Managing volunteers is never an easy task, and a lot of time, effort, and money goes into it. Right from recruitment to training and then engagement, volunteer leaders have a hard time without the right tools. More than 90% of non-profit organization has agreed that using volunteer management software can help run a non-profit more smoother.
A quick search on the internet will present you with a number of different options you can choose from. Such a myriad of choices can easily confuse anyone. Luckily there are certain features that you must not miss out on while buying volunteer management software. Further mentioned in this article, you will find a few features you should look for in any volunteer management software you purchase.
- User-Friendly And Unified Volunteer Database:
There are three main reasons why having a centralized database is always a good option. First, all your volunteer information will always be secured, and all opportunities will be more accessible to volunteers.
More so, data tracking will become more accurate and streamline your resources to bring change to the community. Whichever volunteer management software for non-profits you choose, it should simplify and organize the collection and storage of such information:
Volunteer data is very important when it comes to management. Most managers prefer a centralized and unified system to help collect and store vital volunteer data. At the very least, your volunteer data should include the following:
- contact details
- Availability and scheduling
- Activity logs and volunteer time tracking
- Volunteer preferences
Having all this information in one place can considerably help with time management and productivity.
Events and Other Opportunities
Just being able to store is not always enough, especially when you are handling a number of different events and volunteer shifts. Most leaders need quick and easy access to manage projects and events.
This is why your software should be able to filter the database. It should be rather easy to find information quickly and without any hassle. Any capable software will also clearly show volunteer shifts and opportunities in a searchable list.
- Efficient Volunteer Hour Tracking And Reporting:
Surveys have shown how more than 60% of service-focused non-profits lose important volunteer data because of poor record-keeping. It is very important that every organization has apps to track volunteer hours, keeping all data organized.
This will also help them track volunteer impact. In a sense, good data can enhance an organization’s chances of winning grants and inspire more support. Some features you need to check for before purchasing volunteer management software include:
Easy Data Collection with Multiple Tracking Tools
It is always better if you make it easier for volunteers to log their data. This will surely encourage more volunteers. However, manually continuing this process can be quite time-consuming, and possible errors might show up.
Automating the system can help increase efficiency and data accuracy. By providing your volunteers with options for tracking their activity, you will get all the data you need. However, for that to happen, you need to be very flexible. Look for software that offers different tools like:
- Check-In Kiosk:
With this, you will no longer have to worry about paper sign-ins for volunteers. This is a web-based check-in format in which the volunteer’s log-in hours will automatically be clocked in and out from an opportunity on a mobile device.
- Web-Based Hours Log:
The majority of volunteer management software will allow the volunteers to record their hours and also assign them to an activity or project. This will not only ensure that the data is accurate but also make logging time easier for volunteers. This will save the volunteer managers a lot of time.
- QR Code:
QR codes can virtually be created on any website. This is why you should look for software that allows web-based check-ins and hour logs. You can simply print the code and place it where the volunteers gather. The volunteers have to them just scan the QR for contact-free time logging and check-in.
- Mobile Application:
In such a digitized world, mobile apps can be a great way to track volunteer attendance. This way, they can manage their schedules right from their smartphones. You can also get applications that can automate notifications and communicate with the volunteers directly. Small reminders to check in or about events can help increase efficiency.
Groups Impact Tracking and Reporting
There is no denying that increasing volunteer involvement should be every non-profit’s top priority. Having a program that can track and report collective impact becomes important, whether you rely on student groups or corporate teams. Without the right software in place, keeping track of large volunteer groups and their data can be cumbersome and time-consuming.
- Automated Volunteer Engagement:
Volunteer schedule and data management is only one part of volunteer management. An efficient solution will also take into account engagement features.
Firstly, you should understand that engaged volunteers are the ones committed to the volunteer work they do. This makes them more likely to be supporting your cause for longer. Some common yet effective engagement-boosting strategies include:
- Offering positive and healthy volunteering experiences
- Providing good incentives and supporting it
- Making participation easy and accessible
- Keeping consistent touch with volunteers and appreciating them
With volunteer management technology, volunteer leaders can help implement the above-mentioned strategies more effectively and regularly. Some engagement tools that you should check for include:
Self-Registration & Scheduling
If you want to keep a healthy flow of volunteers, you have to offer them easy access to opportunities. Every volunteer should be able to manage their own calendars and self-register. Getting involved should not have any barriers, which will further encourage volunteers to take part.
Volunteer Mobile Application
With a little bit of research, you can find several volunteer management systems that come with a free mobile app, especially for volunteers. This application should be easy to use and simple. However, it should be able to let the volunteer check and manage their check-in and shift schedules when they come to the site.
Automated Recognition and Rewards
Making your notable volunteers feel appreciated and recognized is key to keeping them satisfied and engaged with your organization. However, without the right tools, keeping track of each and every volunteer’s impact can be time-consuming.
Your volunteer management software should allow automation of the rewards and recognition process. Once the volunteers have logged their hours and the time activity goal has been achieved, the software should know. It will automatically congratulate the volunteer and notify the volunteer leader.
- Time-Saving Communication:
Communication is key to volunteer management, and leaders often need an effective medium to reach their supporters. Any volunteer management software should include the few communication features mentioned here.
While emailing one or two people can easily be done with the default app, it often gets harder when its hundreds of volunteers. For that, you will need software that comes with email blasé. CRM capabilities can be a great criterion to short-list your software with.
You should always be directly able to email your volunteers without having to write long email lists. You can also filter your contacts based on several options, including skills, availability, interest, and more.
Text messaging can be a great tool to drive action. Volunteer leaders often have and sure can use text messaging to notify or drive donations from volunteers. Since text messaging is fast, you can get to more people quicker.
If your volunteers are tech-savvy, you might even get a quick reply. Since volunteer management software collects mobile numbers during registration, you can send mass texts right from the system.
With the listed features in your solution, you will have nothing to worry about. A volunteer management system can help take your non-profit organization to the next level.