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Getting Started (for Leaders & Coordinators)
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Welcome to Lotsa Helping Hands! Whether you are coordinating a Private or Open Community, we hope you find the service helpful and easy to use.

OVERVIEW

Use the Help Calendar to maintain a list of activities requiring volunteers. Members can view the task list in the Help Calendar right when they sign in to the Community web site. Members can also easily sign up for tasks, and the service automatically sends out email reminders one month, one week, and one day prior to any specific commitment.

The top of your Community Home Page contains a sub-menu of links to different Community Sections. Every Community automatically includes Sections for Announcements, a Photo Gallery, special Resources, Message Board, and Well Wishes. As a Leader or Coordinator of your Community you can create additional Custom Sections to post anything that can help your Community provide the best support possible. For example, create a Custom Section for posting special recipes or add a Custom Section allowing a family member or close friend to maintain a personal blog viewable by all Community Members.

As a Leader or Coordinator (depending on your designated privileges, the most important area of your Community web site is the Administration Tab, where you can
  • add and remove Community Members
  • add and manage groups of volunteers
  • designate other Members as Leaders or Coordinators
  • easily add activities to the Help Calendar
  • modify the existing Community Sections - create new custom Community Sections that fit specific needs of your Community.

Once a Community is created, usually the two steps that most Leaders start with are 1) adding Members, and 2) creating Activities in the Help Calendar. It doesn’t necessarily matter which step is performed first. Some Leaders like to have the Calendar populated before inviting Members into the Community. Others just want to get things going and allow Members to read Announcements or post Well Wishes even before the volunteer opportunities are posted to the Help Calendar.

Step 1: Adding Members

To get started, you’ll add and invite Members to your Community so they can sign in and learn about all the ways in which the Community is organizing help. To do this, go to the People tab and click Add Members to the Community. You'll add the first name, last name, and email address to grant someone access to your Community.

After you've added Members to your Community, you’ll need to invite them to sign in and start helping. You can do so immediately after adding the names and email addresses of those who have offered to help or any time through the Administration tab. To invite Members or re-send invitation messages, click on the Administration tab and then click Notify members. From there you can have the system send a "Welcome" email to new Members with instructions for signing in.

There is another way to add Members without first adding their names and email addresses to the Community. You can choose to email the URL of your Community Home Page to people you wish to notify about your Community (using your existing email program), letting them know they should click on the ‘Join this Community’ link where they can then request permission to join. Designated Leaders and Coordinators will receive email notification of these ‘Pending Members’ who can then be approved for membership.

Step 2: Creating Activities

Our easy-to-use Help Calendar enables Leaders and designated Coordinators to indicate when help is needed and allows Members to sign up for activities that provide respite for caregivers including meals for a family, rides to medical appointments, and more. An Activity can be a one-time occurrence, or a recurring set of Tasks. To add an Activity, click the [+] box above the Calendar Preview on your home Page, or click the Create a new Activity link in the Help Calendar or Administration tab. After creating an Activity, you can choose to send an email notification to all Community Members alerting them of this new volunteer opportunity. As a Leader or designated Coordinator, while you may sign up for any Task yourself, you can also assign a signed-in Member to a particular Task.

Step 3: Working with Community Sections

Click on any of the Section buttons from the Home page and then click on the Add link to add a new Announcement, Photo, Resource, Message, or Well Wish. For most Sections the Leaders or designated Coordinators may set Permissions to allow all Members to view, post, and/or comment on items in that Section.

From the Administration tab, click on 'Manage Sections, Announcements, Emails' to edit or remove existing Sections or to create new Custom Sections for maintaining a blog, posting recipes or even to provide a mechanism for donations when appropriate.

Step 4: Explore!

Those are just the basics. Explore the site to discover more of what you can do. For example: change the picture displayed on the Community Home page, or edit the text used on the About tab. To do this, click on the Administration tab and then click on Web Site options.

See also: Activities & Tasksi, Community Announcementsi, Community Sectionsi, Customizing your Community Sitei, Adding Members to your Communityi


For more help, look for help links with a yellow dot , see the complete list of Help Topicsi, or contact a Coordinatori (listed on the right side of your Home Page).

While we continue to add to our Help Section please do not hesitate to be in touch if you need any assistance. You can always reach us at support@lotsahelpinghands.com. We’re here to help!