Revamp Volunteers
Every month, our team receives more than a 100 support requests related to Volunteers alone. From clubs starting out and seeking tips on how to begin their volunteer endeavors to clubs who have their volunteer management tactics down to a science and simply looking for ways to become more efficient, we've seen a number of ways clubs recruit their volunteers, communicate with them and manage their lists. That's what inspired us to create our "Revamp the way you do this" series, where we'll focus on one item and give tips on how you can revamp the way you do it with ClubRunner.
When talking about volunteers, think about your requirements and struggles and the first thing that comes to mind for many organizations is, how do we actually manage volunteers? What does it entail? Answer? Everything, from deciding how you will enlist and track volunteers to how you will support them to what resources you'll need to provide them, to how you'll thank and retain them and recruit them for future events.

Case Study: Salvation Army Bell Ringers

It's holiday season and one of the most popular campaigns that seeks
volunteers is the Salvation Army Bell Ringer campaign that runs from November to December. Numerous volunteers are needed to collect donations and we’re sure you’ve seen these volunteers contributing their time at your last visit to the mall.

Managing your volunteer signups - the traditional way

We automated volunteer management for a lot of clubs recently and what we found was the majority of clubs were using paper sign-up sheets. One that was used at the club meeting, a few which were taken home by members to recruit their family and friends, and scanned copies which were emailed to past volunteers.
While paper sign-up sheets are quick and can be created on the spot, they also lead to a lot of problems, such as illegible writing which makes it hard to reach out to the volunteer, double-bookings, possibilities of losing the sign-up sheet, spilling a drink on it leaving it indecipherable, running the risk of volunteers taking over already assigned positions, and lack of privacy if it is being passed around as private information is openly available. Not to mention that the information is being shared in static form, and updates are not readily visible by others. Oftentimes, the end result looks something like this:

Getting your signups organized - the new way

Currently only available for clubs, with the ClubRunner Volunteers module that we recently introduced, you can easily create sign-up sheets broken down by groups, tasks and shifts, which you can then easily share on your website and via email. Setup is easy and only takes a few minutes, especially with a multiple-entry wizard that can automate repeating tasks. Here's what your signup sheet can look like:
By moving your signup list online, you can benefit with several advantages:
  • Volunteers are looking at a constantly updated, most recent copy of the list
  • Volunteers' private data is not is not publicly available (especially those of friends of your club)
  • Commitments can be updated directly by members as their availability changes
  • You can no longer overbook or underbook a task
  • Multiple people can have access to the list as well as volunteer reports and summaries
  • Reduce the risk of losing this information as all data is regularly backed up by ClubRunner, without any action on your part.

Revamp Communications

With our previous example of a paper sign-up sheet, communicating changes to tasks, schedules and updates can be very time consuming. You have to make sure you save each list from previous years so you can reach out to past volunteers, to see if they would be interested in participating again. Naturally, that would be a long and tedious process.
With ClubRunner's Volunteer module, past volunteers are saved in the system and all it takes is drafting your email and simply adding in mail merge tags to personalize your call for volunteers. Then just sit back and track the email statistics to see who opened your message, who opted out of receiving future emails, and watch your sign up sheet fill up with volunteers. As volunteers sign up for a shift, they'll automatically get a personalized thank you message that also acts as a confirmation email.
Once you have volunteers and are ready to communicate with them, simply click on "Send Email to Volunteers" and select which group of volunteers you want to reach out to. Segment your emails based on the different volunteer groups and tasks, so the right message is always delivered to the right people.
Built-in email automation allows you to set it and forget it! With built in email templates already drafted by us and ready for you to use as is, you have a message for every situation, giving you more time to focus on other things. You can even schedule them out at a certain date and time!
The communications aspect of our Volunteers module comes with its own set of advantages:
  • Distribution lists update themselves as volunteers sign up, opt out, etc.
  • Email tracking abilities allow you to get a better idea of how your campaign is going
  • Automatic segmenting of volunteers based on groups and tasks makes it easier for you to provide support/supervision

Revamp Retention

Volunteers are the pillars that make up many of the avenues of an organization. As Rotarians ourselves, we like to think of volunteers as the support system that drives our club to great successes. The Volunteers module gives you the ability to directly connect with these people at any given time, which can only promote higher engagement. Why not schedule a Thank You email to go out the day after the event using a customized mail merge template that greets them personally, or ask them to provide you feedback on the event and their schedules.
In fact, all volunteers automatically get added as "Club Contacts" in a system generated group. As the administrator, you have the option to collect more details about the volunteers such as their address, phone number, and even their photo. Keep those lists updated and before long your club will only find more ways to engage with them.
The ClubRunner Volunteers module was released just a few months ago for clubs. If you haven't begun using it yet, learn how to get started. Already using it? Tell us how! Some other examples we've found being used by clubs are; as a duty roster, as a sign up list for members wanting to register as speakers, as a list to co-ordinate holiday lunches/dinners to organize who brings what, and more.