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What are the Key Benefits of Volunteer Management Software?

Supporting volunteers is difficult work that requires careful nuance. Luckily, volunteer software tools are making it simpler than ever to manage the process, from recruitment to time tracking to impact evaluation.

In today’s world, almost everyone is connected to the Internet. The average person spends nearly 7 hours a day online, primarily via phones, computers, and a myriad of other devices. This means that most people can – and prefer to – communicate through web-based tools and online apps. 

This reality has resulted in dozens of companies developing software to assist the volunteer management process. With that many choices, it can be difficult for a volunteer manager to understand the key benefits of those software choices and which applications are the most useful for their organization. That’s why we have developed this guide: to help you navigate to the best options. 

What is Volunteer Management?

First, defining the components of volunteer management as a practice is important. Nonprofits or corporations that rely on volunteers as part of their program strategies need systems in place to manage their volunteers as human resource. In short, volunteer management is human resources management for non-paid employees. 

Every organization is different, but volunteer management almost always contains certain work areas. 

  • Design. Volunteer managers must design event opportunities and create job descriptions for different positions. Those events and roles should be part of a greater strategic plan for the volunteer program that serves the organization’s mission.  
  • Recruitment. Volunteers need to be drawn to the cause or volunteer event,  from a company’s pool of workers or the general public. 
  • Vetting. Volunteer managers must vet interested volunteers for a role, against certain criteria (i.e. credentials required to perform the role, geographical location, educational attainment). Sometime,s this process requires a formal background check. 
  • Training. Volunteers need to be onboarded into a role and into the organization’s culture. Sometimes, a role requires specific skills training as well. Training outcomes need to be tracked and recorded in some way. 
  • Scheduling. Calendars need to be synced so that volunteers can sign up for events and for different training programs that are necessary for their service. 
  • Supervision.  Managers need to ensure that volunteers have the tools and resources to complete their tasks, which require differing levels of supervision depending on the role. They need sufficient motivation throughout their volunteer experience to maintain excitement for the cause and a desire to serve. 
  • Thanking and Engaging. Showing appreciation for volunteer work is a vital component of the management process. People are providing energy and time for free, so at a minimum, they need to know that their work was helpful and that the organization is grateful for their service. Thanking volunteers should be part of a larger communications and engagement strategy, to share information regularly and invite people to support future events.  
  • Evaluating. Volunteer management requires constant evaluation of the success of programs toward supporting the organization’s impact goals. Some sort of data collection within the volunteer process is needed, along with analysis of that data for meaningful impact assessment. Was the program worth the inputs (time, money, other resources)?
    Scheduling processes can be greatly improved through integrative volunteer software.

7 Key Benefits of Integrating Volunteer Software into the Management Process 

All of these components require a fair amount of administration. Volunteer software supports the process by providing tools to coordinate all aspects on one platform. Using these types of systems can help volunteer managers:

  1. Ease their administrative time. 
  2. Streamline accessibility for everyone in the volunteer ecosystem. 
  3. Recruit volunteers more effectively. 
  4. Retain volunteers for future work. 
  5. Communicate with volunteers in modern and engaging ways. 
  6. Perform necessary vetting tasks, such as online background checks. 
  7. Improve cybersafety and integrate across safety systems.

How Volunteer Software Eases Administrative Time

The top benefit for managers is that software eases the time burden for administration. The best software tools integrate seamlessly with different CRM platforms and communication systems to keep information synced together in one space. 

  • Platforms use automation to streamline communication - including automatic, personalized thank yous, regular impact updates, and invitations to new events that match with a volunteer’s profile. 
  • They can help you with volunteer scheduling, integrating tools for volunteers to sync their calendars with yours and choose the best training and event times across a range of options. 
  • They also help collect data for tracking hours logged and other supervision metrics, which can make impact evaluation much more accurate and meaningful. 

Improving Accessibility for Everyone

Cloud-based, app-enable software programs make it so volunteers and managers alike can access information from anywhere on their phones or laptops. It improves capacity for communication in the field and across geographies. Managers can “supervise” volunteers through time tracking on apps and through text messaging built into systems, providing resources and encouragement in real time whether or not they are actually physically “with” their volunteers.

When using platforms like Golden, managers can choose which information is forward-facing to the public and which information is internal. This capacity for layers of security empowers managers to communicate more information with people outside their immediate network, sharing more freely with the public and with their volunteer circle. 

Using online, app-enabled software enables your team to work from anywhere, anytime.

Making Volunteer Recruitment Easier and Better

Volunteer recruitment is one of the most difficult aspects of the management process. Before the Internet was ubiquitous, managers had to find outlets within the community and use various online recruitment platforms to post jobs. 

Now, platforms enable them to post a job and market it to a much wider range of potential candidates. The best software tools encourage volunteers to create profiles linked with their social media accounts to help recruiters find them and invite them to their opportunities. Nonprofits can also link with new outlets for building a volunteer base in their community, such as schools, churches, and corporations with volunteer programs. 

Systems like Golden can screen the potential candidates, too, to ensure that they meet credentials and fit well with your work before they even apply. They can take a built-in “eligibility quiz”, for instance, or answer questions to help them self-vet “is this the right role for me?”. 

Supporting Volunteer Retention

When a volunteer is matched better to your work from the onset from improved recruitment, you have much higher chances of retaining them for future support. In addition, there are at least 5 other ways that volunteer software can improve retention. 

  • Software can help you automate and improve “thank yous”. You can program notes to go out to volunteers via their preferred communication (i.e. text, social media, email). 
  • Software can help you provide additional incentives. Golden, for instance, integrates with Karats to offer points towards prizes and rewards. 
  • Networking with social media improves engagement. Volunteers can invite their friends and receive accolades from the wider community or their employers for working with you. 
  • Improved communication flows keep people more engaged with your work. Platforms help you communicate information that volunteers want to know and make their impact seem more personal. Most volunteers want to feel that their work is making a difference, so this is an important component of engagement and retention. You can even sync updates to their profile for new skills learned, helping them build their resumes and credential lists. 
  • Send automated invites to new opportunities. It’s important to continually invite volunteers to future events that fit with their desired work opportunities. 

Generate New Methods of Communication

Volunteer management software helps you communicate in modern ways to draw in new audiences. The best platforms, like Golden, have 3 key communication benefits:

  1. They integrate flawlessly with top CRM systems to sync communication across an organization’s teams and ensure volunteers are contacted in the way they want, when they want. 
  2. They empower managers to connect on social media with their volunteers, posting photos as thank yous, and communicating impact to the community in more interactive ways. 
  3. Volunteers can also become more involved in your communications, posting their work to their family and friends and interacting with your events online. 

Volunteer Software Can Help You Perform Background Checks

Many jobs require a background check, especially when volunteers will work with children. There can be substantial cost for an organization to perform these checks, depending on the local requirements for the work. 

Golden offers the only front-facing tool on the market to enable volunteers to perform these checks before they “qualify” to work with you. Organizations can choose to pay relevant fees for the check or request the volunteer to do so. 

Then, the software can help you manage the checks, setting reminders when they are about to expire or require action from the volunteer. This type of streamlined integration can save managers countless hours of time and energy fulfilling and tracking requirements. It is also useful to have the information readily available in the case there is an issue where checks need to be verified. 

Improve Safety

Organizations have different levels of safety requirements for different staff and people entering their online workspaces. This reality can make it tricky for volunteers to access information and can disrupt workflows for volunteer managers. 

Volunteer management software can help ease these processes across different networks. Golden, for instance, can integrate single sign on (SSO) through Okta, SAML Single SignOn, and other popular third party softwares that are commonly and increasingly used by corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies. 

Golden, one of the highest security platforms available, is also fully compliant with regulatory standards such as GDPR, CCA, COPPA, HIPAA, and ADH.  It can be expensive and time consuming for nonprofits and corporations to integrate all of these standards into their systems on their own, and to regularly update as policy changes. 

Learn More About Golden Volunteer Software Today

Golden is the best volunteer management software, incorporating all of these top benefits of volunteer management software in an easy-to-use and customizable interface, depending on an organization's size and needs. It is the only software with capacity to integrate with virtually any other program out there, including Salesforce, Blackbaud, and Microsoft.

Doing so can create new synergy across your volunteer management ecosystem, supporting streamlined management and new capacity to serve your volunteers for greater impact. You can learn more about the program online or schedule an appointment to discuss solutions for your particular nonprofit or corporation.