(You Didn’t Know You Had)
You work hard to address the ever-changing needs of your community, and your volunteer management system should innovate with your organization. But if you find yourself having to work around your existing management system, you may consider upgrading to a robust volunteer management platform. Helping volunteer coordinators avoid the most common challenges, we’ve addressed 7 key problems with your current volunteer management system by offering real, useful solutions by Galaxy Digital:
Problem 1. Your volunteer hours are inaccurate
Precise tracking and reporting are essential to understand your impact value and secure the funding you rely on. But how accurate is your data? Volunteers forget to log hours or you haven’t accounted for absent volunteers. These are all common issues that can impact volunteer data accuracy.
Galaxy Solution: The Connect App
Our new Connect App allows volunteers to check-in themselves. Check-in is time-stamped and geo-fenced, which means when volunteers enter and leave your event’s geographic location, they receive a push-notification reminding them to check in and out. Plus, volunteers can view opportunities they’re already registered for, so they’re less likely to miss it. The Connect App is Android and iPhone compatible and free for volunteers to download.
Tip: Try out Connect’s Check-in kiosk. It’s another seamless way for volunteers to sign in to an opportunity using their existing Connect login information. Hours are logged automatically and updated live so your data is complete and immediate.
Problem 2. Your reporting is clunky
Your organization’s reporting tool should be precise, comprehensive, and shareable. Perhaps you can’t currently share reports, you have to build compelling, year-end infographics yourself, or your data is not aggregated in a single location. A centralized volunteer management system will integrate tracking and reporting, so all your data is automatically updated, accessible, and relevant.
Galaxy Solution: Robust reporting
Connect features over 50 pre-built reports. Discover your top volunteers, users joined, volunteer hours by interest, opportunities added, and so many more. Plus, your corporate partners will love the group reports that Connect offers; these shareable reports support corporate responsibility initiatives by demonstrating the company’s collective impact on their community. Site managers can select a date range for each report, and Galaxy Digital will even build custom reports to suit your organization’s needs. Best of all, these reports update live and are ready to view and share in one click.
Problem 3. You’re not making the most of your volunteers’ skills
Do your volunteers have the appropriate skills for the task at hand? Whether they’re working with children, driving a vehicle, or operating power tools, it’s vital that your organization appoints the right volunteers for the job. Furthermore, your organization should be able to build programs around volunteers with specialized skills and certifications, like healthcare professionals and ESL certified teachers. If your current software doesn’t skill match, you may miss out on volunteer retention and engagement.
Galaxy Solution: Volunteer skills match
Site managers can search for volunteers and filter by skill or interest, so you can reach out to the most appropriate volunteer for the opportunity. Volunteers will also receive opportunity recommendations based on their interests and skills; they’re more likely to find opportunities they love…and volunteer again! Site managers can also designate prerequisites for each opportunity–including waivers and background checks–and set permissions so only volunteers with the required qualifications can view an opportunity; it’s another way to ensure your programs attract qualified, passionate volunteers.
Problem 4. You’re not offering group sign-up
Whether you partner with local businesses or you want to engage families, offering group sign-up is vital to the success of your volunteer program. Those who participate with colleagues, family, or peers tend to become more engaged, recurring volunteers. However, if your current volunteer management system lacks a simple team registration feature, keeping track of groups can become difficult.
Galaxy Solution: Team registration
Connect offers team registration! Groups can designate a point of contact so that all correspondence is managed by the team leader. As the site manager, you can reserve slots before an opportunity fills. Volunteer groups can watch their collective hours accrue and track their impact together. Companies will appreciate the quantifiable demonstration of corporate responsibility, while you bolster close relationships with local business. And families can get excited about the difference they’ve made together. Hoping to engage teens? They’ll love signing up with their friends.
Problem 5. Your communications database is not linked to your registration system
There are plenty of email management platforms out there, but if your communications database is not linked to your volunteer management system, you’re probably not communicating as effectively as possible. When a new volunteer registers with your site, they should be prompted to enter their email information. This data should update automatically so that you don’t have to enter important information in your CRM platform separately.
Galaxy Solution: Built-in communications with filterable email and texting
Connect is a centralized volunteer management platform. This means your volunteer contact information is stored automatically, and linked to each volunteer’s profile. You’ll be able to learn more about your volunteers so that you can tailor communications. Use Galaxy’s filterable communication tool to email, text, and send notifications to targeted groups, like special event participants. You can quickly and effectively refine your communication efforts so that volunteers are getting the information they need to stay engaged with your organization.
Problem 6. You’re waiting for volunteers to send you their waivers
We understand; your volunteers are busy. If you’re asking them to print out a required waiver, sign it, then get back to you before the event (or remember to actually bring paperwork to their opportunity), you’re probably having to send many reminder emails. As a volunteer manager, your job is more than following endless paper trails. Automated waivers are a necessary component of your volunteer sign-up process, a feature you may be missing out on!
Galaxy Solution: e-Sign waivers
We believe that administrative tasks should be made as easy as possible so that you can spend your time developing meaningful relationships and addressing needs in your community. Features like e-Sign waivers are just one way to simplify paperwork. Our integrated e-Sign waivers are stored on the platform and can be assigned to any opportunity. Volunteers will access the waiver when they sign-up for an opportunity and can produce a signature directly on their computer or phone (no printing and scanning required). Your documents will remain safe and organized, and you’ll do your part reducing paper waste!
Problem 7. Your big events aren’t getting the attention they deserve
Special events boost your organization’s impact. But are they receiving the attendance you hoped for? Your volunteer management software should feature events apart from your recurring volunteer opportunities, so that (1) they’re easily discoverable by site users and (2) you can link directly to these events in your emails and social media posts.
Galaxy Solution: Connect Events
Volunteers shouldn’t have to dig through your website to locate opportunities. Give your special events a little extra attention by using Connect’s Events tab. Events appear separate from your recurring opportunities. You can allow access to an Events Manager so that they can handle responses, details, and data independently.
Users RSVP to an event simply and directly through your site. When users respond to your event, they are greeted with a “Thank You” message, encouraging them to invite their friends and share on social media. Because your Connect site is social media-friendly, you’re equipped with readily-available, marketable material for your organization’s–and your volunteers’–social feeds. For more tips on increasing attendance at your next event, check out this article.
A robust volunteer management software not only automates your volunteer registration process, but it can also ensure your entire organization works smarter to improve the quality of services you and your volunteers provide. As you search for a new system, look for a quality solution that truly makes sense for your organization’s needs.
Also published on Medium.