Timecounts uses three participation categories to track volunteer activities. These are event roles, assignments, and shifts. Understanding the difference between event roles, assignments, and shifts is essential to making the most of Timecounts.

Event Roles

An event role is job, with corresponding responsibilities and tasks, that can be attached to a location or simply added to your event schedule. Examples include Usher, Ambassador, and Registration.

When you create a role in an event schedule, you will be asked to give the role a name, a description, and skills. Learn more about skills here. You will also have the option to set visibility and signup permissions for the role. 

Timecounts saves all event roles that you create as 'Role Templates', so when it's time to plan your next event, you can either create new roles or quickly add and update your previously used roles.

When volunteers select shifts for your event, they'll see the role name and description.


Assignments are ongoing roles with or without a schedule.  Whereas event Roles are usually only relevant during the event, assignments allow you to organize your community according to tasks and responsibilities year-round. An assignment has three parts: the pipeline, the application, and the schedule.

The Pipeline is where qualified people for that assignment are listed, alongside new applicants. If all you want to do is flag certain people with an assignment, you can create an assignment add them to the qualified list. They'll appear in your Community Directory and reports with that assignment. 

The Assignment Application is a public page to help recruit volunteers for that assignment. The application is completely optional, as is assignment scheduling.


Shifts are the specific time frames that someone volunteers for. You will need to create shifts for all positions in your schedule. Every shift is attached to a role. When you create a shift, it will assume the name and description of the role it's under. But you can choose to add a 'Reference' when creating a shift. A 'Reference' is like a shift label: one or two words to distinguish that shift from others under the same role

Did this answer your question?