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Volunteer Management Software: 4 Ways it Can Transform Your Volunteer Program and Strengthen your Nonprofit

By Darcy Neureiter, Head of Marketing at Civic Champs

Because volunteers are essential to the success of nonprofit organizations, a smoothly run volunteer program can have a serious impact on the efficacy of your mission, impact, and donations. So what enables a strong, highly effective volunteer program? A powerful volunteer management software allows you to stay organized, execute great events, track information, and save time. It’s critical for nonprofits to have volunteer management software in place to manage their volunteers with ease.

Whether you are a volunteer program coordinator or the head of a nonprofit board, strengthening your board committee and volunteer program using volunteer management software can boost board engagement while improving board member experience, satisfaction, and investment in your nonprofit. 

What is volunteer management software?

Volunteer management software is a digital platform with different tools and features to help nonprofit organizations better manage every aspect of their volunteer program. Volunteer management software is meant to do much of what board management software does, but for volunteer programs. 

There are lots of moving parts involved with effectively recruiting, retaining, training, and scheduling volunteers. Volunteer management software ensures none of these responsibilities slip through the cracks while streamlining communication and engagement.

Volunteer management software includes tools for handling the administrative tasks involved with volunteer programs. Effective software includes features for recruiting new volunteers, scheduling events, automated emails and messages, reliable and accurate hour tracking, plus organized databases to view volunteer information. Some volunteer management software will also allow you to gather waivers and questionnaires digitally or provide tools to help gather donations from volunteers. 

A great volunteer management software will also expedite and streamline the reporting process, to make meeting prep easier. With the right software platform nonprofit leaders can consolidate critical information for board packets enabling smooth agenda building and accurate data reporting.

How can the right volunteer management software help your nonprofit?

Volunteer management software is game-changing for nonprofits that want to make the volunteer management process more efficient while strengthening and growing their program. With the right software solution volunteer coordinators will be able to cut down time spent on tasks like scheduling, logistics, and manual data entry while improving volunteer satisfaction, engagement, retention, and even donations. 

Here are a few volunteer management software features your nonprofit may find useful:

Scheduling tools

Great volunteer management software helps volunteer coordinators plan and execute successful events. This means a flexible, intuitive digital calendar that integrates with your existing nonprofit website, admin and volunteer calendar views, and onboarding capabilities to ensure all waivers and important info like lunch orders and t-shirt sizes are squared away before volunteers show up. Volunteer management software scheduling tools enable volunteers to sign up for available shifts, view their shifts, and view upcoming events. 

Volunteer management software can also help with board task delegation. Administrators can use volunteer management software to create a project plan with board events and meetings, allowing board volunteers to sign up to address tasks and receive automated reminders about meetings. 

Communication tools

Sometimes event changes happen quickly and without warning. Meetings or gatherings are canceled or rescheduled and word needs to get out to volunteers fast. Communication around logistical adjustments takes time and lots of mental capacity especially without tools specifically designed to make outreach and adjustments easy. 

Volunteer management software improves communication by sending messages, notifications, and other alerts that allow volunteer managers and administrators to send critical information and reminders immediately from one centralized place. Great volunteer software will allow you to select volunteers for a specific event, from a specific group, or customize your message list to ensure that the right folks are getting the right message. 

Volunteer hour tracking

Failing to accurately track volunteer hours can be a costly mistake. 

If your volunteer management software is mobile friendly it will help promote accurate volunteer hour tracking through the use of automatic check-in and check-out systems. Look for tools that allow volunteers to use their phones to check themselves in and out of an event and software with strong mobile admin capabilities like kiosk mode which allows admins to turn a laptop or tablet into a digital sign-in sheet. 

Humans are prone to error and hour tracking is one of the most unwieldy manual organization tasks volunteer management professionals deal with. A volunteer management software with great hour tracking tools will save time and keep thousands of volunteer hours organized with unprecedented accuracy. 

A customizable volunteer database: 

Whether your organization has 20 volunteers or 2,000 volunteers, sifting through spreadsheets, documents, and survey responses to find volunteer background checks, availability, and profiles drains time and energy. 

Volunteer management software takes the hassle out of file management by automating and organizing a database with key information about your volunteers. 

You’ll save countless hours by using database filters to determine which volunteers are the best fit for particular opportunities based on volunteering history and volunteer group affiliation. See which volunteers have completed required training and onboarding steps, and pull up accurate volunteer hour reports.

These dashboards also provide key actionable insights that are helpful for administrators and boards. Instead of crunching numbers to compile reports,  insights will be visible and downloadable automatically on a convenient dashboard, simplifying this process.

How can volunteer management software help your volunteers?

Volunteer management software is not only beneficial for nonprofits. Volunteers appreciate a system that helps them feel connected, engaged, and valued.

With the right solution, volunteers are able to have an organized view of their schedule so they can participate in the events and volunteer opportunities consistently and receive reminders, updates, and follow up gratitude messages for each one. 

Volunteer management software also makes it easier for volunteers to be recognized by nonprofits. With strong communication systems in place, nonprofits can send thank you messages and other information that will help volunteers feel like an integral part of the organization, ultimately boosting volunteer satisfaction and retention. 

Mobile friendly volunteer management solutions that include an app for volunteers is especially useful for bringing volunteering into the realm of digital lives. A volunteer management software with an app for volunteers enables every smartphone user to track and view their volunteer hours instantly, incentivising personal consistency and accountability. 

What features should you look for in volunteer management software?

With the right features, volunteer management software can make a radical difference in your nonprofit’s volunteer program.

Here are some of the key features your volunteer management software should have to be effective:

  • Intuitive, user-friendly design
  • Calendar/event management tools
  • Communication tools (in-app messaging, SMS, email, and phone)
  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Scheduling tools
  • Client support options

While there are many volunteer management software options available, the best volunteer management software will include these features.

Learn more about how Civic Champs can help transform your volunteer program. 

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