Volunteer Intake Howto

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  • Help each volunteer choose a program. (Adoption, Build, maybe something else.)
  • Enter each volunteer's info into the database.
  • Tell volunteers what logistics to expect
  • Point them to the right person (if no obvious match with Adoption or Build program.)

Volunteer intake is full of logistics.

Most people will expect this, but some may not. So:

  • Take your time.
  • Explain yourself clearly.
  • Repeat information, to be sure it gets across.
  • Ask for help if you need it.

Intake can take 45 minutes with lots of new volunteers.

Or you might be done in 5 minutes.

Plan on at least 25 minutes.

Choose a program

Ask individuals what they want to do. Expect some confusion, even if the programs have already been explained on the tour; they're taking in lots of new information. Often, people think that the Adoption program is the only way to earn a PC.

Generally, if a volunteer wants to:

  • Quickly earn a computer: Adoption Program (24 hours of work)
  • Learn about computers (and earn one too): Build Program (60-100 hours or more)

Now, you're ready for intake.

  • First give paperwork (and a quick rundown) to Builders (see below.) That way, they can read it while you do contact manager entry for Adopters. Come back to Builders after doing data entry.
  • If it's just you, the best order for contact entry is: Adoption, Build, Other. Tell Builders to look over their packets, and start entering Adopters.
  • If you have a big group, or are new to doing intake, see if the Front Desk person (or somebody else) is available to help with contact entry for Adopters.


NOTE: For a big group, ask if the Front Desk person is able to help. If so, you can enter data for Builders while they do Adopters. You may do entry at the Front Desk, or bring them to the classroom and help them enter their own data.

Open the Database to the Contact Manager

  • Open a browser (Firefox, Konqueror) to http://data (This page will open automatically if you first log on to the computer with no user name.)
  • Click Contacts along the right side bar
  • Click the Search box and then the Create a new contact box after it appears.

Haven't we met somewhere before?

Search for the person's name:
(NOTE: many people forget that they donated a PC a few years ago. Don't skip this step.)
  • Fill in first name, last name, and/or ZIP code. Press search.
If a name (or names) appear below the little green box, ask if it's theirs.
  • If so, click the radio button by the name and press Edit. Make sure all their info is current.
  • If not, or if no names appear, press Create contact.

Contact Manager entry

The following fields are essential.

  • checkbox: Adopters: Adopt and Volunteer; Builders: Build and Volunteer Grants Organization
  • First name, last name
  • ZIP code (used to estimate demographic info for grants)
  • Phone number
  • Emergency contact in the notes field
  • For Builders: note their new ID number on their builder status sheet and initial that they are in the database.
  • Press Save record. Hooray!
  • Ask for additional questions.
  • Proceed to individual sections for Adoption, Build, or general volunteer intake.

Adoption intake

  • Give them an adoption packet before they leave. (should be at front desk.)
  • Explain they'll likely want/need to take the FreekBox Adoption Class before receiving their computer.
  • Explain that hours must be recorded at front desk after each shift.
  • Sign them up for their first shift! Clipboard at the front desk.
  • Thank them for their interest in Free Geek as they leave.

Build intake

There's a lot to build intake. Below is what must be covered. You can do more or change the order, but please be sure to cover it all.
Please emphasize to Builders how much of a time commitment is involved. We estimate 60-100 hours of volunteer time to work through the program and build 6 computers. They should also be prepared to come in frequently. (People forget details easily if they don't come in every week or so.)

before contact entry

  • Give out builder status sheets and build packets. (In the green folder at the front desk.)
  • Explain the build packet, noting:
    • Each step of the build program
    • Where documentation lives (packet, wiki)
    • Build email list
    • Schedules for: Card/Mobo Sorting, Eval, Command Line class, Build workshop
  • Encourage them to read the rest on their own time. There's lots of cool info in there! Also, be sure to solicit questions.
  • BREAK Enter contact info for all new volunteers, while Builders look over packets. Come back to this section after contact entry.

After contact entry

  • Testing Out: those with hardware or Linux command line knowledge may be able to test out of card and motherboard sorting and/or the command line class. If you have time, take them to the card and mobo sorting room for a short knowledge assessment. Guidelines are on the Testing Out wiki page.
  • Fill out Builder status sheet (or have them do it.) If they tested out of anything, sign them out.
  • Have them file builder status sheets in the book, and explain that they need to have someone sign them off on each step.
  • Sign them up for their first shift (card/mobo sorting, or Eval 1 if they tested out) and/or command line class on the clipboard.
  • Sign them up for Build email list (or they can do this later; instructions in Build packet.)
  • In the midst of all this intake, you may notice that some people who are interested in the Build Program may not have quite the level of technical knowledge necessary. Can they use a keyboard and mouse? Are they relatively familiar with the browser fields and buttons? Sometimes it may be beneficial for a volunteer to work their way through the Adoption Program, receive a FreekBox, and practice using it a little before starting Build. If necessary, please pull a volunteer aside and tell them kindly.
  • Any more questions?
  • Hooray! They're in! Thank them for coming.

Intake for everyone else

Ask them what they're interested in doing, and have them talk to the proper person. Bring the volunteer to that person, or give them good instructions how and when to contect them. (The staff schedule on the web page, http://web.freegeek.org/staffsched is a good resource.) Thank the volunteer for coming!

  • Coding or network administration: Richard or Martin
  • Teaching classes: Michael, Liane, or Martin
  • Server-class machines: Cliff
  • Printers: Forrest
  • Writing grants (to get money for Free Geek): Ali
  • Fulfilling Hardware Grants (to help non-profits): Dave, Martin,Richard or Elizabeth
  • Internships in general: Shawn
  • Unsure: Shawn