I'm taking care of the management of volunteers (about 800 people) for a 10-days music festival. I've been using drupal+civicrm for this for about 5 years now. There were some complaints that the way it works is not user friendly (but had to be implemented quickly). We've been looking to replace cicicrm by a commercial product but found out this product can't beat civicrm ;-)

So now I'm looking how I can improve the civicrm setup so everybody is happy! I hope to get some tips ...

I'll try to describe the way we are organised now and how I've set this up in civicrm.

At the festival there are about 50 different workplaces: bars, stage, backstage, toilets, foodstands, ... Each workplace has one or more responsibles. Volunteers can work on multiple workplaces. The workplace responsible must be able to manage the data of people working for him / her only. (So not of the other people) Currently this is setup using groups and giving access rights on groups. Disadvantage of this is that when a responsible adds a new volunteer but forgets to assign a group (or assigns the wrong group) he cannot acces the data anymore.

One of the most important parts is creating a planning of who will work in which place on a certain day and creating reports / lists. I've done this now using custom fields for the contacts and creating many reports using drupal views but this is a lot of manual work each year. I was wondering if using civievents would be more appropriate?

Ideally each volunteer would also be able to manage his/her own data (such as address, indicate when he/she's able to work, ...)

Any suggestions on the optimal way to implement this?

2 Answers 2


I would recommend using the CiviVolunteer extension: https://civicrm.org/extensions/civivolunteer. We have one customer that uses this extension to manage the volunteerd planning for a big event.

  • I just had a look at the documentation. Seems like a possible way, but would this mean I need to define a project for each day of the festival (10) and in each project add an opportunity for each workplace (50)? Or a project for each workplace and an opportunities in these projects for each day so the responible can assign volunteers for his/her workplace only? May 24, 2018 at 10:30
  • Within CiviVolunteer you can use one project for the 10 event and and your role definition (opurtunities) should match what you meed. Out of the box within CiviVolunteer you can also let your volunteers signup for opporutinities. So that managers only have to check and fill empty places May 24, 2018 at 14:23

Another approach (esp as you are on Drupal) would be to consider using permissioned relationships as your method of connecting entities together.

Eg John is Manager for Backstage (an Org type contact). Jenny and Joe are volunteers via a relationship to Backstage.

By using Fuzion's extension you can therefore give John permission to see Jenny and Joe.

If jenny also volunteers for Toilets, then Teddy the Toilet manager will also have access to her record.

All of this can easily be cooked up using webforms and views so most users don't even need to go 'in' to civicrm itself.

Get in touch if this approach sounds useful if you need more of a walk through. Good luck

  • Hi Pete, this extension could indeed simplify the permissions. So I would need to create a sub-organization for each workplace and define a relation between volunteers and this organization? May 24, 2018 at 12:09
  • Correct. Treat your 'workplace' as a Contact which allows you to have multi-level permissioned relationships.
    – petednz - fuzion
    May 24, 2018 at 20:19

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