Manage Volunteers Effectively With Smart Automation
Volunteer organizations and coordinators alike are all tasked with a critical priority: to manage volunteers.
Go to any nonprofit organization, and you’re likely to find that the volunteer services department has to retrieve and organize volunteer applications, track volunteer hours, distribute physical props and tools for volunteers usage in special presentations and in real life situations, creating volunteer job shifts, and handing out and organizing volunteer waivers, among other things. A nonprofit organization that relies heavily on volunteers has a lot of responsibility, especially in terms of ensuring that volunteers stay connected to their team, stay coordinated with the services that the nonprofit offers, and that they feel appreciated for the personal time that they dedicate to the cause.
Because the volunteer services department of these organizations have so much that they are held accountable for, they need a system in place that helps them to make processes as efficient as possible. However, many organizations still manage volunteers with paper applications, spreadsheets, or even fundraising software with a “volunteer module”. Indeed, nonprofits rely on multiple nonprofit systems that are strong as stand-alone software. However, they become quite a pain to manage when you try to utilize them together to solve your nonprofit’s needs. Software that makes it difficult to manage volunteers because of mounds of data entry, importing/exporting spreadsheets and other administrivia only compounds the issue further.
To illustrate, let’s use the scenario of a volunteer manager working at a small and volunteer-heavy, youth-focused mentoring nonprofit organization. In a typical day, this volunteer manager may have to:
- collect and segment applications for potential volunteers
- optimize to whom which volunteer opportunities should be assigned (this one is huge)
- manage background and reference check process
- lead an orientation for new volunteers
- track and manage volunteer hours
- coordinate weekly newsletter with the marketing team
- send emails to board members to solicit them for a special volunteer appreciation dinner.
The problem is that this volunteer manager has to go to Volunteer Hub to do one thing, then disengage from that software and go to an Excel spreadsheet or a Google Doc to do something else, then leave one of those and go to Mailchimp to do another thing. Nonprofits spend hours on tasks to manage volunteers internally, and the choice of software definitely influences this.
So what is the best way to remedy solve the problem of a volunteer management process that depends on systems that are disconnected and do not speak to each other? Simple: just automate it. This can be done with an all-in-one, an integrated and automated software system that contains systems that speak to one another and is powered by a signature software tool that ensures not only do all systems speak to each other but that anything that happens in the administrative side is automatically reconciled in its back end. That tool is known as Smart Automation. And that software is known as Giveffect.
What follows are 3 ways in which Giveffect can streamline your nonprofit’s ability to manage volunteers effectively.
Automation #1: Manage and streamline the volunteer application process
One of the most important areas in terms of streamlining volunteer efforts exists with the volunteer application process. When organizations are seeking volunteers for their campaigns and special events, they have to make the application process as easy as possible. They can do this with ease with the Giveffect software. In the back end of the navigation bar, click on the Charity Settings. Then, locate the Volunteer Application tab. This allows the team at your nonprofit to manage what questions are asked when determining what potential volunteers will be the best fit to be part of the organization.
Automation #2: Manage volunteers and shift follow up by email
Volunteer emails can be a chore and even a headache for whoever is tasked with sending them out to a long list of donors, participants, and supporters. However, the Giveffect volunteer management system once again allows an organization to eliminate the idea of manual data entry and administrative work, such as with sending emails and updating shifts for volunteers. You can do this using the email rules found at the back end of the system. You can actually set rules that will trigger an email provided certain conditions are met. To do so, in the back end of the system, use the navigation bar and click on “Email Rules”. When you are there, choose from the type of email you want to create at the top of the screen from the options, Thank You, Tax Receipt, Dedication, Invite, Participant, and Volunteer Jobs. Finally, select the “Add new Email Rule” button. From here, you start building your new email rule that you will save to use to send multiple emails later on.
Automation #3: Manage volunteer hour logging behind the scenes.
Tracking and logging volunteer hours is not only automated but is extremely simplified, within the Giveffect back end. And there are several tools within the volunteer management system that contribute directly to this tracking and logging. For example, the Event Buddy free mobile app provides functionality to check in and check out volunteers for events that they are assigned to provide assistance at. Once a volunteer is checked in through Event Buddy, their information in the back end of Giveffect is automatically updated with their number of hours being updated. Also found within the back end of Giveffect are the options to create volunteer jobs, shifts, and assignments. No longer is it necessary to manually enter information about volunteer hours into an Excel spreadsheet. Once the job and the shift are created for the specific volunteer and the hours tracked, this information is updated in the volunteer’s back-end profile.
Start automating your workflow with Giveffect today! If you haven’t already done so, check out our informational demo to learn more about the Giveffect system.