As a volunteer manager, you probably spend your day organizing time sheets, planning community events, recruiting new volunteers, and managing returning ones. It’s no surprise that many volunteer leaders feel there’s just not enough time in the day to get it all done.
As a result, many organizations turn to a patchwork of time-tracking tools and forms to get through the day-to-day. However, this can lead to data issues and disorganization down the road.
Can you relate? It may be time to invest in volunteer management software. In this article, we’re diving into the top 4 reasons you need volunteer management software, and we’ll explain how to find the perfect solution for your organization.
Top 4 Reasons You Need Volunteer Management Software
- You don’t have enough time
- You want a deeper understanding of volunteer impact through data reporting
- You want to automate volunteer engagement
- You need to recruit more volunteers
What is volunteer management?
Let’s start with the basics. As you may know, volunteer management involves the recruitment, engagement, and retention of a dedicated group of volunteers.
When an organization crafts an effective volunteer management strategy, they can build a volunteer program which meets or exceeds their organizational goals. But sometimes the day-to-day tasks become too much for a single person. Many volunteer managers rely on volunteer management software to help them keep up with daily operations.
What are the day-to-day tasks of a volunteer manager?
In our experience, volunteer managers typically wear many hats. Often, volunteer managers are in charge of
- Promoting their program
- Recruiting and training volunteers
- Compiling year-end volunteer data
- Communicating with volunteers
- Keeping track of volunteer hours
- Coordinating events
What is volunteer management software?
Volunteer management software is a tool that helps organizations streamline the normal functions of a volunteer program, such as events, regularly scheduled volunteer opportunities or services, and other initiatives within a single system. This type of software usually offers a suite of volunteer recruitment, scheduling, and engagement tools, and is a protected database of volunteer information.
Volunteer managers can use volunteer management software to track program data such as:
- volunteer registration
- event check-in
- hours served
- volunteer shift schedules
- volunteer impact reports
- volunteer liability waivers
- volunteer opportunity promotion tools
Many volunteer managers find that they save time, keep in touch with volunteers, and stay organized by using volunteer management software.
Today, most volunteers search for opportunities online; therefore, volunteer management software is a necessity for organizations who want to stay savvy and reach the interested volunteers in their community.
Top 4 reasons you need volunteer management software
Many service-focused organizations believe that using software to manage volunteers is valuable, yet many don’t know when it’s time to put one in place.
Below you’ll find the top reasons you need to invest in volunteer management software today.
1. You don’t have enough time
As a nonprofit professional, you’re likely faced with the challenge of having too little time to accomplish all the tasks you’ve been assigned. A volunteer management system helps volunteer managers regain control of their time by automating key parts of the volunteer management process. Most platforms generate ready-to-go reports, sort volunteers based on availability, and organize volunteer shifts into a printable calendar.
Here are some additional areas you can save time by investing in volunteer management software:
- Record-keeping. Volunteer management software empowers volunteers to enter their own information (like contact info, skills, and interests) during registration and check-in, allowing nonprofit staff to save valuable time that was once spent on data entry.
- Annual or quarterly reporting. By ditching the spreadsheet and switching to a software solution, volunteer managers are able to quickly access, organize, and export live data and use it to inform their decision-making.
- Targeted communication. Automated features allow volunteer managers to quickly filter lists of volunteers and send targeted communication about volunteer opportunities or community events. A bonus? This type of targeted communication is a key component of volunteer retention efforts.
2. You want a deeper understanding of volunteer impact through data reporting
Volunteer managers need to accurately illustrate program impact to their communities, board of directors, and financial supporters. If you’re having trouble easily quantifying impact, you’re not alone.
A common reason that people choose to adopt volunteer management software is so that they can develop and convey their program’s impact in a more holistic way.
Volunteer management software tracks the volunteer lifecycle so that you can quickly understand how many volunteers you have and the hours they’ve served.
Several platforms can even attribute the impact value of volunteer hours or skills shared with the organization. Organizations can use this data to gauge progress they’re making on their mission or the effectiveness of their community programs.
By understanding program and volunteer impact through accurate real-time reporting, you can:
- Win more grants and funding
- Improve community programs and services
- Thank and reward volunteers
- Engage stakeholders
3. You want to automate volunteer engagement
When your program data is spread across multiple systems, volunteer engagement can be time-consuming and tedious. Rather than spending time tracking down volunteers’ phone numbers and calling them individually, nonprofit professionals are increasingly turning to software that can do the heavy lifting for them.
Volunteer engagement features are some of the biggest and most important reasons professionals choose volunteer management software. Volunteer managers who want the ability to send bulk emails or text messages to their volunteers should search for solid communication features.
Make sure that you’re able to filter your volunteer data to build targeted lists based on volunteer interests, availability, skills, and credentials. You can use this to contact your volunteers with personalized opportunities to serve.
If you’ve resolved to strengthen your volunteer engagement efforts this year, here are a few additional ways that volunteer management software can help:
- Schedule available volunteers or send email invites. Schedule your volunteers based on their availability, or send an invite to your volunteers for specific opportunities.
- Send notifications to volunteers. Notifications can help your nonprofit keep volunteers up-to-date about opportunities they’ve signed up for, notify them of new opportunities, and thank volunteers for providing their time. Consistent notifications and open communication can make a big impact on volunteer engagement.
- Communicate with volunteers in real-time. Look for software with it’s own app and text messaging to communicate with your volunteers!
4. You need to recruit more volunteers
Volunteer recruitment is not an easy task. While you can certainly get the word out using newspaper ads, word-of-mouth, or community bulletins, in 2022 you should be meeting people where they are: online!
Community members must be able to quickly and easily find your volunteer website, scroll through relevant opportunities, and respond online. Digital volunteer recruitment is the most effective way to find new volunteers in your community.That’s why many volunteer professionals rely on volunteer management software to recruit a volunteer pool with a vast array of skills and qualifications.
Volunteer management software makes helps nonprofit leaders to recruit more volunteers by:
- Promoting opportunities. Volunteer management software helps you reach thousands of potential volunteers in seconds. Use the software’s email communication tools to send a mass email, or its social media integrations to share the latest update on your channels.
- Targeting the right volunteers for the task. With volunteer management software, volunteers create their own profiles including their skills, availability, interests, and other information. As a volunteer manager, you can use this information to create a targeted campaign and recruit specific volunteers who are qualified or available for the volunteer opportunity.
- Matching volunteers up based on skills and interests. Engage volunteers by recommending volunteer opportunities based on their skills and passions. During the registration process, volunteers will self-select their interests, and the system will automatically recommend volunteer opportunities.
- Pre-qualifying volunteers. During registration, your volunteer management system should allow volunteers to quickly upload required documentation (like driver’s licenses or certifications) and list their skills on their volunteer profile.
How to choose the best volunteer management software
We know that navigating the tech sphere can be a bit daunting for volunteer managers. Fortunately, we’ve been in the volunteer management space for over a decade, so we have plenty of advice on how to choose the best volunteer management software!
You’ll want to find an all-in-one volunteer management solution that meets as many of your needs as possible. With a comprehensive platform, you’ll be able to increase volunteer engagement, build long-lasting relationships with supporters, and more effectively track involvement.
With an effective software system, you’ll better retain these volunteers and build genuinely meaningful relationships that last.
Key Volunteer Management Software Features
Look for a system that has a variety of features and benefits that empower nonprofits to take control of their volunteer management. These features include:
- Recruitment and promotion: Within the volunteer engagement portal, you should be able to highlight events, promote opportunities, and increase volunteer attendance. If you demo a software without these capabilities, move on.
- Volunteer app: Choose a software that comes with a free volunteer app. This is an easy way for volunteers to track hours, and it will help you connect with volunteers on-the-go.
- Volunteer profiles: Your software should host volunteer profiles. These can be used to track the personal preferences, impact, and volunteer history of your volunteers. You can later use this data to curate a personalized volunteer experience for each of your supporters.
- Group and team engagement: Corporate volunteerism is a growing nonprofit trend. Pick a system that allows your administrators to quickly and easily create groups, assign team leaders, send exclusive join links, and email volunteers important, team-specific information.
- Automated communication: Automation is a key way to regain control of your time as a nonprofit leader. Make sure your system can trigger emails to new volunteers, send surveys, or prompt volunteer check-in.
Get Connected is the best all-in-one solution for your organization. This volunteer management software helps you better engage supporters and create long-lasting and valuable relationships within the community.
Ready to research volunteer management options? Explore your options.