Do you have too many volunteers to keep track of? Luckily, that means you’re in a good spot! It’s always great to have a surplus of people willing to help, but how do you keep everyone on the same page?
There are many different volunteer management softwares out there. Some are free and many are offered at an affordable price for nonprofits. They can make both your life and your volunteers’ lives easier.
They offer a free plan, but also a few paid plan options starting at $8.99 per month. This service offers the option to sign up for events, pay an event fee, send email invites and reminders, and more. The free plan is great if you just need a basic way for volunteers to sign up and be entered into a database.
Google offers their G Suite to nonprofits for free. Organizations receive Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Google Meet, Google Chat, and video conferencing options. This makes it easier to share materials between volunteers and your staff. You can send handbooks over a shared drive and ensure everyone is on the same page. You can also upgrade to more premium plans for either $4 or $8, depending on what your organization needs.
Do you have less than 50 volunteers? VolunteerMark has you covered with a free plan. If you have more don’t worry, they have extended plans starting at $34 a month. They offer options like volunteer recruiting, sharing positions on social media, uploading images and logos, and more. You can also add volunteer profiles so your staff can get to know those coming in to help. It also includes volunteer interests so you can best utilize them within your organization.
Many people may think of Homebase for paid employees. However, they offer many services for free and can help in your volunteer management. They allow for easy time tracking and let a volunteer check in via the app. This is done via a GPS system and can help at events where sign in sheets get lost and can be a hassle. It also allows for easy access to the schedule, where volunteers can view just their hours and an overview of the entire team. They also offer a messaging area for any important updates. All of these offers apply to an unlimited amount of volunteers.
YourVolunteeers offers features like scheduling, weekly emails, and virtual opportunities for free. They also boast a mobile-first design, so your volunteers can use the system from anywhere. You can easily track all hours, keep track of no shows, and communicate through this basic plan.
Timecounts allows for unlimited scheduling, 250 emails a month, one signup form, and one admin on their free plan. You can also send out reminders and purchase credits if you think you’ll go over your 250 email limit one month. This is helpful because you don’t have to pay for a service every month that you may only use during your busy times. Credits start at $10 for 1,000 added emails.
Volgistics has the perk of allowing volunteers to apply via an online portal. They can also view scheduling and receive texts or emails regarding specific opportunities. Volgistics also works with Verified First to start the background check process on volunteers. You can essentially hire, schedule, and track volunteers all in one spot. They have a price calculator on their website to figure out exactly how much you’ll pay per month.
Better Impact is the umbrella which encompasses Volunteer Impact, Client Impact, and Donor Impact and Member Impact. The volunteer software is what we’re looking at today. They offer eLearning modules to help your volunteers get started, self-scheduling for volunteers who are approved, and communication functions. Their lowest priced plan comes in at $240 per year with up to 50 volunteers.
Coming in on the pricier side is Bloomerang. The least expensive option includes up to 1,000 records at $99 a month. However, they offer Bloomerang Academy, a database of fundraising and donor engagement classes. These are great for organization training and making sure you’re current on technology in the nonprofit world. This is a good option if you have a larger organization and want to learn along the way.
Messaging tools can supplement your volunteer softwares. They offer a way to quickly chat and spread information to your volunteers. It also gives them an easy way to contact staff members in your organization.
This messaging platform offers a price reduction for nonprofits. They offer organizations with 250 or fewer members a free upgrade, and an 85% discount for anywhere above that number. This is a great way to increase communication between volunteers. You can add volunteers to different groups depending on what department they work in and send them updated information. It’s also a great place to offer encouragement without texting everyone separately. There is a direct messaging feature if a volunteer has a more specific question and wants to contact another team member. It even has a search feature making it easy for everyone to look up previous information.
Do you need video capabilities? Microsoft Teams offers chat services, video, and easy ways to share files. This is great for connecting with volunteers and meeting them virtually before they come in to help out. They also offer screen sharing so you can walk through a presentation or orientation information easily. You can create different teams and use the functions for the staff and clients at your nonprofit too.
How to use the softwares effectively
The whole point of these softwares is to make your life easier so you can focus on growing your nonprofit! Make sure you utilize all of the tools to manage your volunteers effectively. Here are some of the most common ways to use them:
- Screen volunteers
The more elaborate software offers ways to meet your future volunteers virtually, complete background checks, or just get to know their interests. You can ensure someone is the right fit for your organization before taking them through the orientation process. It also lets them learn a little more about your cause so they can make sure it’s something they can dedicate their time to full-heartedly.
- Create a smooth on-boarding process
Have you ever started a new job and received a couple hours of training then were just thrown in? It’s the worst right? Make sure you’re investing in your new volunteers and give them the training they need. Use your software to keep communication strong, let them know exactly when and where they should be on the first day, and give them a volunteer handbook to look back on. Make sure someone is with them every step of the way until they feel comfortable completing a day on their own. Always remember they are volunteering their time for free, so you need to make them feel it’s worth their effort.
- Scheduling tools
Scheduling tools are not only useful for the volunteer, but also for the rest of the staff. It lets staff know when volunteers will be in the office and allows them to plan accordingly. You want your volunteers to always have something to do and really maximize the time they spend with you. Ensure scheduling is easy to view so no one questions when they are supposed to come in.
- Track hours
Be sure you utilize self check-in options or digital time cards so you know exactly how many hours each volunteer is with you. This is helpful for those who need to report back to their school and for ensuring your volunteer base grows each year. This is also great information to include in an annual report.
- Set goals
All of this information connects you to one purpose- setting goals for your organization. Let your volunteers in on these goals and use these softwares to collaborate and gain their input. It’s always good to have a fresh perspective and make sure you utilize their opinions to improve your organization each year. These softwares make it easy to gather input and keep moving forward.
It’s time to throw away those sign-in sheets and swap them for a digital option. Keeping everything in one place makes it so much easier for your volunteer coordinator and organization as a whole. Start exploring your options to give your volunteers the best experience possible.