Choosing technology tools for an organization can be quite daunting. This post may be helpful if your organization readily relies on volunteers and has decided to begin searching for a volunteer management tool that fits your organizations needs.
As with any new technology, your organization will need to choose a tool that will allow you to collect and report on required data, easily integrate with an existing database (if your organization uses one) or work alongside existing management software, and is efficient.
Researching and choosing the right software takes time and may still leave your organization with several questions. Idealware and TechSoup conducted research and released a report focused on volunteer management software in May 2011. Here are their main recommendations:
Before you begin, it is important to pull together a multidisciplinary team in order to discuss and thoroughly cover the following issues:
- Determine which features and functions are non-negotiable for your organization.
- Create a time line to outline when you want this new system to be implemented.
- Create a budget so you know what your organization is able to afford.
- Do you want a hosted or installed system?
- What functions do you want volunteers to have access to? For example, do you want your volunteers to have web access in order to complete new volunteer forms, change their profile, or allow access to other needed forms?
- Is the organization simply tracking basic contact information, skills, and ability or is the organization in need of more custom tracking? Examples could include instant background checking, tracking volunteer hours, creating volunteer opportunities which can be updated, tracked, and consolidated into useful reports.
Joining volunteer management discussion and/or talking with other organizations will assist with understanding the functionality and features your organization may be searching for. When you have a better understanding of what your organization is looking for in volunteer management software, contact vendors that you are interested in. Take advantage of free trial runs and vendor knowledge of their products.
On the other hand, contacting either a software company or a consultant before you fully understand what your organization is looking for can sometimes be a waste of time for both parties (click here to read tips for your request for proposal). As with any purchase, do your research first to ensure you are familiar with the options that are out there and understand what your budget constraints are.
It is important to mention the new Volunteers for Salesforce application that was released after the Idealware report. It was created by Groundwire and was supported by a grant from The Salesforce Foundation.
The application’s deep integration with Salesforce CRM makes it a ‘one stop shop’ when considering volunteer management solution. Once the app is installed it will seamlessly integrate into your existing CRM as well as add some objects and custom tabs. This software has some great and exciting features. Here are our top 3:
- Manage volunteers and their volunteer hours
- Manage volunteer jobs and optional shifts
- Allows for volunteer and job sign-up on your website which instantly updates your Salesforce CRM
Another great feature is that this application is open source software. This means that even if the application does not do everything your organization needs, we will be able to customize it for you, integrate it with a portal or social networks, and more. Contact us to schedule a demo of Volunteer for Salesforce!