Getting acquainted with Better Impact

Like it or not, we’ve got a new volunteer management system in Better Impact! The Virginia Master Naturalists Volunteer Management System (VMN VMS) that has been in place since the formation of the Headwaters Chapter in 2011, is scheduled to disappear at the end of April. The state program coordinators have worked hard over most of this year to introduce us to the new system, Better Impact (BI). We are sharing this platform with other “Master” programs through the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Master Naturalist, Master Gardener, Master Financial Volunteer, Master Food Volunteer, and Energy Masters programs are all using this same system.

What used to be “projects” in the VMN VMS are now called “opportunities” in BI. These are organized into activities nested under categories, as a list and also a calendar view for those with scheduled dates. The calendar view is only visible from the current week onwards … unlike the VMN VMS calendar on which all previous entries could be viewed.

Also missing is a built-in chapter roster with names and contact information and an ability for anyone to use the email function. In BI, emailing the membership is limited to the administrators which currently includes all the board members. These board members can be contacted by any member in BI through the “CONTACT” tab. You can find an uploaded document on the home page under “Resources for Members” with a list of our members, when they became members, and the email addresses of those who have indicated it is okay to share their email addresses with other members.

As of late April, 31 of the 84 of us have logged in, and of these 18 have offered permission to share their email addresses with other members. So if you haven’t yet, log in, and on your BI home page under “My Profile,” update any information under “Contact Information” and “Additional Info.” Under “Additional Info,” be sure to scroll down to “Agreements and Acknowledgements” where you’ll find a box to check if you’re okay with sharing your email address with other members. Then don’t forget to click “save!”

Another possible concern may be when you enter hours under the “HOURS” tab. Once you’ve signed up for an activity, the default view will be to show your “recent” activity in the drop down for “please select an activity.” Next to the “recent” button is one that says “active.” Clicking this “active” button will show you all the possible activities our Chapter has to log hours into.

You will find that all CE hours are getting logged into a single activity: “Continuing Education activity.”
This makes it easy to separate CE hours from volunteer service hours.

Board President Brian Lux has moved all the old files in VMN VMS into our HMN Dropbox. Let him know if you’re looking for something that was there once that site is no longer available.

If you’ve lost your initial temporary login information and still need to log into BI, email Adrie at ahvoors [at]; she will send you new temporary login info.

In case you need it again, find the initial instruction document sent out by our state program coordinators HERE.

– Adrie Voors, HMN BI Administrator