed up for a particular shifts by looking at the activity record that CiviVolunteer creates.

I see that that the Volunteer Role, and Volunteer Need (which has the actual date and time the individual signed up for – but looks like it’s in a separate table with another ID) are exposed in the activity record. CiviVolunteer also records the activity type as Volunteer, the Date, the Time, and sets the status to SCHEDULED when someone signs up.

Now in the UI, you can’t search on the TIME in the activity record (which would be very helpful for targeting groups who signed up for a shift during a particular day).

I also see that you can get to the Volunteer Need field (which is a reserved field for CiviVOlunteer) via the Search Builder, but have no way through the UI to know what value to put there to get to the actual volunteer date and time shift to be able to conduct the search.

There is also no token available for the Volunteer Need field in the Mailings feature – which would be another way to send reminders to folks so they know what shift they signed up for.

It seems that this piece is huge for volunteer management. I remember Frank talking about more work on the mailing piece, but I was wondering if there’s a current solution or work around to be able to send targetted emails to remind people of the shift they signed up for.

There is one wacky way, where you can create a role such as “Phone Caller Sept 12 5pm shift” or something – since volunteer roles are available in the search. But this would be so inefficient and wacky that I wouldn’t advise this workaround at all, especially if it’s a huge volunteer project.

Any ideas?

One Answer

The "who signed up for a particular shifts" part is the problem right now. At present, you could use scheduled reminders to send an email to anyone with any volunteer activity between X and Y o'clock, but if you have two shifts (or projects, for that matter) you won't have a way to distinguish between them, so they'll all get the same message.

We're expecting to finish a proper integration with scheduled reminders sometime before March 2017, but probably not in 2016.

Answered by universalhandle on November 1, 2020

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