You can use VSP’s built in Announcements pane to send customizable emails to your volunteers that can contain personalized content, including the volunteer’s serving preferences, can’t serve times, the list of shifts for which he or she has been scheduled, or even a list of unfilled positions in the volunteer’s qualified jobs. These emails are sent through our email servers, so you don’t even need to worry about configuring the program to work with an outside email account. The Announcements pane also contains built-in templates for common emails, including an “Introductory email” designed to send to all volunteers when getting started with VSP.

To access the Announcements pane, click on the word Announcements on the left hand side of VSP’s main screen. The Announcements pane is very similar to the controls found in an ordinary email program. You may specify recipients for the email, the email’s subject, attachments, and the message body.

A video tutorial for this topic is also available.

Recipients

To

The “To” line allows you to send the email to all of your volunteers, just a particular job or jobs, or just some select volunteers that you pick as recipients. You can further narrow down the recipient list using VSP’s powerful list filtering tools by clicking on the “But only volunteers who pass | this filter…” button. For example, you may specify a filter for only volunteers that are able to serve at the 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM weekday shift in order to only send the email to those volunteers.

Bcc

The “Bcc” field can be used to send a copy of the email to recipients other than your volunteers. You may use semicolons or commas to Bcc multiple addresses. (Note that the special token replacements described below are not made in the emails sent to the addresses specified in the Bcc field.)

“From” Address

You may use the “From” section to set the sender address recipients will see on emails. Replies, and notifications of errors (invalid email addresses, full mailboxes, etc.) will be routed to this address.

The first time you use the Announcements pane you will be prompted to enter a “From” address. The default “From” address you specify will automatically be used unless you specify a different sender for the email. You can change the “From” address at any time by clicking on the down arrow next to the “From” section and clicking “Manage senders…” .

Please note that the emails will appear to be from a slightly modified version of the “From” address that you enter, because they need to come from “clients.volunteerschedulerpro.com” to ensure that they are not flagged as spam. Therefore, the “From” address you provide will be modified so that it ends in “@clients.volunteerschedulerpro.com.” Any email that is sent to the modified “From” address will automatically be forwarded to the actual “From” address.

Content

Tokens

Use the “Token” button to add tokens to your emails. For a list of available Tokens, see Appendix A – Guide to Tokens.

Attachments

By clicking on the “Attachment” button, you may attach any type of file to your emails including finalized schedules and rosters. (There is a 3 megabyte limit on the combined size of all attachments.)

Images

To add an image to the body of your email, place your cursor where you would like the image to appear, then click on the “Image” button and select the image(s) you wish to add.

Polls and RSVPs

To add a poll or RSVP to the body of your email, place your cursor at the place in the email where you would like the poll or RSVP to appear, then click on either the “Poll” or “RSVP” button and enter the relevant information.

Message Body

The body of the email message is fully customizable. It will appear to your volunteers exactly as it is entered into the message field of the Announcements pane except that any “tokens” will be replaced in each sent message with the corresponding information for each volunteer. For instance, “{{FirstName}}” will be replaced with the first name of the recipient volunteer. Any font, size, or style information applied to the token will also be applied to the text that appears in the final emails. Please see Appendix A – Guide to Tokens for a full inventory of all available tokens and what information they insert. You may insert tokens in your email simply by typing the token into the message area — including the double curly brackets — or by choosing the token from the “Token” menu to the right of the message area.

Note that some tokens have settings that affect the final text they produce. You can access these settings by choosing “Token options…” at the bottom of the “Token” menu. This “Token Options” dialog will also be displayed by default just before sending any email that contains tokens that have related options. Uncheck “Show only tokens that are included in this email” in the lower left corner of the dialog to access settings for all tokens.

Other Emailer options

Preview

To see a preview of what the email will look like when it is sent to a particular volunteer (after the token information has been automatically inserted), click on the “Preview” button in the lower right corner of the Announcements pane. The list of volunteers set to receive the email will appear; just select a name to fill the token with information for that particular volunteer. This is also a good way to see at a glance who the email will be sent to.

Send

Once you are ready to send your email, click “Send to [x] members”. When the email sends, you will be taken back to the home view of the Announcements pane and your newly sent email will be shown at the top of the list of sent emails and drafts.

Print

To print a copy of the email for each recipient with any special token replacements already made, click on the down arrow next to the “View email” or “Open draft” button, then hover your mouse over “Print to PDF” and choose either “For all recipients” or “Just for recipients without internet access”. This feature can be used to generate personalized schedule cover letters that contain, for example, each volunteer’s name and the list of shifts for which he has been scheduled. Using the options on the Print to PDF menu, you may easily out print an email for all recipients, or only for those volunteers who do not have email access.

Settings

Preconfigured Templates

To populate one of the preconfigured templates, click on the “Use template” button in the home area of the Announcements pane, then select “Preconfigured” from the drop-down menu.

Saved templates

When composing an email, click on the down arrow next to the “Save as draft” button and choose “Save as template” to save your email and settings for use in the future. Once a template has been added to your saved templates, it will be available for all users on your license. Saved templates can be accessed from the home area of the Announcements pane by clicking the “Use template” button and selecting “Saved”.

Delete

To delete a sent email or a draft, click on the down arrow next to the “View email” or “Open draft” button, then choose “Delete” from the drop-down menu.

Sent emails

Viewing engagement

To see which volunteers have opened a specific sent email, click on the down arrow next to the “View email” button for that email, then select “Open report”. In the pop-up, you will see a list of all volunteers who were sent this email, as well as whether the email has been opened or bounced back. To search for a specific volunteer, begin typing their name in the Filter bar.

Managing responses

To view responses to polls and RSVPs, first click “View email”, then click “Manage responses” next to the poll or RSVP. When looking at the “manage responses” area, you can look for a particular volunteer by typing their name in the Search bar.

To manually enter or change a response for a volunteer, click in the area to the right of the volunteer name and select the appropriate response.

To email volunteers who have not completed a given item, click on the “email” button, which looks like an envelope icon located in the upper right of the manage responses dialog.