Building out your volunteer management program takes work and observation. Let’s break down how to build best practices and what it looks like in...
How to choose volunteer management software
Better understand what volunteer management software is and why you might like to use it.
Are you looking for ways to make your volunteer management processes more streamlined and efficient? Would you like a volunteer management solution that manages and engages your volunteers in less time and without the reliance on manual processes? If so, you may want to consider introducing volunteer management software to your organization.
Volunteer management software is a solution that can automate every aspect of a volunteer management program. From recruitment to rostering to reward and recognition, effective volunteer management software can ease the burden on nonprofit organizations by offering an all-in-one solution for the smooth-running of volunteer management processes.
This article will provide an overview of what volunteer management software is and why you might like to use it. We’ll also offer some advice on what to consider when choosing a digital volunteer management solution for your organization.
What is volunteer management software and why should you use it?
Volunteer management software is a centralized system used to recruit, screen, schedule, train and retain volunteers. It is an all-in-one system that helps organizations administer events, programs and initiatives. Volunteer management software removes the need to use separate tools and applications for the different aspects involved with volunteer recruitment, management and engagement.
This software allows for the automation of rostering, shift allocation and confirmations, notification of any last-minute changes to an event’s venue or timing, training, and check-ins and check-outs. Another aspect of volunteer management software is that it allows volunteers to take control of their own volunteering experience by enabling them to choose shifts that suit them, track their volunteered hours, view certificates, complete training online at a time convenient to them, and select their preferred rewards.
Volunteer management software can also be used to evaluate the performance and success of a volunteer program. It provides a reporting capability to present data that can be used to inform donor reports, grant applications, and meet government reporting requirements.
An effective volunteer management solution is designed to result in a demonstrable improvement to a non-profit, organization or event business processes, saving the organization time and money.
Reasons for adopting volunteer management software
Volunteer management software helps volunteer managers streamline their entire volunteer management workflow by replacing time-consuming manual processes with automations. Our research has found that replacing manual processes with automations results in a 40% reduction in the workload of volunteer managers. This frees up their time to concentrate on more productive work outcomes such as growing their volunteer database.
Implementing the right volunteer management software offers the following benefits to an organization:
- An automated, centralized set of volunteer management tools that can be used to maintain and build relationships with volunteers
- A simplified process for data gathering, internal reporting within the organization, and externally to key stakeholders
- The potential to recruit more volunteers as there is no time-lag caused by staff manually processing new registrations and volunteer profile updates
These benefits result in tangible, positive outcomes for an organization including:
- An increase in the number of volunteers recruited
- More effective communication with volunteers
- Increased volunteer operations efficiency
What to consider when making your choice
Ultimately, volunteer management software exists to help organizations save time, save money and provide an effective solution to recruiting, retaining and rewarding volunteers.
When determining what volunteer management software to implement, consideration should be given to the operational needs of the organization, the available budget, and whether the software has a substantial list of useful features.
Needs and requirements
Here at Rosterfy, we have found that our clients often have similar requirements they need addressed by volunteer management software. The most common are:
- User-friendly software - Volunteers come from a range of backgrounds with diverse skill sets. Volunteer management software should be intuitive and easy for volunteers to use. It should not require hours of training on how to use the software.
- Support - Does the vendor offer fast technical support to troubleshoot any glitches encountered and help with product integration and usage? Is there an on-demand library of resources such as training videos and answers to FAQs available?
- Straightforward CRM integration - Can the software integrate with CRM packages to ensure a detailed database of volunteer contact information, availability, skills and experience is readily available? This information is used for rostering and communications.
- General integration - In addition to integrating with CRM packages, can the software integrate with other IT packages. For example, if an organization interviews volunteers prior to appointing them, they might like to consider a volunteer management software that integrates with video conference software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. This will allow volunteers to choose a convenient interview time and schedule it all within the one system, reducing the need for back and forth emails.
- Automatic volunteer management - An automated process to ensure volunteers are screened, interviewed and inducted prior to them being able to apply for opportunities.
Volunteer management solutions like Rosterfy have inbuilt reference check modules that allow administrators to automatically conduct reference checks with one or more referees. This allows administrators to capture references during registration and set up workflows whereby automatic emails are sent to referees with a short survey to complete based on the selection criteria. Using checkpoint functionality, volunteers can progress through to interviews or shift selection once references have been confirmed. This automation allows only screened volunteers to progress to the next stage.
- Training capabilities - The ability to train and onboard volunteers with customized training modules and assessment.
- Reward options - Functionality to recognize and reward volunteers for their contributions and commitment to the organization. It is important for volunteers to feel valued and have their efforts acknowledged.
- Access to case studies and testimonials - Being able to read about and hear from other organizations who have implemented the software. Having case studies and testimonials available provides reassurance that the software delivers on its promises and can be used in an effective way.
Some volunteer management software providers charge a flat fee for their product. Others offer the option to only pay for the functionality and modules an organization requires.
When comparing the costs of different volunteer management software, it is important to consider whether the provider offers a flat fee for the whole suite of a system's features, some of which you may not need or use. Alternatively, some providers allow organizations to customize the software to their needs. For example, the Rosterfy SMS feature is an additional extra that you only pay for if it is a service you require.
It is good to remember that the cheapest option doesn’t always offer the best value, especially if you need to purchase additional software to meet all your organization’s volunteer management needs.
Volunteer management software is an investment that offers a return of reduced labor costs because processes that were once manually completed become automated.
Are there a few non-negotiable, key features that you require your volunteer management software to have? This could include:
- Mobile optimized - Volunteers should be able to check-in and out at events using their smartphones.
- Data security - Volunteer management software solutions are responsible for the storage of your precious volunteer records and data. It is crucial that this data is stored securely and only accessed by approved users.
- Data back-up - Data should be backed-up at regular intervals and the encrypted data stored at secure facilities.
- A dedicated volunteer portal - This portal enhances volunteer engagement with the organization, and each other, and is the place for volunteers to learn about and sign-up for new opportunities. A self-service style portal allows volunteers to manage their own profile, access training, register for shifts and tailor their communication preferences in one place. Some volunteer portals like Rosterfy’s can be customized and branded to match the organization’s marketing style guide.
- A variety of communication tools - All communication, including shift updates, schedule changes, notification of new opportunities, and thank you messages should be able to be managed from within the software. This provides a thorough record of all communication each volunteer has received.
- A built-in survey module - For gathering feedback about events and general operations. This information can inform continuous improvement practices to aid the organization in running as efficiently as possible.
- Accessible worldwide - An online solution like Rosterfy removes the need to have software installed on a computer, with the ability to log in and out from anywhere in the world.
- Document storage functionality - To capture all reports and documents related to the organization’s volunteer program. If certain venues or events require specific licenses or certification, for example a working with children’s check, these documents can be securely stored within the software.
- A reporting module - To present data in a simplified format for analysis. Rosterfy’s custom reports provide detailed information on the status of shifts, training uptake and check-in rates through to user demographics and documentation.
- Automated roster generation - Allowing an organization to schedule volunteers based on volunteer availability, skills and location.
- Importing - The ability to import existing schedules and volunteer data for a seamless transition to automated volunteer management. Rosterfy is one volunteer management solution for nonprofits that supports the migration of existing databases into the Rosterfy software.
- Integration - Seamless integration with other volunteer management tools including CRM, document signing and background checks.
- Custom forms - The ability to create unique forms to collect information specific to requirements. These forms can be used for registration, signing up for shifts and offering roles.
Volunteer management software is a critical tool for ensuring an organization’s volunteer management program is efficient and achieves its goals. By centralizing and automating volunteer management processes, an organization can become more successful in attracting and retaining the volunteers needed to deliver the organization’s mission.
A successful volunteer management program is one that keeps volunteers engaged, informed and motivated to make a long-term commitment to the organization. Rosterfy is an all-in-one volunteer management solution that is designed to scale and grow with the needs and requirements of any organization. If you’d like to receive more information on how Rosterfy’s volunteer management software works, and get an in-depth look at its intuitive features and the benefits it can provide your organization, get in touch with us to book a demonstration.
Rosterfy exists to connect communities to events and causes they are passionate about through volunteer and paid workforce management technology. Our proven end to end technology allows charities, events and nonprofit organizations to recruit, register, screen, train, manage and report with ease, replacing manual processes with automations to better engage and retain your volunteers and paid staff.
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