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Technology for Volunteer Management
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Technology for Volunteer Management - Workshop Summary

Sammy Feilchenfeld, Training Coordinator 

Technology is the hardware and software we use to connect to an ever-changing world. Computers, tablets, mobile phones, apps, internet and more can help make volunteer management easier and more efficient. On June 16, Volunteer Toronto’s Technology for Volunteer Management workshop brought volunteer resource administrators together to explore new and exciting ways to use and maximize technology to engage and work with volunteers. This is a summary of key points from the session:

Social Media

  • Social media can be especially useful for recruiting and communicating with volunteers, as well as building communities and networks of and with volunteers
  • “Content” is anything someone creates and/or shares on social media and can be personal (cat videos) or professional (workplace blog posts)
  • Facebook and LinkedIn are different kinds of social networks that allow your organization and/or volunteer program to have its own presence (pages, profiles & groups)
  • Twitter is a micro-blogging platform to allow for targeted messaging ranging from communications to fundraising and anything in between
  • Pinterest (as well as Tumblr) can provide great ideas for volunteer appreciation and outreach; Flickr, Instagram and Google Photos are easy ways to share the story of your volunteer program through images
  • You can use dashboards like Tweetdeck, HootSuite and Buffer to view multiple feeds and schedule, plan and approve multiple updates through different social media services
  • Don’t put your organization or program on every social media platform – get to you know your audience and use the tool that makes sense for you and your community!

Communications

  • Use Skype for quick and easy video interviews to save you and your volunteers time
  • Firefox Hello (currently in beta) lets you have video calls and share your browser screen to facilitate collaboration with volunteers working in other spaces or from home
  • Setting up a volunteer program instant messaging service is a great way to stay in touch with volunteers in multiple locations – try Slack or Google Talk
  • MailChimp is a free e-mail service that can help you reach your volunteers in an organized way – build colourful newsletters or mailouts and easily track bounce-backs, clicks/opens and more! MailChimp is free for 12,000 e-mails/month and up to 2000 volunteers in your system

Efficiency

  • Trello is a fantastic free web-based task management system that allows you to create to-do lists and items as well as invite collaborators and team members to assign and/or create tasks; Trello is a wonderful tool for committees, planning teams or volunteer groups working remotely or separately to get work done – and it’s a helpful volunteer management tool to coordinate and plan your program
  • Doodle Polls are the new standard in scheduling meeting, events and even volunteer shifts; setting up polls takes minutes and can be easily sent to any volunteer by e-mail
  • Google Docs allow you to build live documents that can be edited and shared with volunteers, making collaboration easy; use it for your own program planning and welcome input from volunteers and staff through live editing – look back at revisions and make changes and even download and edit in Word

Volunteer Management Software

  • YourVolunteers & VolunteerSpot are two free volunteer management systems that allow volunteers to sign up for shifts and allow you as managers to assign volunteers to shift; each has different functionality but can allow you to track your volunteer’s hours, availabilities and upcoming shifts, as well adding an additional method to stay in contact with volunteers regularly
  • Volunteer Toronto’s Full Subscribers get a discount to Volunteer Impact, volunteer management software by Better Impact – click here to learn more
  • NationBuilder and Volgistics are other useful volunteer management tools, but, as with Volunteer Impact, there is an ongoing usage fee

In our workshop, we encouraged participants to try out the different software and apps to see what worked for them and how they could maximize their potential. Try out a couple test tasks and see if you’re ready to use technology to make volunteer management easier, more efficient and more effective:

  • Tweet us @VolunteerTO about your volunteer program journey
  • Send an e-mail blast to a group of volunteers using MailChimp talking about your upcoming volunteer opportunities, events or programs
  • Create a Trello board about your volunteer program and plan out your lists, cards and tasks to help make your coordination easier
  • Create a “Sign-Up” in VolunteerSpot for an upcoming event and test it with some of your volunteers

Got any questions? Curious about some new technology? E-mail Sammy Feilchenfeld at sfeilchenfeld@volunteertoronto.ca and click here to learn more about our upcoming workshops.

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