Starlight Children's Day Foundation partner with Rosterfy

Co Founder, Bennett Merriman learns more about how the Starlight Children's Foundation utlized Rosterfy to increase engagement and retention.

Co-Founder, Bennett Merriman, recently posted this article on LinkedIn.


While large scale sporting events may attract wider attention in our industry, not for profits rely just as much on volunteers to help raise vital funds for their cause. It’s a fortunate position we are in, where our volunteer management software can play such a crucial role in boosting the capabilities of these organisations.

Starlight Children’s Foundation brightens the lives of seriously ill children, adolescents and their families by replacing pain, fear and stress with fun, joy and laughter. Since its establishment in 1988, Starlight has expanded to become the broadest reaching children’s charity in Australia and are the Most Trusted Children’s Charity in Australia (AMR Charity Reputation Index 2016). Last year Starlight created 426,000 Starlight experiences for children and their families and granted 525 life-changing Starlight Wishes.

"We’ve also been able to reduce the headcount of our team from 3 to just 1.5 FTE but increased the number of events and volunteers we recruit by around 150%." – Kerry Shields, National Volunteer Manager

Starlight receives no government funding, therefore ensuring fundraising opportunities are maximised and operational cost are minimised is always top of mind. Using Rosterfy has reduced the stress and manpower required to recruit and manage event volunteers, by creating a one-stop shop for creating rosters, recruiting and briefing events volunteers nationally.

In 2016 Starlight’s volunteers supported over 250 events across the country. Each event was different, some requiring one volunteer for an hour, others might have 2,000 volunteers across 10 locations (and 3 different time zones). This might extend across days or even weeks, all with varying shift times. These events require a team of dedicated volunteers and a lot of organisation behind the scenes to make each event happen.

Previously Starlight recruited and managed their event volunteers through a combination of phone calls, emails, spreadsheets, and manually entering the data into a database. Whilst this was ok when there were only a few events, it proved time-consuming, stressful and required a great deal of manpower to oversee when the number of events and volunteers grew. This level of manpower took valuable staff away from other important tasks, including building relationships with their volunteers.

As the number of events expanded, National Volunteer Manager Kerry Shields knew there had to be a better way and searched for an automated technology solution that would meet this increased business need. Not able to find the ‘perfect solution’ Kerry and her team set out to develop a website portal that could not only provide the rostering capability but would also help to create a sense of community with the growing number of volunteers. However, a limited budget meant that the dream of all the bells and whistles was not realised in this project, but it did provide proof that volunteers had an appetite for change and adapted quickly when using new technology.

When the number of volunteers registered on the site reached 8,000, it was clear further improvements were needed to support this level of growth and activity. Rather than look to invest more into this website, Starlight looked again at the market and this time came across a purpose build events rostering platform, Rosterfy.

We asked Kerry Shields, what she finds to be the best part of using a dedicated platform to manage, register, train and communicate with volunteers.

Q: What has using Rosterfy changed about your job and what Starlight does?

In my role, it’s the transparency and visibility of what my team are working on and how they are progressing with recruitment. We’ve also been able to reduce the headcount of our team from 3 to just 1.5 FTE but increased the number of events and volunteers we recruit by around 150%.

Q: What is the best part of using Rosterfy?

It’s helped us with efficiency and consistency in how we recruit, communicate, roster and manage volunteers at our events across the country. We know the system works, it's reliable and it's flexible enough to cater for a small event or complex national fundraising campaigns like Starlight Day.

Q: Anything else to add?

One of the reasons we’ve had such success in using it, is that Rosterfy has fit to our requirements and not the other way around. This comes from the flexibility that the system provides and the responsiveness of the team at Event Workforce Group to meet our needs, no matter what the project is, which has been worth every cent.

Feel free to contact us to chat if you’re also in a position where you are organising a dynamic workforce and are still trying to manage it by phone calls, spreadsheets and manual rosters.

Starlight is a very good example of what a miracle is about.

Read more case studies from non profits and charities who have made the switch to Rosterfy.

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