Home » Are You Up-To-Date on Volunteer Management Technology?

Are You Up-To-Date on Volunteer Management Technology?

Now, more than ever, volunteer programs are using technology to leverage time and efficiency for administrative tasks like volunteer registration, onboarding, scheduling, and communication.

However, as time goes on, your program needs may change. The scope of your organization could shift and the scale of your program could grow. Likewise, technology advancements are occurring within the tools available to volunteer managers.

It’s wise to take time annually to evaluate your current tools and systems to see if it’s time for a refresh or a technology upgrade.

Take our quiz to find out if you’re up-to-date on volunteer management tools! 

Let’s tally up your points and view your results below! 

  

0 – 16 POINTS An Opportunity to Grow

You may spend most of your time on scheduling, coordination, and administrative tasks, leaving little capacity to engage volunteers and grow your program. Typically, you spend much of your day communicating via phone or email to schedule volunteers and answer their questions. 

You may also feel, at times, that it’s easy to lose track of volunteer information. All this paperwork can seem overwhelming, but don’t panic! Your program can benefit from centralizing several volunteer management practices to free up your time–time you can spend on engagement and growing your impact.

Next Steps

If this rings true, overhauling your volunteer management process may seem a bit daunting. However, you can make this process more manageable by taking steps toward growing your volunteer program. 

We recommend taking the following steps to streamline your volunteer management tools and processes:

Capture Important Data 

Focus on capturing essential volunteer program data. This data is key to managing volunteers efficiently and growing your program:

  • Contact Information – Who are your volunteers, and how can you reach them?
  • Active Volunteers – How many volunteers participate in your programs monthly and annually?
  • Volunteer Hours Logged – How many hours do your volunteers log monthly and annually? From here, you can determine the value of your volunteers’ time contributions.

How to Capture Essential Data:

  • Streamline onboarding – When volunteers express interest in your program, collect their contact details and interest level. You can employ an online contact management database that will store all contact data in one centralized location.
  • Collect data at check-in – One of the easiest ways to collect volunteer hours is to have volunteers check-in and out of their shifts. Use a basic online sign-in tool to reduce administrative time.

Invest in Email

Email is the most common way volunteer programs communicate with their volunteers. You may start with a basic email management system or CRM. 

How to Leverage Email:

  • Create a newsletter – Excite your volunteers with a monthly newsletter featuring upcoming opportunities, events, and reminders. Include a call-to-action that encourages volunteers to sign-up. 
  • Send reminders – Use email to remind volunteers about their upcoming shifts. Include any important information like the location address, where to park, and what they need to bring.
  • Digitize waivers and other documentation – Promptly send an onboarding email with a digital copy of any paperwork that needs signing. Implement an electronic signature tool like DocuSign, so there’s no printing required! Store all signed documents digitally.

Post Opportunities Online

Your website is a great place to list your upcoming volunteer needs and events. Create a clearly marked page on your website that people know to visit to find volunteer opportunities. A “Volunteer Now” button or page header serves as an effective call-to-action that invites prospective participants to check out your opportunities.

Best Practices for Your Online Volunteer Opportunities Database:

  • Include key information – When listing your opportunities on your website, be sure to include available shift times and a brief description of the task you’re asking volunteers to perform. This way, volunteers can choose the opportunities that work for them.
  • Keep the page updated – Devote a bit of time each week to removing expired listings and adding new ones.
  • Simplify sign-up – Once your volunteers identify an opportunity that they’d like to participate in, make it easy for them to get involved. Use an online survey tool to collect necessary information from volunteers.
  

17 – 40 POINTS An Opportunity to Improve

You have some technology in place to help with coordination and scheduling. You’re able to spend some time engaging volunteers and developing strategies to grow your program, but there’s room for improvement. You may have a system, or several systems, in place to simplify data tracking, but accurate reporting is a challenge. 

You may benefit from consolidating processes and systems, so your information is easier to access. Organizations in this category tend to struggle with advanced volunteer management needs, such as coordinating teams of volunteers or advanced reporting.

Next Steps

Sounds about right? Follow these steps to streamline your volunteer management tools:

Create Your Wishlist

Before investing in technology to improve the way you manage volunteers, we recommend you make a list of the technology features and tools you would find most helpful for your day-to-day operations. Here are some examples of common features volunteer coordinators go for: 

  • Automated Hours Tracking
  • Custom Reporting
  • Shift-Based Scheduling
  • Email and Text
  • Impact Reports
  • Team Registration
  • Donations Manager
  • Mobile App
  • Volunteer Profiles
  • Self Sign-Up
  • Event Management
  • Service Learning Courses

Then, choose your “must-haves” or priorities.

Do Your Research

Once you have created your wishlist, it’s time to research your volunteer management software options. 

Prepare a budget and keep in mind that the investment in technology can actually help improve your program’s return on investment.

Where to Look for Volunteer Management Technology

  • Software Comparison Sites – Software comparison sites like Capterra and G2 incorporate real customer reviews and make it easy to compare volunteer management solutions based on pricing, key features, and customer reviews.
  • Peers – Your peers are a great resource. Reach out to local nonprofits or affiliates to get a sense of the systems that they are using. What’s working for them? What are their workarounds?
  • Nonprofit Resources and Blogs – There are plenty of online websites and blogs chock-full of resources for nonprofits of any size. You probably have your go-to resources that you trust. These are a great place to start. We also refer to sites like Whole Whale when we have questions about volunteer management.

See It in Action

Many volunteer management products offer free demonstrations that enable you to view the software before committing. 

The most useful demos tend to be live, led by a product specialist that can show you around and point out the features that are helpful to your organization. They can also work with you to answer specific questions you may have. 

These demonstrations are often carried out via webinar, so you won’t have to leave your desk! We highly recommend you research and sign up for a demonstration of the software before investing time and money into a product.

  

41 – 60 POINTS An Opportunity to Upgrade

Your program is centralized and you’re already using a dedicated volunteer management system. Your technology helps you to not only coordinate volunteers but also engage them. You’re able to get to know your volunteers so that you can match them to opportunities and keep them excited about your cause. 

While you’re already using digital volunteer management tools, you may be ready to consider a more advanced option to reduce workarounds and boost your return on investment.

Next Steps

There’s always room for an upgrade! 

Identify Challenges

Do you have technology in place, but are having to work around a few challenges? Before you consider a new volunteer management technology, we recommend you make a list of the workarounds you are currently experiencing with your current systems. 

According to volunteer professionals, these are some of the most common challenges:

  • Managing Teams and Corporate Groups
  • Mobile Friendly Interface
  • Integrated Communication (i.e., email, text)
  • Detailed Reporting
  • Exportable Data
  • Pricing

Do Your Research

Once you have created your wishlist, it’s time to research your volunteer management software options. 

Have a budget prepared, keeping in mind that the investment in technology can actually help improve your program’s return on investment.

Where to Look for Volunteer Management Technology

  • Software Comparison Sites – Software comparison sites like G2 and Capterra incorporate real customer reviews and make it easy to compare volunteer management solutions based on pricing, key features, and customer reviews.
  • Peers – Your peers are a great resource. Reach out to local nonprofits or affiliates to get a sense of the systems that they are using. What’s working for them? What are their workarounds?
  • Nonprofit Resources and Blogs – There are plenty of online websites and blogs chock-full of resources for nonprofits of any size. You probably have your go-to resources that you trust. These are a great place to start. We also refer to sites like Whole Whale when we have questions about volunteer management.

See It in Action

Many volunteer management products offer free demonstrations that enable you to view the software before committing. 

The most useful demos tend to be live, led by a product specialist that can show you around and point out the features that are helpful to your organization. They can also work with you to answer specific questions you may have. 

These demonstrations are often carried out via webinar, so you won’t have to leave your desk! We highly recommend you research and sign up for a demonstration of the software before investing time and money into a product.

Author: Court McCracken