We look at the best software and apps to improve the management of volunteers
Volunteering is integral to the work of many charities and since the pandemic, the demand for volunteers in the UK has soared. It was reported in May 2020 that one in five UK adults volunteered during the first lockdown and three-quarters of a million volunteered to be NHS responders.
Volunteering is more vital than ever to local community life in the UK and charities play a pivotal role in co-ordinating many of these volunteers. Managing numerous volunteers, with different skills, availability, and communication preferences takes quite some skill.
Thankfully, juggling Word forms, Excel spreadsheets, and database add-ons is no longer necessary for Volunteer Managers – free or low-cost volunteer management software and apps are available to help.
This range of tools will support you to capture volunteer information, schedule volunteer shifts, communicate with volunteers, and produce reports.
A popular app with lots of functionality, Time Counts could be used for any type of volunteering. It doesn’t offer an API-led integration with any databases, but there is potential for downloading and uploading customised reports.
It offers a free version for smaller organisations, but can also be scaled up significantly. Here are some of the basic functionalities available on Time Counts:
Price: From FREE with one admin, one sign up form, and 250 emails per month.
Volgistics is well-suited to small decentralised organisations as it has multi-site capability, allowing you to manage groups of volunteers at different sites. It does not have database integrations, but its bespoke reporting may allow for data uploads. it can also be scaled to suit larger organisations. Other functionalities include:
Price: From $17 per month (£12 approx), with two admins and up to 50 volunteers.
This software becomes its own database and online training space as it allows you to create individual profiles for your volunteers and create e-learning modules.
Price: From £15 per month, unlimited administrators and up to 50 volunteers.
While the previous volunteer management systems cater mainly for longer-term volunteering opportunities, Volunteer Mark also recognises the need for short-term events volunteers.
Up to three events can be created per month, along with three longer-term roles on the free package – ideal for smaller charities. Other functionalities include:
Price: Free, up to 50 volunteers, up to three volunteer positions per year, up to three events per month.
InIt Live has two versions: one for long-term volunteering and one for events staff and volunteers. This is useful for larger organisations where managing these types of volunteers falls to different teams with different processes.
Price: From £38/39 per month, up to 100 volunteers
There are lots of other options, including the possibility of creating something bespoke. FAT promotions have designed basic volunteer management software that can be customised to suit your organisation’s needs.
They worked with Snowflake Night Shelter to create customised software that supports the complicated process of volunteer scheduling. The software allows them to search for, select and contact volunteers with the right skills and availability for shifts across multiple venues.
In addition to streamlining and simplifying the administration of volunteer management, one of the most compelling reasons to consider volunteer management software is the reporting capability.
Tracking volunteer numbers, hours, skills, recruitment, and attrition rates can be very time-consuming when your volunteer database doesn’t have in-built reporting. Software designed to support volunteer management in non-profits has the need for demonstrating impact baked in.
In charities where volunteering plays a major role in service delivery or fundraising, volunteers are often the heart and soul of the organisation. Many of them have been involved for longer than some of the staff and their passion for the work that they do is contagious.
Better reporting means a better ability to recognise volunteers for their service – to say thank you.