Many volunteer managers have turned to volunteer management software to support them in managing their programs and day-to-day tasks. There are many benefits of leveraging technology to free up your time. You’ll spend less time jumping from paperwork to spreadsheets or searching for the information you need on a volunteer’s paper sign-in sheet because now it’s all in one place.
In recent years, it’s become best practice for volunteer programs to implement volunteer management technology. When searching for volunteer management software, there are many features that you and your staff simply must-have. But what are the features that your volunteers will simply love? We’ll discuss the features that volunteers love to use that keep them engaged and coming back to volunteer again and again.
Here’s the Volunteer Management Software Features Your Volunteers Will Love:
- Online Registration
- Online Volunteer Opportunity Sign-Up
- Contactless Check-In
- Participation Badges
- Volunteer Resume
- Bringing it all together with communication
- Additional Resources
The Feature: Online Registration has become more than just a nice-to-have for a volunteer program; it’s become a necessity since the pandemic. We are now operating in a “virtual first” world where participants will look up your organization online first before choosing to interact by registering as a volunteer. Make certain that you have a streamlined online registration process. This is key to taking prospective volunteers and turning them into brand new recruits!
Why Your Volunteers Will Love Online Registration: Your prospective volunteers will love the fact that they can go to your program’s site and find an easy-to-follow process for registering as a volunteer. They’ll want to see that many of their questions are answered prior to registering as a volunteer. So, a volunteer site is a great place to house general information that informs, yet encourages your prospective volunteers to register. They want the registration process to be easy to complete, mobile-friendly (most people are using their phones for tasks like this now!), and informative about the next steps to becoming a volunteer. Whether that be a mandatory training session, volunteer orientation, background check, or going ahead and signing up for volunteer opportunities, your prospective volunteers will love an online registration process.
Online Volunteer Opportunity Sign-Up
The Feature: Housing volunteer opportunities online for your volunteers to search and sign up is key. This frees up your time as a volunteer manager. Once you’ve got the work done on the back end, volunteers can sign themselves up for opportunities! Some volunteer management software will keep track of how many volunteers have signed up and how many more are needed for each shift so you’ll be able to see your rosters at a glance.
Why Your Volunteers Will Love Online Volunteer Opportunity Sign-Up: Now that your volunteers have registered, they’ll want to begin searching and signing up for opportunities! It’s best to keep it all in one place so they’re used to going to your volunteer site for information or to find ideal opportunities to sign up for. They’ll feel empowered to take action and appreciate the ability to search your volunteer site for the right opportunity. Take this feature up a notch by making opportunities on your site searchable by skill, activity, interest, and time commitment.
The Feature: With the changes due to the pandemic, offering contactless check-in through a volunteer management system has been a lifesaver for many organizations. Not only does it mean you don’t need a staff member to run check-in, but it further empowers your volunteers to know exactly what to do when they show up for their shift! Contactless check-in relies on volunteer management software with an app that has this feature. Volunteers download the app onto their mobile devices, then go through the process of checking in once they arrive for their shift!
Why Your Volunteers Will Love Contactless Check-In: Your volunteers will love the fluidity of showing up for their shift and checking in right from their smartphones. Not only is it a safety feature that removes unnecessary contact points, but it also helps them get to work right away once on site! They’ll appreciate this feature even more when you choose a software whose app automatically tracks their hours once they check-in and then check out at the end of their shift.
The Feature: As a volunteer management leader, you know that showing appreciation for your volunteers is an important part of your job. While software can’t replace the meaning behind a handwritten card or a volunteer appreciation event, it can help you automate certain aspects of volunteer recognition. Choosing a VMS that offers customized participation badges is one such feature! When your volunteer reaches a specific amount of hours served, your VMS can notify them of a new Participation Badge!
Why Your Volunteers Will Love Participation Badges: Volunteers will love that they can track their volunteer hours and impact through their volunteer profile.
And when you have a VMS set to automatically award volunteers based on benchmarks, they’ll feel appreciated when they receive a participation badge!
Volunteers want to feel like their time and efforts are appreciated by the organization they’re working for, and your time is full, so every bit of appreciation counts. With some VMS systems, the service badges are shareable on social media, making it even more fun for volunteers to share the work they are doing with their communities!
The Feature: You’ve probably received hundreds of requests from volunteers for recommendation letters or hours confirmed because they need to show proof of their participation in your program. We know there are many reasons why volunteers need this information; a college application, service-learning requirement, job applications, etc. But, when you choose a volunteer management software that has an auto-generated volunteer resume that the volunteer can access directly from their profile, you save yourself hours of administrative work. Yes, certain VMS systems offer this feature, much to the celebration of volunteers and program managers everywhere!
Why Your Volunteers Will Love Downloadable Volunteer Resumes: Your volunteer receives a request from their school, reminding them, yet again, that their proof of volunteer hours is due.
Instead of frantically emailing and calling you, they go directly to their profile and download their volunteer resume!
Your volunteer can select the date range necessary and receive a customized resume to turn into their scholarship, school program, etc. It’s easy to do and that’s why this is one of the top features volunteers absolutely love in your VMS system!
Bringing it all together with communication
You’ll want to make certain when choosing a volunteer management system that the features serve the whole picture of the program. That means features you need to manage the day-to-day, as well as the features that volunteers want to engage with from their end. What brings those two sides together? The ability to communicate directly with your volunteers! Email or text communications really round out these volunteer-sided features.
Make certain that your volunteer management software allows you to reach your volunteers through email communications at a minimum and gives the option to add texting as well!