Recap & Resources: Using Technology to Manage Volunteers
Thank you all for coming to our event on Tuesday night! We saw a lot of new faces and people brought guests as well. Please make sure you fill out our session evaluation. I wait….
We are very grateful to our panelists: Natalie Combs, UnitedWay Collier County, Todd Lewis, Harry Chapin Food Bank and Dawn Whelan, RSVP Collier County, who shared so generously their expertise and time. They received raving reviews, like this one:
Your presentation was excellent! It was exceptional in content and information delivery. Great questions and responses.
Big Thank You to Mark Benson, who not only took care of our food but also has been a big help setting up the room for our panel discussion. Also, a thank you to all other volunteers without whom this event wouldn’t have been possible either: Donna Johnston, Suzanne Fundingsland, Jim O’Reilley, Pam Gharabally, and Dawn Whelan.
We also thank our generous sponsors for supporting Tech4Good SWFL: Unitarian Universalist Congregation Greater Naples, Nonprofit Technology Network(NTEN), Netsquared/Techsoup, Noble Acts, Relevanza.
Announcements and Upcoming Meetings
Here are collaborative Notes collected by Thomas Connelly, Jackie Coopard and Birgit Pauli-Haack
Meet your people where they are: Communicating with your Volunteers
When it comes to interpersonal relations and making sure information is reaching every single person on the list. It really depends on the person’s preferences.
Dawn works with 55 and older adults, they communicate best, via letter, and phone calls and personal visits, she is sending out emails, but only gets low response rates.
Natalie reiterated that as she works with all generations, many millennials she texts via GroupMe with many she sends out eNews and other she also just calls.
When looking for a volunteer management system or CRM make sure it provides various avenues for communications and allows you to flag the preferred means of communication on the individual’s records.
Volunteer coordinators need to be proficient in all kinds of communication channels.
Juggling More Than One Database Plagues Nonprofits
Seems all organizations participating in our meeting use multiple tools & databases to keep their contact records updated. But everyone agrees it’s not an ideal solution. One person working in the development department had a vision talking to a person about a large gift and not being aware that the person has volunteered for the last 10 year for the organization. Many other scenarios probably already happened and made relationships awkward fast. Knowledge is key. Neither Donors nor Volunteers want to be talked to like they are “other people”.
Integration, or at least regular imports of records and activities would be very helpful to the organizations.
Local Recruiting Success through collaboration & networking
Recruiting success depends on community services and real life connections in local networking.
- Panel and participants shared success stories working with FGCU and Public Schools for student volunteers.
- Volunteer Collier – Natalie Combs introduced us to Volunteer Collier and demonstrated the site.
- Volunteer Match – Once in awhile you might want to check your organization’s entry. I found very outdated information.
- Get listed on The Eagle Careerlink
- Local networking with Rotary, Kiwanis, Interagency & Chamber meetings
- RSVP not only recruits volunteers, Dawn also assigns them stations directly and is a wealth of resources for smaller organizations. Here is a list of the current Volunteer Stations
On a side note: When working with school age kids, volunteers need to pass drug and background checks. Anne Reed, Crew Land & Water Trust shared their resource for background checks. They use First Advantage
Features of a Volunteer Management System
By Jackie Coopard, Naples Botanical Garden
- communications directly to volunteers in large groups using the Volgistics website. Messages/reminders can be sent directly to the volunteers that will “pop-up” when they log in.
- Volunteers have profiles that they can access at home. This allows them to adjust their contact information, look at shift needs of the Garden, make changes to their schedule, and receive messages via Volgistics instead of traditional email.
- Checklists of things that the volunteer must do in order to perform certain assignments….i.e. golf cart training, or docent led courses.
- Flags – fluent in another language, skills, donor level
- Potential volunteer submits their volunteer application directly into the system.
List of Volunteer Management Systems
- Volgistics (SaaS)
- CiviCRM’s CiviVolunteer (on top of website if WordPress, Drupal or Joomla)
- HandsOn Connect (SaaS)
- VolunteerHub (SaaS)
- VolunteerReporter (Desktop App for install)
- VSysOne (SaaS)
SaaS – Software as a Service – Cloud system accessed via web or mobile app
Tools for Scheduling Volunteers
Suggested Tools for organizations not using volunteer management solutions
Donor Management Systems mentioned
Group Text messaging
via Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger is not inclusive. You always have to have the app to be able to be part of a group and receive messages. The same was true with GroupMe. Now they provide a “GroupMe over SMS” method as well.
- FrontLine SMS
- TxtSignal – a long-time Tech4Good SWFL Sponsor, offers members a 10% discount. A low-cost service if you need something for testing purposes or for a pilot project.
Integration with 3rd party Text messaging systems
Phone Calling Apps
Thank you to our Sponsors!
Check them out and click on the logos!