When nonprofits talk to us about taking on volunteers for major projects, Aspiration often plays the negative Nelly of the group. We believe that when considering a volunteer:
Expect Nothing. Be Happy with Anything.
Volunteers can be the mirage in the nonprofit workload desert OR they can be a valuable member of your team, ready to move Hell or High Water to get those damn file folders color-coded. A good volunteer relationship is laid out formally as an agreement with expectations so that there is some commitment between the organization and the volunteer. Otherwise (and sometimes even though), organizations can find themselves cleaning up a half-completed project when a volunteer finds a job or gets too busy.
Because the hope of volunteers is omnipresent in the nonprofit world and the circumstances around their use are so unique, there have been many attempts at successfully developing software tools to help with recruiting, selecting and managing volunteers. Volunteer-specific functionality (vs. general CRM software functionality) can include things like:
- Tracking availabilities
- Indexing volunteer skills
- Assigning shifts
- Recording participation
To the right, (click through to see, RSS readers), is a Volunteer Management toolbox full of resources to help organizations figure out how to find a Johnny-I-Work-For-Free and then actually manage him effectively.
From the projects of the Extraordinaries that allow an organization to take advantage of micro-volunteering to NABUUR, an online volunteering platform that links Neighbours (online volunteers) with Villages (local communities) in Africa, Asia and Latin America, there are some interesting tools to not only get your volunteer on but to find the perfect person for your org.
Check out the tools to the right and feel free to leave a comment on the tool if you have something to say. We want to know what you think of these tools.
What experience do you have using volunteers at your organization?
Did you find any software tools particularly helpful in the process? Or were they little better than a good spreadsheet? Let us know!