Quick start guide for volunteer coordinators

Welcome to Son of Service, a multiuser database for managing volunteers. This guide is intended for volunteer coordinators with some computer experience (such as operating a web browser). If you have ever used a web-based e-mail system, you will find SOS familiar and easy to use.

This guide will help you get started and to train others at your organization. If you need additional help, write for help. Now let's learn how to manage your volunteers online.

Logging in

Start your web browser. Navigate to the location where SOS is. Your system administrator should give you this address.

A login screen is displayed. Enter the user name and password given. If this is a new installation, use the default user name admin and password admin

Changing your password

If you are using the default user name and password to log in, you should change the password for security reasons.

  1. Click the tab labeled Admin at the top of the screen.
  2. Click the option User Accounts.
  3. Select the user admin.
  4. Click Edit.
  5. Type a new password in the field labeled Password.
  6. Repeat this in the field labeled Verify Password.
  7. (optional) Update the user name, personal name, and e-mail fields.
  8. Click Save.

Adding a new volunteer

  1. Click at the top of the screen the tab labeled Add new volunteer.
  2. Type the basic information for the volunteer.
  3. Click Add.

You can change this information later, and later you will be able to add more details.

The volunteer is now added.

Opening a volunteer's record

A volunteer's record (or account) contains all the information about the volunteer: contact information, skills, availability, work history, notes, and relationships.

  1. Click at the top of the screen the lab labeled Search.
  2. Fill out the criteria you want to be used to find the volunteer.
  3. Click Search. A list of volunteers is displayed.
  4. Click the name of the volunteer whose account you wish to open.

Notice a second row of tabs is now available. These apply only to the volunteer whose account is open.

Tip: If you want to list everyone in the database, leave all the search criteria as is. Just click Search.

Tip: If you get too many results, use more specific search criteria.

Tip: If you get too few results, use less search criteria.

General tips

Information is not saved as you type. It is only saved when you submit the form using the add, submit, or save button (respectively). If you don't want to save it, just navigate to another screen.

Be careful using the web browser's back button. It works with some menus, but not others. Use navigation provided by SOS.

SOS supports an unlimited set of phone numbers for each volunteer. To add a new phone number, use the Add Phone Number button in the General volunteer menu. To delete a phone number, set the phone number and the corresponding memo to blank; then save the record.

Be weary to delete volunteers. If you do, their work history is lost, and it will reduce the statistics in your reports.

Do you want to view multiple menus or volunteers at one time? It's easy to open multiple instances of SOS on one computer. One way is to right click on a link and choose Open In New Window. You may want to get a web browser (such as Firefox) that supports "tabbed browsing" and open SOS in multiple tabs.

In your web browser you can bookmark many menus, including individual volunteers.

Did you know you can copy data from SOS and paste it into your favorite word processor, spreadsheet, or e-mail program?

You can create custom reports using your favorite reporting software. Any software that accesses your brand of back-end database (usually MySQL) can be used to create reports. Many tools work including Crystal Reports, Microsoft Access, SAS,Pentaho, DataVision, and OpenOffice.org.

Ask your system administrator whether he backs up your data.