The modern volunteer coordinator is facing their latest industry challenge. Triggered by a political interest in big society, social action and volunteering, the third sector is finding a growing inclusion of volunteer management software and volunteer KPIs in tenders, bids and strategies.
This is causing a stir within the third sector as many volunteer coordinators are using the same methods as their predecessor, using extensive filing systems, paperwork and only a telegram or notice board to communicate with volunteers.
Without understanding or knowing the benefits of a management system, it is understandable that some still believe that you don’t need volunteer management software. Well, we’re here to refute some of the common reasons why organisations think they don’t need volunteer management software.
- Volunteer management software is too expensive
The cost of any new system is often expected to come with a hefty price tag. But volunteer management software is designed for the third sector in mind, with the vendor understanding the limited resources available in the third sector. Thankfully, free versions of volunteer management software are available, with higher functionality available at a paid premium.
Additionally, going out and purchasing new volunteer management software may not be your only option. Your nonprofit might be able to find volunteer management tools in your existing fundraising software or nonprofit CRM.
Before looking into third-party options, see if your vendor offers upgrades or expansions with the management capabilities you need.
Your fundraising software many even offer partnerships with leading volunteer management software, so that all your information easily integrates with each other.
Not only will this help you save on costs (most vendors provide discounted rates to nonprofits that are already using their tools), but it also keeps all your information in one place.
That way, you can update donor and volunteer profiles in one centralized location without the hassle of transferring data.
- [insert basic database or spreadsheet software] is “fit for purpose”
Many organisations believe that the current piece of software used in their organisation, such as Microsoft Excel or Access, is perfectly capable of managing volunteers.
Just as an organisation avoids using Excel for its accounts, instead of using specialist software, the same should be done for volunteer management. Using the wrong software can unknowingly be very limiting and time-consuming.
Using volunteer management software, not only reduces the workload for the volunteer coordinator and spreads the workload across all users, it improves communication, creates easier reports and provides more opportunities to recognise volunteers’ efforts.
- My organisation would not benefit from learning more about its volunteers
Using volunteer management software can provide a much more detailed understanding of the volunteers interacting with an organisation. With volunteer profiles, you’ll not only be able to see basic information about your volunteers like name, location and age but also key information that can tailor your volunteer outreach, including:
- Opportunities that a volunteer participated in, which gives you insight into what events that person wants to donate their time to.
- How many hours a supporter has volunteered, which can be used to determine if a supporter qualifies for a volunteer grant from their employer.
- Donors that have volunteered for the first time, which reveals that a donor is becoming more involved in your nonprofit.
Having all this data can help you learn about what volunteer opportunities your supporters will enjoy, as well as ways to improve the volunteer experience.
Organisations can learn a lot from volunteer management including complex insight such as common search terminology, conversion rates and geographical reports.
- If a Volunteer is looking for an opportunity they will get in touch
There are some organisations that believe if volunteers want to find an opportunity they will take the initiative themselves to contact the organisation and find out about the opportunities available.
However, without a central coordinating destination, the effort involved in discovering who to contact and how to contact them can easily dissuade volunteers from bothering. The use of an online solution provides a crucial channel of communication between the volunteer and opportunities provider.
Volunteer management software allows your organisation to post volunteer opportunities that interested volunteers can access and register for anywhere with internet access. Plus, it allows you to maintain communications with volunteers via email and social media, which can be sent and posted automatically, thereby attracting more individuals to support the cause.
- My organisation does not see the benefit of recognising and rewarding volunteers
It can prove challenging when managing a large workforce to make sure each volunteer receives a personal “thank you”. But, no matter how difficult, showing volunteers that you appreciate their support is vital to your nonprofit’s success.
When you tell you volunteers “thank you”, you’re telling them that their hard work is important and impacting your mission in a positive way.
Volunteer management software enables the organisation to acknowledge volunteers through email, text and social media platforms.
Additionally, the use of HourTrade vouchers, an exchange of volunteered hours for a coaching badge, for example, is one method of rewarding a volunteer. It further enhances the recognition of volunteers by setting up achievement badges, which the provider can allocate to reflect the number of hours volunteered. These small gestures are just the start of how volunteer management software is capable of helping to recognise, reward and motivate volunteers, which is crucial in developing a strong workforce.
For more ways to show volunteers you care, check out ReCharity’s 7 tips for thanking volunteers.
For many organisations, the idea of introducing a new system seems a strange concept, especially when the method they are using is coping or the above reasons have been expressed. Hopefully, this article challenges some of those beliefs and encourages some further exploration into the use of volunteer management software.
If that is the case, then please feel free to speak with TeamKinetic, an experienced provider in this field. In the past eight years, we have transformed the management of volunteers in Hospital Trusts, Sports Organisations, Local Authorities and Universities by providing our volunteer management software.
If you would be interested in discussing how TeamKinetic can help your organisation please call 0161 914 5757 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or to book a free demonstration of the software visit: teamkinetic.co.uk