If you have more than a handful of volunteers you will probably need to create a spreadsheet to record key data to help you keep on top of things. Once you have a larger number of volunteers, especially if you are recruiting and managing several different volunteer roles and rotas, you may want to look at using software adapted to volunteer management. The best of these systems can improve the volunteering experience, thereby aiding recruitment and retention, and can reduce the administrative burden on the volunteer coordinator.
Common Features of Volunteer Management Software (adapted from www.softwareadvice.com)
Volunteer management systems include online volunteer applications that sync contact information into the database, diverting the time spent on manual entry to increasing the number of prospects. Customisable directories can also be added to a nonprofit’s sites so that visitors can search for opportunities, role descriptions and site locations.
An advanced contact management system allows users to organise contact information and history, including volunteer type, frequency, restrictions and more. This allows users to group volunteers, filter search criteria and reach out to appropriate supporters.
The communication features allow users to send email campaigns to volunteers, requesting service and adding automated email reminders for upcoming service commitments they’ve volunteered for. Some advanced programs also offer recognition features that automatically award volunteers whose performance has exceeded certain criteria.
- Volunteer portals
Portals allow volunteers to sign into an organisation’s site, inquire about upcoming volunteer opportunities, sign up for events and update contact information. Volunteers can also change their communication preferences through portals, opting in or out of particular communications.
- Volunteer schedules
Nonprofit organisations can post upcoming volunteer needs with scheduling features. Prospective volunteers can then peruse opportunities and fill empty slots based on their availability.
There are many options and the links below are shown as examples and are not intended as recommendations.
- Three Rings is UK based and is a volunteer run CIC. Costs are based on turnover and the website quotes the cost for a community shop as being £150 a year and up to £600 for a large organisation. It could be free for the smallest organisations and the same product is available regardless of payment level https://www.threerings.org.uk
- Team Kinetic also UK based and have a free to use system through their national brokerage site http://tryvolunteering.com/ allowing an organisation to manage one opportunity. To manage more opportunities the ‘advanced’ product costs £62.50 per month
- Volgistics US based, costs start at about $17pcm. The sample account demo is worth having a play with at as it is prepopulated with data giving an idea of how volunteer management systems can work https://sample.volgistics.com/ex/login.dll/Auth
- Better Impact is UK based and their basic version will cost about £14 pcm https://www.betterimpact.co.uk/free-trial-volunteer-impact/
- Assemble https://www.goassemble.com/software/ prices available on application.
Further guidance can be found on the following links