One of the areas we’re working on is to provide more insight into the products in our donations program, so you can make a more informed choice. Starting this month, we’ll be trying out our new products and blogging about our experience. Today you’ll hear from Fanny Martin, one of our new Accounts Managers here at TechSoup Canada. Enjoy! - Tierney
Before starting at TechSoup Canada, I was a festival manager in the UK, and one of my favourite roles was to manage volunteers. Ah, the joy of meeting new people, from all walks of life, who help you to fulfill your mission, and whom you see growing and developing over the course of an event or sometimes year after year... Although right now, I mainly remember sweating over the schedule into the wee hours and hoping that most people would actually turn up. I was using a spreadsheet to store all names and contact details, which was simple enough, but hugely limited in scope and functionalities, and somehow I just knew there had to be a better way...
Which is why I was really interested in VolunteerMatters, an online volunteer management system. Having watched their video demonstration and pored over the product features, I can say that it does a pretty good job of helping you manage large groups of volunteers. From a single online platform, you can store your volunteers’ contact details, skills and interests; you can filter data to find the perfect match for a task or identify the most active volunteers; you can send them individual or bulk emails, fully customizable; you can create different types of shifts and activities and either assign your volunteers to specific tasks or let them sign up themselves.
My favourite features:- No more back-and-forth emails: volunteers can search and sign up for shifts themselves, and the administrator can send emails straight from the platform to a selection or to the whole database.
- Keep track of your volunteers’ level of commitment and personal goals.
- Generate reports based on a variety of criteria, which can be a great tool to report to your board or funding body about your volunteer strategy.
Who this is for:
If you work with a lot of volunteers and require advanced volunteer management features, it makes sense to use a specialized volunteer management system like VolunteerMatters. This might be you if you often have scheduling or communications issues, or if you wish that you could keep better track of volunteers’ personal commitment to your cause.
Additional resources on Volunteer Management Systems:
Here are a few links to learn more about VolunteerMatters and other products out there that can help you take further your volunteer strategy.
- Online demonstration of VolunteerMatters: a 23-minute video available on their website that gives you a full product tour (please be aware that not all features showcased in this product tour are available with the TechSoup Canada special edition).
- Consumers' Guide to Software for Volunteer Management published by TechSoup and Idealware: comprehensive product reviews, and even more importantly, lots of tips to help you decide what’s right for you.
- Comparative table of volunteer management systems put together by Jayne Cravens, a non-for-profit consultant, which you can access on her website.
Transfer your data to another management system: Because there are a lot of options out there! Have a look at the Consumers' Guide to Software for Volunteer Management published by TechSoup and Idealware and at Jayne Cravens’ comparative table of volunteer management systems; and don’t forget that TechSoup Canada also offers access to Sumac, a database with several specialised modules available, including volunteer management, fundraising, communications, ticketing and more.