Interest Categories are the backbone of CERVIS and many functions revolve around them. They allow you track what your volunteers are interested in and run searches based on specific Interest Categories.
Interest Categories basically act as a folder system for your events. When you create an event, you are required to assign a primary interest category and can optionally assign a secondary interest category to it. The selected Interest Category not only shows up on the Event Registration page, but it also allows you to search for all events under a particular Interest Category (either primary or secondary). You can also calculate how many hours that have been served under one specific Interest Category. Additionally, you can do an advanced search and find all volunteers associated with a certain Interest Category so you can E-mail them, send them a newsletter, invite them to an event, and more.
For most organizations, Interest Categories are certain sites, departments, programs, or functions they perform. You can also create main Interest Categories and sub-categories under those main Interest Categories. For example, Interest Categories for an At-Risk Teen Program may look like this:
At-Risk Teen Program
- Homework Helpers
- Special Events
- Sports & Recreation
-- Basketball League
-- Ping Pong Tournament
At-Risk Teen Program – Private
- Board of Directors
- Key Volunteers
Here is an example of how Interest Categories are used and why they are the backbone to CERVIS. Using our example categories from above, you will first create an event titled "After-School Study Hall Volunteers" and select the Interest Category as “Homework Helpers.” As part of our example, you also have similar study hall volunteer opportunities every week. Every person who signs up for this volunteer opportunity will now have the Homework Helpers Interest Category automatically assigned to them since you have set the event’s Interest Category to Homework Helpers (this is true of both the primary and secondary Interest Categories; therefore, if you have two categories for an event, both will be assigned to the volunteer). Also, since you have established Homework Helpers as an Interest Category and then assigned it to various events, you can run reports to find the total number of volunteer hours served by volunteers in the Homework Helpers Interest Category for any date range you choose.
By establishing a specific Homework Helpers Interest Category, it also allows you to send E-mails targeted specifically to those who are interested/involved in this Interest Category so you don’t have to mass E-mail people who have no interest in those volunteer opportunities. For example, you may have no need for Homework Helper volunteers once school is out for the summer. However, in August when it is time to find volunteers for the upcoming school year, you now can run a search on which volunteers have Homework Helpers listed an Interest Category and begin contacting them to see if they would like to help for the next school year.
Private Interest Categories can also be established, but they can only be viewed by those who have Administrator, Leadership Team, or Group Leader access. Volunteers cannot view or add private interest categories to their volunteer profile. This allows administrators to create interests that are not public, but you might want to track privately, or not advertise the Interest Category to your general volunteer population.
You can also choose to edit the "Selectability" of an Interest Category to determine whether or not a volunteer is able to select a category as something they are interested in, even if it is listed as public. This is very useful when setting up different sets of lists based on Categories you do not want volunteers to be able to select.
For information about how to add, update, or view interest categories follow the link HERE.