Volunteer management in a digital age

This blog is written by Chris one of the CCVS development workers and is one of the pieces in the CCVS May newsletter that has a volunteering theme in the run up to Volunteers Week.

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)

  • Recruitment
    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.
  • Management
    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.
  • Communication
    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.

Some organisations use their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to also manage volunteers.  For example, Charity Log and Salesforce which has the Volunteer for Salesforce (V4S) tool

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.

There are also some free tools available for recruiting volunteers for events such as www.signup.com and https://trello.com/inspiration/event-planning

Further guidance can be found on the following links 

NCVOs Knowhow Non Profit site

Sheffield Volunteer Centre site

1 thought on “Volunteer management in a digital age

  1. Interesting article, as I’m looking into Volunteer Management software as well as Fundraising CRMs and have come to see that so many options will do one aspect well and the other aspect poorly.

    I would have imagined some organisation would have create a good Fundraising and Volunteer platform by now.

    Have come across Better Impact and Assemble so far, so will be interested in investigating some of the other options shown here.

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