Timecounts has three activity types to help you organize: events, gatherings, and assignments.
Events are single-day or multi-day volunteer opportunities that require a schedule of shifts and roles. An example of an Timecounts event is a fundraising gala, where volunteers are needed in coatcheck and registration.
Gatherings are single or multi-day volunteer opportunities that only require a simple signup and volunteer list, because everyone is performing the same tasks at the same time. An example of a Timecounts gathering is a volunteer orientation, since all volunteers will arrive and leave at the same time and perform the same activity (learning!).
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. Some examples of assignments include Dog Walker, Social Media Team, Event Planning, Tutor, Workshop Leader, Team Lead, and Project Coordinator.
An assignment has three parts: the pipeline, the application, and the schedule.
Every assignment you create has a 'Pipeline' tab, similar to the 'Volunteers' tab in events and gatherings. The Pipeline is where you can review and manage incoming applications for the assignment, and see your full list of 'qualified' volunteers. A Qualified volunteer is someone who you've approved or added to that assignment.
By default, the Pipeline tab opens to Pending Applications. To see all Qualified volunteers, select the Pending Applications dropdown at the top of the screen and choose Qualified.
If all you want to do is flag certain volunteers in your database with an assignment, you can create an assignment and add them to the qualified list in the Pipeline tab. They'll appear in your Community Directory with that assignment.
The Assignment Application is a page to help recruit volunteers for that assignment. The application is optional, since you only want to use assignments to organize current volunteers. But if you would like to start taking applications for specific assignments, you can create and publish an application within the 'Application' tab of assignments.
To publish the application, go to the Overview tab of your assignment and click the Applications Closed dropdown then select 'Open Applications'. You can open applications right away, or set a date and time in the future to automatically open and close applications.
The last component of assignments is scheduling. Whereas event schedules are built in as part of the event, assignment schedules have their own section in the Organize tab. This is because assignment schedules let you add as many assignments as needed to one schedule. You can create assignment schedules by location, program, or timeframe, and manage all of your ongoing assignment shifts in one place.
Assignment schedules are also ongoing. When you create a schedule, you'll be asked to choose a start date and a publishing structure. Choose to publish by week, month, or three month increments.
Event scheduling vs. Assignment Scheduling
With event schedules, volunteers have to select shifts when they signup for the event, so shift signup is public. But with assignment schedules, volunteers have to first be approved for the assignment before they're given access to shift signup. This means that you can control who has access to signup for shifts. To signup for shifts, assignment volunteers must create a Timecounts account, login, go to the 'My Activities' tab in your hub, and then click on their assignment in the left column to see available shifts.
This process keeps assignment scheduling private between your organization and the volunteers you've approved for each assignment.
Now that you've gotten the hang of assignments, it's time to create one!